Indo-US ties can get a leg-up if India grows at 9-10%: Kant
Indo-US ties can get a leg-up if India grows at 9-10%
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Friday emphasised the need for India to grow by 9-10 per cent every year for at least three decades. This, he, said could be instrumental in taking Indo-US ties to the next level. He asked the US to open up its services sector for India, which has been liberalising its economy.
"It is possible to provide greater momentum, greater fillip to Indo-US relationship if India continues to grow rapidly. India is growing at about 7.5 per cent per annum. It's an oasis of growth in the midst of a very barren economic landscape," Kant said at an event organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in India.
"But, the challenge for India is to grow at 8-9-10 per cent per annum, year after year, for three decades or more. Only when we grow at those rates, will our (Indo-US) relationship get strengthened," he added.
Kant also spoke about the importance of taking several measures for India to grow at this clip. He said the US should do its bit for imparting greater momentum to the bilateral ties.
Another factor that could aid such growth is to make India an easy country to do business with, Kant stressed. "We need to make things very easy, and this government is determined to do this... We have done away with a number of approval processes at the central level."
In a presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kant had on Thursday said growing by 10 per cent a year would transform India to become a $10-trillion economy with no poverty in 2032.
The economy is officially expected to have grown 7.6 per cent in 2015-16. The government expected the economy to expand 7-7.75 per cent this year. However, it also keeping its fingers crossed for the India Meteorological Department's prediction of above-normal monsoon rains to come true, in which case the economy might grow 8-8.5 per cent for 2016-17. Only once did India's economy witness a two-digit growth since independence - 10.2 per cent in 1988-89.
Kant was of the view that although Indo-US relationship has done "very well" during the past year, it is yet to be fully tapped and can be taken to far greater heights.
Kant acknowledged that the more the market opens up, the greater is the scope for manufacturing expansion. He called upon the US to roll out a red carpet to the Indian service sector and software companies.
"While I advocate free trade for India, I must say while India is becoming more and more open, the US should also open its services sector for Indians to go and work there. There can't be a half-way house," he noted.
Last year, the US Congress imposed a special fee of up to $4,500 on H-1B and L-1 visas - popular among Indian IT companies - to fund a 9/11 healthcare Act and biometric tracking system. While agreeing on the $1.1-trillion spending Bill, Congressional leaders decided to impose a special fee of $4,000 on certain categories of H-1B visas and $4,500 on L-1 visas.