India needs to have a regulatory regime that is consistent and progressive in nature to find a place in the investment roadmap of foreign companies, global banking giant HSBC's India chief Naina Lal Kidwai has said.
Kidwai, who was here for the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting, further said that a renewed wave of reforms initiated by the government have indeed indicated towards better times ahead, but there still remains a scepticism about execution and it is very important for the country's leaders to demonstrate their deliverability.
Asked about the perception about India among foreign investors present at Davos, Kidwai said in an interview, "What we have seen at Davos this year is that the people believe it is an important time for India to be back on track. "The reforms have started again and in the last few months India got quite a few new policies and new bills through. These are indications that even better times are to come with regard to the India story.
"However, there is some scepticism about whether India can really deliver on some of these early promises and therefore it is going to be very important for us to really
demonstrate that we can," she added.
Kidwai, the Country Head of HSBC India and a Director of HSBC Asia Pacific, last month also took over as the first woman President of apex industry Chamber FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).
Asked about the issues coming on the way of India growth story, Kidwai said: "There is a desire to see the issues with the pending projects that have got struck, particularly in power sector, getting sorted out.
"There is a desire to ensure that India gives a regulatory regime which does not appear to be stepping back or changing all the time. The concerns about regulatory changes, such as retrospective taxation, remain despite the recent reforms."
"What we need today is a consistency in the regulatory framework. These concerns are a sort of repeated refrain among the overseas investors here at Davos and we need to work on these issues," she added.
Kidwai said India is clearly important for foreign investors and fortunately they can not write it off.
"The investors and foreign companies present here, all of them want to engage with India. All acknowledge that we (India) are a sort of tough country to do business with, but they can't ignore it either.
"It is up to us to demonstrate that we can get it right and tell them that we are not as difficult as they believe, so that the decisions that they take about investments include
India as a major destination," Kidwai.
"We have always been an attractive destination in the services sector, but we should also work towards making ourselves an attractive destination for supply chain investments in the manufacturing sector. This is the area where big companies can come and invest," Kidwai said.
She added that India has been successful in attracting investments in sectors like auto and it should work harder to get even more investments into the areas.
"This will require infrastructure, faith in the process, right labour laws and even incentives for setting up manufacturing in India, Kidwai said.
She further said the Indian leaders and policymakers are recognising the need to take steps in this direction, and what is needed now is a faster process and a proper execution.
Asked about the issues like possible imposition of highertaxes for rich people, Kidwai said these are also areas of concerns, but international investors present at Davos are not as such bothered by these issues, as such matters do not affect those people and entities looking into India for possible inbound investments.