Is this a good time to invest in India? If yes, why?
Investing in India is still considered a better option as compared to other world economies, in spite of the current economic scenario in India. Also, with the rupee sharply depreciating, an NRI holding a relatively strong foreign currency has an advantage of the big conversion-rate benefit to start off with.
OIFC has been receiving a number of queries from overseas Indians over the years. Which are the areas in which these potential investors show maximum interest?
Financial/NRI banking, real estate and knowledge exchange are the areas in which potential investors show maximum interest
What will be your main focus area at the PBD 2012 OIFC Market Place?
The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) will be organizing the 6th OIFC Market Place Forum at the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), scheduled from 7-9 January, 2012 at Jaipur, Rajasthan. The OIFC Marketplace is a premier business networking forum for the PBD delegates to facilitate the expansion of their economic linkages with India, and encompasses the setting up of business meetings of PBD delegates with OIFC’s State & Knowledge Partners that help match buyers and suppliers, through a pre-event scheduling.
OIFC’s State Government Partners, Knowledge Partners and Media Partners will showcase their services at the OIFC Market Place Pavilion and will interact with the delegates to discuss State level initiatives for NRIs, various investment opportunities in India, procedures to set up a business in India, nri banking, investing in capital markets, and more.
How many overseas meets has OIFC held in the past two years, and what will be the schedule for overseas meets in 2012?
In the past two years, OIFC organized seven Overseas Road shows, Diaspora Engagement/Interactive meets in UAE (March 2010), UK (June 2010), USA (Sep 2010), South Africa (Oct 2010), the Caribbean (May 2011), Canada (June 2011) and The Netherlands (Sep 2011). OIFC has planned at least three Overseas Road shows in 2012.
Please expand on the concept of Grassroots Innovation in India and how NRIs can participate in the process?
Innovation is the conversion of information into valuable knowledge & ideas and subsequently into a significant benefit which may be new or improved products, processes or services. It is a means to realize the potential of invention by commercializing it so that the customer is willing to pay for it. A systematic Innovation management philosophy follows through the entire process from ideation, analysis/prioritization to implementation to monitoring.
Why this sudden focus on this word now?
The answer to this is the realization that the progress science and technology has made leading to prosperity and better standards of living in the West, is of use but predominantly to a section of people in urban India. The challenges for the rural population here are different from those of the West or any other developed nation.
To address this deficiency, in recent times, world-class companies like Microsoft, PepsiCo, IBM, Cisco, Nokia, GE, Xerox etc. are now setting their R&D base in India, creating next generation business models and organizational structures and developing affordable and sustainable solutions for the Indian masses which can then be scaled up to a global market.
For example Project Shakti co-created by Unilever and MART and e-Choupal of ITC are pioneering examples of innovative delivery and procurement models, where rural women organized as self-help group acts as end line distributors for Unilever household products. These self-help groups are credited by banks via the microfinance mechanism. The e-Choupal of ITC, established an IT based exchange that provides information on agricultural prices, weather, aims at selling ITC agri-products as well as sourcing raw materials. Further, it persuaded the existing agricultural mandi (market) agents to be the e-Choupal operator thus maintaining and working with the existing rural relationships. The Indian government has been playing a major role locally to uplift the 600 thousand villages with tools like the USOF (Universal Services Obligation Fund). National Innovation Foundation (NIF) is leading several initiatives for rural innovations. They have triggered grassroots innovations to a new level with their Sristi and Gian programmes. NIF is publishing a newsletter called Honey Bee (on indigenous innovations) and a rural immersive visit called Shodhyatra to spread best practices and learn about locally developed innovative solutions.
An IT enabled innovation project is the building of the UID (Unique Identification) for all Indian citizens, a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government, was originally conceived by India’s Planning Commission. This is envisaged to bring about a revolution for the “Aam Aadmi” in India who will be able to improve their livelihood on many fronts. One interesting trend observed is that of Reverse Innovation, where an innovation is developed and/or adopted first in the developing world then deployed in mature markets. It is bringing a whole new meaning and perspective compared to traditional innovation. India and other nations such as Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and China are increasingly exhibiting “jugaad”—a way to find an effective solution, which is makeshift and short term and in the true sense is an inspiration to adapt existing solutions using low cost technology.
India has gained a position amongst the top innovator countries for technology-based products and services. The country has recently been performing on a relatively higher scale, and harnessing its innovation potential India is increasingly becoming a top global innovator for high-tech products and services. In order to reap the benefits of an increasing market for innovations, it is important that the potential is harnessed to the maximum capacity for achieving sustainable social and economic growth transformations.
