" I strongly believe that India has a lot of latest entrepreneurial energy, which needs to be harnessed so that we become a nation of job givers, more than job seekers. " -Shri. Narendra Modi, Honourable Prime Minister of India.
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India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the world as per the Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the Economic Survey 2015-16, the Indian economy will continue to grow more than 7 per cent in 2016-17.

The improvement in India’s economic fundamentals has accelerated in the year 2015 with the combined impact of strong government reforms, RBI's inflation focus supported by benign global commodity prices.

India was ranked the highest globally in terms of consumer confidence during October-December quarter of 2015, continuing its earlier trend of being ranked the highest during first three quarters of 2015, as per the global consumer confidence index created by Nielsen.

Market size

According to IMF World Economic Outlook Update (January 2016), Indian economy is expected to grow at 7-7.75 per cent during FY 2016-17, despite the uncertainties in the global market. The Economic Survey 2015-16 had forecasted that the Indian economy will growing by more than seven per cent for the third successive year 2016-17 and can start growing at eight per cent or more in next two years.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India have increased by 29 per cent during October 2014-December 2015 period post the launch of Make in India campaign, compared to the 15-month period before the launch.

The Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for February 2016 was reported at 51.1, indicating expansion in Indian manufacturing activity for a second month in a row, as both domestic and foreign demand increased due to lower prices.

The steps taken by the government in recent times have shown positive results as India's gross domestic product (GDP) at factor cost at constant (2011-12) prices 2015-16 is Rs 113.5 trillion (US$ 1.668 trillion), as against Rs 105.5 trillion (US$ 1.55 trillion) in 2014-15, registering a growth rate of 7.6 per cent. The economic activities which witnessed significant growth were ‘financing, insurance, real estate and business services’ at 11.5 per cent and ‘trade, hotels, transport, communication services’ at 10.7 per cent.

According to a Goldman Sachs report released in September 2015, India could grow at a potential 8 per cent on average during from fiscal 2016 to 2020 powered by greater access to banking, technology adoption, urbanisation and other structural reforms.

Recent Developments

With the improvement in the economic scenario, there have been various investments leading to increased M&A activity. Some of them are as follows:

India has emerged as one of the strongest performers with respect to deals across the world in terms of Aergers and Acquisitions (M&A). The total transaction value of M&A involving Indian companies stood at US$ 26.3 billion with 930 deals in 2015 as against US$ 29.4 billion involving 870 deals in 2014.In the M&A space, Telecom was the dominant sector, amounting to 40 per cent of the total transaction value. Also, Private equity (PE) investments increased 86 per cent y-o-y to US$ 1.43 billion.

Total private equity (PE) investments in India for 2015 reached a record high of US$ 19.5 billion through 159 deals, according to the PwC MoneyTree India report.

According to The World Bank, India's per capita income is expected to cross Rs 100,000 (US$ 1,505.4) in FY 2017 from Rs 93,231 (US$ 1,403.5) in FY 2016.

Government Initiatives

Numerous foreign companies are setting up their facilities in India on account of various government initiatives like Make in India and Digital India. Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, has launched the Make in India initiative with an aim to boost the manufacturing sector of Indian economy. This initiative is expected to increase the purchasing power of an average Indian consumer, which would further boost demand, and hence spur development, in addition to benefiting investors. Besides, the Government has also come up with Digital India initiative, which focuses on three core components: creation of digital infrastructure, delivering services digitally and to increase the digital literacy. Finance Minister MrArunJaitley stated that the government is looking at a number of reforms and resolution of pending tax disputes to attract investments.

