Govt nod for new agency to promote foreign investments in India

Last Updated: Friday, September 11, 2009 - 00:17

New Delhi: The government on Thursday approved
formation of an investment promotion firm, where it will
partner the states and industry, to help attract foreign
investors and provide them a hassle-free entry.

The Union Cabinet cleared setting up of `Invest India`,
the joint venture with industry association FICCI that will
hold majority stake and the government the remaining 49 per

The non-profit company, to be incorporated under
Section-25 of the Companies Act, "will act as the first
reference point for any investor interested in India and will
also facilitate setting up business with in the country in
coordination with state governments," Commerce and Industry
Minister Anand Sharma told reporters here.

The firm would be purely a promotional and facilitator
agency and there is no overlapping with the Foreign Investment
Promotion Board (FIPB), which would continue to act as an
approval organ of the government.

The Centre would divest part of its 49 per cent equity
in favour of states, bringing it to 35 per cent.

Sharma said it would be a tripartite company involving
the Central government, states and the industry. He said the
initiative was in line with about 40 other countries which
have similar agencies for investment promotion.

However, he said about 80 per cent of the country`s FDI
comes through automatic route.

The company will have a board of directors with six
members from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion
(DIPP) and six others from FICCI.

The DIPP secretary will be its non-executive chairman and
a professional managing director would run its day-to-day

"The company will provide hand-holding support to all
investors," FICCI Secretary General Amit Mitra said.

Austerity drive figures in meet

Questions were raised at the
Union Cabinet meeting here today about the government`s
austerity measures in view of drought in several parts of the

Clarifications were sought on how to go about enforcing
the austerity as the issue came up for an impromptu discussion
at the cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister Manmohan

Cabinet sources said Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar
sought to know what sort of reception he should organise for
his foreign counterpart, who had hosted him some time back, on
an official visit here.

Another minister pointed out that the External Affairs
Minister and the Commerce Minister travel abroad frequently on
official business, suggesting that there should be laxity in
austerity guidelines for them.

In a lighter vein, another minister said if the airline
upgrades an official travelling economy class as the aircraft
is empty, it should be considered as a commercial decision.

It was clarified that official dinners could be organised
appropriately but conferences by government departments and
ministries should not be held in five-star hotels.

The ministers said they would abide by the guidelines
issued by the Finance Ministry.

Only two days back, External Affairs Minister S M
Krishna and his deputy Shashi Tharoor moved out of five-star
hotel accommodations here following directions by Congress
President Sonia Gandhi.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, September 11, 2009 - 00:17

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