Centre reads signs from UAE, eyes big money from Gulf

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 13, 2015 23:35 IST
PM Modi with UAE's Crown Prince HH Sheikh Mohd bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, 16 August, 2015. (Picture courtsey: @MEAIndia)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UAE connect has got the government buoyant about getting more investment from Gulf countries, including Non Resident Indians (NRIs), as plans are afloat for Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia later this year.

The government has drawn up detailed plans for getting more investment from the region that can help job creation, infrastructure development and the Make in India flagship from a region that is “flush with funds and warming up to India under Modi,” officials said.

In the first major NRI investment from the UAE after the PM’s visit last month, Abu Dhabi-based EMKE LuLu Group of companies will invest Rs 3,000 crore in Kerala in the food processing and hospitality sector. This investment is expected to give direct employment to 3,000 people and Abu Dhabi is willing to invest more in other parts of the country.

MA Yusuf Ali, the managing director of the firm and the only Indian to be elected to the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce board, said, “There is a new enthusiasm among the NRIs to invest in India and they are very responsive to Prime Minister Modi’s call to them to invest in their motherland.”

The India-GCC Industrial forum — a platform to bring together industrialists and policy makers from India and six Gulf countries — will be held in Saudi Arabia in November after a gap of eight years. Investment meets are being organised with greater focus in each of the six Gulf countries.

“The recent policy change by the government to treat all NRI investments as Indian investments and not as FDI, is surely going to be a big boost for NRIs,” said Ali.
Aggregate FDI inflows from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to India from 2000 till 2014 total roughly $3.2 billion. But there is a hope that the various policy initiatives by the Modi government can further the money inflow, especially from the NRIs.

An official said, “It is like looking at where the money is. A country like India, which requires investment of over $150 billion within the next five years in infrastructure alone should be looking at countries in Gulf has got that kind of surplus.”

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