PM Singh pledges to make India 'more business friendly'

Manmohan Singh
Image caption Mr Singh denied corruption had "exploded" under his watch

Indian PM Manmohan Singh has said his government will work towards making India a "more business-friendly place".

Mr Singh told Hindustan Times newspaper said his officials were working on measures to check the deficit.

India's economy has been going through a rough patch.

It expanded at an annual rate of 5.3% in the first quarter, the slowest pace in nine years. There are fears that growth may slow further in the near term amid increased global volatility.

"We will work towards improving the response time of government to business proposals, cut down infructuous procedures and make India a more business-friendly place," Mr Singh said in a rare email interview interview.

"We want the world to know that India treats everyone fairly and reasonably and there will be no arbitrariness in tax matters."

Mr Singh took over the finance portfolio recently after Pranab Mukherjee resigned the post to contest as the ruling Congress-party backed presidential candidate.

He said there was a need to debate on how to make an open economy work and spur growth.

"We have lifted millions of poverty. But, I worry that the fruits of an open economy will be increasingly captured by fewer people," Mr Singh said. "We need to correct that fast."

Mr Singh, whose government has been hit by several high-profile corruption cases, denied there was rampant graft in his government.

"I do not think there has been any explosion in corruption under my watch," he said.

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