Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that India, seen as an engine of global growth, is on the threshold of becoming the most digitised economy in the world.
“India is on threshold of becoming most digitised economy in the world,” Modi said here after inaugurating the 8th edition Vibrant Gujarat global summit.
The government has been pushing for digital transactions to usher in transparency and has also announced schemes to promote cashless transactions.
Strongly committing to continuing economic reforms, Modi promised to bring a paradigm shift in polity and economy by providing corruption-free regime and easing processes to make India the easiest place to do business.
Addressing the biannual Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, dubbed 'Davos of the East', that had Fortune 500 CEOs and global leaders in attendance, Modi said creating an enabling environment for business and attracting investments is his top priority.
"We have placed the highest emphasis on Ease of Doing Business," he said, "My government is strongly committed to continue the reform of the Indian economy."
Over the last two-and-a-half years, the government has worked relentlessly to realise India's potential and to set right the economy, he said, adding the results have been encouraging in substantial improvement in key macro-economic indicators like GDP growth, inflation, fiscal deficit, current account deficit as well as foreign investments.
"India has become the fastest growing major economy in the world. Despite the global slowdown, we have registered excellent growth. Today, India is a bright spot in the global economy. We are seen as the engine of global growth," he said.
Stating that highest emphasis has been placed on Ease of Doing Business, he said decisive steps to ease licensing processes and rationalise provisions and procedures relating to clearances, returns, and inspections have been taken.
"We are monitoring implementation of hundreds of action points across various sectors, aimed at improving the regulatory framework. This is part of our promise of Good Governance," he said.
As India moves closer to global best practices, the government's confidence has been boosted by the positive impact of our policies and practices. "This also gives us the motivation to further simplify our processes to become the easiest place to do business," he said.
"Every day, we are further rationalising our policies and procedures, to make it simple for businesses to establish and grow," he said. "We have liberalised our FDI regime in many sectors and in various ways. India is today among the most open economies."
The Prime Minister said the total FDI inflows since May 2014 have touched USD 130 billion (8.84 lakh crore), reflecting confidence of foreign investors in Indian economy.
The Prime Minister said that India's strength lies in demography, democracy, and demand.
Calling 'democracy' India's biggest strength, the Prime Minister said: "Some people say democracy cannot deliver effective and fast track governance, but we have seen in last two and a half years, it is possible to deliver quick results as well."
The 8th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit is being held here on January 10-13 with the central focus of "Sustainable Economic and Social Development".
Listing out initiatives taken by his government in last two-and-a-half years to improve business climate in the country, he said Goods and Services Tax (GST) is in offing while Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, a National Company Law Tribunal, a new arbitration centre for dispute resolution and a new IPR regime are all in place.
New commercial courts have also been set up. Stating that these are just a few examples of the direction of his government, he said, "My government is strongly committed to continue the reform of the Indian economy."
"Our Government was elected first and foremost on the promise to provide clean governance and end the prevailing regime of corruption and nepotism.
"It is our vision and mission to bring a paradigm shift in the ways of our polity and economy," he said.
Stating that his government has taken a series of decisions and steps to provide clean governance, he said the focus is to shift from "relation based Governance to system based Governance", from "discretionary administration to policy based administration", from "random interference to technological intervention", from "favouritism to level playing field" and from "informal economy to formal economy."
Prime Minister said he has emphasised the need for policy driven Governance and use of technology to bring speed and openness in decision making.
"Towards this end, we are working to adopt and absorb newer technologies, to bring about transparency, and to end discretion. Believe me, we are on the threshold of becoming the world's most digitised economy. Most of you wanted this change in India. I am proud to say that it is happening before you," he said.
While India is the fastest growing major economy in the world and is called the bright spot, World Bank, IMF and other institutions have projected even better growth in the coming days.
"In 2014-15, India contributed 12.5 per cent of global growth. Its contribution to global growth is 68 per cent higher, than its share of the world economy," he said.
Modi said creating an enabling environment for business and attracting investments is his top priority to create opportunities for youth.
"With that spirit, we are moving towards implementation of some historic initiatives. This includes the Goods and Services Tax," he said.
The efforts of the government have resulted in improvement in India's global rankings.
Gandhinagar: Mukesh Ambani, India's richest person, today said his Reliance Industries will complete investment of Rs 1.25 lakh crore in refinery and petrochemical expansion projects in Gujarat by March, exceeding commitments made by Rs 10,000 crore.
Speaking at the Summit, India's richest person Mukesh Ambani said his Reliance Industries will complete investment of Rs 1.25 lakh crore in refinery and petrochemical expansion projects in Gujarat by March, exceeding commitments made by Rs 10,000 crore.
He described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "a great transformative leader" who first transformed Gujarat and is now transforming India with a series of historic and visionary initiatives.
"No leader in the world has changed the mindset and behaviour of so many people in such a short period," he said as he went on to site examples of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Digital India, Make in India, Skill India and Start Up India initiatives.
