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Naidu addresses top businessmen from US

Part 1.2.2

Part 1.2.2US industry executives from the US-India Business Council (USIBC) met Minister of Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu to discuss opportunities in the recently-launched schemes of the Government that will have a significant impact on India’s urban development for the next few years.

The minister engaged with members on a range of topics, including the Smart Cities Programme, reforms undertaken by the Government to improve the ease of doing business, prospective passage of the GST and Land Acquisition Bill.

Naidu said that “India is fast transforming itself in every sphere of public life. The economy is back on rails, inflation is under control, and growth rate is at 7.3 percent and likely to cross 8 per cent in the coming years”. He said Parliament had passed a record number of 47 legislations in the past year, including some that had been pending for a long time, like the increase in FDI cap in insurance sector.

He also outlined various initiatives of the Government, including the Make in India, Skill India, Digital India and Clean India programmes.

Noting that India has prioritized the creation of 100 smart cities, which will incorporate the use of solar energy, rainwater harvesting, good sanitation, drinking water and smart public transportation, Naidu explained the recent guidelines for the selection of smart cities, financing infrastructure development and incentives for private sector participation.

Expressing appreciation for the US support for the smart city development of Ajmer, Allahabad and Vishakhapatnam, he urged the US businessmen to take advantage of the business-friendly atmosphere and the great investment opportunities in India and invited them to invest in smart cities and AMRUT projects.

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Expressing hope and optimism in Naidu’s vision, USIBC President MukeshAghi said, “Flagship programs such as Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Housing for All reflect the Indian Government’s dedication to innovation and technology, while not overlooking the urgent need to provide all citizens with access to basic necessities such as sanitation, water, power and means to earn a livelihood. Reforms in taxation and land acquisition remain central to the success of these schemes.”

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