London: Leading NRI group, Hindujas have hailed the Indian budget as one of “hope and change” and has suggested that the shortfall of resources for achieving 9% growth can be bridged by allowing NRIs and other foreign investors to invest in the country.
The group chairman Srichand P Hinduja said in Londona that finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has presented a “confidence - building Budget of hope and change with focus on all inclusive growth.”
Hailing the Budget as a “positive one,” he noted that it has proposed higher allocation of funds for a number of development programmes for the benefit of the common man like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and extension of farmer debt waiver scheme, which he said would “fulfill the expectations under the political mandate”.
While the direct tax proposals in the Budget were “revenue neutral,” indirect tax measures will result in some gain, but the resources generated are not adequate to meet the social and infrastructure spending proposed, he told the agency.
“The huge shortfall of resources for achieving 9% growth can be bridged only by making the business environment attractive for foreign/NRI investors and Public- Private-Partnership,” he said.
He suggested that investment friendly environment can be created by making the sanction process for infrastructure projects more transparent, ensuring Centre-State-co-ordination and simplifying procedures.
Hinduja said projects should be made available to NRIs and other investors with all approvals and clearances so that no hurdles are created or delays occur during implementation.
“A major demand that NRIs have is that they should be treated on par with the Indian citizens,” he said, adding that not only the NRIs but also foreigners are complaining that it is “very difficult” to function and operate in India because of the system of the country.
Hindujas, whose investments in India include those in the health sector were keen to expand, he said, but pointed to hurdles in the way.
“There are so many systems to deal with, for raising money you have to follow one system, for getting permissions you have to follow another system and for admissions, one has to go through another system.”
“We are in 36 countries, so we see the opportunities. In India, we are in 10 sectors. We accept that we have not grown in the same way as others have grown. Yes, we also want to grow and we also have funds for investments. But the delays and clearances are taking away a lot of time,” Hinduja said.
On the issue of red tape and corruption, he commented that “it is a question of the chicken and egg.”
“Here investors are ready to invest money. On the other side, by the time the projects go through all the clearances, it will take years,” Hinduja said.
Citing an example, he said for one power project it has taken the Hindujas over a decade due to not having the “network”. He also said that other NRIs and foreigners have suffered similarly.
Asked what would be the solution to cut red tape and favoritism, Hinduja said government should create “abundant” projects for investors so that the network of corruption cannot be practised.
He also suggested that India should open up all sectors to NRIs and foreigners like China did.
“Look at China today. In all aspects, for example, defence, security and economic growth, they are among the leaders - but of course that doesn’t mean there is no corruption there,” Hinduja noted.
He noted that India has already been recognised for its talent and skill. “Creating fair opportunities for all will boost economic growth and place for India on a par with the rest of the world. It will make India strong in security and defence,” he added.