Top executives and CEOs from Indian and international financial institutions on Monday endorsed the capital market reforms proposed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his keynote address at the India Economic Summit on Sunday.

“We do need to do the things mentioned by the Prime Minister,” said Ashok Jha, Chairman, MCX Stock Exchange, India. Mr. Jha and other financial leaders were speaking at the session entitled “Financial aftershock: resuscitating the flow of private capital.”

Bond market

Dr. Singh had on Sunday stated that “We need to develop long-term debt markets and deepen corporate bond markets. This, in turn, calls for strong insurance and pension sub-sectors. We need to improve futures markets for better price discovery and regulation. We also need to remove institutional hurdles to facilitate better intermediation.”

Referring to the Prime Minister’s bold initiatives, Jim Quigley, Global Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte, U.S., said proposals for the bond market would facilitate capital flows from abroad in an environment where there was no longer excess capital. Robert Morrice, Chairman and Chief Executive, Asia Pacific, Barclays, Hong Kong SAR, noted that the proposed Insurance Bill would be a good start in the asset management area.

Upbeat

In general, the financial executives on the panel were upbeat about India’s future. “I have worked all over the world for 29 years with Merrill Lynch. There is a reason why I am in India,” said Kevan V. Watts, Country Head, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, India. The World Economic Forum is celebrating 25 years of active engagement in India at its annual India Economic Summit, now taking place in New Delhi from November 8 to 10.

Pepsico Chairperson and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi said the gathering of global business leaders to discuss a variety of issues in India was important considering the country’s position in the global stage today. “India is a major player in the world stage and has been for a while and will continue to be so in the next few of decades,” she told the summit.

Considering India’s population, the myriad issues it faced, and being the largest democracy in the world, Ms. Nooyi said it was important that for the principles of democracy to survive, India has to survive.

Interestingly, this year’s summit has set a new record for total participation with over 800 leaders from industry, government, civil society and academia from over 40 countries. The theme for this year’s summit is “India’s next generation of growth.”

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