TEXT OF THE ADDRESS AT THE HORASIS INDIA CONFERENCE AT INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND ON 25 JUNE 2016
I am the proud representative of a country that stands like a beacon of hope in the otherwise gloomy economic world today. As uncertainties plague global economy, India’s GDP, as per the projections of the IMF, continues to grow by more than 7 percent making it the world’s fastest-growing large economy. Post demonetisation we aspire to register a GDP growth rate of 10%.
– India also compares favorably with other emerging markets in growth potential as well as risk potential. It is seen as a low risk economy. The country offers an attractive long-term future powered largely by a consuming class that’s expected to grow more than triple, to 89 million households, by 2025.
– This and more economic data can be accessed from many sources. However the real significance of the India story lies truly in its committed and courageous leadership. In Prime Minister Modi India and the world has witnessed a fearless leader committed to major reforms with a transformative agenda.
– Under his leadership India has launched a serious war on corruption. We are working towards building institutions that are not only non-corrupt, but incorruptible. Last three years have seen corruption completely disappearing from top levels of the state machinery. Demonetisation has broken the backbone of black and parallel economy. Government’s seriousness to curb black economy and bring in economic discipline by going after the NPAs has amply demonstrated the bold character of the leadership.
– Government is committed to making India an attractive destination for investors. Towards that end many courageous steps were taken including the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax – GST. In order to improve ease of business climate in the country the government has repealed more than 1100 obsolete laws while another 1500 are under the scanner.
– Government has set ambitious goals for social development indices also. Prime Minister Modi is the first leader in India to talk about not just alleviating, but completely eradicating poverty. Nobody shall be poor in India. Similarly nobody shall be homeless by 2022.
– India boasts of great youth bulge. 60% of Indian population is below 35 years of age. We are adding close to 20 million youths into employable age every year. More than half million engineers come out of our engineering colleges annually. Our government has decided to exploit this advantage fully by launching a massive skilling initiative. Switzerland is also a partner in our Skill India initiatives.
– India is fast urbanising. Estimates suggest that by 2020 half of India’s population will be concentrated in Urban centres. There is a massive unmet demand for basic urban services like water, sanitation, power, education and healthcare etc. Government has launched several ambitious projects like Swatch Bharat, Smart Cities etc to meet the needs.
– All this offers great opportunity to the investors. Major push given to the infrastructure sector too is an attractive proposition. Make in India campaign is a great opportunity for the investor world to join the growth story of India.
– India has global ambitions too, which it doesn’t hesitate to articulate openly. Indian Ocean region, of which India is an important country, is the new growth engine of the world. Global power axis has shifted to this region today. In this region India is a major country with a stable democracy and rule of law. It’s ambition is to emerge as a global power in the region. Make in India should be seen in that context. It is not ‘Make for India’. It is Make in India for the entire South and South East Asia. Countries should make in India with an eye on markets in the entire Indian Ocean region.
– In a nutshell Modi’s India is different from the India that was known earlier. World should stop looking at India through the old prisms. A new India is rising – courageous, ambitious and transformative. Three years is a limited time. But it has made the direction amply clear. India will soon be a huge opportunity.
– We know that the elephant in the room is Indian bureaucracy. The British era institution is truly elephantine. The government has undertaken a major bureaucratic reforms also. However, as the saying goes, elephants can’t do about turn. They take their own time to do a turn around.
– India and Switzerland have had good bilateral relations since 1948. Switzerland has supported India in its bid for a membership in NSG and the Security Council. As a country with 1.3 billion population and $ 2.5 trillion economy India richly deserves that recognition and we are thankful for the support from Switzerland. Switzerland has been a big support for us in our fight against black money and illegal hoarding.
– I am sure Switzerland government will support PM Modi’s initiatives and strengthens bilateral relations much more substantially.