Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said he favoured more foreign participation in the Indian media and that the time had come for local media houses to invest overseas.
"I welcome greater foreign participation in our media because India is fundamentally an open society with an open economy," Singh said at the annual Business Standard awards function, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the newspaper's launch.
"I hope we will soon see more outward investment in media, both electronic and print, to reach out to wider global audiences," he added.
At the moment, India permits foreign direct investment up to 26 per cent in news publications and up to 74 per cent in non-news publications.
Singh said the country would attain a growth rate of 7-8 per cent in 2005-06, following up on an eight per cent growth rate in 2004-05. “In 20 years, a growth rate of 8 per cent will deliver twice as much growth as a rate of 5 per cent," he said.
The prime minister also said his government would accord priority to the country's energy security and improvement of the social and physical infrastructure, while focusing on employment generation and balanced regional growth.
In a ceremony attended by leading businessmen, Singh gave away the Business Standard CEO of the Year award to Bharat Forge Chairman and Managing Director Baba N Kalyani. The award was given in recognition of his efforts to transform Bharat Forge into a globally competitive manufacturer of automobile components.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation received the Star Company (Public Sector) award for being the most profitable company in India, for its global efforts and success in turning around Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd.
Hyundai Motors bagged the Star Company (Unlisted Firms) award for its success in becoming India's second largest car maker and the largest exporter of passenger cars in a short time.
Mercator Lines was chosen as the Star Company for the SME sector, with a 100 per cent compounded annual growth rate of net profit in the last three years.
BD Narang, chairman and managing director of the Oriental Bank of Commerce, received the Banker of the Year award.
The Fund Manager of the Year (Equities) award went to Madhusudan Kela, head of equities at Reliance Mutual Fund, while the Fund Manager of the Year (Debt) award was bagged by Rajiv Anand, head of investments, Standard Chartered Mutual Fund.
Earlier, Business Standard Limited Chairman T Thomas extended a warm welcome to the prime minister, describing him as the most capable head of government in the world. In his brief observation, Olivier Fleurot, chief executive officer of the Financial Times and FT.com, spoke about his newspaper's growing relationship with Business Standard.