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Jaitley all set to sell ‘Make in India’ at Davos

After the much celebrated launch of the ‘Make in India’ campaign last year, the government will make a pitch for the programme before the huge gathering of political and business leaders at the four-day World Economic Forum’s (WEF) summit in Davos from Wednesday. 

As many as 2,500 political and business leaders will delibrate on this year’s title of “The New Global Context” at one of Switzerland’s biggest ski resorts.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley will lead India’s delegation and will try to fit in the  ‘Make in India’ programme in the new global context. 

Among policy makers, power minister Piyush Goyal, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, industry secretary Amitabh Kant and chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian would make a case for manufacturing in India. 

There is a separate conference hall put up in the Davos summit to show case the programme.  

In the current context, manufacturing in India may become cheaper with rise in labour costs in China. The Indian side will cite the recent ordinances such as the one on land acquisition to buttress its point that India would be an easier country to do business. 

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) would organise a round table on India investment. Besides, there would be events to showcase regional strengths such as the one on Andhra Pradesh investment. 

However, overseas business leaders might cite the Wold Bank’s rankings where India is positioned at 142nd position among 189 countries in terms of ease of doing business.  

India aims to improve the ranking to 50 in a span of two years. 

On the procedural front, the government has, through the department of industrial policy and promotion, lately taken a few initiatives to improve the environment for doing businesses. Some of these are simplifying the application form for industrial licences and making the process online through the eBiz website, exempting a large number of defence equipment from compulsory licensing, and extending the initial validity period of industrial licences from two years to three so that there is enough time to obtain necessary clearances from authorities.

All these will be told to investors to allay their fears, besides assuring them of stability in the tax regime, which was disturbed by retrospective amendments to the Income Tax Act. 

Besides an overall aim of selling the ‘Make in India’ programme to the world leaders, individual industry leaders would involve interaction with the rich and powerful from across the world. From the Indian side Tata group chief Cyrus Mistry, RIL’s Mukesh Ambani, ICICI Bank’s Chanda Kochhar, Jet Airways’ Naresh Goyal, TCS’ N Chandrasekaran and SBI’s Arundhati Bhattacharya would be there. 

Besides, Bharat Forge’s Baba Kalyani, Essar Group’s Shashi and Ravi Ruia, and Infosys’ Vishal Sikka, as also eminent names like Azim Premji, Sunil Mittal, Uday Kotak, Rahul Bajaj, Adi Godrej, Naveen Jindal and Sajjan Jindal will be present. 

As the Euro zone struggles to revive amid crisis in Greece and the global economies face stiff challenge to perk up growth, leaders, including German Chancellor Angel Merkel, France’s President Francois Hollande, China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang would deliberate on the new global scenario. 

All eyes are on political outcome of Greece elections and the meeting of the European Central Bank to ease money supply for reviving euro zone growth. 

Overall issue of terrorism is also likely to figure prominently in talks by these leaders in the wake of attacks in France. 

The WEF said that the meet is being held at a time when the risk of international conflict poses the “biggest threat” to global stability while likelihood of terrorist attacks has intensified the most since the last year. 

From corporate side, Alibaba chief Jack Ma, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg would also be present, along with IMF Chief Christine Lagarde as also heads of organisations like WTO, ILO, OECD as also central bank chiefs of Brazil, Canada, England, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Switzerland, among others. 

Geneva-based WEF, a not-for-profit foundation that describes itself as promoting public-private cooperation, has been holding this high-profile annual summit in this small town on slopes of Alps mountain range since 1971. 

The WEF said the theme–The New Global Context– reflects the period of profound political, economic, social and technological change that the world has entered, which has the potential to end the era of economic integration and international partnership. 

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, South African President Jacob Zuma, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and US Secretary of State John Kerry, would be also present. 

Leaders from civil society, labour unions, the world’s major religions, media and the arts would also take part in the event. 

Meanwhile, Oxfam, whose executive director Winnie Byanyima will co-chair the Davos event, said the richest 1 per cent people in the world will soon have more wealth than the remaining 99 per cent of the global population.

The Oxfam report said the explosion in inequality is holding back the fight against global poverty at a time when 1 in 9 people do not have enough to eat and more than a billion people still live on less than $ 1.25 a day.

According to the report, in 2014, 85 rich individuals held more wealth than the poorest half of the world’s population — 3.5 billion people.

Now, a year later, that figure has become more extreme — 80 billionaires have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the planet.

“If this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top 1 per cent will have more wealth than the remaining 99 per cent of people in just two years,” the report said.

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