Pointing at the $20 billion foreign direct investment in India amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Silicon Valley’s top venture capitalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist MR Rangaswami has said the next 10 years would be India’s “golden moment” in key sectors like technology, pharmaceutical, e-commerce and manufacturing.
“Coronavirus is sweeping the world, especially the US and India. In spite of that, the amount of investment going into India is mind-boggling,” Rangaswami said. The country had received foreign direct investment of over $20 billion in the last few months amid the pandemic, which had an adverse impact on businesses across the world.
“Whether it’s a Kirana (local grocery) shop, everything is going to be digital. It is the golden moment that India should seize,” Rangaswami said. Referring to the series of FDI into India post-COVID-19 outbreak, he said it was unprecedented by any standards.
Prominent investments include $10 billion from Google, $5.7 billion from Facebook, $1.2 billion from Walmart and $1 billion from Foxconn. “I think there will be many, many more deals this year. You’ll see a lot more companies coming in, a lot more money coming in. A lot more investments,” Rangaswami said.
“Amazon continues to invest in India. Other companies are looking at India now. Private equity guys are looking at India. Sovereign funds will be looking at India. Definitely India is going to be the hot destination for technology money,” he said, noting that the US administration’s anti-China sentiment was also helping India bag big investment.
Relations between the US and China have spiralled downward after Washington criticised the Asian powerhouse’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The US has questioned a new national security law in Hong Kong, treatment of Uyghurs Muslims and security measures in Tibet.
“This gives India an opportunity for an economic game-changer. I think it’s predicated by two things. The number of smartphone users (in India) is over 500 million, maybe even close to a billion. Second, the government’s push for digital combined with COVID-19 outbreak, which has taken (number of) digital transactions through the roof,” he said.
“On the ground, everybody is forced to go digital. This is a huge tipping point. So, this is an opportunity I want to see India seize and not let it go to waste,” he said.
“So, what I would request is Indian ministers, key bureaucrats and technology industry leaders put together a roadmap, set of regulations and authorisations so that companies can come in easily. We (must) avoid all the problems of privacy, security in the future,” Rangaswami said.
According to him, India needs to iron out all the impediments to businesses immediately to ensure smooth sailing for all parties.
“The government needs to lead the charge now, in this moment, and say let’s get the leaders together, let’s get the bureaucrats, let’s get the technology industry, the start-ups, let’s get everyone and lay down the rules, regulations, roadmap, so everybody can work to a common purpose,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)