India named top investment destination in business poll

A survey of more than 500 global investors named India the most attractive country for investment.
A survey of more than 500 global investors named India the most attractive country for investment.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India has been named the most attractive country for investment in a survey of more than 500 global investors published by accounting firm EY (Ernst & Young) on Wednesday.

Thirty-two per cent of the 505 executives questioned said India was their favoured market for investment, with China second on 15 per cent of the vote, followed by Southeast Asia, Brazil and North America.

"There is no doubt that interest in India has increased," Mark Otty, EY area managing partner for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa said. "Investors increasingly see the potential and understand the fundamentals."

In an apparent vote of confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reform agenda, the number of those who said ease of doing business in India was an attractive factor jumped 17.5 per cent on last year.

India's notorious red tape, complex investment rules and poor infrastructure have long posed huge obstacles for companies, with the World Bank ranking it 142 out of 189 countries in its Ease of Doing Business index.

Industrial policy secretary Amitabh Kant said Wednesday the government was "determined to make India an extremely easy and simple place to do business".

"Our first priority is to do away with the many procedures and rules, followed by bringing in consistency and clarity in all our policies and tax regime and developing a world-class infrastructure," he said.

India is poised to become the fastest-growing major economy this year, according to the IMF, at a time when other emerging markets are suffering slowdown or recession.

Greenfield foreign direct investment (new ventures) in India rose 32 per cent to US$25 billion (S$35.02 billion) in 2014 after declining in the previous two years, according to Financial Times data service fDi Markets.