India must improve ease of doing business: American expert

Kolkata, Aug 7 (IANS) Observing that the US had a very large role to play towards India’s quest for FDI, an American expert said on friday that the country needed to focus on improving the ease of doing business to attract foreign investments.

Speaking at an event here, Raymond Vickery, Jr., a leading advisor on US-India relations and former US assistant secretary of commerce, also dubbed the ban on Nestle’s Maggi as “very regrettable”.

“By the end of this decade, India would need to invest at least $1.7 trillion towards building infrastructure and the US has very large role to play towards India’s quest for FDI.

“There is no single factor more important towards India’s quest for FDI and that is working on the ease of doing business. So it is imperative that India undertakes a constellation of reforms in this regard to send out the right signals across,” said Vickery.

Quoting a World Bank report, he said India ranked a “miserable” 186th in the world in terms of enforcing a contract and in terms of getting permits for buildings, it ranked 184th out of 189 countries.

“I think India needs to concentrate more on the factor of contracts and probably look at strengthening alternative dispute resolution mechanism like arbitration, constituting special commercial courts and the like,” said Vickery, also senior advisor to the Albright Stonebridge Group.

Dubbing the ban on Maggi as “very regrettable”, he said India should use its talents to identify what is good for its interests instead of giving opportunities to those who oppose anything which associated with a foreign country.

He also hoped for a breakthrough in the US-India civil nuclear deal by next year.

“Going by what (US) President (Barack) Obama and (Indian) Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi said in January, I believe the US-India civil nuclear deal will enter the next level by next year. We will see the two countries actually start producing nuclear energy together,” said Vickery.

Talking about the importance of the deal, he said it has opened up avenues for India including getting fuel supply from countries like Canada and Australia as well as financial and technology cooperation from France and Russia.

He also said the US-India joint research and development in the defence sector is expected to grow chiefly in four areas – drones, intelligence gathering technology, C130 Jets and technology for aircraft carriers and large planes.

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