NEW YORK: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said governance reform is his number one priority, during a meeting with a group of top American CEOs with a collective net worth of USD 4.5 trillion. "Reform in governance is my No 1 priority. We are for simplified procedures, speedy decision making, transparency and accountability," Modi told over 40 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies over a dinner as he presented a page-long fact sheet of the steps taken by his government in the last one year.
Among the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies attending event were Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Marillyn Hewson, Ford President and CEO Mark Fields, IBM Chairman Ginni Rometty, Pepsi Co Chief Indra Nooyi, and Dow Chemical Chairman Andrew Liveris.
Some of the CEOs attending the dinner described it as "report card," adding that this reflected the great transparency of the Modi Government. "Please continue to do more what you are doing. May be slightly faster," External Affairs Minister spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
Briefing reporters after the day long meetings, Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh said the comments made by some of the CEOs was that a lot of progress has been made in the last one year, but it has been inaccurately assessed and reported.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister said the foreign direct investment (FDI) all over the world has fallen but in India it has increased by 40 per cent. "This reflects confidence in the Indian economy," Modi said.
During the meeting, Swarup said the Prime Minister listened from each one of the CEOs present in the room on what their plans are for India and what are the problems they are facing and how that can be resolved.
"By and large the mood was very upbeat. There is general consensus that the Prime Minister is effecting change in India. The only thing all the CEOs said is that please make that change faster," the Indian diplomat said.
Modi told the CEOs that fundamentally he believes in deregulation, the government should allow the private sector to develop and that he is for predictable, transparent and accountable governance. Giving a sense of day long interactions that the Prime Minister had with the corporate world, Singh said that it came through clearly that most people felt that this was a very good moment for India in the global context.
"If you look at the global trends, this was the unique opportunity to move ahead, attract capital and finds moments in terms of market access and ability to produce both for domestic and for exports," he said.
"There was also a sense that the unique position of digital technology today and in the coming period provided a special opportunity for India with its strength in this sector," Singh said.
The Indian talent, which is contributing in a major to the development of this technology in a global context, could provide a very special opportunity for India to leapfrog technology and to move ahead in terms of economic strategies, he said.
"There was support and appreciation expressed for the make in India program, the skills India program and the work related to smart cities, the focus on renewable energy. Some emphasis on the needs in the infrastructure sector and appreciation for the way in which the concept of smart cities has been approached," Singh added.