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World Economic Forum: The problem with PM Modi’s ‘come to India’ invitation

PM Narendra Modi addressing the plenary session of the 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos in Switzerland was India’s moment on a global platform, but the country has a long way to go before seizing it – By Shweta Punj.

A young businesswoman attending the Davos meet was enthused when she was invited along with the biggies on a pre-Davos discussion. The idea was to discuss how the business community should present India at the global meet with heads of state and business leaders from across the world.

While the Davos regulars discussed “talking up” India, the first-timer wanted the space for more authentic conversations because the fact at home is that even as Prime Minister Modi has spoken about replacing red tape with red carpet, doing business in India continues to be incredibly difficult.

She came back from the pre-Davos discussion rather disillusioned because it sounded a lot like “more of the same”. She was perhaps echoing the sentiment of many Indians who had voted for PM Modi in the hope of seeing sweeping changes, but seem to be caught up in a situation of “more of the same”.

Modi addressing the plenary at a World Economic Forum global business meet is a matter of great pride and honour for India. From being an inconsequential player to a force du jour – it has been a long journey and India has gone about it with abundant grace.

It remains a thriving democracy even as it is poised to take over China’s tag of the fastest-growing economy by next year. What’s working for India is its teeming young workforce, a demographic bonanza for businesses around the world – as much of the world grapples with an ageing population, India shines like a bright star with untapped opportunities and potential and hence the stupendous growth rates in a world which is growing between two and three percent.

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