Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Sep 25, 2002
Industry & Economy
Jaswant to use US visit to defend reforms record
NEW DELHI, Sept. 24
THE Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, will attempt to dispel fears among foreign investors of India's economic reforms after the recent setback to the disinvestment and FDI opening up process, besides the downgrade of rupee debt to junk status by Standard and Poor's.
Mr Singh, who will be in Washington on a week-long visit, heading the Indian delegation to the annual Fund- Bank meeting commencing on Wednesday, will also utilise the visit to meet the US Treasury Secretary, Mr Paul O N'eill.
Issues such as the sovereign downgrade, the Dabhol Power Company, financial sector reforms and further opening up of various sectors to foreign investment are expected to be discussed during the meeting with the Treasury Secretary, according to officials here.
At the Fund-Bank meeting, global economic issues, outlook risks and policy responses will figure prominently.
Mr Singh will also hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the US, the UK, South Africa and Canada besides the SAARC countries.
He will also have one-to-one meetings with the World bank President, Mr James Wolfensohn, and the IMF Managing Director, Mr Koehler.
Mr Singh is also scheduled to meet officials of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The Finance Minister will also seek to correct the impression which has gained ground recently that economic reforms are not on the political agenda of the Government, officials said.
Mr Singh's credibility with the US Administration, built up during his stint as Foreign Minister will come in handy to drive home the point that the NDA Government's economic reforms programme was on track.
"These fears would be allayed and clarified, '' officials said.
Mr Singh, who will leave for Washington on Tuesday night, will return to the Capital on October 3.
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