- Jeff Bezos, during his visit to India, had promised to invest $1 billion
- Union Minister Piyush Goyal had scoffed at the announcement
- "It's important to encourage investment," IMF's Gita Gopinath said
India needs a lot of investment and it is important to encourage it, Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund or IMF told NDTV on Monday, in reference to the government's cold-shoulder to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during his visit last week.
Jeff Bezos, during a three-day visit to India that featured no meeting with any minister or government official, promised to invest $1 billion in India. Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal scoffed at the announcement, saying Mr Bezos had done "no great favours" with the investment. "They may have put in a billion dollars. But then if they make a loss of a billion dollars every year, then they jolly well have to finance that billion dollars. So it's not as if they are doing a great favor to India when they invest a billion dollars," the minister said while Mr Bezos was still in India.
To a question on whether Mr Goyal's remarks on Jeff Bezos had hurt market sentiment, Ms Gopinath said: ''India needs a lot of investment. It's important to encourage investment more broadly with the mandate of the country. We need to revive domestic investment in India, consumption spending is weak. So I think the environment has to be created for greater investment because that's what will raise the capital stock and raise India's potential growth.''
The IMF yesterday slashed India's growth forecast to 4.8 per cent, a cut of 1.3 per cent in just three months, and said the country's sharp slowdown was also a drag on the world economy.
''Given the size of the Indian economy in the global GDP right now, if you have a significant downward revision for India, then it does have an impact on global growth so we revised global growth down for 2019 by 0.1% and the vast majority of that comes from the downgrade for India,'' Ms Gopinath told NDTV.
The snub to the Amazon boss was linked by many to criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government in the Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos.
Congress leader P Chidambaram, in tweets this morning, commented that Gita Gopinath was one of the first to denounce demonetization and would now face attacks because of her remarks on the Indian economy. "I suppose we must prepare ourselves for an attack by government ministers on the IMF and Dr Gita Gopinath," tweeted the former finance minister.