India sets a benchmark with UN investment award

India sets a benchmark with UN investment award

Top UNCTAD honour for Invest India underscores the strong governance at the root of India's trade and investment policies and is the latest validation of why investors are making a beeline for India.

Winning the coveted 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award from UNCTAD is a major milestone for Invest India - the national investment promotion and facilitation agency under India's Commerce & Industry Ministry. But this is more than an award - it is a global validation of the calibrated trade facilitation and investment strategy undertaken by the Narendra Modi government since it came into power in 2014.

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The fact that Invest India's response to the coronavirus pandemic became the basis for the evaluation of the 2020 award represents the strategic continuum in which the government has handled the outbreak of the virus without taking its focus away from attracting global investments. https://www.youtube.com/watch v=mauAiX8POE0 “Congratulations to Invest India for winning the 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award given by UNCTAD. This is a testimony to our government′s focus on making India the world′s preferred investment destination & improving ease of doing business,” PM Modi tweeted in his message of congratulations to the agency.

A testimony to Modi's visionary leadership

As described by Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, “This remarkable achievement echoes Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tireless efforts and visionary leadership to make India a preferred investment destination with a focus on ease of doing business.”

According to the commerce ministry, the award recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements of the world's best-practice investment promotion agencies.

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The evaluation was based on UNCTAD's assessment of work undertaken by 180 national investment promotion agencies (IPAs) across the world.

In March, UNCTAD constituted a team to monitor the response of various IPAs to Covid-19 as the pandemic generated significant challenges for such agencies. Many were forced to focus on crisis management, fiscal prudence, notification of government emergency and economic relief measures, provision of crisis support services, and contribution to national Covid-19 business response efforts instead of their routine investment promotion and facilitation drives. UNCTAD subsequently reported the best practices from investment promotion agencies in the IPA Observer publications in April and July, and their response to the pandemic became the basis for the evaluation of the award.

“This award recognises the Indian government's effective management of the pandemic,” said Deepak Bagla, MD & CEO of Invest India.

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A distinguished recognition

The most coveted award for IPAs, the award ceremony took place on December 7 at UNCTAD Headquarters in Geneva. UNCTAD highlighted good practices followed by Invest India, such as the Business Immunity Platform, Exclusive Investment Forum webinar series, its social media engagement and focus COVID response teams (such as business reconstruction, stakeholder outreach and supplier outreach) created as a response to the pandemic, in its publications.

“The trust that India has built as a country in terms of ease of doing business, being a safe and secure destination for global investors is evident from the amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) the country has received over the last few years,” said Rouhin Deb, a senior researcher at Invest India.

“To put it in numbers, in the September quarter, India's FDI doubled year-on-year to $28.1 billion dollars. This surge in foreign funds amid the pandemic has been possible because of the continuous effort of the government, businesses, and agencies to make India a sought-after destination over the last six years. While foreign portfolio investor (FPI) inflows across emerging economies witnessed a decline due to the pandemic, India recorded a surge to $13.5 billion - a testimony to investor confidence in India′s growth story,” Deb said in a column for LiveMint.
In many ways, the award for Invest India is also a testimony to the urgency the Indian government has shown to reduce dependency on China as a hub of the global supply chain, while providing a more attractive alternative that has struck the right chord with investors around the world.

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