View: Domestic investments must also be celebrated
The other day, as I was going through my morning newspapers, something caught my attention. It was heartening to see the state of Telangana proactively welcoming an Indian company with open arms & with a red carpet to set up its operations in the state. An optimistic & welcoming gesture for Indian investors. Since the last few years, we have witnessed a spirit of ‘competitive federalism’ and states are competing to attract fresh investments.
One cannot emphasize enough the significance of fresh investments as the primary factor for economic growth, job creation and welfare of the society. At USD 81.72 billion, India received the highest amount of foreign investment last year. The increase in FDI inflow, in a difficult year, happened in a backdrop of a series of positive policy steps taken by the Government to improve ease of doing business, attract investments into building manufacturing capacity and an ambitious infrastructure projects Pipeline.
We rightly celebrate fresh FDI’s year after year. The details about which states and sectors have attracted fresh FDI’s are announced with great pomp and show. Organisations such as Invest India at the national level or some at the state levels such as Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB), Maharashtra Industry Trade and Investment Facilitation (MAITRI) work proactively towards attracting foreign investments.
Domestic investments - both private and public — are also promising to grow. Taking advantage of the investor-friendly initiatives such as Atmanirbhar Bharat, PLI schemes and financial incentives, domestic companies are looking to expand their production base and create new capacities. However, while highlighting the success of attracting FDI, we do not rejoice domestic investments with the same vigour. In fact if you look around, you may not even find a single source of macro level data on domestic investments.
Fresh Investments are vital; whether it's green or blue doesn’t matter. Investment is essential & we should be triumphant about it. Domestic businesses both public & private – large, medium, small, startups bring fresh investment that often may be more than the total foreign investments in a year. However, the cheering is missing. Rarely there is news in the media or government announcements giving details of consolidated yearly domestic investments.
India is a complex place for doing business. While special handholding and positive assurances for foreign players are necessary, domestic investors equally deserve similar assurances and facilitations. There should be excitement for the domestic investments that are taking place. Monitoring and tracking domestic investments in a methodical way would create a conviction at the Government level to value and support these investments as well. Highlighting sectors, states and job creation can manifest a more optimistic outlook of the Governments towards these domestic investments.
It is always encouraging for foreign investors to have interactions with the Governments. Such interactions create a more transparent and promising environment for business. It is also important to have similar platforms & opportunities for domestic investors as well to be able to share challenges, deal with the policy and procedural issues and arrive at solutions.
Investment is essential. We should be triumphant about it. Existing domestic companies in the states can also be showcased as their ‘brand ambassadors' and can work as goodwill advocates for future foreign investments. Potential Indian investors need to be welcomed, nurtured and showcased as much as foreign investors. The red carpet must be for all investors domestic or foreign, new or existing, to strengthen the path to an investment-led economic growth.
Investing in India is important, but those invested in India need to be looked after as well.
Ajay Khanna is with Jubilant Bhartia Group & co-founder of Pafi. Views are personal