Vodafone CEO positive about India

vodafone logoBritish telecom major Vodafone Group Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao  said the mood of the international investors about the new Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in India is positive but “quick decisions” will provide the necessary impetus to the companies.

“Some of the steps taken by the government are good and investors like it. The mood of the investors with the new government is positive because the programmes are good, the intentions are good,” he told reporters here.

However, he added: “We need to have simple rules, enough resources and quick decisions.”

Colao was here to the release “Footprints IV – Steps Today for a Better Tomorrow”, the fourth edition of the company’s annual sustainability report.

“Now it has to be ensured that political intentions are then translated into administrative actions. There is too much stuff that is locked into the offices of the regulator and the ministries,” he said.

He said “quick decisions” will provide the much-needed encouragement to the international companies to work in India.

Vodafone, the world’s second largest telecom company, has taxation issues with Indian government.

Slapped with a Rs.20,000 crore retrospective capital gains tax after it acquired the telecom assets of an Indian company in 2007, Vodafone has earlier maintained that it will continue with the ongoing international arbitration to resolve the dispute. Vodafone entered India in 2007 by buying Hutchison Whampoa’s assets in a $11 billion deal.

Applauding the Digital India initiatives of the Indian government, Colao said the government cannot do it alone and it will need the assistance of the private sector to fructify this initiative.

“I really applaud the initiatives of this government. I applaud the digital initiative of the government. In India they should not think just the initiative from government alone can resolve the issues. It is surely creating better position for private sector to invest and we will invest. We want to invest to serve the customers. Trust the private sector and we will deliver. We are the real engine to drive Digital India service,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address to the nation Aug 15 envisaged a Rs.1 lakh crore ($16 billion) project to transform the country into a digitally empowered and connected knowledge economy.

“The main reason why India is lagging behind other Asian countries in the broadband connection is because there is not enough availability of spectrum. Compared to other countries where Vodafone service is available, the situation is not very encouraging and that needs to change,” Marten Pieters, chief executive officer, Vodafone India said.

The company so far has invested Rs.70,000 crore in India and has 92 million rural customers.