Honourable Ministers and Excellencies from various countries, representatives and delegates from partner countries, corporate leaders, invitees, participants and delegates, dignitaries on the dais, young friends, Ladies & Gentlemen!
I am delighted to welcome you to the 9th Chapter of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
As you can see, this has now become a truly global event. One that has space for everyone. It has dignity of the presence of senior political leadership. It has the energy of CEOs and Corporate Leaders. It has the gravitas of Institutions and opinion makers, and it has the vitality of young enterprise and start-ups.
Vibrant Gujarat has contributed to the confidence building of our enterprises. It has also helped in capacity building and adoption of global best practices, by government agencies.
I wish you all, a productive, fruitful, and enjoyable Summit. In Gujarat, this is the season of the kite festival or Uttarayan. Amid the busy schedule of this Summit, I hope you shall be able to take some time out to enjoy the sights and sounds of the festivities, and the State.
I particularly welcome and thank the 15 Partner Countries of this edition of Vibrant Gujarat.
I also thank the 11 Partner Organisations, and all those Countries, Organisations and Institutions who are holding their Seminars at this Forum. It is also a matter of satisfaction, that eight Indian States have come forward to make use of this Forum to high-light their respective investment opportunities.
I hope you shall find time to visit the Global Trade Show, which is remarkable in its scale, and range of world-class products, processes and technologies. In fact, Gujarat represents the best of business spirit, which exists in India. This event has further sharpened the edge which Gujarat had since several decades. The Vibrant Gujarat Summit has had a transformational journey of eight successful editions.
A number of conventions and seminars have been organised on various topics. These issues are of importance to Indian Society and Economy as well as, the entire Global Community. By way of example let me mention the celebration of Africa Day tomorrow and the Global Conclave of International Chambers on 20th January.
Assembled here today, is a truly august gathering. We are honoured by the presence of many Heads of State and Government and several other distinguished delegates. This shows that international bilateral cooperation is no longer limited to national capitals, but now extends to our State capitals as well.
In India, as in most emerging economies, our challenge is to grow horizontally as well as vertically.
Horizontally, we have to spread the benefits of development to regions and communities that have lagged behind.
Vertically, we have to meet enhanced expectations in terms of quality of life, quality of services and quality of infrastructure. We are well aware that our achievements, here in India, will directly impact one sixth of humanity.
Those who visit India regularly would have felt a change in the air. The change is both in terms of direction and intensity. Over the last four years, the focus of my Government has been to reduce Government and enhance Governance. The mantra of my Government has been Reform, Perform, Transform and further Perform.
We have taken a number of drastic steps. We have also undertaken deeper structural reforms which have added strength to our economy and nation.
As we have done so, we continued to remain one of the fastest growing major Economies in the world. Major international Financial Institutions like the World Bank and the IMF as well as agencies like Moody’s have expressed confidence in India’s economic journey.
We have focused on removing the barriers which were preventing us from achieving our full potential. We will continue the pace and process of reforms and de-regulation.
India is now ready for business as never before. We have made Doing Business Easier.
In the last four years, we have jumped 65 places in the Global Ranking of World Bank’s Doing Business Report.
From 142 in 2014 to 77 now, but we are still not satisfied. I have asked my team to work harder so that India is in the top 50 next year. I want our regulations and processes to compare with the best in the world. We have also made Doing Business cheaper.
The historic implementation of Goods and Services Tax and other measures of simplification and consolidation of taxes have reduced transaction costs and made processes efficient.
We have also made Doing Business Faster through digital processes, online transactions and single point inter-faces.
In FDI Foreign Direct Investment, we are one of the most open countries now. Most of the sectors of our economy are now only open for FDI. More than 90 percent approvals have been put on automatic route. Such measures have propelled our economy into a high growth path. In the last four years, we have received FDI worth 263 billion Dollars. This is 45 percent of the FDI received in last 18 years.
And Friends, We have also made Doing Business Smarter. We are insisting on IT based transactions in procurement and purchases of Government. Digital payments including direct transfer of government benefits is now under full implementation. We are among the largest eco-systems in the world for start-ups and a number of them have come up in the field of technology. I can therefore safely say that doing business with us is a great opportunity.
