Bureaucracy a major concern for investors in India: WEF chief
India must equip itself for fourth industrial revolution, says WEF founder Klaus Schwab
Mumbai: Bureaucratic red tape and the lack of world-class infrastructure are the two main impediments that foreign investors face in India, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) said here on Wednesday.
“I always hear foreign investors complain how difficult it is, particularly, the bureaucratic process which is the main impediment to business. However, once the business is here, they are very satisfied with working in India,” said Schwab, who is in India to speak on the forthcoming WEF in January 2019 in Davos.
The other area where India needs to improve, Schwab said, is infrastructure. As much as $800 billion will be needed over the next 10 years to improve India’s infrastructure, he said.
Schwab also highlighted India’s improving position on the ease of doing business index but said that it is far from being perfect. “A powerful indicator (of ease of doing business) is that how long it takes to create a business. You have examples in the world where it takes half a day and India is still in the middle,” he said.
“It is very important for young entrepreneurs to create companies faster because the jobs of the future will not so much be created by large companies but by young and upcoming entrepreneurs,” said the WEF founder.
India’s rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2019 survey climbed 23 places to 77 among 190 countries surveyed, making it the only country to rank among the top 10 improvers for the second consecutive year. Last year, India saw a jump of 30 places to reach the 100th position in the rankings.
“I definitely see India as a business destination,” he said.
Competition in the future will be less on the basis of cost advantages but more on the basis of innovative capabilities, according to Schwab. “I wonder whether India can catch up with the United States (US) and China, particularly in the area of artificial intelligence,” Schwab said, adding that he is also concerned that while half of the population in India is below 24 years of age, it is to be seen if the country is capable of equipping these young people with skills that are needed in future.
“The fourth industrial revolution will destroy many traditional jobs and create new ones that will require new skills. If I look at Indian education system, it is still very traditional and businesses and government will have to work together to train people for the jobs of tomorrow,” he said.
Asked about the role of WEF in the age of growing trade wars, he said that in a fast-changing world, countries become more egoistic.
“Democratic countries are measured by not what they are doing for the world but what they are doing for their own citizens, as they have a mandate from the electorate to take care of the national interests,” he said, adding that there will be pressure not only on the US but on others as well for more nationalistic polices.
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