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Indian PM Statement to Business Leader New York on 27 September 2013

Indian PM Statement to Business Leader New York on 27 September 2013

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Indian PM Statement to Business Leader New York on 27 September 2013
Indian PM Statement to Business Leader New York on 27 September 2013

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PM’s Opening Statement to Business Leaders in New York 
(27 September 2013)
Transcript of Statement to Media by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh after his BilateralMeeting with President Obama in Washington D.C
I welcome you all to this meeting, which you have come to attend at such shortnotice on a Friday evening.
In today’s world, a strong two way economic and business partnership is the
 bedrock of a strong bilateral relationship. The business communities in both our countries have played a very important role in the development of the India-U.S.strategic partnership. Our cooperation is now truly broad-based.Apart from trade and investment, we are constructively engaged in energy security,education and research, defence, homeland security and cyber security.President Obama and I had a very productive meeting earlier today and I conveyedto him that, despite economic turbulence all around, our trade and investmentrelationship remained a high point of Indo-US engagement.I am aware that the business community in the United States has some concerns
about India’s growth prospects, macroeconomic stability and the economic policy
environment. Doubts have been expressed about our sincerity in this regard. This isa mistaken perception. I would like to use this meeting to correct it if I can, andalso to understand your points of view.We have an abiding commitment to fostering an economic environment that isopen, predictable and transparent, and which is business and investment friendly.We are determined to restore the high momentum of growth of the past decade andmaintain macroeconomic stability. We also know that achieving this means moreand not less reforms.
The process of reforms that began in 1991 has benefited India both in terms of accelerated economic growth as well as rapid reduction in poverty. Virtually all political parties in India, national and regional, have been part of successivegovernments in India after 1991 and have supported the process of reforms. Thisgives us confidence about the future direction of our economic policies.It is a fact that our growth rate has slowed down. We grew at an average of about8% for a decade. Last year, our growth rate dipped to 5%. To some extent, thisreflects the slowdown in the global economy and in all emerging markets.We are committed to getting India back to a sustainable growth path of 8-9%.Indeed, the Indian people will not tolerate anything less. They have tasted the benefits of rapid inclusive economic growth and they want more, not less.
The fundamentals of the Indian economy remain strong. India’s overall public
-debtto GDP ratio has been on a declining trend from 73.2% of GDP in 2006-07 to 66%in 2012-
13. Similarly, India’s external debt is only 21.2% of GDP and short
-termdebt stands at 5.2% of GDP.Our forex reserves stand at over US$270 billion, and are more than sufficient to
meet India’s external financing requirements.
 In order to restore growth, our Government has implemented a series of reformmeasures over the last year. We have established a special mechanism to speed upimplementation of large projects, especially in the infrastructure sectors. Severaldecisions have been taken to remove impediments in the way of important projects.We have taken steps to make India more attractive for Foreign Direct Investment.FDI limits have been increased in several sectors, including retail and telecom, andrestrictions in the banking sector have been eased. The policy regarding FDI indefence has been clarified to indicate that FDI beyond 26% can also be consideredon merits.The results of our efforts will be visible in the second half of the year. We expect
stronger growth in 2013-14 than in 2012-13. The second half of the year should seea distinct turnaround, partly because of the good monsoon and partly because of the steps we have taken.We will contain the fiscal deficit to 4.8% this year. We are also confident of achieving our medium term objective of reducing the Current Account Deficit to2.5% of our GDP. At the same time, we will make every effort to maintain amacro-economic framework friendly to foreign capital inflows to enable orderlyfinancing of the Current Account Deficit.A number of tax related concerns of US companies, with wholly ownedsubsidiaries in India, have been addressed. Some security related restrictions onelectronic imports were perceived as disguised protectionism.We have put these restrictions in abeyance and will work to find more acceptablesolutions that address our legitimate security needs.I also wish to assure you that India is committed to the protection of intellectual property. We recognize that investment and innovation in a country requires such protection. We have strong IPR legislation in India, consistent with our WTOobligations. We are continually trying to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms.There has been one solitary instance so far of compulsory licensing for an anti-cancer drug and there has been one instance when the Supreme Court of Indiarejected a patent extension claim on a legitimate ground.I would like to use this opportunity also to urge you to oppose efforts to create barriers for Indian IT companies through legislative or administrative measures.These companies are the most ardent champions of India-U.S. relations. The ITand related services sector contributes 8% of our GDP and 25% of our exports. Itemploys three million people directly.The inability of IT companies to operate in the U.S. market would not only affectour economy, but also the climate of opinion in India about the economic partnership with the U.S.

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