The Man Running Govt's Own Startup

Starting Invest India was the most satisfying part of Deepak Bagla’s professional journey. The nodal agency which began in 2015 started functioning in 2016 effectively. In the words of Bagla, “it’s like a startup of the government”.

The Man Running Govt's Own Startup

Invest India

In a short span of time, the agency has actually shown great outcomes. In 2016, India was considered one of the most complex places to do business in the world. The country didn’t have a national-level investment promotion agency, while every other country in the world has it. In the words of Bagla, “Even though it was to be formed in 2009, but was brought into action only five years back when the Prime Minister had created a similar entity in Gujarat and it achieved success.” Bagla’s consensus is with great leadership which according to him is the only way you can fast track functioning.

Sixty months ahead, Invest India is rated as the number one agency for three years in a row but most importantly the World Association of Investment and Promotion, the primary body representing trade and industry announced last week Invest India as elected President unanimously. In these trying times when we are moving out of a pandemic, trusting a young agency is a huge is a sign of great belief and trust in leadership. As per Bagla, the average age of the team at Invest India is 30. The agency has even won the Great Place to Work certification twice. The leader of the investment promotion agency adds, “If the leader of your country wants an institution of excellence and has created a clear objective that means you have to give it that autonomy and that freedom within a government set up,” which clearly has been the secret sauce of success behind Invest India.

Invest India not only helps partner countries and companies in helping them create a plan, get them fast approvals, guide them in their process and see how quickly it gets grounded. As one of the objectives, they also shorten the time distance of the big decision to invest. “The reason that I’ve been able to squeeze that timeline; it has a huge impact on the profitability because capital starts working the day it gets you to start your construction, not only after the time of your commercial production begins,” states Bagla.

If the leader of your country wants an institution of excellence and has created a clear objective that means you have to give it that autonomy and that freedom within a government set up.

Bagla quotes the example of the world’s leading blade manufacturing company from Denmark, which got all the approvals and started a factory within 15 days. “This is a story where if you have astute policymaking if you are well connected with the entire stakeholders and you have efficient execution, you can actually show magical outcomes,” states Bagla. As per Bagla, India is today the number one destination of global multinationals that think of R&D centers outside of their headquarters. As the real focus of the government has been the ease of doing business that has a huge difference in topping the charts, be it land reforms or single window clearance. Even in the worst lockdown in human history on the 31st of March of this year, India had an FDI of over $81 billion, that’s the highest ever FDI brought in the history of the nation.

Ask Bagla if the same would have happened 10 years ago, pat came the reply, “I don’t know. I don’t think we would have been able to bring it to the same point, or you would have seen Invest India in the same manner as you see it today. So we are in many ways a product of the changing times and of a new mindset, which India is witnessing. In many ways, also you will start looking at it as a new form of governance if I may use that word, the changing face of the government, the changing manner in which governments will protect you and within that space, I think I was lucky to get the kind of team which I got.”

As per Bagla, it is not an unprecedented change because the scale at which that change is happening and executed has to be maneuvered through entities like Invest India to fill in the vacuums and those places to assist the traditional forms of governance on how to take this form. And that can only happen when there is very symbiotic support and the relationship between the stakeholders be it the government and industry.

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