Narendra Modi meets captains of Indian industry, discusses policy steps3 min read . Updated: 26 Jun 2018, 10:29 PM IST
Meeting comes against the backdrop of private sector's fading risk appetite and insolvency proceedings
Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met the heads of Indian companies at an event in Mumbai that focused on the marquee schemes of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
The meeting to discuss the state of the Indian economy, organized by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), was attended by 41 industry representatives. It came against the backdrop of the private sector’s fading risk appetite combined with the spectre of bankruptcy hovering above over-leveraged firms making companies apprehensive about new investments.
Policy reforms and initiatives taken by the government “over the last four years came up for elaborate discussion in the course of over two hours. Industry’s contribution to economic growth and development was also discussed", said finance minister Piyush Goyal, who also attended the meeting.
FY18 witnessed the announcement of 2,496 new projects with investments worth ₹ 6.6 trillion, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, which aggregates data on private sector investments. These were lower by 52% in value terms when compared with the 3,963 projects with investments worth ₹ 13.8 trillion announced in 2016-17.
“He (PM Modi) urged the corporate sector to invest in a big way, especially in the agriculture sector," the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.
Modi has vouched to take the Indian economy to double-digit growth with the government facing re-election next year. Goyal has said the target can be achieved by the fourth quarter (January-March) of the current fiscal year.
The government has also set a target of doubling farmer incomes by 2022. This comes at a time when the Indian farmer has been blighted by drought and a collapse in crop prices in the first four years of the NDA government.
Some of the prominent attendees at the meeting were Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries Ltd, Rashesh Shah, chief executive officer (CEO) Edelweiss Group and president of lobby group FICCI, Pankaj Patel, chairman and managing director (MD), Cadilla Healthcare, and Sanjiv Mehta, CEO at packaged consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
The others present at the meeting were Ashish Chauhan, MD and CEO, BSE; Uday Shankar, CEO of media entertainment firm Star India; Aditya Puri, MD, HDFC Bank; Anand Mahindra, executive chairman Mahindra Group; and N. Subrahmanyan, CEO, L&T. Ajay Piramal, chairman, Piramal Group and Kumar Managalam Birla, chairman, Aditya Group, were also present at the meeting.
“Several industry representatives appreciated the improvement in the business environment in the country, and said this would lead to realization of India’s growth potential. They endorsed the prime minister’s vision of New India," the PMO said.
Earlier, Goyal highlighted the initiatives taken by the Union government in the last four years, “to steer the economy of India to a higher trajectory. He spoke of policy initiatives, holistic approaches to development, spirit of innovation, and technology", the statement added.
The Indian economy accelerated to a seven-quarter high of 7.7% in the March quarter, signalling that it is tiding over the disruptions—triggered by demonetization of high-value currency notes and rollout of the goods and services tax.
“As important as the issues discussed was the fact that @PMOIndia spent more time at the session than budgeted and also had 45 minutes of unhurried conversation over tea with all participants. A powerful and timely signal of confidence in the business community," Anand Mahindra said in a tweet.
The $2.8 trillion Indian economy is third-largest in terms of purchasing power parity, Modi said earlier in the day at the opening ceremony of the third annual general meeting of the board of governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Mumbai.
“Emphasising on the need to promote domestic manufacturing, he spoke of the need to boost production in areas such as medical devices, electronics and defence equipment," the PMO said.