Sharma for FDI cap hike in telecom, defence

Sharma said his ministry would move the Cabinet for further liberalisation in other sectors as well which hold potential for FDI inflows.

New Delhi: 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 10-day visit from tommorow to Helsinki, St Petersburg, Belfast and London, Sharma said he will address all the concerns of foreign retail sector investors and ensure all help in setting up stores.

Sharma said his ministry would move the Cabinet for further liberalisation in other sectors as well which hold potential for FDI inflows.

"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 percent, and also for FDI in defence because we want defence manufacturing to be here," he told reporters.

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 that he has written to the Defence Minister and would meet him on the matter.

"He (the Defence Minister) has written back to me suggesting that we will discuss this matter in a meeting," Sharma said.

When asked about the Defence Minister's response on the matter, Sharma said: "I will say that the letter does not convey which is anything negative but defence is a complex and sensitive matter and will sit together and take a view".

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 June 27 here to seek views on implementation issues and to address their concerns, if any.

Sharma will also address global investors in different cities during his 10-day tour. He said that after the consultations, the government may come up with clarifications and simplification of guidelines wherever required.

"If there are any other issues they (global investors) have in mind, the government is receptive to that and any if further clarity in the guidelines (are required, the ministry will clarify that) because the objective of the policy is to attract FDI," he added.

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 clarification.

FDI of up to 26 percent is permitted in the defence sector. The cap in telecom sector is currently fixed at 74 percent.


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