Fiscal 2016 was marked by events with significant implications for both developed and emerging economies.
On the global front, three key trends dominated which included slowdown in economic growth in China, divergence in monetary policy action across developed and emerging economies and a sharp decline in commodity prices. A noteworthy revival in global growth continued to remain a challenge. In India, we saw improvements in several key economic indicators like inflation, foreign investments and current account deficit. Government''s policy initiatives were focused on creating a favourable environment for growth, social inclusion and investments. However, there were challenges in terms of slowdown in nominal growth, impact of muted global commodity prices on some important sectors and subdued private investments.
The financial sector saw increased opportunities in the retail space during the year, indicating growing preference for financial savings. The Government emphasised the importance of long-term savings in its inclusive growth initiatives. During the year, the Prime Minister''s Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana was launched which has the potential to significantly increase the penetration of insurance in the country. Your company continued to leverage these opportunities and maintained its leadership position in the industry. At the same time, we continue to build on the larger goals of providing adequate financial protection to a large crosssection of the country''s population. Our philosophy of customer centricity has earned us the trust of millions of our customers. We have taken the lead in leveraging digital platforms for improving the customer experience and expanding the tools available to our distribution channels. Our digital strategy has helped us to continue on the growth path and meet the growing expectations of world class service for our customers in a cost effective manner.
The life insurance sector continued to benefit from important policy decisions. Last year the foreign investment limits were increased from 26% to 49%. In the current year this was further liberalised by permitting foreign investment up to 49% under the automatic route. I believe, this is an important step in unlocking the growth potential and the opportunity for value creation in the sector. Fiscal 2016 marked a major milestone for the company with the addition of two highly regarded financial investors as new shareholders in the company. This transaction helped to establish a valuation benchmark and was an affirmation of the substantial value created by your company.
Going forward, India presents immense opportunities to expand the life insurance business given the vast untapped potential, rising prosperity including a potentially favourable impact of the seventh pay commission and the increasing awareness of the need for financial protection. We will continue to focus on meeting the diverse needs of our customers and create sustainable value for all our stakeholders.
With best wishes,