Washington, May 30 : With ease of doing business in India “improving”, US companies are keen to invest in the country which is emerging as a “good market”, the head of a top American industry advocacy group has said. “There is a sense of hope among US companies that Indian market is going to be a good market. That’s why they are investing into it and we see the momentum picking up from the US companies,” Mukesh Aghi, president of US India Business Council (USIBC), told PTI.Also Read - India Assumes UNSC Presidency For August; Country to be Voice of Moderation, Says Jaishankar
According to an estimate, American companies have invested USD 27 billion in India after the NDA government came to power in May 2016, Aghi said. “But the actual figure could be much higher as a significantly large amount of such investment has been routed through third countries like Singapore and Mauritius, because of treaties, or through countries like Ireland, Norway or Belgium where they have excess money,” he noted. USIBC represents the interest of a top American companies doing businesses in India. Aghi said that in the last two years under the Narendra Modi government ease of doing business has improved in India, which is reflective in increase in FDI. (ALSO READ: Foreign Investors buoyed by Indian investment: USIBC to Barack Obama ) Also Read - Tokyo Olympics 2020: Twitter Sends Wishes to PV Sindhu as She Faces World No.1 T.Y Tai in Semifinals
“The ease of doing business definitely has improved. Is it there up to the global standards? No,” he said. “I think, what this Prime Minister has done, is trying to do to go in one at a time the issues and challenges which creates difficulty less. He has basically eliminated obscure laws, to make things easier. He has gone to state-level and created that federal competitiveness to make sure that each state is competing with each other,” he said. Also Read - Atanu Das vs Takaharu Furukawa Men's 1/8 Eliminations: When And Where to Watch India's Archery Match Online And on TV
“I believe that when the new World Bank ranking comes out, India’s ranking would improve on the current 130 ranking number,” Aghi said. “So what we are seeing is, at least from US companies, I am seeing less issues on the bureaucratic front. We are able to access senior bureaucrats anytime. And you can see the eagerness on their part to support us on any issue which is impeding investmentt or delaying projects,” he said in response to a question. Despite political limitations, Aghi said the government has “achieved quite a lot”. “If you look at the last two years, what are the achievements? This government has been able to tame the inflation.
This government has been able to bring sense of transparency on allocation of national resources. Be it telecom or coal, there is much more transparency. There is not a single scandal which has come out in the past two years,” he said. “Then I can go on the policy (front), insurance, on the bankruptcy laws, on other areas, transfer pricing agreement, so what we are seeing is that this government with its limitation in the Rajya Sabha seems to be slowly biting away at issues which could delay FDI into the country,” Aghi said.
The USIBC chief, however, stressed that the biggest challenge before the government is creation of jobs. “The government has to think how to create jobs. You have a million entrants coming in the market. The job growth in India is 1.6 per cent. So that means only half are getting jobs and other half are going into the pool, which is now almost 50 million young citizens who do not have jobs,” Aghi said.
“Unless you create jobs, you cannot have a sense of social stability,” he said, linking reservation movements in Haryana and Gujarat to unemployment. “Number one priority of the government has to be job creation,” Aghi said. “The Prime Minister realises that for him to go up the value chain where you can create jobs for the citizens, it needs foreign investment and foreign technology. And that is going to come from US companies,” he said.