17 Feb 2014

India Remains One of the Top Destinations for Foreign Direct Investment: Anand Sharma

The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Shri Anand Sharma
The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Shri Anand Sharma has asserted that India remains one of the top destinations for Foreign Direct Investment, despite the economic slowdown.

 Speaking at a Students’ Interactive Session at Sophia College in Mumbai today, Shri Sharma said India’s Foreign Direct Investment policy has been progressively liberalized to make the regime more investor friendly. 

He said in a recent review of the policy the government has amended the sectoral caps in some key areas to stimulate FDI inflow. Between 2009-13, India attracted FDI worth US $ 172.82 billion, despite growing competition from emerging economies like Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam etc. 

Responding to a student’s question about India’s poor ranking on the ‘ease of doing business’ parameter, Shri Sharma admitted that red tape continued to be a cause of concern, but added that sincere efforts were being made to create a conducive business environment. 

He said, his Ministry has recently launched the e-Biz portal, which allows potential entrepreneurs to complete most of the formalities online, like submitting forms, making payments, among others. They can also track the status of their requests through the portal. 

Shri Sharma said that two of the key organizations crucial for clearance of projects – Ministry of Environment & Forests and Central Board of Customs & Excise are yet to come on board, but expressed confidence that he would convince them to join in soon. 

The Minister also said the National Manufacturing Policy seeks to address the menace of red tape by introducing accountability to ensure timely clearance of proposals. 

Shri Sharma said India’s current economic growth is not commensurate with its potential and the country has capacity to grow faster. He said that India is looking to create as many as 100 million skilled jobs in the manufacturing sector by raising its share of GDP to 25 per cent from 16 per cent.

 “We have to create jobs through industrialization and boosting manufacturing. The dedicated Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Chennai-Bangalore – Mumbai industrial corridor will create specialized manufacturing centres, with single window service to expand our industrial base,” he added. 

The Commerce & Industry Minister also defended the FDI in retail policy of the government, stating that its benefits can be reaped by farmers as well as small and medium enterprises. 

“If a retail chain sources its farm products from hinterland or creates cold storage facility, it will be the farmer in the villages who will benefit directly” he added. He reiterated that entry of organized retailer will not put the corner grocery stores out of business. 

Shri Sharma also said that India’s young population is an important asset. “By 2035, when the developed world will be saddled with ageing population, India, and not China, would be the country that would provide skilled manpower to the world” he added. 

Shri Sharma called upon the young students to cultivate a positive mindset and notice the developments that have taken place in India. 

The Minister in his address also touched upon various global and domestic issues including the emergence of a multi-polar world, importance of preserving democratic tradition, protecting cultural unity of India and above all the importance of education in building a strong nation. 

Noted industrialist Adi Godrej in his remarks called for early introduction of GST to rationalize tax regime and boost productivity. 

More than 150 students of Sofia College for Women participated in the Minister’s Interactive Session, “Emerging India in a Globalized World: The Imperatives of Change”, organized by CII. 

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