Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies & Gentleman, Friends, Namaskar, Good Evening!
I would like to thank His Majesty the King and the Custodian of the two holy mosques and my brother His Royal Highness the Crown Prince for inviting me to participate in this Forum. Saudi Arabia and the holy mosques located here have been the center of faith of crores of people around the world. This land has also been a source of energy for the world economy. Today I can also feel a positive energy amidst you in this energetic city of Riyadh.
The topics of the Future Investment Initiative Forum make it clear that the purpose of this Forum is not just to discuss the economy here. It is also to understand the emerging trends in the world and find avenues for the world’s welfare in it. For this reason, this dynamic platform has become an important part of the calendar of the business world. In just a short span of three years, this Forum has come a long way. My friend and brother Crown Prince deserves many congratulations for this success. His forum is called Davos of the Desert. In the last century, due to the hard work of the people of Saudi Arabia and the nature’s gift, the sand of the desert has produced gold. The leadership of Saudi Arabia could have just sat comfortably, but it thought about many generations to come, and has shown concern about the future and has taken care of the whole humanity. I also congratulate His Highness Crown Prince that he did not just name this Forum as Future for the sake of it, but rather its whole concept is forward looking and oriented towards the future. In this way, being his brother and neighbour, it is only natural for me to represent the world’s fastest growing economy in this excellent initiative.
I have brought the good wishes of the people of India for you. We have been with Saudi Arabia for thousands of years. There has been such a friendship, as you say – Sadakatum, that we feel connected with each other. Our historical ties and contacts have also laid a strong foundation stone for our strategic partnership. And today we have given a new height to our relationship by establishing a Strategic Partnership Council after discussion with the Crown Prince. With the guidance of His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness Crown Prince, we have been able to bring unexpected progress and a sense of belonging in the relationship. I thank him for his efforts and his affection for India.
Today at Future Investment Initiative, I have the opportunity to speak on “What’s next for Global Business” and the emerging opportunities and possibilities in India, our expectations and goals. India has set the goal of doubling its economy in the next five years, making it a 5 trillion dollars economy. In such a scenario, this topic becomes all the more relevant and important.
Today, as we want to accelerate growth in India, we have to understand the emerging trends well. Therefore, today I would like to talk to you about the five big trends that are influencing global business. The first trend is – Impact of Technology and Innovation; the Second – Importance of Infrastructure for Global Growth; the Third – Changes coming in human resource and future of work; the Fourth – compassion for environment and the fifth Trend is – Business friendly governance.
We are all witnesses to the growing influence of technology and innovation. Transformative technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Genetics and Nano-technology have moved beyond research to become a part of everyday life. This change of technology has benefited the societies which have developed a culture of adopting new technologies and further innovation on them. In India, we have tried at many levels to strengthen this culture, be it start-up challenges or Hackathons for the youth or Atal Tinkering labs for school children, where they experience innovation themselves. Today a comprehensive eco-system from research and development to tech-entrepreneurship is being prepared in India. The results of our efforts have also started showing up. Today India has become the third largest startup ecosystem in the world. Start-ups have also emerged in India’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. The number of unicorns with valuations exceeding US $ 1 billion is increasing in India. Many of our start-ups are investing globally. Indian start-ups are acing everything, from food delivery to transport, to hospitality, to medical treatment, to tourism. And therefore, I request all the investors of the world, especially venture funds, to take advantage of our start-up ecosystem. I am confident that the investment in innovation in India will generate the highest returns. And these returns will also empower the youth.
The importance of Infrastructure for global growth and development of business is constantly increasing. I believe that Infrastructure is an opportunity multiplier. Infrastructure provides businesses huge investment opportunities and at the same time infrastructure is necessary for business growth.
Today, the opportunities for physical infrastructure in the world are available mostly in developing countries. In Asia, we need to invest $ 700 billion per year in infrastructure. In India, we have set a target of investing $ 1.5 trillion in infrastructure in the next few years. And then, today we do not think about infrastructure in isolation but our effort is to ensure an integrated approach. One Nation One Power Grid, One Nation One gas grid, and One Water grid, One Nation One Mobility Card, One Nation One Optical Fiber Network – with many such efforts, we are integrating the infrastructure of India. We have set a target of providing every Indian with a home, and to provide electricity and tap-water to every household. We have also seen unprecedented speed and scale of infrastructure development. And therefore, the growth of infrastructure in India will remain in double-digit, and there is no scope for capacity saturation. As a result, the returns to investors will also be ensured.
The third trend, i.e. change in human resources and future of work is also very important. Today’s international investment decisions depend on the availability of quality manpower. Also, skilled manpower has become the criterion of valuation of any company. In such a scenario, making the people skilled fast is a challenge before us. As the nature of work is changing, we will have to re-skill people several times in the coming years. The cycles of Learn-unlearn and re-learn will become necessary.
India’s skilled human resources have gained respect and reputation around the world. Indian talent has carved a unique identity here in Saudi Arabia as a disciplined, law-abiding, hard-working and skilled workforce. To develop skill in India, we have developed a comprehensive vision and are continuously working on it. Through the Skill India initiative, we will train 400 million people in different skills in the next three-four years. Companies investing in India will get assured skilled manpower from it.
The economy of the world will grow by making the movement of skilled manpower easier. I believe that we should not limit international trade agreements to only goods but also simplify it by making manpower and talent mobility an integral part of it.
