Jaitley woos super investors



















Sh. Jaitley with Nitish Jain, President of SP Jain Global School of Management at its Olympic Park Campus in Sydney




India’s Finance Minster Mr Arun Jaitley is on a four-day visit in Australia  to meet top Australian leaders and investors and make a strong pitch for foreign investments in India from the country’s cash-rich sovereign funds.

Mr Jaitley will make a strong case for Australia’s trillion dollar superannuation funds industry to be invested in India’s infrastructure plan. He will meet top 25 CEOs and executives of Australia’s largest superannuation funds at the ”˜Invest in India Roundtable’ this Friday on April 1.

His first stop was SP Jain Campus on March 29, attended by politicians, business persons, members of the local media and community and S P Jain students. SP Jain Campus has colleges in Mumbai, Dubai, Singapore and Sydney.

Its president Nitish Jain, welcomed Mr Jaitley and said, “The campus is here not just for fishing students but more for global presence and learning how to do business in these countries. Our students exchange ideas since we have international students. One exercise we did was to do roles play asking them to switch their roles to understand each other better.”

The Indian High Commissioner in Australia, Mr Navdip Suri, said that SP Jain Campus was an important partner in Skill India Program. He said that Indian student enrolments in Australia was rising again as now there were 69,000 students enrolled in various graduate and undergraduate courses. There were 65 joint research projects at the moment between India and Australia, one research even involving the humble chick peas.

The Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, said, “My visit is to interact with the Australian Government. While the world is going through quite volatile and uncertain times, trade can get impacted due to many adversities. We are trying to open the Indian economy a lot and the FDI have increased considerably.

“The ease of doing business with India is measured by easy approvals, and less dealing with multiple authorities. Of course corruption is an important adversity that we are trying to eradicate. Some of our states are doing better than others. We have to also improve our tax system and we want to work on one uniform goods and services tax,” Mr Jaitley said.

“We are concentrating a lot on our Highway program with a target of achieving building roads at 31 km a day from 21km before and upgrade our rail system as well. We have now 400 railway stations to be redeveloped; we need to manufacture locomotives. We are looking at renewable energy, solar energy, although we are self-sufficient in power development presently. We need to build airports and at the moment – we have 160 airstrips that are not functional. These need to be fixed to help regional connectivity. We also need to skill people as we have identified  – 70-85 skills that include drivers, plumbers, beauty salon operators and many trades that need upskilling,” he said.

India’s new Consul General in Sydney, Mr Vanlalvawna, invited questions from the floor as Mr Jaitley patiently answered them one by one. The questions from the floor included what the Indian government was doing for the rural sector and how she was going to help with rural employment. Another question was how the NRIs could share their skills, where should they go and who should they contact.

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Rekha Bhattacharjee and Manju Mittal with Mr. Jaitley


Mr Jaitley, who probably had bigger agendas on his mind, directed that there was a load of information available on various websites. He said that while India had been able to provide a cheap service sector it had lagged behind in providing low manufacturing hubs compared to other Asian countries such as China and  that the government was looking at manufacturing seriously.

He said that the Government was also concentrating on agri business with largest allocation given to it and significant changes made to water bodies, by helping asset creation and putting emphasis on food processing sectors.

While India ranks pretty low in ”˜ease of doing with India’ according to World Bank Report, especially in building permits area where it is ranked at 183 out of the 189 nations in the world, Mr Jaitley’s commitment will be much valued in Australia to attract Foreign Direct Investments for India. The Government is hoping the NRI support to come on its own (judging from reduced emphasis on Pravasi Bhartiya Divas to biannual celebrations, while much attention is focussed to attract foreign investors.

In the meantime India is quite happy to entertain solid investments and investors and keep India’s GDP not just at 7.5 per cent but to take it to double digits as one of the speakers remarked.

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Mr Jaitley in a meeting with  NSW Premier Mike Baird.  Baird expressed keen interest in investment opportunities in India particularly in the infrastructure sector.  Jaitley  highlighted the importance of communicating the information to larger business community in Australia to enable them to understand the opportunities available in India.  


Later in the afternoon, Mr Jaitley arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel to inaugurate the Union Bank of India’s first branch in Sydney, Australia. Following a traditional welcome to the sounds of didgeridoo, the bank’s Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Arun Tiwari, proudly described the history of the technology-driven bank established in 1919 and inaugurated by none other than the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Mr Tiwari celebrated India’s high growth rate when the whole world was staggering in difficult times. He welcomed the recent Indian budget presented by Mr Jaitley that “had ticked all the right boxes”.

The Indian High Commissioner in Australia, Mr Navdip Suri, commented that the Indian banks should be more proactive to attract local investment rather than merely being satisfied with NRI deposits.

Mr Jaitley said that it was coincidental that he was present last year when the Union Bank’s subsidiary in London was inaugurated. “The world is increasingly getting globally integrated, banks being a lifeline in the process,” he said.

“Banks have a powerful role also to perform a social obligation to eliminate poverty and join hands in infrastructure development. Two years ago only 58 percent of India was connected to banks; now it is 99 percent,” Mr Jaitley said.

Union bank of India Chief Executive in Australia, Mr Sanjay Dixit, provided the vote of thanks, leaving a lot of time for guests to network and be entertained.

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