Prime Minister Narendra Modi defined FDI today as he sees it. "For Indians FDI is First Develop India...for foreigners, it is an opportunity," the PM said to an audience of CEOs that packed Delhi's Vigyan Bhawan, where Mr Modi launched his ambitious "Make in India" campaign. (Highlights of PM Modi's speech)
The campaign, he said, "is the step of a lion." The logo is a striding lion made of cogs, symbolising manufacturing, strength and national pride. The Make in India campaign aims at turning the country into a global manufacturing hub by smoothening business processes and attracting foreign companies to set up factories in India and invest in the country's infrastructure. The focus, on creating jobs and helping the "poor reach the middle class faster," said the PM. (Also read: PM Modi's Make-in-India Pitch: 10 Key Takeaways)
About 500 top CEOs, including leading lights of India Inc, listened intently as Mr Modi outlined his vision. Good governance, he said, was not enough. There must be "effective governance that investors must feel."
The PM emphasised on a need to rebuild investors' trust and provide them with a better investment climate. "Incentive isn't enough, we need a climate for growth," Mr Modi said promising faster decision making and a better policy environment for global and domestic corporates.
Improving the ease of doing business was a priority, the PM said. And that the country must rise to number 50 in the world on that count. Right now India ranks 134th out of 189 countries on ease of doing business, according to the World Bank.
He also launched a website- www.makeinindia.com - through which a dedicated cell will answer business queries within 72 hours.
This evening, the PM leaves for a six-day visit to the US, where he will meet CEOs of several Fortune 500 companies.
Speaking before the PM, India's richest man Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries said, "PM Modi dreams and does, working 14 hours a day and motivates a billion Indians to dream and do," and promised that his company would create 1.25 lakh new jobs over the next 12-15 months as part of the "Make in India movement." (Read: At 'Make in India' Launch, Mukesh Ambani Pledges 1.25 Lakh Job)
Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry said "Key challenges like building critical infrastructure and putting in place transparent tax and Duty structures have to be met...Make in India is a unique opportunity for government and business to work together."
Other captains of industry also spoke, each pledging commitment to the Make in India campaign. The Modi sales pitch was beamed simultaneously in state capitals and Indian missions abroad.