Tue. Mar 5th, 2024
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US-India Business Council (USIBC) President, Ambassador Atul Keshap, reflecting on the sentiment among members of the USIBC, highlighted India’s growing stature as a “pillar of stability” in an uncertain world.
He underscored the mutual recognition that both the United States and India are leading global job creation and prosperity.
“India is viewed increasingly as a pillar of stability in a very uncertain world. If you look at macroeconomic growth, the United States and India are creating the jobs and the prosperity for the entire planet right now. And that was not always the case. So our two democracies are leading the entire world,” the USIBC President noted.
Praising the vision outlined in India’s Budget 2024, particularly highlighting the ambitious goal of installing 10 million rooftop solar panel electricity generators.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Keshap expressed admiration for India’s leadership in this endeavour, comparing it to the successful Jal Jeevan mission and emphasising the transformative impact on the lives of average Indians. “Solar panels on rooftops is a science fiction fantasy, but making it a reality is really inspiring,” he said.
“I think the vision of 10 million rooftop solar panel electricity generators is utterly magnificent. India’s leadership on the 10 million rooftop solar panels is truly amazing. It’s like the Jal Jeevan mission, which is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen any government perform anywhere on this planet in the last 10 years. Piped drinking water was a dream when I was a little child in India,” he said.
The prominent US diplomat also lauded the budget’s focus on environmental initiatives, citing the rooftop solar panel project as a significant step towards sustainable energy. He underscored the importance of addressing airborne particulate emissions and promoting the health and welfare of humanity. “I believe that human beings ought to be responsible stewards of this planet. I think that we ought to focus on things like airborne particulate emissions. And I think we ought to focus on the health and welfare of all of humanity.”
The diplomat also commended the government’s increased allocation of funds to healthcare, emphasising the positive impact on the lives of citizens. Specifically, he acknowledged the provision of emergency hospitalisation funding and the extensive reach of food subsidies to 800 million people through the Aadhaar card and digital banking.
“I also love the fact that the union government is putting more and more money into health care, including this availability of emergency hospitalisation funding, also the 800 million people who receive food subsidies through the Aadhaar card and their digital banking,” he also said.
Highlighting the broader context, Keshap characterised the budget as “confident, very sober, and very pro-growth,” signalling optimism about India’s economic growth. He commended the government’s commitment to consistent policy, providing a positive signal to investors regarding the stability of the economic environment. “It sends a very strong signal to investors about the constancy of government policy.”
Addressing the technological aspects of the budget, Keshap noted its alignment with the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ISET). He pointed out the allocation of a USD 12 billion fund to support the development of deep tech and future tech sectors, emphasising the government’s focus on artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and semiconductors.
“So first, for instance, there’s a USD 12 billion fund to help develop these so-called sunrise sectors of deep tech and future tech. And there’s a lot of money as well on semiconductors. I think the government of India is showing great focus on artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and other ISET sectors,” the US diplomat added.
Reflecting on the sentiment among members of the US-India Business Council (USIBC), Keshap highlighted India’s growing stature as a pillar of stability in an uncertain world. He underscored the mutual recognition that both the United States and India are leading global job creation and prosperity.
“India is viewed increasingly as a pillar of stability in a very uncertain world. If you look at macroeconomic growth, the United States and India are creating the jobs and the prosperity for the entire planet right now. And that was not always the case. So our two democracies are leading the entire world,” the USIBC President noted.
Keshap also shared that the American investment community acknowledges India’s efforts in recent years to enhance the ease of doing business and the speed of business transactions. “I think that people in the American investment community recognise that in the past few years, the government of India has taken substantial efforts on the macroeconomic level to improve the ease of doing business and the speed of doing business in India,” he said.
He pointed to key reforms, such as the GST tax and measures to boost investor confidence, as significant contributors to India’s attractiveness for foreign investment.
“If you look at the GST tax, which was an enormous innovation to create a streamlined national market, if you look at the tax bills that have been passed to enhance investor confidence, especially about retrospective taxation,” Keshap said.
The diplomat further said that as India continues to implement reforms to enhance its business environment and competitiveness, more investors will view the country as an appealing destination for investment. Overall, the sentiment among investors and corporates in the US reflects a recognition of India’s strides towards becoming more investor friendly.
“India has taken great strides to become more user-friendly toward investors. It still has some reforms to do, and I think that this budget shows the government’s focus. As those reforms happen, to facilitate business to make it competitive with other countries, including the United States, Mexico, and other big, big destinations for investment, I think you’ll see more and more investors take a very sober and serious look at India,” he noted.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her Interim Budget speech for FY 2024-25 on Thursday. -ANI-)

 

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