Modi’s reforms enthuse top global CEOs

They feel govt. initiatives were ‘inaccurately assessed’.

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:12 pm IST

Published - September 25, 2015 10:00 am IST - New York

Forty-two CEOs of Fortune 500 companies with a combined net worth of $ 4.5 trillion were “upbeat” after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and expressed happiness and satisfaction at the changes being spearheaded by the government, officials who participated in the interaction said on Friday.

“They felt that the initiatives being taken by the government were inaccurately assessed and reported, and appreciated the trend and direction in India,” said Indian Ambassador to U.S. Arun K Singh.

“They were already convinced about the India story and most are already invested in India. Most of them will be looking at more investments in the country,” he said.

“Everyone was happy with the changes in India. Their only demand was that the changes be faster,” said Vikas Sarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. Mr. Swarup added that Mr. Modi assured the CEOs that the government believed in promoting the private sector, and was creating a “predictable and transparent governance structure.”

Several CEOs that The Hindu spoke to after the interaction with the PM echoed the same sentiments. Andrew Liveris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Dow Chemical Company, said Mr. Modi “came across as a practical guy, and demonstrating the experience of running a state for several years.”

On demands made by the participants at the gathering, he said: “We will want many changes not only in India, but here in the U.S. and in the entire world. But the general sense is that the government of India is taking earnest measures to improve the ease of doing business.”

U.S. media leaders want faster 4G rollout

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told media leaders here that “digital technology can help in innovation, empowerment and democratisation.”

Vikas Sarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, told the media on Friday that there was no discussion on altering the FDI caps in new media industry in India at the meeting, organised by NewsCorp headed by the Murdoch family.

Father Rupert and son James Murdoch were at the meeting and so were heads of Sony, Discovery, Time Warner, A&E, VICE Media.

Large presence

“Mr. James Murdoch pointed out that about 40 percent of the world’s entertainment industry was present.”

“The only demand that they made was to speed up the roll-out of 4G technology that would enable the expansion of their business,” Mr. Swarup said.

“The PM urged them to include democracy and development narratives in their businesses.”

Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International Inc, said: “The direction of changes in India was encouraging, but the changes could be faster.”

Indian Ambassador to U.S. Arun K. Singh said the role of digital technology in helping India leapfrog into an orbit of high growth was emphasised.

The CEOs present included Robert Thompson, CEO, News Corp; Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India; David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery Communications, and Michael Lynton, CEO, Sony Entertainment.

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