These initiatives, he said, have won the respect of the world and "no wonder this has resulted in India receiving its highest foreign direct investment (FDI)...in recent times." Ambani said Reliance will exceed the commitment it made on investing in projects in the state by Rs 10,000 crore.
"Our global scale of investment is an expression of our commitment and faith in the Gujarat story. Our cumulative investment in the state of Gujarat is over Rs 2,40,000 crore, that is over USD 45 billion. It is the biggest investment made by Indian corporate in a single state," he said.
Of this, Reliance has invested more than Rs 1,25,000 crore in Gujarat in the past four years. "I am happy to report that we have invested Rs 10,000 crore more than what we had committed (in previous Vibrant Gujarat Summits)."
"All these investments will be completed by March 2017. These investments provide sustained employment, both direct and indirect, to over 2 lakh people and contribute to Gujarat's export competitiveness," he said.
Talking about his group's recently launched high-speed 4G broadband and mobile network under Jio brand, he said in 2014-15, only 35 per cent of Gujarat's population had access to 3G network.
"But today, more than 90 per cent of the state population is covered by Jio and by Diwali, 100 per cent of the state will be covered," he said. "I am proud to say that Gujarat is the first state in India to cross the 50-lakh subscriber mark in Jio in less than 90 days. It proves that innovation in India always takes off from this great state."
In the coming year, Jio will connect lakhs of merchantsand shops to create a commerce and payment network to support Prime Minister's cash-less digital vision, he said.
Speaking at the summit, Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani announced investment of Rs 49,000 crore in Gujarat for expansion of port capacity as well as foraying into water and cement businesses over the next five years.
Adani Group will set up a 10 million tonnes cement clinker plant at an investment of Rs 5,500 crore and another Rs 2,000 crore in a desalination plant in Gujarat, he said.
Adani Enterprises has already incorporate a new company, Adani Cementation (ACL), which will carry on the cement business.
"In the past 5 years, we have invested Rs 48,000 crore in Gujarat," Adani said.
Adani Ports, India's largest private port and logistics company, in the next five years will invest Rs 16,700 crore to expand capacity of all its Gujarat ports at Mundra, Dahej, Hazira and Ajira and Tuna, he said.
Adani said the group is also accelerating its investment in renewable space in Gujarat. "In the year 2021, our new investments in solar as well as wind development will exceed Rs 23,000 crore," he added.
In addition to infrastructure business, the Adani Group is also making significant investment in expanding its agri footprint.
"Adani Wilmar is India's largest edible oil business and recognised as undisputed market leader that sells under brand name Fortune," he said, adding the group will invest Rs 1,200 crore in expanding edible oil manufacturing capacity at Mundra and Ajira.
The group currently operates the world's single largest edible oil refinery of 3400 tonnes per day capacity at Mundra.
"We are now doubling our manufacturing capacity in Gujarat. This expansion will see us making combined investment of Rs 1,200 crore across Mundra and Ajira," he said.
Adani said as part of its integrated infrastructure business model, two new businesses - water and cement - will see new investment.
"We will be investing Rs 2,000 crore in setting up series of desalination plant across the state. Also, we are building a 10 million tonnes grassroot cement clinker plant at an investment of Rs 5,500 crore at Mundra," he said. "All this will further make Mundra most integrated infrastructure complex of the world."
The Summit, he said, has strategically positioned India as a key destination for international investments.
He said that as a proud Indian and a proud Gujarati, he assures full support to the state from the Adani Group.
"Let me summarise by saying that over the next 5 years we will invest Rs 49,000 crore in the state of Gujarat and will create direct and indirect job opportunity for 25,000 people," he said.
Tata Group patriarch Ratan Tata today said setting up of the small car factory in Gujarat led to the state becoming a hub of car manufacturing in India.
Calling himself 'Gujarati' while addressing the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, Tata also said that people abroad talk of the state and India in the same breath.
"Some years ago when I attended Vibrant Gujarat Summit, I said that if you are not in Gujarat, you are stupid. And some years later with great satisfaction I can say that you are indeed stupid if you are not the Gujarat which is one of the fastest growing state," he said.
He said Gujarat has got its glory because of the vision and execution zeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who led the state from 2001 to 2014.
"Some years back I got the fortune and good luck of moving our car factory to Gujarat and soon again with leadership of Narendra Modi, Gujarat has become one of hubs of car manufacturing in India," he said.
Tata Motors had relocated its plant to produce the Nano small car from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat in 2008. The plant began rolling out Nano in 2010, and inDecember 2015 also started manufacturing non-Nano cars.
Addressing the Summit, Tata said Modi's vision has been carried out by his successor chief ministers who have made Gujarat the leading state.
"Today as we approach a new era that Mr Modi is leading, Gujarat will be one of the leading states in the country which ushers in the new India to the world.
"The digital India, the India for defence and aerospace, mining, intellectual leadership and I am extremely proud to be here today," he said. "Thank you Mr prime minister for your leadership."
(With PTI inputs)