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India democracy-loving, capitalist-respecting: Nirmala Sitharaman


New Delhi, Oct 17: Investors can find "no better place" in the world than India, which has a democracy-loving and capitalist-respecting environment, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.

She assured international investors at an interaction session at the IMF's headquarters that the government was continuously working to bring reforms.

Nirmala Sitharaman

"It (India) is one of the fastest growing (economies) even today. It has the best skilled manpower and a government that is continuously doing what is required in the name of reforms, above all democracy and rule of law," Sitharaman said on Wednesday, explaining why India is the ideal destination for investment.

Responding to a question on why investors should allocate funds for India, she said that even if the court system is a bit delayed, India is a transparent and open society. The rule of law works and there are a lot of reforms happening, even those to cut down delays, she said.

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    "So you will not have anything better... democracy-loving, capitalist-respecting environment... in India," Sitharaman said at the event hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry or FICCI in association with the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum.

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    Responding to questions from major insurance companies, who urged her to remove the cap on investment in this sector, she said the government needs to understand what the expectations of the sector are other than removing of the cap.

    Sitharaman said she would be quite open to it and they could send her the details. The Union Finance Minister, however, said she will not be able to give them an assurance at this point of time, but will work on the matter.

    Asserting that the government is engaging with everyone on a weekly basis and there is no trust deficit with the corporate sector and investors, she said there is a greater understanding that this government is willing to hear and also wanting to respond.

    The government is committed to maintaining fiscal deficit in India, she said.

    To a question on the slowdown in the Indian economy, the Finance Minister said the government is taking steps to address problems in the "stressed" sectors.

    Though the budget was presented in July, in a year when there was interim budget present before the election, we didn't wait for the next budget to come in February of 2020, almost on a 10-day interval, we have been announcing one or the other intervention with which each of the stressed areas can be addressed, she said.

    Overall in order to boost consumption, the government has very clearly said public expenditure for infrastructure will be clearly front loaded, Sitharaman said.

    Similarly, for increasing money in the hands of the people so that consumption can improve, I've requested all the building sector banks together with their partners, non-banking, financial companies to reach out to villages, reach out to districts and extend every kind of credit that they would want, she said.

    The two-prong approach makes sure consumption is boosted, both through spending on public infrastructure or by putting actual money in the hands of the people, and ensures the stress, which is specific to some sectors, is addressed, Sitharaman said.

    This has to be a continuous system till the time the economy really shows substantial uptick, the Union Finance Minister said.

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