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Government initiating reforms to improve ease of doing business in India: Secretary, DIPP
According to Amitabh Kant, Secretary, DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the government was undertaking several initiatives to improving the ease of doing business in the country.

In this context he highlighted the E-biz platform that was being rolled out by the Government by the end of the year which would make doing business with the government much more easier and transparent.

Kant was speaking at a Seminar titled India-US Business to Business Relations: Addressing Constraints to US FDI flows into India organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in conjunction with the ICRIER Wadhwani Chair on India-US Policy Studies in New Delhi. The session brought together about 50 leading members of Indian and US industry, together with policymakers and the think tank community.

Kant acknowledged the importance of US investment to the Indian economy in terms of bringing in new technology, new products, best practices amongst others. He articulated the government's visions for a new India, signaling a paradigm shift from an agrarian to manufacturing economy.

In their respective remarks, Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General CII and Amb. Hemant Krishan Singh, Chair Professor, ICRIER both underscored the growing convergences between the Indian and US economies along with the contentions that have plagued it in the recent past.

In the technical session that followed, Dr. Saon Ray presented the key findings of a study conducted by ICRIER focusing on the US defence and pharmaceutical industries, following which a panel featuring top executives of leading US businesses gave their perspectives on the policy constraints within their respective sectors. Broadly the panel unanimously echoed an approval of the new government's efforts and initiatives in recent months.

The panelists representing the defence sector both shared positive experiences with the Indian market, however each identified the 49% FDI limit various aspects of the Defense Procurement Procedure as constraints to additional FDI.

In the pharmaceutical sector, the need for intellectual property protection and a predictable regulatory regime were identified as the two key aspects for catalyzing additional foreign investment by western drug innovators. Additionally, among issues with infrastructure the panelists agreed that the complexities of the Land Acquisition bill that placed undue burden on foreign investors needed to be revisited.

Overall the panelists each shared a sense of optimism with the new government and the bright prospects of the Indian market while highlighting obstacles that must be cleared to realize the full potential of the bilateral economic relationship. Recommendations from the panelists will be included in a report to be released in September by ICRIER.

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