Ahead of Modi’s US visit, Jaitley drums up India story, promises predictable tax regime


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Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already launched an outreach to the US investors, allaying their concerns about the business environment in India and making a strong pitch for scaling up bilateral trade and investment. Assuring a fair and predictable taxation regime, Mr Jaitley invited US investors to invest in various sectors, including infrastructure, manufacturing and defence. “There is need for us to have several internal changes, including quick decision-making, stable policies, predictable tax regime and improve ease of doing business,” Mr Jaitley said in his address at the 11th Indo-U.S. Economic Summit. “Already, the current Government is taking efforts to resolve several legacy issues that have brought adverse reputation to the Indian tax regime”, he added.

During his visit to India last year, US Vice President Joe Biden had raised the bar, saying bilateral trade between the two countries had the potential to reach USD 500 billion. Stressing on the same point, Mr Jaitley was optimistic that the India-US trade will surge to USD 500 billion over the next few years due to growing cooperation between the two countries. There have been a few issues raised by foreign investors such as ease of doing business and the complex tax system that makes it difficult to do business in India. Reassuring the investors, Mr Jaitley said it was a work-in-progress for the government and the issues would be sorted out at the earliest.

“Our ambitions are extremely high. Both US President and the Prime Minister have now set an ambitious goal of bilateral trade to increase it by 5 times from USD 100 billion to USD 500 billion over the next few years. And this is defying a situation where the world itself is passing through a turmoil,” Mr Jaitley underlined.  Speaking about the global financial crisis, the finance minister reassured the investors that India’s fundamentals are sound and despite the crisis India has been able to grow at a healthy rate.

PM Modi is expected to meet some of top tech giants, billionaires and entrepreneurs during his visit to New York California. The second visit by the Indian prime minister to the US is expected to generate fresh traction in the growing economic relationship as more investors look at opportunities in India, especially in the information technology sector. At a time when China has slowed down and has had its worst performance in more than 25 years, India’s growth has helped re-affirm the faith in the emerging markets and is seen by many as an alternative growth engine.