Moving forward, NRIs can participate in the process. It has been proved that rural India clearly plays an important role and act as the lead markets for innovations at the grass root levels. Companies are successfully catering to these rural areas by effectively locating their R&D in such markets to take advantage of the existing demands and leaning opportunities. Saturation levels have already been attained in highly developed countries, whereas, in the case of emerging economies like India, increasing demands, and the competitive pressure are forcing these companies to seek new growth avenues. As a result, there exists a higher demand for technically robust and environment friendly products and services rather than sophisticated products.
As one of the fastest emerging economies, India has become a major attraction as a low cost hub with a high demand of frugal innovations. The innovations that have been carried out at the grass roots levels across India have become popular and are increasingly being employed to render enhanced results for other developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The outstanding economic growth during the last decade tied with affirmative future stance, an enormous rural and urban market, strong technical skill and expertise, liberal FDI policy which allows free participation and investment from foreign companies and a well structured policy framework offers enough protection for future development of innovations in India.
Investments are made in Indian states. As a facilitation body, how does the OIFC help address queries by prospective investors, and at what stage does it enable the investor to interact directly with the state?
Keeping in view of the high State participation, OIFC has revamped the Query Addressal (QA) system and now includes the States in the same. OIFC has 8 State Partners on board. Registered-user in the OIFC website can ask query directly and get answer directly from the selected advisor/expert/government officer. (See the QA flow chart).
What is your own vision for the OIFC for the next two years?
• OIFC is ardently involved in helping overseas Indians expand their economic engagement with India through
o Outreach & Consulting: Query addressal of overseas Indians and facilitation with the support of Knowledge Experts from Indian industry
o Diaspora Engagement Meets, Road Shows and Business Forums, organised in India and overseas.
o Business community groups on the OIFC portal
o OIFC Market place at PBD 2012
o B2B meetings.
Going forward, OIFC plans to make the facilitation centre as
• A one stop shop for overseas Indians to engage with India
• A platform for all states to connect with overseas Indians
• A platform for knowledge exchange between the Indian diaspora and India.
OIFC Market Place Advantage B2B meetings and more
The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) will be organizing the 6th OIFC Market Place Forum at the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), scheduled from 7-9 January, 2012 at Jaipur, Rajasthan.
The OIFC Marketplace is a premier business networking forum for PBD delegates to facilitate the expansion of their economic linkages with India, and encompasses the setting up of business meetings of PBD delegates with OIFC’s State & Knowledge Partners that help match buyers and suppliers, through a pre-event scheduling. This Market Place will be an exclusive meeting place/information centre for all delegates to get answers to their queries. It will be a place to network, watch presentations, conduct B2B meetings and most importantly enable the diaspora to connect to India personally, financially, emotionally and socially.
OIFC’s State Government Partners, Knowledge Partners and Media Partners will showcase their services at the OIFC Market Place Pavilion and will interact with the delegates to discuss State level initiatives for NRIs, various investment opportunities in India, procedures to set up a business in India, NRI banking, investing in capital markets, and more.
During this premier business networking forum for the PBD delegates, the special attraction will be pre-scheduled B2B meetings which will offer the delegates the unique opportunity to build relationships with OIFC’s stakeholders in a relaxed environment conducive for business discussions in a series of one-on-one meetings. The 3-day forum will consist of a series of pre-scheduled appointments, with numerous networking opportunities to do business and exchange ideas with the potential diaspora investors/ business men.
To facilitate such pre-scheduled B2B-meeting appointment and for maximum utilization of the delegate visit to the Market Place, a dedicated B2B portal has been created with the following facilities:
• Access details of all OIFC Partners participating in the Market Place and other delegates
• Facility of online request for meetings with all the OIFC Partners and registered delegates
• Free access to the OIFC Market Place exhibition area
• Dedicated facility for conducting scheduled meetings,
• Display of own profile on the portal to enable other delegates to request for meetings.
This pre-scheduler of B2B meetings facilitates time management of one to one meeting of the PBD delegates. OIFC Market Place’s B2B participants profile includes:
State Partners: Government of Assam, Government of Bihar, Government of Gujarat, Government of Karnataka, Government of Kerala, Government of Orissa, Government of Punjab, Government of Rajasthan and Government of Jharkhand.
Premium Knowledge Partner: Axis Bank, Earth Infrastructure Ltd., Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, Magus Consulting, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India.
Knowledge Partner: Corporate Professionals (India) Pvt Ltd and Peeyush Aggarwal & Co. Consultancy Pvt Ltd.
Associate Partners: Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) and Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC).