President Obama‘s visit to India, leaving this weekend and returning on the 26th, has been described as primarily a ceremonial visit on behalf of India’s Republic Day celebrations. In fact, it marks an historic precedent for a U.S. president to visit India twice in an administration, and it underscores the strengthening of ties between the two countries.
It also indicates the administration’s support for the Indian goverment’s “Make in India” program. For Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the president’s visit will mark a diplomatic coup, supplying momentum to U.S.-India relations,
During a reception at the City Club of Buckhead on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Atlanta, Consul General Ajit Kumar provided an overview of the “Make in India” program that is the foundation for Mr. Modi’s economic development plan for India. Mr. Kumar’s remarks concerning the program follow:
I would like to take this opportunity to explain the “Make in India” initiative visualized by our Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi.
The outcome of the historic general election in India has rekindled international interest and restored global confidence in India. Indeed, at a time of uncertainty and turbulence in the world, the new government in India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is seen as one of the positive developments in the world. There is unprecedented optimism about India’s rapid progress under the prime minister’s leadership.
In fact, the World Bank has stated that India would grow by 6.4 percent this year and would become the fastest growing economy in Prime Minister Modi’s government’s fourth year in 2017 when its growth rate would be better than China’s.
PricewaterhouseCoopers haa even stated that India has the potential to achieve a 9 percent growth rate and become a $10 trillion economy by 2034 on the back of concerted efforts by the corporate sector and a constructive role played by the government. Therefore, Prime Minister Modi’s government has liberalized foreign direct investments in key areas like railways, defence, insurance and had introduced labour reforms. It is focusing on ease of doing business.
The India story which began with the 1990s economic liberalization needs to be revitalized with a new chapter – MAKE IN INDIA, with its logo being a striding lion made of cogs symbolizing manufacturing, strength and national pride. Envisaged by Prime Minister Modi on the 25th September, 2014, the MAKE IN INDIA program is the government of India’s blueprint to convert the country into a global hub of manufacturing, design and innovation.
We have identified 25 sectors where India has the core competency to emerge as a global champion. India is uniquely positioned for such a project: its large, primarily young, and mostly educated population makes for an ideal workforce that is skilled and available for hire at a competitive price. On the other hand, they double up as a vast consumer market.
The initiatives are designed to facilitate investment, foster innovation, protect intellectual property and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure by introducing new de-licensing and de-regulation measures to reduce complexity and significantly increase speed and transparency.
Moreover, India’s manufacturing infrastructure and capacity for innovation is poised for phenomenal growth: new smart cities and industrial clusters, being developed in identified industrial corridor having connectivity, new youth-focussed programmes and institutions dedicated to developing specialized skills. Most importantly, the program represents an attitudinal shift in how India relates to investors: not as permit-issuing authority but as true business partner.
Prime Minister Modi had launched a website, www.makeinindia.com, informing prospective investors about various sectors to explore like automobiles, space, aviation, biotechnology, chemicals, construction, electrical machinery, food processing, defence manufacturing, IT and BPM, leather, railways, wellness…
Live projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), featured in KPMG’s 100 most Innovative Global Projects as one of the world’s most innovative and inspiring infrastructure projects, seeks to create a strong economic base with a globally competitive environment and state-of-the-art infrastructure to activate local commerce, enhance investments and attain sustainable development. DMIC is being developed as a global manufacturing and investment destination utilizing the 1,483 km-long, high capacity western Dedicated Railway Freight Corridor (DFC) as the backbone.
The objective is to increase the share of manufacturing in the GDP of the country and to create smart sustainable cities where manufacturing will be the key economic driver.
The Indian government has taken several legislative and policy level initiatives to create a conducive environment for the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights of innovators and creators by bring about changes.
In addition, specific focus has been placed on improved service delivery by upgrading infrastructure, building capacity and using state-of-the-art technology in the functioning of intellectual property offices in the country. This measure has resulted in sweeping changes in IP administration within the country.
To give global recognition to Indian economy Prime Minister Modi launched the Make in India initiative, urging Investors to look towards India as not merely a market but as an opportunity.
India is the only country in the world which offers the unique combination of democracy, demography, and demand. The government is taking initiatives for skill development to ensure that skilled manpower was available for manufacturing. The digital India mission would ensure that government processes remained in tune with corporate processes.
In manufacturing, for example, in the auto sector, India has major auto companies of the world investing in India and has become a manufacturing hub for small cars. In fact, India expects to double its exports to $24 billion to emerge as world’s largest exporter by 2020. Ford has plans to invest $1 billion in a new car plant in Gujarat also for export purposes.
At the recent Vibrant Gujarat Business Summit, SunEdison of the U.S. has agreed to invest $4 billion in a joint venture with Adani Enterprises, India’s biggest power producer and port owner, to make India’s biggest solar photovoltaic manufacturing facility. Similarly, Adani Group has signed an accord with Australia’s Woodside Energy in the oil and gas business.
After the very successful visit of Prime Minister Modi in September this year to the USA, this is a defining time in U.S.-India relations. President Obama will visit India becoming the first U.S. Head of State to attend India’s Republic Day on the 26th of January and the only U.S. president to visit India twice. His historic visit will take our strategic partnership to the next level.
The India-U.S. strategic partnership is rooted in our shared democratic values which is now broad based and multi-sectoral. Bilateral partnership enjoys bipartisan support in both countries. In fact, it covers every endeavor of human pursuit. The trade between our nations has increased five-fold since 2001 to $100 billion.
In September meeting, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama had committed to increasing trade to another five fold to $500 billion which will create thousands of jobs in India and US.
For example, in the defense field, the US has become the largest supplier of defense equipment in the last three years and active discussions continue in identifying avenues for co-production and development. Already some items for heavylift C130J aircraft are being produced by Tatas in Hyderabad in their joint venture with Lockheed Martin in Marietta.
Since the prime minister’s visit to the U.S. in September, several key meetings have been held which would expand the cooperation between India and United States also in the field of manufacturing,. For example,the India-US Trade Policy Forum met in Delhi last month to deepen bilateral engagement across the sectors. The USA is already one of the biggest investors in India today with over $30 billion investments in various sectors.
The U.S. government had welcomed India’s offer for U.S. industry to be the lead partner in developing smart cities in Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh).The prime minister would welcome two trade missions in 2015 focused on meeting India’s infrastructure needs with U.S. technology and services. The U.S. had a 100 strong delegation led by Secretary of State John Kerry as a partner country in Vibrant Gujarat Summit. the president of the U.S.-India Business Council had stated that $41 billion investments are in pipeline.
CISCO, the world’s largest computer networking company plans to invest $1.7 billion in “Digital India” drive of Prime Minister Modi. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met Prime Minister Modi and promised to be a part of both Make in India and Digital India Initiatives by contributing to electronic manufacturing and increasing internet connectivity.
For ease of business and tourist travelers, India has introduced the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Scheme from November 27, 2014. The information and instructions for the TVoA enabled with ETA is available on the link: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and on the Consulate website: www.indianconsulateatlanta.org
With the Modi government bringing in the second generation of Indian reforms, investors worldwide have a golden opportunity to come, Make in India, and invest in the global powerhouse of tomorrow.