Indo-US business leaders can strengthen ties: Pranab Mukherjee

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Washington, June 22 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said business leaders of both India and US can play a major role in strengthening ties between both countries.

Mukherjee was interacting with chief executive officers and business leaders of both countries here on the eve of a Joint India-US Business CEOs Forum Meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Mukherejee stressed on the need for close cooperation with the US, not only in finance and trade but also in other areas like agriculture, insurance, health including clinical research and education among others.

He said in order to prevent any deceleration in the growth process in the current global situation, it was necessary for him to generate domestic demand by injecting stimulus packages equivalent to three percent of GDP in 2009-10 and strike a balance between demand for external and domestic sectors.

Mukherjee said he partially roll-backed certain stimulus packages during the current fiscal, but was not in favour of a complete rollback and full exit at this stage because of the continuation of the international financial crisis.

He said there is scope of heavy investment worth 850 billion dollars in the infrastructure sector in India and it will go up to 2.7 trillion dollars in the next five years.

"We have been able to achieve domestic savings up to 34-36 percent of GDP.India is on the path of fiscal consolidation and wants to bring down the fiscal deficit to 5.5 percent in the current year and 4.1percent by the end of year 2011-12,"Mukherjee said.

Speaking at a banquet dinner hosted in his honor by India's Ambassador to the United States Meera Shankar, Mukherjee said business leaders from India should explore new areas of mutual cooperation with their US counterparts at the Indo-US CEOs Forum Meeting.

Mukherjee said the forum provided a platform to business leaders of both countries to highlight new policy initiatives required from both countries in order to boost bilateral trade and investment.

He specifically stressed the need for heavy investment in the Indian infrastructure sector.

Mukherjee also called for cooperation in agriculture research, health, education, medical education and research and insurance.

He expressed confidence that the meeting would be very fruitful and wouldcome out with recommendations, to increase bilateral trade and investment. (ANI)

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