US-India trade body hails India budget

Washington: The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has hailed Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s third budget as “an accurate path to economic growth in a period of global uncertainty.”

“The budget consolidates the Government’s pro-growth agenda through economic liberalisation, while remaining committed to bringing in long-term investment and job opportunities in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure development and clean energy,” it said on Monday.

In addition, the trade body comprised of 350 top-tier US and Indian companies advancing US-India commercial ties, also applauded the Indian government’s continued efforts to create a stable and certain tax environment to encourage enterprise and ease of doing business.

A number of recommendations by the Easwar Committee and the Shome Committees that aim to simplify the Income Tax Act and administration of tax policy were addressed in the budget, it noted.

USIBC said it is also pleased to see that the budget supports the removal of any retroactive taxation.

“It is evident that the Government of India is leaving no stone unturned to build on to create an investment climate that is favourable to improving India’s ranking in the ease of doing business index,” USIBC President, Dr. Mukesh Aghi said.

“Tax reforms presented in this budget are unprecedented, and lay the road map to create an attractive environment for foreign investors,” he said.

“US companies are still eager for the implementation of GST that has the potential to be a game-changer for the economy. This is also an inclusive budget- one that creates opportunities for increasing domestic demand.”

In a recent USIBC survey, about 20 percent of USIBC member companies confirmed that they have already invested over $15 billion in India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office.

“In 2016-17, we expect an additional $27 billion to be invested by at least 52 US companies in India,” Aghi said. “We are certain that with this path of reforms, these numbers are achievable.”