Doing business in India is now easier than ever and the goods and services tax (GST) regime has eliminated multiplicity of taxes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, hardselling the country to a galaxy of global business leaders and policymakers at the World Food India event. Some of the global corporate titans, especially those from Nestle, Unilever and Metro AG, seemed to endorse such a view when they concurred a 30-notch jump in India’s ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking this year would encourage investment in the country, including in food processing.
Addressing the event, Modi said: “India is today one of the fastest-growing economies of the world. GST has eliminated the multiplicity of taxes. India has jumped 30 ranks this year in the World Bank Doing Business rankings. From a rank of 142 in 2014, we have now reached the top 100.” Modi added that India was ranked number one in the world in 2016 in greenfield investment and is also rapidly progressing on the Global Innovation Index, Global Logistics Index and Global Competitiveness Index.
Speaking at the event, finance minister Arun Jaitley said India has shown the world that it has a great capacity to take difficult decisions, like the ones on demonetisation and the GST. “India is willing for a change. India is changing… Not only are our doors open, those who come in get the red carpet. Our investors have always gone back as happy investors. I am sure those who enter the sector will also have the same experience,” he said.
Nestle chairman Paul Bulcke said the pace of development in India has been impressive in the last few years, hailing the government’s efforts for the improvement in India’s ranking in ease of doing business. “This (jump) is impressive and will encourage investment,” Bulcke said. He added that priority should be given to investment in building agriculture capacity amid challenges of scarce natural resources, rising population and growing food demand.
Metro Cash and Carry chief executive Pieter Boone said the recent policy decisions to improve ease of doing business, along with steps like demonetisation and the GST, are driving positive overhaul in the economy. “Metro is convinced of India’s potential. We are excited to join, explore opportunities to empower India’s food economy and we are thrilled to be part of this journey,” he said.
Unilever (food) global president Amanda Sourry said, “The world is looking towards India. The opportunities for foods in India are huge. We at Unilever are excited at opportunities in India.”