India’s FDI dreams

Billions of dollars in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) have been assured to India thanks to Prime Minister Modi’s successful foreign tours and the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Hopefully countries with more wealth and technology than us will help us create jobs. But in his efforts at gathering FDI, the Prime Minister is not any different from the previous government which also staged many road shows with union and state ministers, politicians and even the prime minister going abroad to woo foreign investors.

Everyone knows the advantages of FDI, but there are disadvantages also. One has to remember that FDI in the past has been capital intensive and not labour intensive. Foreign companies tend to use more technology to retain their competitiveness and flexibility than go for hiring more workers. Most are afraid of encountering labour problems. Millions of jobs, however, are needed in India and therefore there has to be a policy of encouraging labour intensive FDI. In mining industry, there is a danger of FDI harming the environment in their extractive manoeuvers. Hence India has to study carefully what kind of FDI it wants.

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Modi embraces Kyoto smart heritage city model for Varanasi

Varanasi, the holy Hindu city which Modi represents in the Indian parliament, will be developed as a ‘smart city’, using the experiences of Kyoto. Kyoto, home to over 2000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, is renowned for its ability to merge the modern with the ancient, and is symbolic of the development of Japan – where cutting edge technology is used to preserve their historic legacy. The Kyoto-Varanasi pact has set the stage for rekindling civilizational ties between India and Japan, which will deepen the spiritual foundation for the burgeoning multi-pronged modern-day partnership.

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