New Delhi: With the US business community questioning "predictability" of policies in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has hit out, suggesting that they were finding "faults and excuses" because of economic slowdown in this country.
"There have been US business concerns but very largely these are concerns which arise out of the slowdown of the Indian economy," Singh said.
"When Indian economy was growing at the rate of eight to nine percent, I think everybody was quite happy. Even when there were defects in our policies, they were overlooked, and when the economy slows down, people try to find faults and excuses," he said.
Singh was talking to journalists on board his special aircraft while returning last night from the US where he held talks with President Barack Obama. Economic issues figured prominently during the talks.
The PM was asked the reasons for deterioration of Indo-US economic relationship with US businesses lobbying with the Obama government to investigate Indian trade practices.
The Prime Minister said Obama did not go in detail with him on the issue but understood India's concerns.
"He did understand our concerns but he also said that it is time that the CEOs Forum on both sides sat together to discuss these issues and to find out the meeting ground," he disclosed.
Singh's comments came against the backdrop of US India Business Council (USIBC) President Ron Somers saying that foreign companies were keen to enter the Indian market, but there needs to be "clarity and predictability" on issues of policy and taxation.
Somers told the agency last week in Washington that India needs to push reforms to encourage foreign investors.
"...It is predictability. It is all about clarity," Somers said when asked what steps Indian government needs to take to attract US investment.
"India is open to business, but the American companies want to come in a big way. That is where clarity and predictability comes," he said.
USIBC is the apex trade body of American companies doing business in India which include a large number of Fortune 500 companies.
Arguing the case for building a robust manufacturing base, Somers said that they should be attracted and be encouraged by market driven incentives and not by mandate.
Preferential market access (PMA), he noted, caused everybody to be thrown from loop.
"We need to have an understanding of each other. It is true that innovation and technologies is going to the future of both of our economies. And to have innovation, technology, you have to have environment that rewards and protects intellectual property.
"Those issues are vitally important. Intellectual property, manufacturing, market-driven and market-based incentivized and clarity and predictability on tax," he said.