Page 67 - IACC Newsletter August-September 2013 Issue 13

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He acknowledged that India's growth had slowed down and touched five per cent from the average of eight per cent
witnessed over the last decade but expressed confidence that there will be a turnaround in the second half of the
current fiscal because of steps the government has taken besides the good monsoon rainfall.
"I am aware that the business community in the US has some concerns about India's growth prospects, macroeconomic
stability and the economic policy environment. Doubts have been expressed about our sincerity in this regard. This is a
mistaken perception," Singh said in his opening statement to business leaders.
He said the government is committed to "fostering an economic environment that is open, predictable and transparent"
as well as investment friendly.
"The results of our efforts will be visible in the second half of the year. We expect stronger growth in 2013-14 than in
2012-13. The second half of the year should see a distinct turnaround, partly because of the good monsoon and partly
because of the steps we have taken," he said.
Singh acknowledged that in order to restore the high growth momentum and maintain macroeconomic stability, there is
need for "more and not less reforms."
"We are committed to getting India back to a sustainable growth path of 8-9 per cent. Indeed the Indian people will not
tolerate anything less," Singh said.
Singh touted the "longer-term opportunities" in sectors like infrastructure and defence, saying the government intends
to invest more than a trillion dollars in the next five years in the infrastructure sector.
Noting that the defence sector is "another attractive area", Singh said priority will be placed on domestic procurement.
The Prime Minister told the business community that the Indian government has implemented a series of reforms to
restore growth, including increasing investment limits in FDI in retail and telecom.
The government has also taken several decisions to "remove impediments" in the way of important projects, he said.
Singh also sought to assure the business community that the fiscal deficit will be contained to 4.8 per cent this year and
expressed confidence that the current account deficit would be reduced to 2.5 per cent of the GDP.
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US takes pride in 'indispensable partnership' with India
The United States greeted India on its Independence Day saying it takes pride in "our indispensable partnership" and
looks forward to working together for peace, democracy, and prosperity in Asia and around the world.
In a press statement, Secretary of State John Kerry recalled his recent visit to India for the fourth annual US-India
Strategic Dialogue, "allowing each side to build partnerships" on issues ranging from regional security to women's
empowerment.
The US, he said, "also takes pride in our indispensable partnership with India, a friendship built on our shared
democratic values, the entrepreneurial spirit of our people, and our rich people-to-people ties". Kerry said he looked
forward to continuing their "critical efforts to lay the foundations for peace, democracy, and prosperity in Asia and
around the world."
The US also joins Indians "in honouring Mahatma Gandhi and the heroes of India, who proved that great change can be
achieved through nonviolent means," he said.