Transcript of Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson in New York on Prime Minister’s ongoing visit to United States of America (September 24, 2015)

September 24, 2015

Official Spokesperson (Shri Vikas Swarup): Friends, I thought I will just give you a quick update on a very important meeting that Prime Minister just had. This was with the leading CEOs from the financial sector led by Jamie Dimon, the Chairman, CEO and President of J.P. Morgan. There was also the Chairmen and CEOs of Blackstone, Warburg Pincus, KKR, General Atlantic, AIG Insurance, Tiger Global, and the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Together, as you can imagine, these companies manage billions and billions of dollars. Many of them, in fact most of them, have exposure to India. So, this was a very good opportunity for the Prime Minister to listen to their experience of doing business with India, to see what concerns they had and how we could work to remove those concerns.

By and large, the CEOs present appreciated the steps taken by the Government on ease of doing business, on economic growth and reforms. All of them were very bullish on India and said that India has a lot of potential for investment. They also acknowledged that financial market reforms have already started and more reforms would happen in the days to come.

The Prime Minister on his part appreciated the candour with which the discussions were held. He took on board the suggestions made by some of the CEOs. Most importantly, he outlined the sheer scale of development that is going to happen in India and the tremendous opportunities it offers to Foreign Institutional Investors and for Foreign Direct Investment.

For instance, India is going to construct 50 million houses, 600 villages are going to be connected with broadband, there is going to be 24x7 electricity being provided to all and especially in an environmentally sustainable way, 175 gigawatts of renewable energy is going to be created, 50 big cities are going to have metros. Railway sector has been opened up for FDI. Today in fact we have the second largest rail network in the world and it is the largest in fact in terms of passenger volume. But the Prime Minister said, he wanted to double the capacity and speed and in fact invite private sector participation in the development of more than 500 railway stations.

All in all, I think it was a very very useful meeting. It enabled the Prime Minister to listen to the voices of some the leading financial sector investors in the world. And they were able to listen directly to the Prime Minister to hear about his vision for India’s future. As I said, all in all the meeting ended on a very positive note with all of them applauding the Prime Minister for the bold steps that he has already taken for opening up the Indian economy and for speeding up and accelerating development.

There is also a little update on the programme. Yesterday I had said a couple of bilateral meeting slots were empty. Well, they have just been filled up. Immediately after this the Prime Minister is going to have a bilateral meeting with Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. After that he will have a meeting with the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

With that the full programme has now been completed.

Question: …(Inaudible)…

Official Spokesperson: Some of them talked about the usual things. For instance, there is still some bureaucracy left, deregulation has not been as fast as they had expected, on the REIT side they had some concerns about the taxation policies. There was also a concern about bankruptcy laws in India for instance and in general about deregulation and they wanted faster pace of infrastructure development. These were not new issues. As I said, Prime Minister was fully aware of these. In fact he said that he appreciated the fact that they had aired these issues and he was very committed to working to resolve them.

Question: …(Inaudible)…

Official Spokesperson: Prime Minister’s answer was that work is already under way to resolve those.

Question: …(Inaudible)…

Official Spokesperson: Yes. I am sure if you speak to the CEOs themselves they will tell you how positive they were with the Prime Minister’s assurance and how positively they took them because Prime Minister spoke very candidly. He outlined his vision for India and he said yes, any bottlenecks which should not be there will not be there.

Question: …(Inaudible)…

Official Spokesperson: No.

Question: Have they given any assurances for more investment?

Official Spokesperson: Yes, all of them. They talked about their figures. Somebody has a USD five billion investment, somebody has a USD 10 billion investment. And they all, as I said, were very bullish on India especially on the insurance sector where cap has now gone up to 49 per cent. So, they were all, as I said, fairly bullish on future prospects in India.

Question: Did they give any concrete commitments?

Official Spokesperson: This was not a pledging kind of a meeting. The idea was to have a discussion on the financial sector, see where we are and where we are going and how we can go there faster.

Question: Vikasji, ek specific question hai. Land acquisition ko le kar jis tarah se Sarkar ko steps apne vaapas lene pade, kya koi is tarah ka concern is meeting mein dikhaya gaya kyon ki land acquisition ek bahut major part hota hai kisi bhi investment ke liye?

