Wide-ranging reforms make India an attractive investment destination: Nirmala Sitharaman
NEW DELHI: India is committed to long term relationship with investors from the US and the two partners have set a target of achieving $500 billion trade, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday while addressing prominent foreign investors such as General Electric, Baxter Healthcare USA, Brambles, Marsh & McLennan Companies, and PepsiCo.
According to a note by the external affairs ministry, the two sides targeted to increase bilateral trade in goods and services to $500 billion during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September 2014.
Addressing the India Chamber of Commerce USA’s Summit on Global Financial & Investment Leadership in October last year, commerce minister Piyush Goyal recalled that the bilateral trade between US and India grew from $126 billion dollars in 2017 to $145 dollars in 2019. “The target we have set of $500 billion dollars in the next 5 years is eminently doable,” he said last year. India-US bilateral trade in goods and services was $104 billion in 2014.
Sitharaman, who was virtually participating in a roundtable organised by the US India Business Council (USBIC), acknowledged the efforts of CEOs of top 40 American companies for creating a global task force to mobilise resources for India during the second Covid wave, a finance ministry statement said.
The roundtable, ‘Maximizing India’s Sustainable and Inclusive Growth as Global Destination for U.S. Investment’, provided investors with an opportunity to engage with the finance minister and other senior officials of the Indian government. Formed in 1975, USBIC is a business advocacy organisation to enlighten and encourage the private sectors of both India and the Us to enhance investment flows.
“The areas of discussion included life sciences, green energy, infrastructure, insurance, defence, security, manufacturing, renewable energy, power, pharmaceuticals, textiles and hospitality and digital economy,” it said.
The finance minister also spoke about the ₹6.28 lakh crore economic stimulus and relief package announced recently, which was tailored to meet the basic requirement of investors. She also informed the investors about India’s consistent and continuous wide-ranging reforms that make the country an attractive destination for foreign investment and how India continues to rise as a global economic powerhouse, the statement said.
She spoke about the budget initiative pertaining to the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at GIFT City and reiterated the government’s commitment towards developing it into a globally competitive hub for innovation and financial activities to serve the Indian economy and the region as a whole, it said.
Sitharaman said there is a sharp decline in new Covid infection with ramping up of the vaccination programme and India has witnessed continued macro-economic stability and resilience in economic recovery in the recent months. India has a “strong track record” towards reform implementation in the last six years, the statement said quoting her.
In her concluding remarks, Sitharaman assured her audience of India’s “consistent and continuous productive reforms” that make the country an investor-friendly destination.
Economic affairs secretary Ajay Seth highlighted India’s progress in areas of policy and taxation. He spoke about this year’s responsive and responsible budget focusing towards resolving investment and tax assessment issues, asset monetisation and privatisation of most of the sectors, the statement said.