American investors bullish on Indian budget: USIBC

Washington: American companies, either having a foothold or planning to set foot in India, are bullish on the latest budget presented by the Modi government, business advocacy group USIBC has said.

“We talked to some of our members on the feedback and they have been bullish about the budget itself.I feel that its investment in infrastructure, in trying to provide ease of doing business and providing certain tax certainties is good for the US investors,” Mukesh Aghi, president US India Business Council (USIBC), told PTI in an interview yesterday.

Aghi said the annual budget presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley maintains the fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent from 3.9 per cent and gives international investors an assurance that India can provide discipline among the emerging markets.

Referring to the fact that foreign direct investment (FDI) in India is up by 40 per cent, Aghi, who was recently in India for the ‘Make in India’ summit in Mumbai, said the move sent positive signal to the global market.

“The sentiment (on India among US companies) is on the positive side,” Aghi said in response to a question hoping that this would bring much greater American investment to India.

US companies have made FDI worth USD 15 billion in India in the last 18 months and are expected to invest another USD 27 billion this fiscal, he said, adding that with the latest budget, this figure is expected to go up.

Infrastructure sector and food retail provide a lot of opportunities for investment, he said. Allowing 100 per cent FDI in the marketing of food produced in India will likely bring in new investors who will provide needed manufacturing and retailing jobs, he said.

“This will help farmers increase sales, spur investment in cold chain and storage infrastructure to make sure food is better preserved, and bring new and diverse food products to a larger percentage of the Indian population than ever before,” Aghi said.