Modi must now create a strong investment environment
When the goals are shared and the definition of success and path forward are clear, public-private partnerships become a powerful tool in moving agendas from promise to impactUpdated: May 30, 2019 20:28 IST
India has just completed one of the largest democratic elections this world has ever seen. More than 600 million voters took to the polls over six weeks to have their say on the prospects and the future of Asia’s third largest economy. Their message was clear.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a historic, decisive mandate. With their vote, the people clearly demonstrated their faith that he can deliver on the issues they care about such as jobs, secure borders and a more inclusive society. They look to the prime minister to continue to advance the country’s economic growth and build on the foundation of the past five years. This foundation includes enormous progress in opening India for business.
By focusing on issues that matter to business – including structural changes like Goods and Services Tax and the insolvency and bankruptcy code, as well as investments in health and sanitation infrastructure and smart cities initiatives – India has risen in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. There has also been steady progress on digitising India. As a result of all of these advances, businesses increasingly believe in partnering with India.
And today, as technology and intellectual property created in India is increasingly felt, the whole world is seeing India in a new light. The potential impact of the country can be seen in the relationships it already has and continues to establish and strengthen, as well as the products and services it creates and exports.
Even with a solid foundation, there is much more to do in order to propel the country further on all fronts. The country will benefit from an accelerated private investment cycle, affordable healthcare and greater attention on education and skilling to drive further job creation. With a strong vision, India can address and steer through its continuing economic and social challenges, and aim high.
India has the potential to be something bigger than what it is today. It can become the third largest economy in the world. It has the potential to reshape and redefine successful inclusive growth. This requires partnerships with other countries who can help provide stability across the region, and that requires the growth of the larger economy – as much as 8% annually – and the growth of jobs that will deliver the products and technology the world wants.
In order to become a powerful job creation machine, the country must move from a patchwork of different reform efforts to a coherent framework formalising the informal economy. When the goals are shared and the definition of success and path forward are clear, public-private partnerships become a powerful tool in moving agendas from promise to impact.
India’s vision to lift people and society by empowering economic participation and advancement starts with a Digital India. Getting there requires investment, experience and know-how. The world already wants to invest in India. Businesses stand ready to be a partner with the government for the people. But to do so, they need the government to create the conditions where all parties benefit: predictable and consistent policy.
It is with this foundation that companies can identify their areas of strength, plan long-term investments, and create sustainable business models at scale.
Mastercard, for example, already believes in India as a major hub for emerging technologies. It has already invested $1 billion into India since 2014 and recently committed another billion dollars over the next five years. Its technology hubs in Pune and Vadodara, where highly-skilled women and men contribute and drive innovation, are reflective of our commitment and belief in the Indian market, building for the world.
As Modi prepares for his second term as prime minister, he has the country’s support to build on the foundation he started in his first five years, with an investment environment that is beneficial to the development of high productivity firms and fosters greater trade domestically and internationally.
In doing so, India will accelerate its growth path, and do so in a way that benefits all of its people.
Ajay Banga is president and chief executive officer of Mastercard and a member of its board of directors
The views expressed are personal
First Published: May 30, 2019 20:27 IST