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India seeks more FDI at Singapore meet

March 12, 2003 18:25 IST

India, still punching well below its weight in terms of drawing foreign investment, showcased its vast potential in Singapore and sought more FDI in the country's lucrative infrastructure sector.

Potential investors attending a three-day conference jointly organised by ICICI Securities and Singapore Exchange were warned not to miss out on opportunities in one of Asia's fastest growing economies.

Addressing the investors in Asia's financial hub, N K Singh, member of Planning Commission, said India today offers a huge opportunity for foreign investment.

A lot of significant changes have taken place in India, and to some extent the statistics underrate the growth potential of the Indian economy, specially of the infrastructure and service sector, he said.

"We are set on course, which is likely to catapult us to a much higher growth rate," he said hoping that the country is able to achieve 6 per cent growth rate this year.

Singh said in the telecom sector, the reform agenda is almost over and the sector has been deregulated, however, the power sector still needed fine tuning.

In other infrastructure sectors like roads, ports and railways, projects have already been identified for implementation.

"15,000 km of new roads will be constructed in the course of the next four years, financed by the dedicated funds," he said.

ICICI Securities chairman K V Kamath told the gathering that retail financial sector, the infrastructure and manufacturing sector would remain the growth drivers for the years to come.

Kamath said reduction in the interest rate from 14 and 15 per cent to eight and nine per cent and tightening of working capital has helped the industry to become more price competitive.

Besides, he said the financial affordability, specially of the younger generation has gone up that has created a real potential clientele.

Inviting Singapore companies to invest in India, Sunil B Mittal, chairman and group managing director of Bharti Tele-Venture, said Singapore companies could use their expertise and experience and benefit by participating in various aviation infrastructure projects.

The proposed privatisation of Mumbai and Delhi airports would offer opportunity to experienced companies, he said.

Just two weeks ago a ministerial panel forwarded recommendations to the Cabinet to raise limits on FDI in a number of sectors including civil aviation, petroleum and telecom, he said.

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