In the latest World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 Report, India once again made significant strides; a jump of 23 places to reach Rank 77 out of 190 economies. This jump is even more significant given India’s 30 place jump last year, which brought it to Rank 100. This is a rare feat for any country. India is now the best ranked from the South Asian region.WB once again recognized India as one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, for the second year in a row. India has improved by 53 positions in the last two years, and 65 positions in the last four years. India is first South Asian and BRICS nation to have achieved this.
India improved its rank in 6 of the 10 indicators measured by WB. The 2 most significant improvements were those in the indicators for Construction Permits (jump of 129 spots to rank 52), and for Trading Across Borders (jump of 80 spots to rank 66). The indicators where India gained ground are Starting a Business, Getting Credit, Getting Electricity and Enforcing Contracts. India streamlined the process of obtaining a building permit and made it faster and less expensive to obtain a construction permit, and reduced the time and cost to export and import through various initiatives, including implementation of electronic sealing of containers, upgrading of port infrastructure and allowing electronic submission of supporting documents with digital signatures.
The continued relentless drive by the Government to push hard regulations and reforms in order to improve the business climate is validated by India’s consistent improvement over the last few years. India’s Distance to Frontier (DTF) score, a measure to assess how close a country is to global best practices, has been improving consistently since the last few years.
The 9th edition of global summit ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ (a concept that started in 2003) was held in Gandhinagar on 18th& 19th January, 2019 with 15 Partner Countries and 135 Participating Countries. 5 Heads of State including the President of Uzbekistan and Prime Ministers of Denmark, Czech Republic, Malta and Muscat were present at the event. In what is a testament to its global reach and influence that Vibrant Gujarat Summits have earned over the years, more than 39 international Chambers of Trade & Commerce from 27 countries worldwide participated in a special conference organized at the sidelines of the Summit.
During the Summit, 28,360 MoUs were signed, of which 21,289 were in MSME, 1,1516 were in Urban Development, 548 in Power, Oil, Gas & Renewable Energy, 408 in Agro & Food Processing, 313 in Environment & Forests, 197 in Engineering and 977 in other sectors. The Chief Minister of Gujarat in his address expressed confidence that VGS 2019 would generate additional 21,00,000 job opportunities in the State. Speaking at the Summit, our Vice-President said “India is poised to become US$ 10 trillion economy by 2030”. In his inaugural address, the Prime Minister invited global business leaders to come and invest in India where the business climate is more investor friendly now. He said “India is now ready for business. In the last 4 years, we have jumped 65 places of global ranking of ease of doing business”.
The 2nd edition of the Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet 2019 was held on 23rd and 24th January 2019 at the Chennai Trade Centre. Besides a host of Indian companies, Australia, France, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and United Kingdom participated as Partner Countries. Terming the Meet (GIM) a “grand success” and announcing the state’s prioritized effort to launch electric car manufacturing facilities, the TN Chief Minister said the event exceeded the investment target of Rs 2 lakh crore and touched Rs 3.4 lakh crore. The CM added that the fresh investment would create additional 10.5 lakh jobs. Altogether, 146 MoUs regarding investment commitments from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, France, Finland, USA and China were signed at the Meet.
Friends, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas this year was organized on 21 to 23 January 2019 at the holy city Varanasi. As per tradition it was inaugurated by the Prime Minister on 21st and concluded by the address of the President on 23 January 2019. Exceeding expectations, there were 7,228 registrations at the function. Besides the country specific sessions, there were 2 plenary sessions; the first one was on “Role of Indian Diaspora in capacity building for affordable solar power” and the second one was on “Giving back to India : Opportunities and Challenges”. H.E Mr. Pravind Jugnauth, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Mauritius and Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India were the Chief Guests.
At the invitation of the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa undertook a State Visit to India on 25-26 January 2019 as the State Guest of Honour for Republic Day 2019. A high level delegation consisting of nine Ministers, senior officials of the Government and a 50-member business delegation accompanied the President. President Ramaphosa along with Prime Minister Modi addressed the India-South Africa Business Forum on 25 January, 2019, with the objective to grow business ties between the two countries. The President also delivered the Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture organized by Indian Council of World Affairs under IBSA framework as a part of the celebrations of the 15th Anniversary of IBSA.
