【New Delhi】Striking an optimistic note, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday assured India would be re-emerging as an attractive investment destination soon and there would be no reason to despair about the country's future.
Singh was speaking at the 12th annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here. "Our economy has done well over the past decade. In the nine years since 2004, we averaged a healthy growth rate of 7.9 per cent per annum.
However there has been no doubt of a slowdown in the recent past, and we will probably end this year at the same level as last year with a five per cent growth. A number of international as well as domestic factors has contributed to this situation. Despite these challenges, our economic fundamentals remain strong," Singh said.
The prime minister, who had last week announced he would not seek a third term in office, also said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had taken key decisions to accelerate the domestic economy. "We have taken wide range of decisions to accelerate the implementation of mega infrastructure projects, reform tax administration, improve fiscal management, liberalise foreign direct investments and rationalise the system for allocation and utilisation of natural resources. Though the UPA's efforts were hamstrung by a lack of political support, our decisions are already beginning to make an impact and India is re-emerging as an attractive investment destination. Signs of a turnaround would be evident in the next few months." he added.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma also said, "The government has announced a national manufacturing policy to boost the sector's contribution in the GDP. National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) are planned. 14 of them are approved in different states. You have to believe in India. We are a nation of billion people opportunities. Come and work together."
○With elections looming, India among 'Fragile Five' for global investors
【LONDON】As the tidal wave of global central bank liquidity recedes in 2014, emerging market investors are growing more anxious about local political risks - and how to spot them early on.
Emerging market bonds posted only their third year in the red since 1998 last year, while emerging equities ended 2013 in the red for the second year in three. And as the global investment tide sweeps out, it may reveal a beach strewn with political detritus.
As competition for funds hots up while their economies rapidly lose steam, political risks have been amplified in the so-called 'Fragile Five' of Turkey, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Brazil, the emerging economies with the biggest overseas financing needs. All five face elections this year.
○Expect rupee to trade in 61-65/$ band till elections: Expert
【MUMBAI】The year 2013 was an eventful one for the Indian financial markets and the rupee, which traded around 53 per dollar levels on the spot in the beginning of the year on the back of quantitative easing in the US. It fell to an all-time low of 68.85 against the US dollar in summer on concerns of a possible unwinding of easy money in the US.
However, the US Fed announcement in September that the tapering will be delayed along with a contraction in current account deficit back home brought the rupee back below 62 to the dollar. The question now is where the currency is headed. A currency analyst, Kotak Securities expects the Indian rupee to trade within a range of 61-65 till the elections are over.
○Aditya Birla group is top corporate donor to Cong, BJP
【New Delhi】Business houses spanning sectors, such as manufacturing, power & oil, mining and real estate, donated Rs 378.89 crore to political parties in the last eight years.
In fact, business donations constituted 87 per cent of the total contribution to political parties from known sources, establishing the growing link between corporate money and politics, says an analysis by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Among corporates, the Aditya Birla group was the top donor to both the key national parties -- Congress and BJP-- followed by the Gujarat-based Torrent Power, as declared by the parties to the Election Commission.
Congress and BJP also received foreign funding between 2003-04 and 2011-12 of Rs 983.50 lakh and 1,942.50 lakh, respectively, by companies such as the Vedanta group (Sesa Goa, The Madras Aluminium Co, Sterlite Industries), Public and Political Awareness Trust of Vedanta, Hyatt Regency and Dow Chemicals.
"Political parties are not permitted to accept contributions from foreign companies or companies controlled in India by foreign companies," said ADR, which has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking action against the two national parties.
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