01 JUN,2020 | MEDC
Rightly or wrongly, China has become the world’s whipping boy. India needs to seize this opportunity and project itself as an alternative leading global investment destination. Certainly, there are some key social and institutional factors in our favour – a democratic form of government, a functioning legal system, a large English speaking workforce etc. On the flip side, our infrastructure (of almost all kinds) is still not up to the mark. Stepping into China’s shoes won’t be easy, but this is a golden chance which is too good to miss. For India, the stakes are already high and a Rs. 50,000 crore package was recently cleared by the Union Cabinet to woo influential investors such as Apple to make their phones in India. Schemes that offer over a thousand acres of land to anchor potential investors are also in place. No doubt, the prolonged lockdown is holding back progress on this front, but the requisite background efforts needs to be completed in the meanwhile. Understandably, states are competing with each other in this regard.Sectors having the maximum investment opportunities include transport, real estate, waste and water management, and tourism. No doubt Covid-19 is a human tragedy having huge repercussions on the global economy. At the same time, with new surveys across five countries, the outlook is brighter – consumers are less anxious about health concerns and executives are more optimistic about business prospects. This is really the time to project India as a global investment destination. Reopening the Indian economy is a massive socioeconomic experiment, and our policymakers need to proceed carefully. Getting the investment part of it right will help them massively. In this context, the massive pool of overseas Indians could be gainfully tapped, by offering them suitable incentives. Our overseas brethren number 33 million and have a combined net-worth of $ 1.5 trillion. The influential NRI community is simply too large to ignore from a practical perspective.One area where a lot of investment needs to occur is healthcare. Experts have warned, and continue to warn, that zoonotic diseases will continue to pose a threat to the lives of millions of people, with potentially major disruption to an integrated global economy. We have to act local but think global. The idea that any country can be an island in an integrated world economy has been proven wrong by Covid-19. Global investment, especially in the sphere of public health, is essential for India’s economic development. It is important to be vocal about local, but there are still some things that can be achieved only by going global. The pandemic should not be misinterpreted as a justification for reversing globalization. India needs global investment from all parts of the world more than ever before and this is the best time to begin seeking it aggressively.
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