Dehradun: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Uttarakhand's first investors summit Sunday, saying India is the ideal investment destination in the world today with major social and economic changes sweeping the country.
Addressing the country's top business leaders and industrial houses at 'Destination Uttarakhand: Investors Summit 2018', Modi said the country was passing through an era of unprecedented social and economic changes at present and expressed confidence that in the coming decades India will become the engine of world economic growth.
"Fiscal deficit has come down, the rate of inflation has come down. The middle class is growing and the country is full of demographic dividend.
"In the past 4 years, the state and central governments together have taken over 10,000 measures, which have helped the country improve its position in the ease of doing business rankings by 42 points," Modi said, describing the current times as the best for investors in the country.
GST is the biggest tax reform in the country post independence which has turned the country into a single market, he said.
Highlighting rapid growth in the infrastructure sector, the prime minister said 10,000 km highways have been built, which is double in comparison with what was done by earlier governments.
The aviation sector is growing at a record speed with 100 new airports and helipads coming up across the country. Type II and Type III cities are getting air connectivity.
With the high speed rail projects and metro lines in various cities and the Centre's policy of housing for all, power for all, fuel for all and banking for all, scenario of an ideal investment destination becomes complete, Modi said.
"My message to investors is make in India but not just for Indians but for the whole world," he said.
The prime minister said schemes like Ayushman Bharat Yojana will provide health insurance coverage to a huge population and it will also open up huge opportunities for investors in the health sector.
Describing Uttarakhand as a shining jewel in the crown of emerging new India, Modi extended an invitation to top industrial houses to invest in the state, which has taken huge strides in its development since its creation.
When former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided to create Uttarakhand, the challenges were big but now the scenario has changed, with major steps taken in terms of infrastructure building and connectivity.
"The state government's new policy on tourism, which gives it the status of an industry, is going to give a big advantage to investors coming to the state. The new policies framed by the state government like support subsidy for investors in the MSME sector will be another advantage," he said.
With its unique blend of nature-adventure-culture and yoga, Uttarakhand has enough to stimulate the interest of investors, he said, adding that it has the potential to emerge as the country's "Spiritual Eco Zone" (SEZ).
Noting that the states had great potential, Modi said if India is able to channelise its strength nothing can stop it from growing expeditiously.
Emphasising that the strengths of each of India's states surpass those of many European countries, Modi said if every state recognises its strengths and develops accordingly nothing can stop the country from growing by leaps and bounds.
Citing his own experience after he took over as the chief minister of Gujarat for the first time, he said journalists decided to grill him as he was new in the office and asked him what model he had in mind for the development of the state.
"I said, I will follow the model of South Korea. They were puzzled to hear my answer because they had little idea about South Korea. But, I explained to them how that model could work for Gujarat as it had a similar size of population and a similar geography," Modi said.
The prime minister asked the investors to expedite their projects in the state where they have an industry friendly government.
The prime minister also said that Uttarakhand has great potential in organic farming and asked investors to invest in the sector apart from food processing, agriculture and agri-business, which could help double the income of farmers.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat thanked the prime minister for his constant support and guidance without which organising the summit like this would not have been possible.
Addressing investors the chief minister said that apart from the advantages like cheap availability of power and good law & order scenario, the coming years will give investors a lot of benefits with rapid progress in the chardham, the all weather road project and other infrastructure projects coming up.
The Rishikesh-Karnaprayag and the Roorkee-Deoband rail links, on which work is in progress, will further reduce the distance between Dehradun and the national capital, Rawat said.
He said the investors had shown unusual enthusiasm to invest in the state.
"With its remotest parts connected with roads and investors coming to the state, I am confident that development will now reach every doorstep even in its remotest parts as envisioned by people who fought for a separate Uttarakhand," the chief minister said.
Leading companies that spoke of their plans to invest in the state include Adani group, Mahindra group, JSW, Amul and Patanjali.
Japan, the Czech Republic and Singapore also sent their representatives for the summit.