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Prime Minister’s Keynote Address at the Invest India Conference in Canada

Posted on: October 12, 2020 | Back | Print

October 08, 2020

My dear friends,


First of all, I would like to compliment Shri Prem Watsa for creating this forum. It is good to see so many investors and businesses of Canada here. I am glad you are being exposed to the tremendous investment and business opportunities in India.


There is one thing common to most people in the audience. It has people who take investment decisions.Decisions which assess risk. Decisions which predict return while making investment. I want to ask you: What do you think about before investing in any country? Does the country have vibrant Democracy? Does the country have political stability? Does the country have investment and business friendly policies? Does the country have transparency in governance? Does the country have a skilled talent pool? Does the country have a large market?

These are different questions, you maybe asking. The undisputed answer to all these questions is one and that is India. There is an opportunity for everyone - Institutional Investors, manufacturers, supporters of innovation ecosystems and infrastructure companies. There is an opportunity to invest, to set up units and to run businesses. There is an opportunity to partner with our private sector and with the governments. There is an opportunity to earn as well as learn not only that as well as to lead, there is an opportunity to grow.


In the post-Covid world, you will often hear of various kinds of problems. Problems of manufacturing, problems of supply chains, problems of PPE, etc. Problems are natural. However, India has not let those problems be. We showed resilience and emerged as a land of solutions. We provided free food grain to 800 million people and free cooking gas to around 80 million families. And for a long time despite disrupted logistics, we are able to deliver money directly into bank accounts of more that 400 million farmers, women, poor and needy people within a matter of days. This shows the strength of governance structure and systems that we have built over the last few years.


India is playing the role of the pharmacy to the world. We have provided medicine to around 150 countries so far during this pandemic. During March-June of this year, our agricultural exports rose by 23%. This happened while the entire country was in a stringent lockdown. Today, our manufacturing is running on full steam. Before the pandemic, India hardly manufactured PPE kits. Today not only does India manufacture millions of PPE kits every month, it also exports them. We are also committed to ramping up production. We want to help the entire world when it comes to vaccine production for Covid-19.


The India story is strong today and stronger tomorrow. Let me explain how. Today, the FDI regime has been very well liberalized. We have created a friendly tax regime for Sovereign Wealth and Pension Funds. We have undertaken significant reforms for developing a robust Bond market. We have come up with Incentive schemes for Champion sectors.

Schemes in sectors like in Pharma, Medical Devices and Electronics Manufacturing have already been in operation.We want to ensure high-level attention and effectivehand-holding for investors.

For this, a dedicated Empowered Group of Secretaries has been made. We are proactively monetizing assets across sectors- Airports, Railways, Highways, Power Transmission lines so many. Real Estate Investment Trusts and Infrastructure Investment Trusts have been fully enabled for monetization of both public and private assets.


Today, India is undergoing a rapid change in mindsets as well as markets. Today, India has embarked on a journey of deregulation and decriminalization of various offences under the companies act. India has risen from 81 to 48 in the Global Innovation Index rankings in the last 5 years. India has risen 142 to 63 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings in the last 5 years. The results of these improvements are there for everyone to see.

India received around 70 Billion USD from Institutional Investors in a year and a half between January 2019 to July 2020. This is almost equal to that received in four years between 2013 and 2017. The continuing confidence of global investor community in India is seen by the fact that FDI into India went up by 20% in 2019. And this when global FDI inflows fell by 1%. India has already received over 20 Billion USD during the first 6 months of this year from across the globe. This is also the time when Covid-19 has been at peak globally. The International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at GIFT City is one of our major initiatives. Investors could utilize it as a preferred platform to transact globally. We have recently set-up a fully empowered unified regulator for it.


India has adopted a unique approach posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have given relief and stimulus package for the poor and the small businesses. But we have also used this opportunity to undertake structural reforms. These reforms ensure more productivity and prosperity. India has undertaken a trinity of reforms in the field of education, labour and agriculture. Together, they impact almost every Indian.

India has ensured reforms of old laws in the field of labour and agriculture. They ensure greater participation of the private sector while also strengthening the government’s safety nets. These reforms will lead to a win-win situation for entrepreneurs as well as for our hard-working people. The reforms in the field of education/ will further harness the talent of our youth. These reforms have also set the stage for more foreign universities to be able to come to India. The reforms in the labour laws greatly reduce the number of Labour codes.

They are both employee and employer friendly and will further increase ease of doing businesses. The reforms in the field of agriculture are far-reaching. They will not only give more choice to farmers but will boost exports. These reforms will support our efforts to build an Aatmanirbhar Bharat or self reliant India. By working towards self-reliance, we seek to contribute to global good and prosperity.


If you are looking to partner in the field of education, the place to be is India. If you are looking to invest in manufacturing or services, the place to be is India. If you are looking to collaborate in the field of agriculture, the place to be is India.


India-Canada bilateral ties are driven by our shared democratic values and many common interests. The trade and investment linkages between us are integral to our multi-faceted relationship. Canada is the 20th largest foreign investor in India. More than 600 Canadian companies have presence in India. I am told that Canadian Pension Funds have pledged around 50 billion USD as investment in India till now. Our relationship is perhaps far stronger than what the numbers suggest.But that also means together, we can achieve much more.

Canada is home to some of the largest and most experienced infrastructure investors. Canadian Pension Funds were the first ones to start investing directly in India. Many of them have already discovered great opportunities in a range of areas like highways, airports, logistics, telecom and real estate. They are looking at expanding their presence and finding new areas to invest.

Mature Canadian investors who have been in India for many years now can be our best brand ambassadors. Their own experience, their plan to expand and diversify can be the most credible evidence for all of you to come here too.In addition, you have the benefit of knowing India well. After all, Canada has one of the largest Indian Diaspora in the world. There would be no barriers for you here. You would find yourself as welcome here as in your own country.

Thank you for inviting me to address this event.

Thank you once again. Thank you.

New Delhi
October 08, 2020