About 1.5 million Indian Origin People live in South Africa and form an enduring link. Over 150 Indian companies have invested in South Africa employing over 20,000 locals. India is among the top five trading partners of South Africa. The bilateral trade has increased to US $ 10.65 billion in 2018-19 from US $ 9.38 billion in 2017-18. Both countries have close cooperation in the areas of vocational training, capacity building etc. The visit is expected to further strengthen and enhance the close relationship between India and South Africa.
MIICCIA organized B2B meetings at the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi on February 6, 2019, between prominent Indian IT Companies and a visiting IT Delegation from Brazil. Participants had fruitful discussions.
In the end, I should remind you all that your Chamber of Commerce (MIICCIA) will host the Business Conference “India-ASEAN : Connecting for Business” on Monday, February 18, 2019 at the Civil Services Officers’ Institute, Vinay Marg, New Delhi. Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce, Industry & Civil Aviation has tentatively agreed to address the Event. Senior Officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and the Heads of Mission and the Economic Counsellors of ASEAN countries will detail the business potential in their respective countries. I would urge all of you to be present at this Business Conference and benefit from the deliberations and networking opportunities.
I extend my Greetings on the New Year 2019. I wish great success to our Members, the Indian Industry, Business Houses and Investors.
The New Year seems to be an encouraging one for the Indian Industry, Business and Exporting community. Economic indicators are healthy. Growth of GDP for the first half of 2018-19 was 7.6%. Current account deficit as percentage of GDP was 2.7% in the same period. Value of merchandise exports and imports increased by 11.6% and 14.7% respectively in US Dollar terms during April-November 2018.Foreign Exchange Reserves stood at US$ 393.7 billion at end November 2018. CPI inflation declined to 2.3% in November 2018 from 3.4% in the preceding month. WPI inflation was 4.6% in November 2018, as compared to 5.3% in October 2018. The growth of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) during April-October 2018 was 5.6%, as compared to 2.5% recorded during corresponding period a year ago.Though there was a slight negative growth (0.87%) in export of Services, trade balance in Services was US$ 6.57 billion in end November 2018. Therefore, the New Year starts with a positive note.
The Government launched a historic support and outreach programme for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in November 2018. As part of this programme, the government unveiled 12 key initiatives which would help the growth expansion and facilitation of MSMEs across the country. At the inaugural session of the 15th Global SME Business Summit in New Delhi, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Shri Suresh Prabhu, said that the Ministry was examining the proposal to set up trade promotion bodies in 15 countries to promote exports of SMEs from India.
An important development for our export houses is that India is now hopeful that the Chabahar Port in Iran will be fully operational soon. Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari and the Iranian Foreign Minister had a fruitful meeting and the leaders agreed to resolve all the pending issues.The Chabahar Port will be a booster for our overseas shipments, particularly to Iran and the Central Asia region.Commerce, Industry and Civil Aviation Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu said that he would like to make 2019 “A new year for Exports.”
Last year MIICCIA consolidated its position further. It has signed several MoUs for mutual cooperation with other Chambers of Commerce. The most notable amongst those are:
In the context of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and Prime Minister’s thrust for deeper engagement with
ASEAN countries, MIICCIA is organizing a Business Conference “India-ASEAN Connecting for Business” on February 18, 2019 at the Civil Services Officers’ Institute (CSOI), Vinay Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The conference will try to identify suitable economic opportunities in ASEAN countries, and create reliable networks for further boost to trade & investment. The Conference will benefit Indian entrepreneurs and business houses with updated information and also provide a platform to interact with Heads of Mission of the ASEAN countries. MIICCIA’s Secretariat would be happy to provide additional information and participation procedure.
We are all waiting for the Interim Budget of the Central Government on 1st Feb. In a bold decision and departure from the past practice, the Government has decided not to present the Economic Survey before the interim budget. They have left the Economic Survey, which outlines the vision and the economic road map for the upcoming year, for presentation by the new government before the full budget.