Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to go to Davos next January to speak at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting of global policy makers and top executives, becoming the first Indian premier in about two decades to do so.
If Narendra Modi goes, he will address a plenary session on January 23, the first day of the four-day long annual summit, which will be attended by the world’s business elite.
However, Prime Minister’s visit is expected to be a short one as he has to be back for the Republic Day celebrations on January 26.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss Non Profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva. Recognized by the Swiss authorities as an international body, its mission is cited as ‘committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas’.
The Forum is best known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubunden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, economists, and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.
Davos is a Alpine town, and a municipality in the Prattigau/Davos Region in the canton of Graubunden, Switzerland. Davos is located on the river Landwasser, in the Rhaetian Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Range. At 1,560 m (5,120 ft), it is the highest town in Europe.
The organization also convenes some six to eight regional meetings each year in locations across Africa, East Asia and Latin America, as well as undertaking two further annual meetings in China and the United Arab Emirates. Beside meetings, the foundation produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector specific initiatives.
Narendra Modi had attended the regional summit of the World Economic Forum in China in 2007 as the chief minister of Gujarat. Subsequently, there had been a controversy over an invitation for him to attend the Davos meet in 2008, which had soured his relations with the World Economic Forum (WEF).
World Economic Forum (WEF) organisers have worked hard to make amends in the past, and are believed to have expressed regret at the earlier incident. The last Indian prime minister to attend the Davos meet was HD Deve Gowda in 1997.
However, the Indian economic landscape has changed substantially and the welcome that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will get will be very different.
He will arrive at the Swiss ski resort town as the leader of the world’s fastest growing major economy and also one of the world’s biggest destinations for foreign direct investment.
While policy reforms have attempted to improve the operational environment for business, the large-scale campaigns launched by the government have enabled new investment platforms to gain pace. Make-in-India converges several policy reforms aimed at attracting manufacturing investments.
The recently rolled out goods and services tax (GST), though facing teething troubles, have also strengthened Modi’s reform credentials. The signature policy reform of the government would be the legislation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). A transformational move, it can place the Indian economy on a faster growth trajectory, add efficiency and lower costs.
The last three years have seen considerable acceleration in the reforms pace of the country. The list of notable reform policies is impressive and the overall shift in underlying structures is significant. The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has engendered confidence in the Indian economy and reinstated growth drivers.
India has reached an important juncture in its economic development with favourable demographics and income status. The government is innovatively leading the country in the right direction, at an accelerated pace with impactful reform measures.
Davos will present Modi an opportunity to explain India’s economic policies and make a pitch for greater investment from the global business community.