press trust of india
NEW DELHI, 16 JUNE: In a bid to spur investments, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today “strongly favoured” raising the FDI cap in telecom, as well as defence sector, and said he will meet global investors to address their concerns, particularly in multi-brand retail.
Before leaving for a 10-day visit from tomorrow to Helsinki, St Petersburg, Belfast and London, Mr Sharma said he will address all the concerns of foreign retail sector investors and ensure all help in setting up stores.
Mr Sharma said his ministry would move the Cabinet for further liberalisation in other sectors, which hold potential for FDI inflows, as well.
“I am strongly in favour of raising the cap in telecom sector. I have discussed this with the Telecom and Finance ministers and once we have the proposal, we will move the Cabinet for raising the cap to 100 per cent, and also for FDI in defence because we want defence manufacturing to be here,” he said.
He said his ministry wants global majors in defence sector to partner both with the PSUs and the private sector to manufacture weapon systems in India.
“Defence technologies have multiple applications including industrial applications. We want the global majors to partner with the Indian entities… so that the big outgo of foreign exchange could also be brought down and domestic manufacturing improves and jobs are created,” he added.
On hiking FDI cap in defence sector, he said he has written to the Defence Minister and would meet him on the matter.
Mr Sharma said he will hold deliberations with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on all these issues.
He said he will chair a Retail Round Table involving CEOs of Indian companies and foreign investors on 27 June to seek views on implementation issues and to address their concerns, if any.
Mr Sharma will also address global investors in different cities during his 10-day tour. He said after the consultations, the government may come up with clarifications and simplification of guidelines wherever required.
Mr Sharma said the moment the ministry receives any FDI proposal in the multi-brand retail sector, “it will be fast tracked and will do hand holding wherever required as we have done in the case of IKEA”.
The DIPP has already once released a clarification.
FDI of up to 26 per cent is permitted in the defence sector. The cap in telecom sector is currently fixed at 74 per cent.