Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a strong pitch for investment in India before global investors at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit here.
However, there were indications that investors might be wary of the ordinance route adopted by the Centre to push for reforms.
Ajaypal Singh Banga, president and Chief Executive Officer of MasterCard, said U.S. investors wanted to be in India in a much bigger way and relations between the two nations were in a better position. However, they expressed reservations over the Centre’s efforts to bring in changes in key legislation through the ordinance route.
“Investors will remain nervous unless ordinances on reforms are implemented legislatively,” Mr. Banga said in his address at the summit.
The Hindu has reported that President Pranab Mukherjee reminded senior Ministers of the Modi government about the limitations of the ordinance.
In a bid to woo investors, Mr. Modi cited the Centre’s recent decisions to invite foreign investment in Railways, Defence and Insurance. Referring to the government’s ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, he said, “We have amended the legal provisions to facilitate the availability of land. This has been done for ensuring development in remote areas while ensuring better returns to the farming community.”
Projecting India as a 3D investment destination, Mr. Modi said the country had “democracy, demography and demand.” Moreover, “India has low cost and high quality manpower.”
World Bank president Jim Yong Kim praised Mr. Modi for the Constitution Amendment Bill for Goods & Services Tax (GST) and for his steps to ease diesel subsidies that had been “a drag on India’s growth and harmed the environment.”
Among the industry captains present, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Ltd. and Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, who already have a presence in Gujarat, pledged to further invest heavily in the State.
In another development, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Centre would bring out a document on sustainable model of defence manufacturing and production in 2-3 months. He called for a complete overhaul in conceptualising and thinking about defence manufacturing and procurement.
About 12 MoUs were signed on Sunday at the summit in the areas of rail systems, integrated solar PV manufacturing cluster and steel inorganic fertilizer among others.