India better investment prospect than many nations: Jaitley

Hong Kong, Sep 20 (IANS) India is currently a better investment prospect than many other countries, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said here on Sunday.

“India will give better returns than many other countries,” Jaitley, who is on a two-day visit to Hong Kong, said at a meeting with investors and business leaders.

He said foreign investment could give great additional resources, and the country’s infrastructure sector required major investment.

“Railways, highways and power sectors are among those that require funds, and the success in these areas would largely depend on bankability.

“Special focus is being given on improving the ease of doing business. Investors have felt in the past that the procedures have been difficult in India,” the minister added.

Noting that stalled projects had impacted the balance sheets of private companies in India, Jaitley said the proposed national investment and infrastructure fund would be a “great enabler” to attract investment, as well as help repair the balance sheets of affected firms.

The fund would be independent of the government, and operate just as another investor, he said.

The minister said some states were not charging adequate tariff for electricity, as a result of which the health of power distribution companies (discoms) was being affected.

“These states cannot expect the PSU (public sector undertaking) banks to fund the deficit of discoms,” Jaitley said.

At a question-answer session after his address at the Singapore Summit on Friday, Jaitley had said India’s current power supply woes were not a result of production, of which there was a surplus last year, but because of discoms’ financial situation did not allow them to buy power.

“States where discoms are stressed…they have to reform, also by charging market prices for power,” he said.

Jaitley will address investors at the Capital Markets and Institutional Investors’ Summit organised by the Asia Pacific Investors Cooperation on Monday.

The summit will present to select Asian institutional investors the developments in India’s capital markets and investment opportunities.

Jaitley will also hold meetings with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Greater China Chamber of Commerce. He will attend small group meetings with financial sector investors and fund managers in Hong Kong.

He will be meeting the chief executive of Hong Kong on Monday and address an event organised by the Indian community in Hong Kong.

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