The fourth trend i.e. compassion for environment is not only a trend, but has also become a major necessity of our time. The impact of climate change and the importance of clean energy are so extensive that they cannot be ignored. Our energy consumption pattern will change further in the coming years. The inclination will increase from coal to oil, then oil to gas and finally towards renewables. Both energy consumption and energy savings will be important, and storage also. The challenges of environmental degradation will also increase. Realizing the same, in India, we are increasing the amount of investment in gas and oil infrastructure. We aim to invest up to $ 100 billion in refining, pipelines and gas terminals by 2024. I am glad that Saudi Aramco has decided to invest in India’s West Coast Refinery Project, which will be Asia’s largest refinery. We have recently liberalized the investment criteria in the downstream sector, especially in retailing, which will increase the ease of doing business in this sector. Besides this, the target of generating 175 GW of energy in Renewables will also be increased to 450 GW in the coming years. Investment in energy is very important for India’s fast growing economy. And we request the energy companies present here to take advantage of these opportunities.
Last but not the least, the fifth trend i.e. the changing role of the government and its impact on the future of business is also very wide. My emphasis has always been on Minimum Government Maximum Governance. I think a proactive and transparent government can play the role of a good facilitator for a competitive, innovative and dynamic business sector. Clear rules and a fair system are necessary for the growth of the private sector. With this same thinking and approach, we have made several major structural reforms in India in the last five years. Today, India has become the biggest destination of foreign investment due to the smooth and liberalizing FDI policy. There has been $ 286 billion of Foreign Direct Investment in India in the last 5 years. This is almost half of India’s total FDI Inflow in the last 20 years. We have made tough decisions like the Insolvency and bankruptcy code and country-wide a single taxation system. Today India’s tax structure and IPR regime are comparable with the best business regimes in the world. Due to such reforms, India has been consistently doing better in every Global Ranking. We improved by 10 ranks in the Logistics Performance Index, jumped by 24 rank in Global Innovation Index. We were at 142th position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index in 2014, while today we are at 63rd position in 2019. For the third year in a row, we are among the top 10 reforms in the world. We have also abolished more than 1500 such archaic laws which were creating bottlenecks in development.
In the last four-five years, more than 350 million people have been connected to the banking system. Today almost every citizen in India has a unique ID, Mobile Phone and Bank Account. This arrangement led to the plugging of leakage of more than $ 20 billion through a transparent process of Direct Benefit Transfer. That means, it saved 20 billion dollars. Healthcare is an important responsibility of any government. India has taken several steps to improve the quality of service in this area. Ayushman Bharat, the world’s largest government health care programme, provides health cover to more than 500 million people i.e. more than the total population of America, Canada and Mexico. Moreover, due to this scheme, the possibilities of investment in health care in India have increased immensely. Today India is also the largest health care consumer and quality healthcare provider. The use of technology has revolutionized the healthcare sector. This has not only created economic opportunities, but has also increased the productivity of crores of people.
Today, I want to assure you from this platform that this pace of progress in India will be faster. We are taking every decision related to the development of the country. Our policies are unambiguous and our goal is fixed. The roadmap for our $ 5 trillion economy goal is ready. This goal is not only for quantitative growth but also to improve the quality of life of every Indian. We are improving not only ease of doing business but also ease of living. Due to political stability, predictable policy and large diverse market, your investment will be most profitable in India.
The cooperation of our partner countries is an integral part of our development journey. By exploring complementarity with all countries, and increasing synergy, we are working for a win-win solution. We will stand by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the schemes to diversify the economy.
India will complete 75 years of independence in 2022. Till that time, we have set the goal of making a ‘NEW INDIA’ for ourselves. In that NEW INDIA, every Indian will have new dreams, a new strength in the heart and new energy in the steps. There will be a new potential in that New India.
That capable and powerful India will be a source of peace and joy not only for us, but for the whole world. History is a witness to the fact that even when India was the largest economy in the world and it was strong militarily, we did not pressurize anyone and did not use force on anyone. India has shared its capabilities and achievements with the whole world. Because we have considered the whole world as one family – ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’! There will be a new strength in the New India, but the same eternal soul will be reflected in its thinking. Our development will create confidence in the world. Our progress will increase mutual love. I invite you and the businesses from all over the world, to partner with India in this journey of the world’s welfare. I and my team are always ready to help you. You gave me an opportunity to share some of my thoughts. I thank you very much for lending your ears to me. Once again I offer my heartfelt gratitude to the Crown Prince and the Kingdom. With that I end my speech.
Thank you very much.
The times of a bipolar world have gone. We live in a time where every nation is connected and dependent on each other.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 29, 2019
Need of the hour is to strengthen a multi-polar order.
Each and every nation is important today: PM @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/ntQ58w86TV
We have to think whether the UN has risen to the occasion when it comes to conflict resolution. I had raised this issue when the UN turned 70 but much discussion couldn’t happen. I hope this topic is discussed more actively when the UN turns 75: PM @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/qE1knsFDVP— PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 29, 2019
I am always thinking- how can India contribute to global good.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 29, 2019
Whatever we are doing in India will strengthen global initiatives too.
Take for instance our aim to end TB in 2025, before the global target of 2030.
When India succeeds, the world will be a healthier place: PM pic.twitter.com/YteWxPcml3
Five trends that will influence global business in the 21st century. pic.twitter.com/brUZWhTTp2— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2019
Infrastructure is an opportunity multiplier.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2019
We in India are leaving no stone unturned to build next-generation infrastructure. pic.twitter.com/EzyQdkvNBq
The need of the hour today- compassion towards the environment. pic.twitter.com/9VuW61XJqs— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2019
India has:— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2019
This is a great time to invest and do business in India. pic.twitter.com/kA0W9uPO6p