India needs to address concerns about nuclear liability bill

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For attracting international suppliers for its civil nuclear programme, India needs to address the concerns of nuclear liability bill, the US-India Business Council (USIBC) has said.

"Ultimately, the issue of nuclear liability will need to be addressed so that both foreign and domestic Indian suppliers can participate fully in the Indian market," USIBC said in a pre-budget memorandum submitted to the Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

"The US remains committed to the full implementation of the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement," the memorandum said.

Both GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Westinghouse Electric Company are in active technical and commercial discussions with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and look forward to the conclusion of Early Works Agreements, it added.

Other companies across the fuel cycle and supply chain look forward to supporting both the GE Hitachi and Westinghouse projects and contributing to India's robust domestic commercial nuclear program, USIBC said.

The industry body, which had played a key role in the passage of the civil nuclear deal by the US Congress appreciated the opportunity to meet with Government officials during a recent senior nuclear industry delegation to India to discuss next steps in the implementation of the Civil Nuclear Agreement.

USIBC among other things applauded the decision to allow up to 49 percent direct investment by foreign carriers into Indian scheduled carriers, as well as for liberalising the import of Aviation Turbine Fuel, which is one of the largest expenses borne by any operating airline.

Raising the FDI limit into Indian carriers will also have a net positive impact on the development of Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO).

"We believe carriers will be able to more effectively execute international scheduled routes originating and terminating in India with an advanced MRO capacity," USIBC said.

The American body, representing US companies doing business in India, reiterated its demand to increase the foreign direct investment in the defense sector to 74 percent, to 49 percent in insurance sector from the current 26 percent, and called for reforms in the pension and banking sectors.

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