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Games could help economy, feel US investors news
07 October 2010

India's ability to pull off ambitious events like the Commonwealth Games will make foreign investors less anxious, according to some participants at the 7th Annual India Investment Forum in New York, which was addressed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday.

''The final verdict about the opening ceremony seems to have been good, after all the anxiety leading up to the event,'' said Ajit Ranade, chief economist at the Aditya Birla Group. ''The hue and cry from the people and media seems to have played a big part,'' Ranade said. ''It could have been a different situation otherwise.''

Harvey Shapiro, a senior adviser to Institutional Investor, said the Commonwealth Games could be a ''coming of age ceremony'' for India.

India won its bid to host the Games in 2003. Local organisers have been criticised by Commonwealth Games Federation officials and others for their mistakes in preparation, such as soaring costs and projects falling far behind schedule.

''India doesn't host events like this very often,'' said Shapiro, who is part of the organising committee of the India Investment Forum. ''But Korea, South Africa and Brazil have taken the leap, and India too could get there.''

Shapiro felt that while some foreign investors had earlier been wary of overcoming the bureaucracy and ''unwelcoming attitude,'' they were more comfortable now. ''Maybe the Commonwealth Games could be like a dress rehearsal for bigger, more ambitious events,'' he said.

According to Srinath Geedipalli, a director at New York-based Simanor, investors are often frustrated by the absence in the lines of communications between heterogeneous departments.

''Things eventually come together in the last minute but the anxiety is always there,'' said Geedapalli, 35, whose firm provides M&A and other advisory services for companies in the US and India.

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Games could help economy, feel US investors