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Investors in 'wait and watch' mode till elections: Assocham survey
An overwhelming sixty-seven percent of the potential investors would like to wait and watch till the general elections due in the next few months, owing to uncertainty about the unfolding political direction and about stability of the government, a latest survey by Assocham has indicated.

The Assocham's recent survey on "Policy, Political concerns driving business Anxiety", which collated responses of over 1200 senior functionaries of India Inc found that 67% of potential investors have put their investment plans on hold for now while further 8% are exploring the possibility of investing offshore rather than in India, while mere 2% are contemplating selling their businesses for a variety of reasons.

While releasing the survey its Secretary General D S Rawat said, "There is no doubt that businesses hubs are waiting for elections to bring stability and clarity on the future direction of our country."  

Rawat further said,"This is possibly one of the core reasons for the delays in private business investment decisions that have been observed in the recent quarter."

"The economic slowdown is still extremely burdensome on the Indian economy and additional local pressures are not helping at all. The embattled Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) region continues to directly impact on local business expansion, while service delivery concerns and political uncertainty persistently lash organizational growth," points out the survey.

However, Despite shorter-term investment uncertainty the business retains an optimistic view about the medium to long-term. The economic situation in 2014-15 is projected to be improving in any case. Some 23 per cent of executives covered in the survey stated that they were optimistic about business prospects in India over the next 12 months.

As for the foreign investors, particularly in the politically-sensitive areas like multi- brand retail, it said, “Foreign retailers like Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour are unlikely to enter the supermarket business in India before the 2014 general elections even though the government has partly addressed their concerns and relaxed the norms,” adds the survey.

In the case of multi-brand retail, the concerns also revolve the specific political stand of the state governments as well since the trade is a state subject. Most of the states have expressed their opposition to the FDI in multi-brand retail, excepting largely the congress-ruled states. Such prospects increased after the results of the recent assembly elections and strong emergence of the Aam Admi Party (AAP).

The industry would need a big push from the new government in terms of reviving manufacturing and investment in the big ticket infrastructure projects requiring large scale financial debt. However, only a stable  government will be able to come out with a credible blueprint

It said, "On several issues like corporate debt restructuring, easing of environment rules, allocation of natural resources, the new government will have to take decisions since delays and rigid attitude has already cost much in terms of loss of economic opportunities."

While the corporate India wants a transparent and clean government, the over- zealousness   to “clean up the system” may lead to policy hold up.

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