Making a decisive push towards generating investment to see the success of his ‘Make in India’ mantra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government was trying to revive the economy, and told global investors that India today was a land of opportunities.
“In a short span of seven months, we have been able to change the atmosphere of despair and uncertainty,” Modi told the seventh Vibrant Gujarat summit here attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as ministers and corporate leaders from 100 countries.
“Since the first day, my government is actively working to revive the economy,” he told the gathering which included US Secretary of State John Kerry and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
The summit, held at the impressive Mahatma Mandir convention centre, spread over a 55-acre complex comprising conference venues, exhibition halls and landscaped gardens, in the Gujarat capital, saw the biggest participation from other countries this time.
Modi said there was tremendous interest in India, and “countries were coming forward to work with us. Today, India is a land of opportunities”.
Modi, who till 2013 used to seek investment for Gujarat where he was then the chief minister, urged countries, businesses and investors to be part of India’s growth story.
“My government is committed to create a policy environment that is predictable, transparent and fair.”
Modi, speaking dominantly in English, went on: “We will have to change the way we have been approaching problems. Recession is often seen just in the context of business and industry.
“Have we ever thought of recession as being the result of low per capita income in countries where a majority of global population lives?
“Have we ever thought of its solution in terms of enhancing the common man’s employability, income and purchasing power?
He said his government was committed to changing and improving the economic and social condition of India, including the quality of life.
“We want to promote co-operative federalism in the country. At the same time, we want a competitive element among the states.”
Visibly happy at the presence of global personalities and business leaders at the summit, Modi said: “This event is perhaps the biggest gathering on earth where a budding entrepreneur has opportunity to see the president of the World Bank.
“And where a young farmer can listen to the views of the UN secretary general on issues like food security.
“Your (world leaders’) presence today has enhanced the enterprising streak of 60 million Gujaratis and has boosted the morale of 1.2 billion Indians,” he added.
Without naming anyone, Modi refuted criticism that he was just making populist announcements.
“We are not only making commitments and announcements. But, we are backing them up with concrete action at the level of policy and action,” he said.
Citing examples, Modi said that opening of 100 million bank accounts in just four months, allowing 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in railways, allowing 49 percent FDI in defence and insurance sectors were some of the steps taken by his government after coming to power May last year.
“Sometimes it appears that Modi is hyping up things. We do this to force us in the government to make faster corrections,” he pointed out.
In his address, the UN secretary general said 2015 was crucial for global action on issues such as sustainable development, climate change and inclusive growth.
“This is the most important and crucial year for humanity,” he said.
Kerry said that Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme is a win-win opportunity for the world.
“The prime minster has brought a particular energy… and made Gujarat synonymous with possibilities, change and energy,” he said in the presence of Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister Ananadiben Patel and dignitaries from over 100 countries.
Kerry described Modi as a “visionary leader”, while the World Bank chief said that India could take a lead in ending poverty.
Modi and Kerry also paid tributes to the victims of the Paris terror attack.
Both leaders said all the countries should be ready to show that they were determined to fight terror in all forms.
The Mukesh Ambani led-Reliance Industries (RIL) announced that it will invest Rs.100,000 crore across its businesses, including the Gujarat petrochemical complex, in the next 18 months.
“We will invest over Rs.100,000 crore in the next 12-18 months in contributing to the Make In India and Digital India initiatives,” Ambani said at the Summit.
The Aditya Birla Group will invest Rs.20,000 crore in Gujarat to increase capacity of various existing facilities, Kumarmangalam Birla said.