New Delhi – Indian industry today asked the government to push for foreign direct investment (FDI) inÂ multi-brand retail trading as well as allowing corporates inÂ agriculture farming.Â These were among the several suggestions made by industry
chambers, including CII and FICCI, during their interactionÂ with Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and
senior officials here.
“Members stated that the government should push the FDI inÂ multi-brand retail sector. Suggestions were also made that
Indian corporates should be allowed to do agricultureÂ farming,” an official, who attended the meeting, said.
India permits 51 per cent FDI in the multi-brand retailÂ sector. The BJP-led NDA government is opposed to allowing FDIÂ in multi-brand retailing, but it has not yet scrapped theÂ policy approved by the previous UPA regime.
FICCI said taking into account the sensitivities regardingÂ protecting kiranas, the government could consider allowing 100Â per cent FDI in multi brand retail in segments such asÂ electronics, apparel and fresh food product retail.
Issues including impact of FTAs signed by India, ways toÂ promote start-ups and boost economic growth, were alsoÂ deliberated upon in the meeting.
Sitharaman said the key issues raised by the industryÂ include surge in imports, competitiveness of some sectors andÂ increasing investments, among others.
The industry chambers raised concerns over FTAs (freeÂ trade agreements) and their impact on Indian industry andÂ commerce, the minister said, adding that the ministry wouldÂ take inputs from industry at the time of review of theseÂ pacts.
India has so far signed free trade pacts with countriesÂ such as Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Asean.Â Indian industry and exporters have time and again saidÂ that these pacts have benefited the partner countries more.Â She also asked the industry to delve deep into the causesÂ of lack of competitiveness vis-a-vis imports and takeÂ corrective measures to improve that.
SitharamanÂ emphasised on the need for standards across allÂ sectors and sought cooperation to develop that. Besides, theÂ minister sought inputs for negotiations of RegionalÂ Comprehensive Economic Partnership and other FTAs.
While allaying apprehensions about the 12-nationÂ Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, he asked theÂ industry for their feedback on export promotion measures takenÂ by the government during the last one year.
The chambers suggested measures to further liberalise FDIÂ regime, new initiatives that could be taken up under Make in
India programme and strategy to promote start-ups.
To promote start-ups, the chambers suggested removing theÂ entire regulatory burden for initial few years and ease of
opening and closing the start-up business.
Former FICCI President Harsh Pati Singhania said theÂ government should have to look at several issues such as
facilitating and closing of start-ups, funding and taxÂ ambiguity for funders.
The objective of the meeting was to have an interface withÂ the major stakeholders in industrial development so as to
arrive at a common understanding of the problems faced by the Indian economy in manufacturing and also seek suggestionsÂ to boost that.Â It was informed by the officials that FDI in the countryÂ has grown by 39 per cent in the last 18 months.
Later, an official statement said the industry emphasisedÂ on the need for stimulus for increasing the domestic demand
through government investments in infrastructure.
The chambers demanded for establishment of a grant fund forÂ start-ups to support their capital and innovation expenditure
throughout the life cycle.
“A concern was expressed about the falling rural incomesÂ and its impact on the domestic demand. The need for change in
APMC Act was expressed with a view to increase the farmers’Â income,” it said.
The role of states in improving the ease of doing businessÂ and promoting investment was also highlighted.