NEW YORK: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday reiterated to top Wall Street CEOs that he would fast-track the decision-making process, acknowledging that “the world is not going to wait for us”. The Prime Minister also met top media barons in the US, where the CEOs, who represent 40 per cent of the world’s entertainment industry, were enthusiastic about Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative.
During a dinner hosted by Fortune magazine where 42 CEOs of manufacturing and infrastructure sectors were not “shy” in citing a host of obstacles, he urged them to take advantage of the huge opportunities of investing in India. “Please continue to do more of what you are doing. May be slightly faster,” CEOs of American companies with a collective net worth of $4.5 trillion, told the Prime Minister.
Fortune editor Alan Murray, who moderated the discussion, said complicated regulations, excessive permitting, confusing bureaucracy, poor infrastructure and overlapping local taxes were raised by the CEOs who urged Modi to “pick up the pace of change”.
The Prime Minister acknowledged their concerns and pledged to speed up efforts to reduce the role of the government in business. “The world is not going to wait for us. I know that,” Modi said, assuring investors that India will pull out all stops and accelerate decision-making and reforms.
“The high turnout of CEOs highlights the prime position India holds in today’s global economy. With China slowing, India’s 7.5 per cent growth rate makes it the fastest growing major economy in the world today and many of the CEOs cited plans to expand there,” said Murray.
The CEOs present at the meeting included Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson, Ford’s Mark Fields, IBM chairman Ginni Rometty, Pepsi Co chief Indra Nooyi and Dow Chemical chairman Andrew Liveris.
Speaking of the roundtable with media barons, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “All of them said India is the biggest market for them in terms of phenomenal growth of entertainment channels, in terms of youth in India wanting more such content. They asked for speedier digitisation of the Indian systems.”
Shane Smith, CEO, Vice Media, said he wanted the possible rolling out of 4G systems as soon as possible. This is the bandwidth that they need for their programmes to be rolled out and to reach people as fast as possible.
All the CEOs said India is already a big market for them and they do not have any issues with the existing norms. “What they wanted was speedier expansion of broadband infrastructure,” Swarup added.
Meanwhile, Modi met World Bank president Jim Yong Kim during which the two leaders discussed sustainable development, clean energy and climate change.