PM Modi’s ‘Make In India’ Racks Up $222 Billion in Pledges








Mumbai: The “Make in India” summit in Mumbai that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the weekend has closed with $222 billion or Rs. 15.2 lakh crore in investment pledges.

Amitabh Kant, Secretary of India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), said he expected 80-85 per cent of the pledges to convert into serious business, much of it from foreign investors. It can take 18 months to three years for a memorandum of understanding to yield a final investment, he added.

Research commissioned by the free-market Friedrich Naumann and Cato institutes has found the rate of conversion of such pledges into real investments in India has typically been far lower – with no state exceeding 20 per cent.

Among investments signed in the last seven days were a commitment by Oracle Corp for $400 million to set up nine business incubation centres.

The week-long event is the boldest since PM Modi launched the initiative to emulate China’s export miracle back in 2014.

On buzz alone, the effort got off to a great start, with the prime ministers of Sweden and Finland attending Saturday’s gala opening hosted by PM Modi. Nearly 50,000 delegates from 102 different countries attended the summit.

But 20 months after PM Modi swept to power with a promise of growth and jobs for India’s 1.3 billion people, executives say more needs to be done, including improving infrastructure.

More pressingly, key legislation such as a goods and services tax and land acquisition bill are stuck in parliament.

“Make in India is a great initiative and has created a lot of positive sentiments,” Vikas Agarwal, general manager of mobile phone maker OnePlus in India, told news agency Reuters. “Now the government needs to follow up with policies. That includes providing custom duty and export incentives, tax rationalisation and removal of ambiguous land acquisition policies.”

Make In India has scored major wins, including a pledge by Taiwan’s Foxconn to invest $5 billion in a new electronics manufacturing facility.

That has helped foreign direct investment to nearly double to $59 billion last year, the seventh highest level in the world, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Yet in critical aspects, India remains far behind its goals.

The proportion of manufacturing to gross domestic product has been stuck at around 17 per cent for five years, below the government’s goal to ramp it up to 25 per cent, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

India has only created 4 million manufacturing jobs since 2010, according to Boston Consulting. At the current rate, India may only create 8 million jobs by 2022, well below the government’s goal of 100 million. ($1 = 68.4550 rupees)

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