Expressing confidence that the country's economic growth will return to 9 per cent within two years, India on Monday in Washington invited US investments in a host of areas including infrastructure, energy and agriculture, while allaying fears on the continuance of economic reforms.
Addressing the US-India Business and Chamber of Commerce here, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said his government plans to push ahead with key reforms in several areas including taxes, education, skill development and legal sector.
"Wherever I meet businessmen to talk of our plans for the future, the question I am most often asked is whether economic reforms will continue. You should have no doubt on that score," the prime minister said in his first public engagement as part of his four-day state visit to the US.
"Economic reforms of the past have brought us advantages and I can assure you that we will continue down the road. We might do it gradually, and in a manner which builds a consensus for change. But I assure you, we will persevere," he said.
Singh said India, like other emerging economies, was affected by the global financial crisis and its growth rate slowed down.
Growth rate decelerated to 6.7 percent in 2008-09 and will remain at around 6.5 percent in the current year, Singh said, adding "however, we expect to accelerate from this level and get back to a growth of around 9 per cent within two years."
The Prime Minister said his government plans to push ahead on "key reforms in several areas especially those aimed at bringing the deficit under control while ensuring a strong expansion in investment in infrastructure."
Tax reforms, especially the introduction of goods and services tax (GST), are a very important part of the agenda, he said, adding, so are financial sector reforms.
The empowered committee of state finance ministers have already floated a discussion paper on GST to invite feedback from various stakeholders. GST is expected to replace most indirect taxes at the Centre and state levels.
"We are also committed to major reforms in education and skill development. We have started a programme to raise resources by sale of equity in public sector enterprises. Legal reforms aimed at reducing delays are another priority." PTI