Questionable Data in Singapore Media on FDI in India

India Must Market Itself, Not Sell Modi

Singapore is among the biggest investors in India (along with Mauritius and the Netherlands), so it is in its interest to glorify Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a little support from The Straits Times. Even if that meant using questionable data!

A report in The Straits Times yesterday unabashedly claimed that India has now become the top destination in the world for foreign direct investment (FDI), giving Mr Modi all credit for it.

While allegations without evidence are dealt with sternly in Singapore, landing opposition leaders in deep trouble, claims without corroboration pass off as truth.

Even assuming the report was right that can be no big reason for pride as logically developing nations opening up their economy logically attract significant FDI inflows.

U.S., Hong Kong, China Top 3: But, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), out of the global FDI of US$1.7 trillion in 2015, India received an inflow of $59 billion during the year.

The U.S. topped the list with FDI worth $ 384 billion, followed by Hong Kong ($163 billion), China ($136 billion), Netherlands ($90 billion), the UK ($68 billion) and Singapore ($65 billion), according to UNCTAD, perhaps the most credible source for such data.

India came in at number 7, with even tiny Singapore doing better in terms of FDI.

Make_in_India_PM_Modi_AFP_650Fire at Make in India event: The Straits Times report was in connection with the launch of the “Make in India” centre in Mumbai on Saturday.

The very next day (Sunday, Feb. 14), a cultural extravaganza with India’s high and mighty in attendance was thrown out of gear when the stage in which Bollywood dancers were performing was completely destroyed in a major fire.

That goes to show how India hardly gets anything right when organising big events – partly because of poor management and corruption. The 2010 Commonwealth Games that brought irreparable damage to the country is still fresh in memory.

Even the website of the Indian Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), which was set up by the previous Congress government, has outdated information on investments in the country.

A government that is not keeping the websites of its departments current while seeking to quell dissent through dubious means is presenting a poor image of the country. But then this is a government that believes in showmanship without substance and individual glory with a jingoistic garb.

Dr Singh, Architect of Reforms: This is a government blessed with a very conducive global commodities climate, but it is struggling to make the most out of it, as former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has pointed out.

Dr Singh was the architect of India’s economic reforms in 1991 that saved the country from bankruptcy.

The failure to put it to good use is because of mediocre leadership with most of Mr Modi’s ministers spending time on a religious agenda and clamping down on dissent with a campaign of hate.

It’s time for India to step up marketing itself, stop selling Mr Modi and focus on real issues facing the country.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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