Drop in new COVID infections, strong reforms undertaken by govt, Sitharaman tells investors

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday participated in the Global Investors Roundtable organized by the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) through video conferencing which witnessed participation from some of the largest foreign investors, including Mastercard, MetLife, Prudential, Air Products, Dell, SoftBank and Warburg Pincus amongst others.

As per the official release by the ministry, the event provided investors with an opportunity to engage with the Union Finance Minister and senior officials of the Indian Government to discuss potential investment opportunities and deliberate on the role of ongoing policy reforms that will enable greater Ease-of-Doing-Business in India.

Sitharaman discussed India’s opportunities for growth and investment pertaining to India’s wide-ranging reforms which continues to position the country as an attractive destination for foreign investors. The Finance Minister remarked that macro-economic stability, infrastructure-led economic growth opportunities, financial sector reforms and positioning as a strong player in global supply chains are just some of the ways India continues to rise as a global economic powerhouse.

The broad messages conveyed to the investors were: Significant drop in new COVID infections in the country and decline of second wave; Strong Relief and Reforms undertaken by Government during the pandemic times; Continued macro-economic stability and resilience in economic recovery in the recent months.

Vision to make India Self-Reliant (Aatma Nirbhar Bharat); Steps taken for Infrastructure led economic growth; Creating multi-sectoral opportunities for investors; Strong track record of reform implementation in the last 6 years; Other strengths/advantages of India as an investment destination and Opportunities for investment in Climate, ESG and Sustainability focused investments were other broad messages conveyed in the meeting.

In her concluding remarks, Sitharaman spoke about going ahead with an overall vision to build a self-reliant modern India driven by 5 “I’s” viz. Intent, Inclusion, Investment, Infrastructure and Innovation. The Finance Minister stated that the country is committed for a long-term relationship with US investors and proposes to meet twice yearly.

Issues discussed upon in the meeting are the continuous reforms make India a great place to do business; COVID and its aftermath has shown the Indian economy’s resilience; Highest ever GST collections shows the bright spot-More formalisation of the economy and tax compliance.

Innovation and Research and Development got great potential; New opportunities emerging for foreign investors with recent FDI reforms privatisation policy and Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme; Fiscal situation is under control and expect to improve further; 15 new unicorns in the first 5 years of 2021 itself reflecting growing startup ecosystem to be amongst the best in the world were also discussed upon.

Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth highlighted about the broad themes of Budget 2021 and how changes made are far reaching and set the tone of an interactive discussion that followed.

Ajay Banga, CEO, Mastercard mentioned, “When the United States and India, along with the best of the private sector, work together with a level playing field and fair competition to drive innovation and progress in India and for India, a great deal can be accomplished. ”

George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Control, mentioned, “We are extremely excited about the growth opportunity in India and expand further in India, one of the fastest emerging global economies. India has made significant progress and is expected to double its energy demand by 2040 and we are keen to support this growth story.”

Mark Widmar, CEO, First Solar, said, “Applaud the effort done already towards the investment opportunities in India, especially with the combination of Industrial policy and the trade barriers that have enabled this initiative. Also, encouraged to see the vaccination and economic progress”

The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is a non-profit organization, with the primary objective of strengthening the India-US bilateral and strategic partnership through policy advocacy in the fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.

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