[해외기고] ‘메이크 인 인디아’ 1년반 모디 인도 총리, 한국에 적극 러브콜

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* ‘아시아엔’ 해외필진 기고문의 한글요약본과 원문을 함께 게재합니다.

[아시아엔=프라모드 마터 인도 스포트필름 CEO·번역 김아람 기자] 나렌드라 모디 인도 총리는 취임한 직후인 2014년 9월 “인도를 제조업 허브로 만들겠다”며 ‘메이크 인 인디아’를 정책 기조로 삼아왔다. 그 후 1년 반, ‘메이크 인 인디아’는 어떻게 진행되고 있을까?

지난 2월말 인도 정부는 ‘경제발전’과 ‘재정적자 축소’에 중점을 둔 ‘2016년 예산안’을 발표했다. 총 규모는 5조5천억루피(99조원)로, 경기부양을 위해 신규 창업 기업의 세금을 3년간 면제하는 등 다양한 유인책을 내놓았다. 재정적자를 메우기 위한 방안으로는 담뱃세 10~15% 인상 등을 제시했다. 그러나 ‘메이크 인 인디아’와는 거리가 있다는 평가가 잇따른다. 김용식 포스코경영연구원 뉴델리 사무소 소장은 “재정적자 감축 목표 설정은 긍정적”이라면서도 “그러나 기업의 활발한 활동을 뒷받침 해줄 수 있는 개혁조치는 보이지 않는다”고 지적했다. 야당의 반대에 부딪혀 추진하지 못하고 있는 세금 개혁, 투자 유치를 위한 노동법 개정, 토지 수용법 개정도 아쉬운 부분이다.

한편 모디 총리의 기업하기 좋은 환경 조성을 위한 노력은 계속되고 있다. 올해 1월14일, 인도 뉴델리에서 이틀 동안 열린 ‘한-인도 비즈니스 서밋’에 박용만 두산그룹 회장, 신동빈 롯데그룹 회장, 정의선 현대자동차 부회장 등이 참석해 인도 정재계 인사들과 경제협력 및 투자 방안을 논의했다. 지난 2월13일엔 모디 총리가 인도 뭄바이에서 열린 ‘메이크 인 인디아 위크’ 전시장의 한국관을 직접 방문해 한국 기업의 인도 투자를 요청하기도 했다. 이날 모디 총리는 “한국이 인도 제조업 성장에 큰 역할을 했다. 한국의 더 많은 투자를 바란다”고 언급했으며, 당시 한국관에는 두산중공업, 현대차, LG전자, 우심시스템 등 8개 기업이 참여했다.

또한 작년 5월, 모디 총리의 방한을 통해 양국 관계를 ‘특별 전략적 동반자관계’(Special Strategic Partnership)로 격상 및 규정하고, 한국정부는 100억달러(11조7400억원) 규모의 인도 투자 펀드를 조성하는 등 교역 확대를 꾀하고 있다.

Impact of Indian Budget 2016 on Global Industry and Economy

Indian media does not tire of analyzing the Economic Survey and the Budget proposal 2016 announced by Mr. Arun Jaitely, the Finance Minister of Prime Minister Modi.

“Make in India”, “Ease of Doing Business” and “Skilling India” are three most important thrust areas that are close to the heart of Prime Minister Modi. Clearly, Prime Minister Modi has put all his might in these “Transformative Agenda” initiatives to give a boost to the Indian industry and economy.

Who’s who of the South Korean business, whose accumulative worth is $600 billion, had gathered in New Delhi for the first ever mega ‘India Korea Business Summit’ on Jan. 14-15. The aim was to push the ‘Make in India’ initiative by bringing together Indian skills and the Northeast Asian country’s manufacturing capabilities. The Summit was organized by Chosun Ilbo, the largest media business group in South Korea and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Unfortunately, in 2014, as it took charge, the Government of Mr. Modi had inherited the draconian “Retrospective Tax regime” imposed by the previous government. It has been an uphill task for the Prime Minister to undo the damage it had already done to the sentiments of foreign investors.

In order to soothe nerves of foreign investors, the government has now offered one-time settlement of cases emanating from retrospective amendment of tax laws. The companies are being asked to pay the basic tax demand and get waiver for interest and penalty.

To provide a stable and predictable taxation regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2016-17, came out with a ‘Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme’. This is meant to resolve cases pending in any court, tribunal, arbitration or mediation under the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA).

According to an article appearing in The Indian Express, “this is a big step towards tax reform and will act as a breather for companies like Vodafone and Cairn. They have been facing multi-billion dollar tax liability following retrospective tax amendments made in 2012.

Commissioned by the Times of India, according to global analytical company CRISIL report, “The current financial year will see car and utility vehicle sales grow 11-13%, aided by higher disposable incomes, seventh pay commission pay outs and competitively priced launches. Two wheeler sales will grow 10-12% on higher farm incomes. Commercial vehicle sales will increase 7-9%, driven by improved industrial growth, steady replacement demand from large truck operators and higher private consumption and finance”.

The report goes on to add, “Credit offtake is expected to grow 11-13% in 2015-16 and 12-14% in 2016-17, driven by narrowing spreads between bank base rates, money market rates, and healthy retail demand.

Total gross non-performing assets, which stood at 6% of gross advances as of December 2015, are expected to remain high in the next financial year”. A 49% increase in investments in national highways and Indian Rupee(INR) 17,000 crore government spend on irrigation projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Project would be positive. An 11% increase in outlay towards urban infrastructure would be another plus.

Spurred by domestic consumption, there would be a boost in apparel sales by 6.5-7% year-on-year. It is expected that domestic apparel sales will grow in 2016-17, while the demand for exports is seen shrinking.

Broadly, a 10-15% increase in excise duty on cigarettes and 15-16% on several other tobacco products is expected to discourage consumption and impact revenue of key players including imports.
Published in Financial Express, according to “The Brand Trust Report of 2016”, Korean smartphone maker Samsung Mobiles has emerged as India’s most trusted brand followed by Sony and LG. Clearly, Indian consumers are acutely aware of what is good and not good in the market influencing brand trust and choice.

A Samsung spokesperson confirmed the company’s plans. “Samsung Electronics sees India as a very important market. Being a leading player in the consumer electronics and durables business and India’s biggest television and smartphone manufacturer, we are committed to the idea of ‘Make for India’,” the spokesperson said.

Korean investors in India
In February this year, the government invited South Korean investors to invest in India. They were informed of the initiatives taken by the Centre to simplify procedures, bring in transparency and systemic improvements.

Union Steel and Mines Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar, met a delegation from South Korea led by Mayor of Pohang, Lee Kang-Deok. The minister highlighted some of the government’s initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ and “invited South Korea to invest in India and partner by knowledge exchange and technology transfer.”

Discussions were also held on developing value added products/special steels with collaborative arrangements from steel majors in Korea. This includes design of Slag Granulation Plant (SGP) to introduce the technology in existing steel plants in India, it said.

With “Make in India” and “Ease of Doing business” initiatives by Prime Minister Modi, the Indian industrial investment landscape is wide open in the infrastructure development sectors like smart cities, power generation and roads.

With a tag of “Special Strategic Partnership”, the $10 billion fund extended by the Korean Government will provide much needed “shot in the arm” to the plans of Mr. Modi.

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