The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) welcomes Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget as a bold roadmap for improving the ease of doing business in India. The Council strongly supports many reforms announced in the budget targeted to encourage infrastructure development, modernize capital markets, reduce tax uncertainty, and spur domestic economic growth.
“We applaud Finance Minister Jaitley for today’s ambitious reform agenda and welcome concrete policies that demonstrate the Government of India’s commitment to a new era of growth,” said Dr. Mukesh Aghi, President of USIBC. “U.S. companies stand ready to partner with the Government of India on priority initiatives including Smart Cities, Make in India, Jan Dhan Yojana National Financial Inclusion Mission, Clean India, and Digital India. This Budget provides us positive steps forward in strengthening this partnership.”
USIBC supports the commitment by the Government of India to expeditiously implement a Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime by April 2016. Once implemented, the GST will dramatically increase government revenue while streamlining operational and cost planning for businesses and could increase India’s GDP growth rate by 1-2% by establishing a “free-trade zone” within its own borders. A delay in implementation of the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) is a welcome move which will allow time for critical business planning. Reduction in the corporate tax rate and a more clear direct tax regime – both key announcements of this budget – will rejuvenate the investment outlook and increase predictability.
Furthermore, USIBC applauds the Finance Minister’s focus on infrastructure, including rejuvenation of public-private partnerships, the announcement of a National Infrastructure Investment Fund to provide public capital in support of increased private investment in infrastructure, and steps toward bankruptcy reform which will unlock liquidity in stalled projects. USIBC will continue to provide support in expediting the transformation of Ajmer, Allahabad, and Vizag into smart cities with American technology, capital, and expertise in the months and years ahead.
Moreover, the industry body commends the Government of India on allowing foreign investment in Alternate Investment Funds as well as important steps toward developing a more robust pension system providing financial stability for all Indians.
USIBC supports Finance Minister Jaitley’s assertion that a “quantum jump” forward is the change needed to kickstart India’s next era of growth.
Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) is the premier business advocacy organization advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. Today, USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi, comprised of 325 of the top-tier U.S. and Indian companies.