Hyderabad/New Delhi: Hard selling India as an attractive investment destination, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called on foreign investors to become partners in the country’s growth story.

Addressing the inaugural session of the eighth edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, Modi highlighted the steps India has taken to improve the ease of doing business and expressed New Delhi’s resolve to improve its ranking from 100, as currently designated by the World Bank, to 50.

“To my entrepreneur friends from across the globe, I would like to say: Come, make in India, invest in India - for India, and for the world. I invite each one of you to become a partner in India’s growth story. And once again assure you of our whole-hearted support," Prime Minister Modi said.

“Our government has taken several steps to improve the business environment. The jump in India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, from 142 to 100, in three years, is a result of this," he said. “We have improved on indicators like dealing with construction permits, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency."

“The process is not yet complete. This is an area where we are not satisfied with 100th rank. We would strive towards 50th rank," Modi said.

US President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, who launched the summit with Modi on Tuesday, said India hosting the GES 2017 was a symbol of strengthened friendship between the people of India and the US.

“Globally, between 2014 and 2016, entrepreneurship activity among women increased by 10%. In the US, within the last decade, the number of women-owned firms has grown by 45%. Minority women have started nearly 8 in 10 new women-owned businesses," Trump said while addressing delegates. She praised Modi for proving that “transformational change is possible", referring to his life journey to becoming Prime Minister of India.

Modi said more than 90 million loans worth Rs4.28 trillion have been sanctioned by the centre under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, of which 70 million have gone to women. He pointed out that more than 300 million bank accounts have been opened under the Jan Dhan Yojana , of which 53% belong to women.

“We have also started the Mentor India initiative (under the All Innovation Mission) to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among school children. So far, 900 schools are under this programme," he said.

The Prime Minister said credit rating company Moody’s Investors Service raising India’s sovereign rating from Baa3 to Baa2 in almost 14 years is a recognition of his government’s efforts. “Nineteen incubation centres have been created in various institutions and universities to nurture innovative start-ups and businesses to become sustainable," he added. He said the centre has launched a programme to provide high-speed broadband internet to all rural areas by March 2019.

Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao thanked the US government for choosing Hyderabad to host the GES 2017.

India was chosen as the host country for GES 2017 during former US President Barrack Obama’s tenure last year. The summit has a pre-eminent gathering of entrepreneurs and investors from around the world.

With the theme of ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’, this is the first GES at which more than half the participants are women. More than 10 countries are being represented by an all-women delegation including Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. A total of 1,500 entrepreneurs and investors from 150 countries are attending the event in Hyderabad.

Analysts say the fact that the eighth edition of the GES is being held in India illustrates the warmth in ties between India and the US.

When Trump took office, there were doubts about whether ties between the world’s oldest and largest democracies would follow the path of cooperation set out by Obama. The doubts were set at rest during a meeting between Trump and Modi in Washington in June with the two leaders affirming a strategic partnership between their nations. It was after the Modi-Trump talks in June that it was announced that Ivanka Trump would come to India as the head of the US delegation for the GES.

India hosting the GES was significant for several reasons, said former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh who also served as India’s ambassador to the US during the Clinton presidency. “It announces the importance of India as an economic destination and signals India’s arrival on the world stage" as a country with considerable economic standing, Mansingh said.

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