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US praises reform measures of Modi govt, but wants more

Narendra-Modi 1

New Delhi: Lauding reform measures initiated by the Narendra Modi government, the US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew today said India needs more reforms and an open investment climate to attract private investors.

Stating that the reform initiatives undertaken by the Narendra Modi government will make the US companies more comfortable for investing in India, Lew said said there was an immense “untapped potential” in the economic relationship of the two countries.

“We are seeing progress in resolving tax disputes which has lingered for many years, with the resolution becoming clear, (it would) enhance the environment for US companies to be more comfortable in investing in India,” he said.

Lew was speaking at a joint press conference with Arun Jaitley on the conclusion of 5th Indo-US Economic Partnership meeting.

Stating that the trade between our countries has reached nearly USD 100 billion, he said that India accounted for only 1 per cent of the US exports, and 2 per cent of the imports.

“Additional reforms are necessary and increase in public investment combined with a more open investment climate and a deeper financial sector would help attract private infrastructure investment,” he said.

“The fact is that untapped potential in our economic relationship is immense. And by working together to realise this potential, we will strengthen both our economies. By investing in each other’s success, we can build a stronger and brighter future,” he said.

In India, he said, the Modi government has taken steps to reduce fuel subsidies which will help in curtailing deficits while providing the fiscal space to make investments, necessary to raise growth and employment.

He further said that the Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI) initiative has helped in increasing the participation of people in growth which in turn will promote prosperity,

“Enrolling 800 million people is remarkable. India’s rapid and inclusive financial inclusion campaigning will provide critical services by enabling a direct benefit transfer and improving the accountability and efficiency of Indian programmes,” Lew said.

He said both India and US working together can do more to help ensure widely shared growth, promote job creation and strengthen demand.

“In addition, the Modi government has made headway on reforms that will facilitate foreign investment in India’s infrastructure sector — thus helping India meets its significant infrastructure needs,” Lew said.

After coming to power in May 2014, the BJP government has taken a host of initiatives including relaxing norms for foreign investment to promote growth. It has also decontrolled diesel prices and has adopted the Ordinance route to pursue reforms in insurance, land laws and coal sector.

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