Modi Flaunts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with exhibitors at World Food India 2017. (Narendra Modi Twitter photo)

NEW DELHI —  Prime Minister Narendra Modi Nov. 3 invited global investors to India where starting business he said was "easier now," flaunting the country's improved World Bank ranking in Ease of Doing Business.

He said his government had repealed archaic laws and launched attractive fiscal incentives that simplified and reduced compliance requirements, helping India jump 30 places in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking to break into the top 100-nation club.

Describing India as "one of the fastest growing economies" in the world, Modi, at the inauguration of World Food India 2017, said it was an opportune time for global businesses to invest in the country. 

"India has jumped 30 ranks this year in the World Bank's Doing Business rankings. This is the highest ever improvement for India and the highest jump for any country this year. From a rank of 142 in 2014, we have now reached the top 100."

"India was ranked number one in the world in 2016 in greenfield investment. India is also rapidly progressing on the Global Innovation Index, Global Logistics Index and Global Competitiveness Index."

"Starting a new business in India is now easier than ever before. Procedures for obtaining clearances from various agencies have been simplified. Archaic laws have been repealed and the burden of compliances has been reduced," Modi told the gathering of global businessmen on the first day of the three-day conference.

Billed as the biggest congregation of business leaders of major food companies in the world, the conference aims to transform the food economy and realize the government's vision of doubling famers' income by establishing India as a preferred investment destination and sourcing-hub for the global food processing industry.

Modi invited investment in India's food processing sector, which allows 100 percent foreign investment, and promised full support in the industry, which is a priority of the government's ambitious "Make In India" program.

"Come. Invest in India. The place with unlimited opportunity from farm to fork. The place to produce, process and prosper. For India, and for the world," Modi said.

Modi said India offered single-window clearance for investors with attractive fiscal incentives.

"There are opportunities in post-harvest management, like primary processing and storage, preservation infra, cold chain and refrigerated transportation." 

"There is also immense potential for food processing and value addition in areas such as organic and fortified foods."

He said the government had taken a range of "transformational initiatives" to make the country "most preferred investment destination in this sector."

Modi said the recently launched unique portal – Nivesh Bandhu (Investor's Friend) – would bring together information on central and state government policies and incentives provided for the food processing sector.

Modi said India, with its rich legacy of spices, could provide solutions and offer a win-win partnership as the world was becoming increasingly averse to the use of artificial colors, chemicals and preservatives.

Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said in her address that agreements worth $10 billion were expected to be signed during the global event. 

"Our demand of food is set to double over the next five years. Being the sixth largest food and grocery market in the world, India is a destination that merits global attention in the food sector."

She said there was a need to wage war on food waste "to ensure adequate food for all" and to avoid a food crisis as the world's population was set to increase by 25 percent and the demand for food by 50 percent by 2050. 

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