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United States supports PM Modi’s ‘pro-business reforms’, says US official

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Washington: Expressing support for “pro-business reforms” undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his commitment to fighting corruption, the US has said it encouraged all governments, including India, to address the issue of corruption.

“Speaking generally, we’re supportive,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Monday when asked if Washington thought if US investments will be safe in India in view of recent action taken against NGOs in India.

“I can say Prime Minister Modi’s pro-business reforms, including his commitment to fighting corruption and – as well as his public remarks, I think, recently and regarding improving India’s position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report – these are initiatives that clearly take time to implement.”

“But certainly private companies, whether they’re US or other nationalities, look at the investment climate when they’re thinking about investing somewhere, and obviously, corruption plays into that evaluation and assessment,” he said.

“So certainly corruption’s never a good thing, and we encourage all governments, including India, to address it,” Toner added.

Asked how can be assured of a crackdown on corruption in India in view of New Delhi’s silence in the case of Lalit Modi, the spokesman said:

“Well, again, I would just say we’ve been encouraged by some of the reforms that he’s pledged to undertake, Prime Minister Modi.”

“We’ll see how they’re implemented. This obviously is not something that can be done overnight. But more broadly speaking, corruption’s always a concern. So any government should address it,” he said.

As for NGOs, Toner said: “We remain concerned about difficulties caused to civil society organizations, NGOs, by the manner in which the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act has been applied.”

“Obviously, more broadly, we support civil society throughout the world, and we believe ardently that a vibrant civil society actually strengthens democratic institutions and culture, and it certainly gives voice to all – or for all to express their views,” he said.

“So we support a strong civil society, and certainly non-governmental organizations, NGOs, are part of that process,” Toner said. (IANS)

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PM Narendra Modi: Government bringing Stringent Consumer Protection Law

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a speech. IANS

New Delhi, October 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the government was in the process of enacting stringent legislation aimed at protecting consumers along with setting up a Consumer Protection Authority (CPA).

“Consumers’ protection is this government’s priority. We are in the process to bring a new law on consumer protection keeping in mind the need of the country and business practices here,” Modi said at an International Conference on Consumer Protection for East, South and South-East Asian Countries.

“We are in the process of forming a Consumer Protection Authority, which will have executive powers, for immediate redressal.”

The rules were being streamlined to solve consumer problems in less time and at less cost, he added.

“The stress is being given on consumer empowerment. Strict provisions are being contemplated against misleading advertisements,” Modi said.

He said India was among the few countries which had enacted a law a year after the UN adopted guidelines on consumer protection in 1986.

The Prime Minister also said the prices of commodities were set to go down and consumer protection for their interest effects due to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Due to the GST, the competition among companies was going to increase. So prices will go down. It will help consumers from lower middle class and poor sections,” Modi said.

“Earlier, transportation by trucks would take five days but it has come down to just three three days now as checkposts on borders have vanished after the GST. It means transportation cost has gone down. This is going to be transferred to consumers,”

Taking a dig at those opposed to the GST, he said: “Some people may be taking advantage of the lack of awareness. However, the benefits will be transferred (to consumers) in days to come.”

Talking about the conference, Modi said: “It shows how seriously we take the needs of our citizens and how we strive hard to solve their problems”.

“It is the first conference in the region, where everyone is trying in their own ways to save the interest of consumers. However, we have to keep in mind that the world is going towards a single market,” Modi said.(IANS)

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