Investment hurdles will go: Pranab

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the CEOs Conference in Washington. Industries and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma is also seen. Photo: PTI  

India on Wednesday assured US Inc. that its concerns on infrastructure, investment restrictions and other impediments would be addressed expeditiously, and a road map prepared for discussions ahead of President Barack Obama's visit in November.

The U.S. corporate world wanted India to address issues relating to foreign investment in the infrastructure and insurance sectors, hoping that legislative action would be expedited, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told PTI in an interview here.

Meanwhile, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who also participated in the India-U.S. CEOs summit, promised calibrated FDI liberalisation in sectors such as defence and retail in the face of the U.S. demand for opening up different segments for foreign investors.

Seeking the support of U.S. investors for bridging an estimated $250-300 billion gap in the infrastructure investment needs of India in the next five years, Mr. Mukherjee assured American CEOs that a high-level panel would identify areas of concern and prepare a road map for discussions before Mr. Obama's visit.

India's efforts to attract investments from the U.S. were aimed at realising, as Mr. Mukherjee said, India's hope of double-digit economic growth by 2012, up from an estimated over 8.5 per cent in the current fiscal.

Mr. Mukherjee said China allowing its currency yuan to appreciate against the dollar would not have much impact on India and was a welcome step in the long-run.

On the issues raised by American CEOs regarding creating a favourable investment scenario in India, Mr. Mukherjee said: “Certain issues that are pending, naturally they emphasised it. For instance the opening up of the insurance sector, 26 per cent to 49 per cent, where legislation is pending.”

He was asked whether the U.S. CEOs sought more opening up on issues like taxation and liberalisation.

“Similarly to have the replicable model in respect of what we have done in the mega power project to replicate it in the sectors of road and others… There is also the land acquisition Act, which is pending and rehabilitation of the displaced persons, these legislation are pending. So they expect that we shall have to expedite these legislative actions,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

“I am happy that the way things are moving, and the chief executive officers representing the important corporate sector, they also expressed their happiness that they are having exchange of views with the Indian government,” he added.

Terming his meetings here very successful, Mr. Mukherjee said: “My bilateral discussions with Secretary of the State [Hillary Clinton] and Secretary of Treasury [Timothy Geithner] clearly indicated that they are interested in widening and deepening the relationship between India and the U.S… this was a good visit and all the meetings were successful.”

Mr. Mukherjee said that after returning to India he would “set up a committee, a small group, under the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission [Montek Singh Ahluwalia], who will co-ordinate with the Ministries concerned on the issues which have been identified...”

He said India-U.S. relations were “moving in the right direction” and the countries would make a breakthrough in major areas.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 10:14:31 AM |

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