Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said his government will leave no stone unturned to make India a preferred global investment destination as he pitched for foreign investment to modernise urban centres, offering a business friendly climate and a huge market.
As the nation rebuilds post pandemic, Modi said COVID-19 has given governments the chance to accelerate the "process of making cities more liveable for people".
"We are looking at a future where a major chunk of education, healthcare, shopping may happen online. Our cities need to be ready for the convergence of the physical and digital worlds," he said in his speech at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed enormous challenges before the world, Modi said he thinks the historic reconstruction efforts after the two world wars can give "us several lessons".
Post world wars, the entire world worked on a new world order. New protocols were developed and world changed itself.
"COVID-19 has also given us a similar opportunity to develop new protocols in every field. This opportunity should be grabbed by the world if we want to develop resilient systems for the future.
“We should think on post COVID requirements of the world. A good starting point would be the rejuvenation of our urban centres," Modi said.
Highlighting Indian cities have presented an extra-ordinary example during these tough times, Modi said: "There were world-wide incidents of resistance against the lockdown measures.
“However Indian cities meticulously followed these preventive measures.
“This is because, for us, the biggest building block of our cities was not concrete, but the community."
The prime minister said the pandemic has re-emphasised "that our biggest resource, as societies and as businesses, is our people".
The post-Covid world, he stressed, has to be built by nurturing this key and fundamental resource.
The prime minister said it has been the endeavour in India to build urban centres, which have the amenities of a city but the spirit of a village.
Pitching for foreign investment, he said India has exciting opportunities for investment in urbanisation, mobility, innovation and sustainable solution.
These opportunities come along with a vibrant democracy, a business friendly climate, a huge market and a government which shall leave no stone unturned to make India a preferred global investment destination, he said.
Modi further said India is well on its way towards urban transformation.
"I have no doubt that with the help of all stakeholders, the civil society, academic institutions, industry and most importantly the citizens and communities, we will achieve the dream of resilient and prosperous global cities," he said.
In his address, Modi emphasised cities cannot prosper without availability of affordable housing, and talked about the 'Housing for All' programme launched by his government in 2015.
"We will deliver more than one crore or 10 million houses to aspiring families in urban areas before the targeted deadline of 2022," he said.
He also told the gathering that looking at the conditions created by the pandemic, the government also introduced an affordable rental housing initiative.
He also said the Real Estate Regulation Act has transformed the dynamics of the real estate sector. This has made it more customer-oriented and transparent, the prime minister said.