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Is ‘Brand India’ Visible Now?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conceptualized the idea of ‘Brand India’ as his vision for India’s position in the twenty-first century. He defined the broad contours of his vision based on 5 T’s which are Talent,  Tradition, Tourism, Trade and Technology.

We did a research on the progress made in each of the above-mentioned T’s and determining if ‘Brand India’ is visible now.

Before we delve into the analysis, let us see what a branding and advertisement major, WPP has to say about ‘Brand India’.

As per the above report published in Business Line on September 07, 2018, David Roth, CEO, WPP said, “We have seen a distinctive change in ‘Brand India’. People have started seeing India as a better place to do business in than ever before. Prime Minister Modi is viewed on the positive, though some countries’ chiefs are viewed negatively. As an ambassador for ‘Brand India’, he is doing all the right things. He is ticking all the right boxes.”

1. Talent

India is now increasingly harnessing the talent of its scientists and young inventors. The Modi government has been emphasising upon innovation as a way to harness Indian’s entrepreneurial spirit. We have covered this aspect very comprehensively in one of our earlier articles and can also be seen in the graph below.

Source – 1. DIPP 2. Annual Report 2013-14

The number of patents granted by India has increased by about 200 per cent between the period 2013-14 and 2017-18. The patents given to residents are also showing a good trend.

Undoubtedly, as a result, India’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII), too, has jumped to 57th place, up from 66th place in GII 2013.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the necessary impetus to start-ups ecosystem in India by ensuring ease of doing business through various administrative reforms such as formulating a sectoral policy, giving rebates for start-ups, easing the process of patent filings among others. This has helped in fully utilising the entrepreneurial talent of India.


Source 1: CII, NASSCOM and Yes Bank Analysis
Source 2:
Source 3:

As can be seen from the above graphs, the number of tech-based start-ups have more than doubled to about 4750 in 2016 from 2200 in 2013. Importantly, disclosed overall start-ups funding saw a mind-boggling rise from $1.6 Bn in 2013 to $ 13 Bn in 2017. This shows the increasing confidence of the global community in ‘Brand India’ and its young entrepreneurs.

We have previously covered Start-up India exhaustively in one of our articles.


Indian players won 69 medals at the recently concluded Asian Games. This has been the best performance by an Indian contingent at the Asian games ever. We have explained in one of our earlier articles as to how the Khelo India program of the Modi government has been one of the initiatives, helping identify and nurture India’s regional sports talent.

Besides, India hosted the first ever FIFA tournament in 2017. FIFA hailed the event as ‘Fantastic Tournament’ with a record turnout of 1.35 million across venues. It appreciated the government of India lavishly. The tournament concluded as one of the most successful in the history of FIFA U-17 world cups. Though India has a long way to go, the successful hosting of the tournament created a lot of interest in the game among the Indian audiences and generated hope that India too could one day make its mark in the international football arena.

India has also started the process to hunt grassroots talent through the National Talent Search Portal. It will pave the way for Indian sporting talent from remote areas to rise up on the global stage.

2. Tradition

One of the shining examples of ancient Indian wisdom, Yoga has become synonymous with ‘Brand India’ especially after the institutional push it has received from the Modi Government.

As a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sustained efforts, United Nations has declared International Day of Yoga to be celebrated every year on June 21. It is for the first time that all the countries passed this resolution unanimously.

Moreover, Yoga along with Kumbh Mela, has also entered the UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage for Humanity.

As per the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018 by Walter R. Thompson of Georgia State University, Yoga has made it to the top 10 fitness trends in 2014 and has been under the top 10 since then including in the current year 2018 as shown below in the table.

Further, as per the Yoga in America Study 2016 conducted by the Yoga Journal, some of the findings make a case for Yoga’s increasing popularity and along with it, of ‘Brand India’.

  • There are 36.7 million yoga practitioners in USA, up from 20.4 million in 2012 which indicates a steep rise of about 80 percent.
  • Yoga as an industry is rising in the U.S.A. Yoga practitioners spend about $16.8 bn annually on Yoga classes, clothing, equipment and accessories.

And it’s not only USA or UK, but almost every country is adopting Indian Yogic traditions. Yoga continues to gain popularity in China, too, as noted in one of the headlines below.


The Indian government organised the World Food India Congress– a global mega food event for the first time in 2017. India showcased the broad spectrum of its food traditions to the global audience comprising of investors, CEOs of food MNCs and food enthusiasts from all over the world.


A report in the Washington Post commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to launch medicinal revolution says, “To relaunch Brand Ayurveda, government agencies have filed dozens of international patents, started research programs at top Indian universities and sent experts to develop Ayurveda courses at colleges around the world. Delegates in 25 countries have set up “information cells” to spread awareness about traditional Indian knowledge.”

3. Tourism

India is among the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. The tourism potential of India has increased exponentially after 2014 as India has eased the process of visa, providing e-visa facility for 150 countries among other measures.

Table: Number of Foreign Travelers coming to India (In lakhs)

Nationalities 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
USA 10.3 10.8 11.1 12.1 12.9
Mauritius 0.25 0.27 0.27 0.32 0.34
Oman 0.49 0.62 0.88 1.03 1.05
Ireland 0.24 0.27 0.28 0.32 0.36
Portugal 0.24 0.29 0.36 0.44 0.54
Australia 2.0 2.1 2.39 2.6 2.9
China 1.68 1.74 1.8 2.0 2.5

Approximate figures


If a comparison is drawn between the number of foreign travelers coming to India before and after 2014, one can clearly see a huge increase in the numbers of travelers after 2014.

