India to cut restrictive provisions to spur JVs

Indra Gurung

Kolkata, January 12

Dr Manmohan Singh, prime minister of India today called for more investment, saying the emerging global economic power and the fourth largest economy provides an exciting opportunity for foreign direct investments.

While inaugurating the Partnership Summit, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) at the National Library premises in Kolkata, Dr Singh announced that India would be doing away with the restrictive provisions for joint ventures with foreign partners. “The Press Note 18 — a regulatory provision that has been a source of discomfort to investors, has outlived its utility today,” he said. The new initiative will allow new joint ventures and collaborations to be shaped by commercial agreements based on the free will of partners without government interferences. However, existing joint ventures will continue to be protected by existing provisions of the law.

Referring to India’s need of investment in all sectors, Indian Prime Minister called for increasing the rate of investment in sectors like infrastructure, manufacturing, services, and most importantly in agriculture and agro-processing. The increased rate of investment will ensure the stepping up of the rate of economic growth and employment generation, he stated. Clearing doubts about the influence of left allies on the UPA government, Dr Singh said that his government is fully committed to provide a better investment environment which has full assurance from the left allies.

If communist China can become the top investment destination in the world and if a left government in West Bengal can woo FDI aggressively, there is no reason why the government cannot make India an equally important FDI destination, he added. Dr Singh, the architect of Indian economic reforms, underlined the need for keeping the interest of the poor and the marginalised in mind, while introducing economic modernisation and liberalisation. Stating India’s increasing efforts to forge new economic ties, he revealed that India is already taking steps to lower tariffs at the ASEAN level.

In a 30-minute long written speech, Dr Singh said that the Indian government has decided to create a National Knowledge Commission to strengthen the roots of capacity and capability building, ensuring better preparation for meeting the emerging challenges. According to him, the agenda of the commission would be concentrated on five major areas of action namely, to increase access to knowledge for public benefit, develop new concepts of higher education, rejuvenate science and technology institutions, enable application of knowledge to enhance competitiveness, and encourage intensive use of knowledge-based services.

Earlier, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, chief minister of West Bengal, also called upon the need for increasing investments in West Bengal, especially in manufacturing and infrastructure. The West Bengal government is committed for ensuring a conducive investment climate, he said. Bhattacharjee handed over a cheque of IRs 35 million for National Relief Fund to Prime Minister Dr Singh on the occasion.

Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata group of companies, said that goods or services should be cost-efficient and competitive in order to penetrate global markets. For which, barriers and difficulties that the private sector is facing should be relaxed. Although the 13 years of economic liberalisation and openness have already made India a global hub for services and technological innovation, India still needs to go a long way, said Sunil Kant Munjal, president of CII.

With a theme ‘Partnerships for Development’, the three-day long event that kicked off here today, is being participated by delegates from 27 nations and will last till January 14.