IPAs must become custodians of trust in the investment process

Sep 14: Secretary for the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) today said that Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) must now not only serve information of the highest quality and reliability, but must also become custodians of trust in the investment process. He was virtually addressing World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA)Investment Conference that is underway in Geneva.

 Shri Jain said that though the Association was meeting in challenging times, there was reason to derive confidence and draw inspiration from the fact that together the global investment community showed exemplary resilience in battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

 The Secretary said that global foreign direct investment flows had returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021, and today supply chains were being reconstructed in safer, more resilient ways. I have no doubt, friends, that together we can face and overcome these troubled times and help move the world to a prosperous, and most importantly, sustainable, future, he added.

 Applauding investment promotion agencies around the world for collaborating efficiently to keep the wheels of business running wherever possible during the pandemic, Shri Jain said that WAIPA members had not only supported their own governments but had also cooperated across borders to ensure vital materials were kept on the move and business continuity maintained. He also mentioned that Invest India had played a pioneering role in this process by creating the digital Business Immunity Platform that set new standards of the kind of work investment promotion agencies (IPAs) can do during a crisis. 

 Highlighting India’s incredible investment story, the Secretary said that in spite of the pandemic, the nations saw a new record in FDI inflows each year. He expressed his gratitude to the global investor community for the faith and trust that they have showed in India. The Secretary gave the world mantras of faith and trust, as keys to attracting investments.

 Expressing concern over the ‘VUCA’ world we live in, a world full of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, Shri Jain stressed that the role of the investment promotion agency has perhaps never been as critical it is now, when the world has been going through a once-in-a-hundred-years energy and technology transformation.

 Speaking of the volatile world we live in, where trust is at a premium, especially after the lessons of the pandemic where what seemed like very strong supply chains collapsed rapidly, the Secretary asked IPAs to be the first track of building confidence and trust among investors on the reliability of potential investment decisions.

 Stressing upon the need to rebuild trust as the cornerstone of the digital disruption that the world is going through too, Shri Jain said that digital technology has been transforming our world. Referring to initiatives such the World Economic Forum’s bid to facilitate greater flow of ‘digital FDI’, he emphasized that these unprecedented levels of digitization and the quantum leap in technological advancement was also a moment of great opportunity for the world of investment. Countries that digitize effectively and invest in new and emerging technologies will receive greater volumes of foreign direct investment, and investment of a higher quality, is growing, he said.

 Citing examples of the benefits of India’s mass digitization programme which has built some of the biggest and most democratic tools for public good such as the JAM trinity and the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), he said that during the pandemic, millions of people received urgent cash assistance directly into their bank accounts from the Indian government with the touch of a button enabled by such systems. In 2021, India had the highest number of real-time digital payments in the world with 48 billion transactions. Unique identity number and mobile phone-based system has also enabled and empowered our digital vaccine certification system which has efficiently served certificates almost instantaneously for more than 2 billion doses, he added.

 Shri Jain opined that Knowledge, Innovation, and Sustainability are going to be the pillars of global growth. He said that these 3 pillars provided the foundation of start-up ecosystem, the growth driver in times to come and asked IPAs to pay special attention to nurture a rich and vibrant start-up ecosystem.

 The Secretary also underscored that latest technologies, new investment ideas must work to accelerate wealth creation and take prosperity to the most underprivileged homes and support businesses and sectors that can give us a future when well-being for all is assured. Equity and inclusivity, he said, were crucial for sunshine of development to reach every region and strata of the humanity.

 He called upon IPAs must to think of every region in different countries through the lens of potential investment destinations. While a lot of the big investment opportunities are still centered on major cities, it is important to recognize that deeper digitization and startups facilitate the fruits of equity to travel deeper and impact more lives in a country. One of India’s biggest tech firms today runs from a village in southern India, he said. 

 The Secretary concluded his remarks by stressing that in a turbulent world as present, opportunities could be found in the most unlikely places. The spirit of investment has always had an embedded idea of risk-taking, of guts and glory. We need that spirit more than ever, he said.

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