India 'very friendly' place to invest amid uncertainties
With the message of being a "very friendly" investment destination, India today sought to woo foreign investors at the WEF annual meet where leaders pored over the benefits of globalisation amid concerns over the impact of automation on jobs worldwide.
The issue of slow pace of bridging the gender gap also figured prominently in discussions, with IMF chief Christine Lagarde referring to an example from India about how women are using mobiles to report harassment by their mothers-in-law.
India, one of the fastest growing major economies, was represented here by a delegation of over 100 individuals, including ministers, government officials and business leaders. The country is striving to showcase itself as a bright spot in an uncertain global economic situation.
While Union Minister Nitin Gadkari made a strong case to woo foreign investors, his ministerial colleague Nirmala Sitharaman said the country has great opportunities in the services sector which contributes over 50% to the GDP.
As leaders discussed whether jobs are evaporating due to globalisation ushering in too many technological innovations, a WEF report said digital transformation across industries can help save trillions of dollars in cost.
Against the backdrop of rising uncertainties in the global economy and fears of more job losses, Gadkari said India is working on ways to improve purchasing power of the common man as that would present further opportunities.
"We are very friendly for investments and it is appropriate time to invest in India," Gadkari said.
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasised that the world needs to do a "reality check" even as she said India remains on track to grow its trade and economy faster.
Acknowledging that there is discontent, especially in countries where capitalism and democracy co-exist, she said probably this is the time to pause and recalibrate.
IT major Wipro's CEO Abidali Neemuchwala said a more globalised future would need the workers to be re-skilled.
Industry leaders from India said the country continues to see high growth and appears on track to move to higher income category in the coming years.
According to them, growth in India is consumption-led and the projections for coming years remain that the consumption would continue to drive this expansion.