SEOUL: Fundamentals of the Indian economy are sound and it is on the way to becoming a $5 trillion economy soon, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.
Addressing the India-Korea Business Symposium in the South Korean capital, Modi said India, now a more open economy, has attracted $250 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last four years.
Addressing Indian and Korean businesspersons in Seoul. Watch. https://t.co/d2HH7L0nnU— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 21, 2019
No other large economy in the world has grown at 7 per cent year after year, he added.
"Over 600 Korean companies such as Hyundai, Samsung and LG Electronics have invested in India and with (car maker) Kia soon set to join this club, we aspire to welcome many more," the Prime Minister said
He also said that to ease business visits, India is giving visa on arrival for Korean nationals since October last year.
India, PM Modi said, has jumped to 77th spot on the World Bank's ease of doing business ranking on the back of reforms and is determined to break into the top 50 next year. The role of the government is to provide a support system, Modi said, adding that India has emerged as a land of opportunities. "We are one of the most open countries for FDI today and over 90 per cent of our sectors are on automatic route for approval. Hence, we have received FDI worth over USD 250 billion over the past four years," Modi said.
He also said that being the world's sixth largest economy at USD 2.5 trillion, the country is changing from being agriculture-dominated to an economy led by industry and services and one that being globally inter-linked rolls out red carpet instead of red tape "India has emerged as a land of opportunities. While we work for realizing the 'Indian Dream', we seek like-minded partners. And, among them, we see South Korea is truly a natural partner," he said.
Apart from being the top 10 trade partners of Korea, India is the 6th largest export destination for its goods with trade between the two nations reaching USD 21.5 billion in 2018. "The negotiations to upgrade the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement have been fast-tracked to achieve the bilateral trade target of USD 50 billion by 2030," he said adding that Korean investments into India have been valued upto USD 6 billion.
Speaking about his government's initiatives, the Prime Minister said that more than 300 million bank accounts have been opened for providing banking to those without bank accounts and this has resulted around 99 percent of Indian households having a bank account.
He also said that USD 12 billion has been deposited in these accounts with microcredit of USD 90 billion been extended to 28 million in the last three years. He claimed that USD 50 billion of government benefits has been put into beneficiaries and huge steps have been made in rural electrification.
"Economic progress is closely tied to world-class infrastructure. Be it transport, power, ports, shipbuilding, housing, and urban infrastructure, there is a huge demand in India while there are strong technological capabilities and capacities in Korea. We estimate the investment requirements in infrastructure at over USD 700 billion by 2022," he said.
Listing projects that needed foreign investments, he said that the Sagarmala port projects need USD 10 billion in five years. He also said that both countries have identified USD 10 billion under Korea's Economic Development Cooperation Fund and Export Credit to finance such projects.
Modi said that the government has to provide the support system and the flagship program, Start-up India, with USD 1.4 billion fund for four years to create a startup ecosystem in the country as planned. "Our vision of India-Korea Startup Centre will provide a hub for Korean startups and Indian talent to freely communicate. South Korean national IT promotion agency has already opened Indian offices in Bengaluru," he added.
(With PTI inputs)