Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that US President Barack Obama’s visit has helped in forging a ‘new commercial relation’ with India and exuded confidence that American businesses would increase investment in the country.
“The conclave of Indian and American CEOs exhibited a strong confidence about India. The desire of American businesses to invest in India was great. Their queries related essentially to the ease of doing business in India,” he said in his Facebook post, ‘President Obama, Davos and After’.
“With the American economy growing stronger, US corporates are flush with funds looking to invest elsewhere. India appears high on their agenda,” he said.
The conclave of CEOs, which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Obama, was organised as a part of the 3-day visit of the US President which concluded on Tuesday.
“President Barack Obama’s visit to India has helped forge a new commercial relationship with India,” Jaitley said.
The Minister said that while most competing economies were facing serious challenges, “India is promising to accelerate its growth. Hope has revisited us. We cannot allow obstructionism or complacency to squander this opportunity. This is a loud and clear message from Davos”.
India, he added, “needs more resources. Our domestic resources are not adequate. The cost of our capital is high. The world is looking to invest. There are not too many options which are more attractive than India.”
Referring to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos last week, Jaitley said, the investors were looking at India with greater enthusiasm.
“The India focused meetings were over-attended. Many who wanted to register for these meetings were disappointed at the fact that they could not get entry,” he said.
India had the second largest contingent next only to that of the US at the Davos meeting, Jaitley said, adding that “this year the environment was entirely different”.
Government leaders, policy makers, heads of major corporations were engaging with India and “our own industrialists were attending the conferences with a renewed sense of confidence with their heads held high,” he said.
The optimism was, however, tempered with caution as people wanted to know if India will be able to deliver on its promises and translate ordinances into law, he said.
“Will the obstructionists be able to derail India’s march? Many questions centred around this skepticism,” he said.
India’s Prime Minister, he further said, was described as a strong, decisive and a pro-reform leader. The four important ordinances relating to land, insurance, coal and mining have demonstrated India’s determination towards reforms, he added.
Observing that both internal and external factors favour the country, Jaitley said: “Oil price decline has favoured India as a net buyer. With a reform oriented Government in place, India’s policy to move upwards in near future is rated high.”
Moreover, he added, the states were competing with each other for higher growth.
At the Davos, he said, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis aggressively sought investments for their states.
Elaborating on his point of getting American investment following euphoria generated by Obama’s visit, Jaitley said, “the United States is undoubtedly the principal engine of global economic growth. Its growth rate is moving up. Brazil, South Africa and Europe are facing challenges”.
China, he said, has realistically accepted that 7 per cent growth rate is the new normal. “The IMF considers this figure as more than normal.”