Currently, the manufacturing sector in India contributes over 15 per cent of the GDP. The Government of India, under the Make in India initiative, is trying to give boost to the contribution made by the manufacturing sector and aims to take it up to 25 per cent of the GDP. Following the government’s initiatives several plans for investment have been undertaken which are as follows:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of several short term (within one year) and medium term measures (within two years) to be implemented by government ministries, departments and organisations for promotion of payments through cards and digital means, and to reduce cash transactions.
  • Government of India has prioritised sustainability as the key aspect of India’s development. To achieve this, the government aims to encourage education, skill development, digital connectivity and entrepreneurship in a sustainable manner.
  • Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi announced at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conference on ‘Advancing Asia: Investing for the Future’ in New Delhi that the government will continue to bring in new reforms for transforming economy without resorting to undervaluing its exchange rate to boost trade.
  • The Government of India plans to build five new railway links with Nepal, which will boost India's economic links with its neighbouring country and promote growth, employment and prosperity in the region.
  • India has signed a loan agreement worth US$ 35 million with the World Bank for Madhya Pradesh Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project which aims to improve access and quality of public services in Madhya Pradesh through implementation of the 2010 Public Service Delivery Guarantee Act.
  • The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the allocation of coal linkages for non-regulated sectors such as cement, steel, sponge iron, aluminium and others, through the route of e-auction to be conducted in April 2016, which is expected to bring in transparency in allotment process and ensure all market participants have a fair opportunity to secure coal for their operations.
  • Government of India plans to create a National Investment Grid to map business opportunities across the country which will make it easier for investors, especially domestic investors, to access and explore investment opportunities.
  • Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, launched the Start-up India initiative and unveiled the Start-up Action Plan which includes creation of a dedicated Start-up fund worth Rs 10,000 crore (US$ 1.47 billion) apart from other incentives like no tax on profits for first three years and relaxed labour laws.
  • British telecom giant Vodafone, India's second largest telecom operator, plans to invest over Rs 13,000 crore (US$ 1.91 billion) in India, to upgrade and expand its network and also for its payments bank operations.
  • Chinese smartphone handset maker, Vivo, has set up an assembly unit in India at Greater Noida which will initially manufacture 150,000 smartphone units a month, to produce three smartphone models, namely Y11, Y21 and Y15S.
  • Foxconn Technology group, Taiwan’s electronics manufacturer, is planning to manufacture Apple iPhones in India. Besides, Foxconn aims to establish 10-12 facilities in India including data centers and factories by 2020.
  • US-based First Solar Inc and China’s Trina Solar have plans to set up manufacturing facilities in India. Clean energy investments in India increased to US$ 7.9 billion in 2014, helping the country maintain its position as the seventh largest clean energy investor in the world.
  • Hyderabad is set to become the mobile phone manufacturing hub in India and is expected to create 150,000 – 200,000 jobs. Besides, the Telangana Government aims to double IT exports to Rs 1.2 trillion (US$ 17.61 billion) by 2019.
  • General Motors plans to invest US$1 billion in India by 2020, mainly to increase the capacity at the Talegaon plant in Maharashtra from 130,000 units a year to 220,000 by 2025.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Hindustan Shipyard Ltd have joined hands to build warships in India. Besides, Samsung Heavy Industries and Kochi Shipyard will be making Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tankers.

Under the Digital India initiative numerous steps have been taken by the Government of India. Some of them are as follows:

  • The Government of India has launched a digital employment exchange which will allow the industrial enterprises to find suitable workers and the job-seekers to find employment. The core purpose of the initiative is to strengthen the communication between the stakeholders and to improve the efficiencies in service delivery in the MSME ministry. According to officials at the MSME ministry over 200,000 people have so far registered on the website.
  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development recently launched KendriyaVidyalayaSangthan’s (KVS) e-initiative ‘KV ShaalaDarpan’ aimed at providing information about students electronically on a single platform. The program is a step towards realising Digital India and will depict good governance.
  • The Government of India announced that all the major tourist spots like Sarnath, Bodhgaya and Taj Mahal will have a Wi-Fi facility as part of digital India initiative. Besides, the Government has started providing free Wi-Fi service at Varanasi ghats.

Based on the recommendations of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), FDI inflows have increased 40 per cent during April-December 2015 to reach US$ 29.44 billion.

The Government of India has launched an initiative to create 100 smart cities as well as Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for 500 cities with an outlay of Rs 48,000 crore (US$ 7.47 billion) and Rs 50,000 crore (US$ 7.34 billion) crore respectively. Smart cities are satellite towns of larger cities which will consist of modern infrastructure and will be digitally connected. The program was formally launched on June 25, 2015. The Phase I for Smart City Kochi (SCK) will be built on a total area of 650,000 sq. ft., having a floor space greater than 100,000 sq. ft. Besides, it will also generate a total of 6,000 direct jobs in the IT sector.

Road Ahead

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Moody’s Investors Service have forecasted that India will witness a GDP growth rate of 7.5 per cent in 2016, due to improved investor confidence, lower food prices and better policy reforms. Besides, according to mid-year update of United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects, India is expected to grow at 7.6 per cent in 2015 and at 7.7 per cent in 2016.

As per the latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report by World Bank, India is leading The World Bank’s growth chart for major economies. The Bank believes India to become the fastest growing major economy by 2015, growing at 7.5 per cent.

According to Mr Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, Indian economy would continue to grow at 7 to 9 per cent and would double in size to US$ 4–5 trillion in a decade, becoming the third largest economy in absolute terms.

Furthermore, initiatives like Make in India and Digital India will play a vital role in the driving the Indian economy.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.0147 as on March 01, 2016