People will invest in India if laws are right: Indo-Canadian minister | india | Hindustan Times
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People will invest in India if laws are right: Indo-Canadian minister

If the Indian diaspora is to be tempted to invest in this country, then greater transparency, an institutional mechanism and clear cut laws are required, says a Canadian provincial minister of Indian origin.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2010 08:58 IST

If the Indian diaspora is to be tempted to invest in this country, then greater transparency, an institutional mechanism and clear cut laws are required, says a Canadian provincial minister of Indian origin.

"The government's role is to create an environment for investments. The government has to state what its priorities are. About how it is attractive to invest in this country and what returns an investor can expect. It has also to be made clear what the tax laws are," Harinder Singh Takhar, Ontario's Minister for Government Services, told IANS in an interview.

"If a system is in place, the investments will automatically flow in," said Takhar, who was here for the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), India's annual connect with its diaspora.

In this context, he recalled that he had suggested that an organisation like the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) - which jointly organises the PBD with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs - create a website where the major investment opportunities available could be uploaded.

"This will make information available 24x7 and greatly facilitate the (investment) process," said Takhar, who was attending his fourth PBD.

Referring to the major concerns of investors, he said these mainly related to the safety of their money and their property.

"People will make investments only when the laws are right. It's more about people feeling properly protected and cutting down on long-drawn legal battles. No one has the time or stamina for this," said Takhar, who arrived in Canada some 35 years ago and was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003.

"People will invest when they feel comfortable with businesses here on a one-to-one basis," he added.

The Indian government had referred to the issue Thursday, saying it was taking various steps to safeguard the interests of overseas Indians who have invested in property in India.

Speaking at a seminar on "Property-Related Issues of NRIs and PIOs" as a prelude to the PBD, Minister for Corporate Affairs Salman Khurshid said many solutions have been found to the issues raised by overseas Indians on property investments in the country and are being implemented in a phased manner.

Takhar, who left for Canada after acquiring a masters degree in economics from Punjab University, Chandigarh, spent another five years studying to be a Certified Management Accountant before holding leadership positions with several Canadian companies.

After winning his first election, he became a minister two years later and successively held the portfolios of transport, small businesses and consumer services. His present portfolio encompasses human resource management, the provincial public service commission, supervising all IT operations, overseeing procurements and providing government services to the public.

Asked whether he would utilise the knowledge and experience gained to connect with Indian industry, he replied in the affirmative but declined to give details.

"Yes. I am in talks. I met the secretary in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises yesterday (Thursday). I will also be talking to the IT people, but it's a little too early to say anything more," Takhar maintained.

Asked about his foray into politics, he attributed that to his prolonged community service. In 2001, Takhar received the Community Service Award from the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario for "demonstrating selflessness and kindness for the benefit of society".

Takhar and his wife Balwinder have two daughters. The family lives in Mississauga city.