Monday, August 20, 2012

Marketing India to INDIANS: Why FDI is over rated?

Much has been said about bringing FDI to India. Every other rating agency, the economists and advocates of reform keep talking about it. It is as if FDI is synonymous with Reform. There are pitches ( sales pitches!) done to foreign investors and Govt. spends big money organizing investors meet to get FDI flowing in the country. 

However, I hardly hear the same buzz about getting Indians to invest in India. Alright, you may say, where else would the Indians invest, right? Unlike foreign investors, very few Indians have options to invest abroad. Except the top operators like Tatas, Reliance, others hardly invest abroad. But that's not the point. What about millions of Indians who are eager to invest but do not know the way to evaluate opportunities or are afraid of red tapism and the investment climate in general. If we tap into this part of the population, we can easily deal with investment and jobs problem at once.     

That brings us to the idea of "marketing India to Indians". I am not against FDI. However, what we promote ( like the http://www.investindia.gov.in/ ) to foreign investors about investing in India and creates confidence, why can't we do it for Indians as well? There is an urgent need for the Government to create that confidence among the many sleeping tigers of India who have the money and willingness but are neither aware of the opportunities or are afraid of the complexities of getting started.

The Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and his junior counterpart Jyotiraditya Scindia should travel and hold conferences across India making a sales pitch to new investors showing them new opportunities and giving them the means and ways of accomplishing their dreams. This should be complemented with efforts from the States. That would surely take care of the black money also to a certain extent. If we are confident enough to invest in India, then surely the foreigners would be so. Then all the so-called reformists can stop talking about FDI as a single point panacea for investments.   
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