For Example –

USA – An increase of about 0.45 lakh in number of travelers was seen between 2012 and 2013. However, between 2014 and 2015, the same increased by about 0.94 lakh. It shows a two-fold increase within a year itself after Prime Minister Modi took over.

The story is almost similar with many countries of the world like China and Australia as shown in the table above. India is now becoming a top choice for travellers world over.

India’s rise as a brand in itself is also reflected in its improved ranking in several global indexes.

Table: India’s rank in two important tourism indexes in the years 2013 and 2017

                              Index 2013 2017
WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 65th 40th
UN WTO’s World Tourism Barometer 41st 24th

*as published in the year

4. Trade
FDI In India

The ‘Brand India’ is now more visible than ever before. The Modi government brought in many reforms to attract Foreign Direct Investment and these reforms have paid off. Let us look at how India has become a more favourable FDI destination:

Source –

India for the first time registered $50 bn worth of FDI in 2015-16 as shown in the graph above. It touched $60 bn in FDI in 2016-17. These figures indicate a growing positive sentiment among the global investor community about health of Indian economy.  We have covered this aspect exhaustively in one of our earlier articles.

In fact, in the last four years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visits to foreign countries as well his efforts to ensure ease of doing business has led to a good inflow of FDI into the country. For example, FDI equity inflow from UAE in FY 2013-14 was $ 255 Mn (here) which after Prime Minister’s visit to UAE in 2015 increased to $ 1,050 Mn (here) in FY 2016-17. This shows a huge rise of more than 300 per cent.


India recently surpassed France to become the 6th largest economy in absolute terms in the world. Government’s reform agenda to firmly place ‘Brand India’ on the world’s business map has resulted in improvements in several ranking indexes.

Table: India’s rank in two important economic indexes in the years 2014 and 2017

                              Index 2014 2017
World Bank’s Ease of doing business index 142nd 100th
WEF’s Global competitiveness index 71st 40th

*as published in the year

These improved rankings suggest increasing value of ‘Brand India’ among the global investors which has resulted in increased FDI inflow as mentioned above.

Yet another testimony to the fact that India is now becoming an attractive option for big bang investments is Samsung’s largest mobile manufacturing facility in the world launched in India recently.

5. Technology

India is an emerging technology power house. It has lately been receiving attention from the world community for its technological advancements which have produced some astonishing results.

  • India has been effectively using technology to work some of its widespread, structural programmes. The Modi government was able to launch its biggest tax reform since independence, the Goods and Service Tax, in one go due to the massive technological infrastructure to smoothen the transition process.
  • India, now, boasts of world’s most economical data tariff of Rs. 19 per GB, ensuring mobile penetration, even, in the deepest corners of the country.  Due to this, the vision of less-cash economy, too, has received a thrust. The BHIM app, a government app to promote digital economy, registered more than 3 crore downloads. It is interesting to note that as per a report, 30 countries have approached the Government of India to acquire the technology behind the BHIM App, taking India’s indigenous innovation worldwide.
  • India’s own payment gateway RuPay, a technology with select countries in the world, boasts of 50 crore plus cards in force, issued by 1100 issuing & acquiring Banks with 260+ Mn transactions in a month. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and Demonetisation are seen as major trigger points for widening the base of Rupay card holders.

Going a step further, RuPay has collaborated with Discover Financial Services (DFS) for better international acceptability. In recent times, RuPay card was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Singapore along with the BHIM App, taking Indian e-payments system international.

Other Technological Advancements
  • India launched 104 satellites in one go.
  • India now has its own GPS–NAVIC.
  • State-of-the-art integrated command and control centre of Naya Raipur, India’s first smart greenfield city, is the finest example of e-governance.
  • India reached Mars in its first attempt and became the first country in the world to have achieved this feat.
  • Digital India – 1.19 lakh gram panchayat connected through optical fibre network, up from mere 59 before the Modi government came into power in 2014.
  • India’s GAGAN (GPS-aided Geo Augmented Navigation), a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS), is for the first time being used in air navigation by the Airport Authority of India (AAI). The AAI has also offered the indigenous technology to other SAARC and Southeast Asian countries.
  • India is leading Solar power technology nation with world’s largest solar power park with 2 GW capacity.
  • India has, recently, announced a human mission to space by 2022.
  • India now has a unified Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM).
International Projects
  • LIGO – a gravitational wave detector to be built in India by 2022.
  • India became the associate member of CERN – world’s largest particle physics laboratory.
Research & Development

India’s public sector research and development body, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)  broke into the top 10 global institutions in the Scimago Institutions Ranking of 2017.

We have previously covered in one of our articles how India is taking the lead in the R&D sector.


Increasing patents, rising number of Start-ups and great sporting potential justifies the point that Indian talent is now getting more recognition than ever before. Yogic traditions of India are being adopted the world over. India has seen a notable rise in number of foreign travellers coming in. Trade has registered significant growth as seen in the increased FDI and improvements in India’s ranking in world economic indexes. Here too, cases of increased FDI inflow was noted in the background of PM Modi’s visit. Indian technology is expanding in all dimensions and it has rightly leveraged its robust technological infrastructure to launch some of the path-breaking projects in terms of their coverage –GST, BHIM and Rupay cards.

Overall, ‘Brand India’, on all the parameters set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is now visible on the world map as also noted by WPP’s CEO David Roth, “People have started seeing India as a better place to do business in than ever before.”