• Thursday, March 05, 2015

Lok Sabha Election 2014

US urges pro-business govt in New Delhi

Reuters, Washington

The United States has urged the Indian government that emerges from ongoing elections to follow economic policies that encourage investment, saying Washington would like to see bilateral trade grow to $500 billion a year.
Nisha Biswal, US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said future economic growth in South Asia hinged on India as the region's growth engine.
However, Biswal said that while Indian leaders had targeted $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over five years to close gaps preventing growth in manufacturing, policies still inhibited foreign investment. She said India ranked a poor 134 out of 189 countries as a place to invest and start a business.
"India, the world's largest democracy, must decide its own path to the future," Biswal said in a speech at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
"Will it make the reforms necessary to attract investment? Will it capitalize on the opportunities that lie in front of it?
"Those are the questions that India's voters are asking as they cast their ballots and those are the questions that we want to see answered," she said.
Growth in Asia's third-largest economy, has almost halved to below 5 percent in the past two years on weak investment and consumer demand, the worst slowdown since the 1980s.

Polls show the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition party, is on course to win most seats in the election that began on April 7.
In its election manifesto, the BJP said it would welcome foreign direct investment in all sectors that create local jobs, - except for supermarkets, a setback to global chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Carrefour
It remains unclear though whether the BJP will follow through on the supermarket ban or whether its announcement was just pre-election rhetoric.
BJP insiders remain cautious about laying out specific plans because the party may need to adjust its policies after the election to win over allies and form a coalition government if it falls short of the parliamentary majority required to rule.

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, April 19, 2014

Last modified: 2:43 am Saturday, April 19, 2014

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