India in the global sweet spot, says Piyush Goyal (FRIDAY INTERVIEW)

With an all pervasive sentiment of ABC – Anything But China – in the US, India is increasingly the go to country for American business. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said India is in the sweet spot as far as US business is concerned.

“Americans are gung ho about India, the whole world in fact is looking at us, agri goods, services; they want more and more engagement with us. The reasons are clearly identified – political stability, emerging power in tech and design, and vast consumer market place. They are looking at an upside and viewing it as a big opportunity. One particular MNC wants to set up operations in India hiring as many as 200,000 people. The focus areas are semi-conductors, cutting edge R & D and design strengths among others,” Goyal told IANS.

So, why this optimism about India? Obviously, India’s consumerist culture and growing GDP is a big drawcard. Goyal argued that India’s Covid management, vaccine efficiency was seen as a big plus at the WTO round.

“I met ministers from multiple countries and they lavished praise on the entire eco system that India created during the peak Covid years. Moreover, India didn’t miss any international commitment in these difficult times. Even our WFH broadband connectivity and its enhanced edge was appreciated. Sometimes, I don’t think as Indians we realise our own limitless potential. This is now being captured by foreigners. Yes, India offers cost arbitrage, but they are visualising India at a level that we unable to comprehend. This is in sync with the PM’s vision of Vikisat Bharat or a Developed India.”

Goyal was quick to add that India labour is now most sought-after. He gave the example of a recent visit to textile capital Tirupur where he spoke about how Tirupur could become the next Bangladesh.

He said: “We can do a Bangladesh in textiles, I told them and guess what their response was – send us 50,000 to 100000 people who they can absorb immediately and scale up their operation.”

“Agreed foreign investors want ease of doing business to be improved, according to him, but equally we have to undertake skilling and upskilling techniques at a rapid pace.”

Goyal also added that the recent Foxconn-Vedanta deal shows that the competitive spirit between states and this augurs well for the cornerstone of all such investments should be the twin engines of federalism – cooperation and competition.

Equally he said Indian entrepreneurship has flourished in the US with the diaspora doing exemplary work. He added that in the US he spoke extensively to the Indian American community telling them: “India has the advantage of demographic dividend. Our youth, the aspirational people we have in India is the biggest opportunity and each one of them is connected to the world with access to the Internet. As we embark on our journey towards making India a developed nation, it is an important time for us to reflect on where we see India in the next 25 years. The next 25 years of Amrit Kaal, as PM Modi articulated, will define India’s growth story. Our goal is to become a $5 trillion economy in the near future.”

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