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India one of the most open economies in the world, says Arun Jaitley

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-03-2017 Asit Ranjan Mishra

New Delhi: India remains one of the most open economies of the world amid the growing noise of protectionism, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday while inaugurating the South Asia branch of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in New Delhi.

“Contrary to all the noises we hear from various parts of the world, there are no noises of protectionism in India. Therefore, we remain one of the most open economies in the world,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley said there is growing regional aspiration in India and all major cities see urban transportation like metro projects essential. India is seeking both foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as project financing from multilateral development institutions like EIB. “I see for the next two decades India’s hands are full to build infrastructure projects to meet the deficit that exists today,” he added.

Speaking at the same event earlier, referring to Brexit, EIB president Werner Hoyer said he regrets and respects the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

At the formal opening of the EIB regional representation, new contracts totaling €450 million were agreed that will support sustainable transport and renewable energy investment in India. This includes a new €250 million loan for the Lucknow metro that represents the second tranche of a total €450 million backing for the project.

A €200 million loan to the State Bank of India to finance construction of new large-scale solar power schemes across the country was also signed at the office opening. This will support plans to install 20 giga watt of grid-connected solar power by 2020 under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

“The new office, to be located with the European Union Delegation to India in Shanti Niketan in New Delhi will strengthen links between countries across South Asia and the European Investment Bank, the world’s largest international public bank. The presence of EIB staff in New Delhi will enable greater private sector investment in the country by ensuring better access to the EIB’s products and initiatives and providing direct guidance on possible technical and financial support provided by the Luxembourg headquarters of the EIB,” a statement from the EIB said.

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