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Germany hails budget, eyes investment in insurance, smart cities

Saturday, 12 July 2014 - 7:30am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Giving a thumbs up to the first budget of the BJP led National Democratic Alliance, the German industry is lining up investments in the 100 smart cities, insurance, transport especially railways, and vocational training. The German industry, meanwhile, has also said that it would transfer technology to the country provided ownership and control retains in their hands.

A day after finance minister Arun Jaitley presented the budget, three top leaders of the German industry and business met Jaitley on Friday. Ulrich Grillo, president of Federation of German Industries (BDI), Juergen Fitschen, co-CEO of Deutsche Bank and president of Association of German banks, as well as Hubert Lienhard, chairman of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) discussed with Jaitley in an hour-long meeting to get 'first hand impression of the reform agenda of the new government.

Hubert Lienhard said the commercial real estate plans that India offers are really encouraging. "Germany will invest in supplies and sub-supplies for the government's smart city project. The investment could be in the form of renewable energy supplies, water management among others for the smart city projects."

Opening up of FDI in insurance and defence are also the area the German companies are bullish about, but would like to see technology transfer associated with it. "Demograhics in Europe makes it difficult for the business such as insurance to grow. But in this field, India has got a lot of attraction to offer. 49% is good to begin with but we are expecting more," said Juergen Fitschen, co-CEO of Deutsche Bank and president of the Association of German banks. Hinting at potential German investments in the government's bullet train project Fitschen said we can offer support in anything that moves, be it air or rail.

Germany is India's largest trading partner in Europe. In the twelve-year period between 2000 and 2012, the total foreign direct investment in India from Germany is pegged at $5.2 billion. This is about 3% of the country's GDP. There are at least 1,600 German companies active in India across sectors.

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