Modi Promises Further Reform at Madison Square Garden Event

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NEW YORK – India’s economy is set to develop “very fast” during a period of extensive growth, with the easing of visa regulations and the updating of various laws identified as key areas of change, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said yesterday.

Speaking to a crowd of 20,000 mostly Indian Americans at Madison Square Garden in New York, India’s leader said the country would be moving ahead at a “very fast speed”, and that “no stone will be left unturned” in its efforts to streamline services and remove outdated procedures.

The areas of reform that Modi spoke of will be of keen interest to those looking to establish a business presence in India. The Indian prime minister said that the regulations currently in place for foreigners seeking to do business in India would be completely revamped, with the aim of making the system far easier to navigate. 

RELATED: Tourists can Relax as India Eases Visa Regulations

Under the current system, a foreign applicant must have the following to acquire a business visa in India:

  • A valid travel document and re-entry permit
  • Documentation detailing the individual’s financial standing

The foreign national shall comply with all other requirements such as:

  • The business visa must be issued from the country of origin or from the country of domicile
  • Documentation outlining the intended business visit to India as the payment of tax liabilities

Speaking of the “bureaucracy” involved in the current process, Modi said: “those days are over. If I could destroy at least one of those laws each day, then that would be a happy day for me.”

The Modi administration has already shown its willingness to do away with some of India’s more archaic regulations, especially those that are thought to impede economic growth. Last week, the government announced plans to overhaul India’s road safety laws – an area that adversely affects annual GDP – and amendments to business visa regulations could feasibly soon follow.

RELATED: Can India’s Newly Drafted Road Safety Laws Help Boost Its Economy?

In an effort to seemingly boost bilateral trade and general relations with the U.S., Modi also said that plans to issue a “visa on arrival” for American tourists were now in place. He further added that the Indian government will soon merge identification documents for non-resident Indians, effectively creating a lifelong visa for persons of Indian origin (PIOs) who no longer reside in India.

Looking at India’s future business and investment prospects, Modi said that the country now has three distinctive advantages that sets it apart from the rest of the world. “We have democracy, [a] demographic dividend and demand on our side,” he said.  “These are three things that no nation has, except India. It is these three things that will take India to an assured path of success.”

Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. has drummed up a lot of excitement and expectation. India’s leader will next travel to Washington for talks with American President Barack Obama.

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