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Divestment is still on: Jaswant

Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi | November 23, 2003 19:33 IST

Despite problems the divestment process will go ahead, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh said at the inauguration of the 19th India

Economic Summit, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and World Economic Forum, on Sunday.

He was referring to the Supreme Court order asking the government to take parliamentary approval before divesting public sector units BPCL and HPCL.

About 400 delegates from 20 countries are participating in the three-day conclave.

The minister said it was due to the democratic institutions of India that the process had been delayed. "India is a democratic country and democratic institutions take time. Politicians have to be patient but business wants immediate money. And this is quite understandable."

"The honourable Supreme Court has said we will re-examine the order and I am happy about it," said Singh.

He urged Indian Americans to facilitate dialogue between India and the US and said the two countries could improve bilateral trade and commerce ties.

"There has been political engagement [between India and the US] in the last four-and-half years but trade and commerce has been neglected," he said.

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