NEW DELHI: Forty-two American CEOs from the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors met India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed their support for the ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’ and ‘Smart Cities’ programs.
The Prime Minister highlighted his commitment for predictable, transparent and accountable governance.
The CEOs expressed appreciation for the steps taken by the Prime Minister to improve ease of doing business, and his various initiatives, including his push for infrastructure development and Digital India. Many CEOs expressed keen interest in the Indian start-ups sector, and showed willingness to invest in entrepreneurial ventures and innovative start-ups.
The CEOs mentioned taxation issues and residual bureaucratic bottlenecks as some of the concerns that still existed with regard to investment in India.
Making a strong pitch for increased investment in various sectors in India, the Prime Minister outlined his vision for ‘Start-Ups in India’.
He said that along with the public sector and private sector, he was laying emphasis to individual start-ups and entrepreneurs – whom he referred to as the “personal sector.” He said start-ups and innovation had been there at the heart of the IT revolution
The CEOs were enthusiastic about the digital transformation that is taking place in India through the Digital India initiative. They said that the current strong trajectory of the Indian economy makes it at a unique moment to accelerate growth in this sector.
The CEOs called for speeding up of television digitization, and strengthening of the cellular (mobile) infrastructure.
The Prime Minister and CEOs observed that the changes in technology and media in recent times have led to an enormous democratization of knowledge.
The Prime Minister said that the world is now in a technology- driven era, where growth of digital infrastructure is as important as growth of physical infrastructure.
He suggested to the CEOs that India represents both the biggest opportunity and the biggest challenge for them, and urged them to keep regional languages in mind, as they firm up investment plans for India.
The CEOs present included Jamie Dimon, Chairman, CEO and President, JP Morgan; Steve Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-founder, Blackstone; Charles Kaye, Co-CEO, Warburg Pincus; Henry Kravis, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, KKR; Bill Ford, CEO, General Atlantic; Peter Hancock, President and CEO, AIG insurance; Chase Coleman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Tiger Global; and Vicki Fuller, Chief Investment Officer, NY State Common Retirement Fund.