Official Spokesperson: Pradhan Mantri ne apne vaktavya mein yeh kaha tha ki is samay 13 kilometres pratidin ke hisab se road construction ho raha hai. Pehle ek kilometre pratidin ke hisab se ho raha tha. Pradhan Mantri ne kaha ki unka lakshya hai 30 kilometre pratidin. Yeh toh tabhi sambhav ho sakega agar hamaare paas land uplabdh hogi. Toh aisa kisi ne concern nahin raise kiya ki yeh landwala nahin hua hai. Jaisa ki aap jaante hain, uspar political consensus banaane ki cheshta hum kar rahe hain Bharat mein. Yeh financial sectorvaale log thei, inka usse koi direct sambandh nahin tha.

Question: Did they raise any concerns about taxation issues? What was the concern and did he address it?

Official Spokesperson: Yes, I told you, REIT and things like that. Prime Minister basically said I take on board. In fact Prime Minister has said please give me a detailed note on all the points that you have raised here so that he can examine them in more detail and then get back to them.

Question: …(Inaudible)…

Official Spokesperson: Basically Jamie Dimon was the one coordinating. So, I do not know how this will happen. But hopefully they will put together the suggestions they made in the form of a note which will be transmitted to the Government of India.

Question: …(Inaudible)…

Official Spokesperson: Mr. Amitabh Kant, Secretary DIPP was there. Foreign Secretary was there. And of course his economic team was there.

Question: Sir, is se thoda hatke savaal hai mera. Nawaz Sharif ne vahan bola hai, London mein unke havaale se khabrein aayi hain ki yahan UNGA mein phir se Kashmir ka mudda uthayenge. Pchhli baar bhi unhon ne yeh mudda raise kiya tha. Kya stand rahega Bharat ka? Kya aap notice le rahe hain is tarah ke bayan ki, is tarah ke joh baatein aa rahe hain?

Official Spokesperson: Dekhiye, jab bayaan unka aayega toh hum uska javaab denge.

Question: Yeh unke ore se clear kar diya gaya hai ki vo uthayenge.

Official Spokesperson: Abhi jab uthega toh phir hum javaab denge. Pehle se hum aapko kyon bataayein ki hum kya karenge?

Question: …(Inaudible)…

Official Spokesperson: Mecca mein jo hua hai usmein hamaare Consul General sthal par upasthit hain. Unke anusaar jahan par yeh bhagdad hui thi, jo sadak hai, usmein Bharatiya generally nahin rehte hain, Bharatiya dusre sthaan par rahte hain. Is liye most likely koi zyada casualties nahin hongi, hum log ummeed karte hain, dua karte hain ki zyada casualties na hon. Abhi kuchh unconfirmed reports hain ki shayad teen ki. Vo bhi relatives vagairah ne phone kiya hai.

Ab is mein modalities aise hoti hain ki jo bhi dead bodies hoti hain vo mortuary le jaayi jaati hain. Mortuary mein vo sab bodies jamaa kar diye jaate hain. Uske baad Saudi authorities jo hain unke photos lagate hain identification ke liye. Tab mortuary kholi jaati hain, tab jaa kar hamaare logon ki entry ho sakti hai, aur tab relatives ke saath jaakar hum shinakht kar sakte hain ki yeh bodies kiski hain aur kiski nahin hain. Is liye abhi hum kisi tathya ke anusar nahin keh sakte hain. Abhi sirf relatives vagairah ke kuchh phone calls aa rahe hain jis se lag raha hai ki shayad teen ki unconfirmed reports hain. Lekin jab tak ki mortuary mein hum khud nahin ja payenge, hum uski pushti nahin kar payenge.

Question: …(Inaudible)…

Official Spokesperson: Yes, I have already tweeted it.

Question: Kal humne dekha tha ki Nepal ke Ambassador ne kaha tha Constitution ko lekar ke ki Nepal ka jo Samvidhan hai voh Bharat ke Samvidhan se kahin behtar hai. India ka koi response hai?

Official Spokesperson: Humne is par teen, chaar statements already de diye hain. Uske beyond mujhe kuchh nahin kehna hai. Kal ek bahut galat report bhi aayi thi iske baare mein ki humne kuchh demands place kiye hain. Is mein koi sachayi nahin hai. Hum logon ne usko spasht kar diya hai. Dhanyavad.



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