This is also because we are among the top 10 FDI destinations listed by UNCTAD. Ours is a globally cost competitive manufacturing environment. We have a vast pool of skilled professionals with knowledge and energy. We have a world class engineering education base and strong Research and Development facilities. Rise in GDP, a rising middle class and their purchasing power is creating further growth in our huge domestic market. In the last two years, we have moved towards a low tax regime on the corporate side. We have lowered the tax from 30 % to 25 % for new investments as well as small and-medium ventures. On IPR issues, we have evolved benchmarking policies. Now, we are one of the fastest trademark regimes. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code now gives businesses an exit window without the burden of long legal and financial battles.
Thus, from the start of business to its operation and closure, we have paid attention in building new institutions, processes and procedures. All this is important, not just for doing business but also for ease of life of our people. We also understand that being a young nation, we need to create job opportunities and better infrastructure. Both are linked with investments. Therefore, in recent years, there has been unprecedented focus on manufacturing and infrastructure.
We have worked hard to promote manufacturing to create jobs for our youth. Investments through our “Make in India” initiative, have been well supported by programmes like ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’. Our focus also includes bringing our industrial infrastructure, policies and practices to best global standards and to convert India into a global manufacturing hub.
Cleaner energy and greener development. Zero defect and Zero effect manufacturing. These are also our commitments. We have committed to the world to work towards reducing the effects of climate change. On the energy front, we are now the fifth largest producer of renewable energy in the world. We are fourth largest in Wind Energy and fifth largest producer of Solar Energy.
We are keen to scale up investments in next generation infrastructure including roads, ports, railways, airports, telecom, digital networks and energy. We are also investing heavily in our social, industrial and agri-infrastructure to give better income and quality of life to our people. To give some examples, in four years there has been maximum capacity addition & generation of electricity. For the first time, India has become a net exporter of electricity. We have distributed LED Bulbs on a massive scale. This has resulted in huge energy savings. We have installed transmission lines at an unprecedented pace. Our speed in road construction has almost doubled. We have done unprecedented capacity addition in major ports. Rural road connectivity is now 90 %. The speed of setting up new rail lines, gauge conversion, doubling and electrification of railway tracks has also doubled. We are debottlenecking execution of major projects on a regular basis through an online process. Our Public Private Partnership regime for infrastructure has been made more investor friendly. At 7.3 %, the average GDP growth, over the entire term of our Government has been the highest of any Indian Government since 1991. At the same time, the rate of inflation at 4.6 % is the lowest for any Indian Government since 1991, when India began its process of liberalization.
We believe that fruits of development must reach people with ease and efficiency.
To give you a few examples, now we have a bank account for every family. We are giving loans to small enterprises without collateral. We now have electricity in every village. We also have electricity in almost all households now. We have given cooking gas to large numbers of people who were not able to afford it so far. We have ensured that there is proper sanitation in all areas – both urban and rural. We are working towards full coverage of toilets for households and their proper use.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We were among the highest growing tourist destinations in the world in 2017. India had a growth of 14 percent over 2016, while the world grew at an average of 7 percent in the same year. We have also been the fastest growing aviation market in the world, with double-digit growth in passenger ticketing terms, for over four years.
Thus a New India is emerging which will be modern and competitive and yet caring and compassionate. An example of this compassion is our Medical Assurance Scheme called Ayushman Bharat. This will benefit about 500 million people – which is more than the population of United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Ayushman Bharat will provide immense investment opportunities in the areas of health infrastructure, medical equipment manufacturing, and healthcare services.
Let me list some more examples. 50 cities in India are ready to build Metro Rail Systems. We have to build 50 million houses. The requirement of road, rail and waterways is enormous. We want world-class technologies to achieve our goal in a faster and cleaner way.
Friends, India is thus, a land of immense opportunities. It is the only place, which offers you Democracy, Demography and Demand. To those who are already present in India, I would like to assure you that our democratic system, human values and strong judicial system will ensure the safety and security of your investments. We are continuously working to improve the investment climate further and make ourselves more and more competitive.