Modi also pitches for greater global mobility of workforce at the FII forum in Riyadh
India’s healthcare, energy infrastructure and startups offered big opportunity for global businesses
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged global businesses to back Indian startups, saying they will fetch the best possible returns for their capital. In a speech in Riyadh, he also pitched for greater mobility of workforce across borders so that nations can make the best use of emerging opportunities.
Modi, delivering the keynote address at the third Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum in Riyadh, pointed to the emerging trends, which he said nations and investor should take note of, so that they do not miss the tide of opportunities. Modi described the forum, which is widely seen as the most important economic forum in West Asia, as the “Davos of the desert".
He said India will work with Saudi Arabia in its efforts to diversify its economy, and India’s healthcare, energy infrastructure and startups offered big opportunities for global businesses.
The Prime Minister said that with transformative technologies, such as artificial intelligence and genetics, having become part of people’s lives, India has put in place an ecosystem for startups in a wide range of industries, including hospitality, medical treatment, transportation, tourism and food delivery. India, he said, has emerged as the third largest ecosystem for startups in the world.
“I urge all investors, including venture capital funds, to take full advantage of our startup ecosystem. Investment in India’s innovation will fetch you the best possible returns. That will not only yield financial dividends, but also empower the youth," he added.
The PM said the blueprint for India to double the size of its economy to $5 trillion over the next few years is ready. He also highlighted the emerging trends in the areas of infrastructure, human resources and nature of work, environment and business-friendly government.
Modi said that liberalized global trade should not be limited merely to the supply of goods, but should also cover manpower and talent mobility, the rules of which need to be simplified. Global trade rules are still to be liberalized to allow free movement of personnel for work. However, Gulf countries account for a large part of remittances India receives. According to a World Bank report released in April, India was the top recipient of remittances in 2018 at $79 billion, followed by China, Mexico and the Philippines. Modi assured investors that they will get skilled manpower in India for their operations.
He also said India was making big investments in infrastructure, which will also benefit investors. He said the government’s goal is to have a $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure over the next few years as it implements an integrated approach to offering amenities to people in the form of a unified power grid, gas grid, water grid, mobility card and an optical fibre network. “Infrastructure growth in India will be in double digit. There is no room for capacity saturation. This sector, too, offers guaranteed returns," said Modi.
The Prime Minister held a series of meetings with the leadership of Saudi Arabia earlier in the day. He tweeted that he had an excellent meeting with Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, and that energy remained an important pillar of bilateral ties.
Modi also tweeted that environment, water and agriculture are sectors in which there is a lot of potential for cooperation between the two nations. India is taking the leadership in promoting the use of sustainable sources of energy, such as solar power, he said.
“We are committed to work together to make our environment better and effectively harness water resources," Modi tweeted.
India is keen to attract foreign investments into its energy and infrastructure projects as state-run banks saddled with over $8 trillion of toxic assets have turned conservative in lending decisions while trying to help turnaround or recover dues from defaulting businesses through bankruptcy resolution proceedings.
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