Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma indicated on Thursday that the government may announce some decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail and civil aviation in the next three weeks to boost investments and revive economic growth.
Sharma said all consultations are over and an announcement is likely soon.
Sharma along with officials from the finance ministry met industry leaders yesterday to discuss a whole host of issues, including measures to boost growth and improve the overall climate of the industry.
“What can be done is under active consideration. You can expect some firm steps taken by the government. There have been consultations among senior secretaries of the concerned ministries and departments and also between key ministers and the Prime Minister,” Sharma said.
Sharma asked the industry for suggestions to revive the sentiment, while industry leaders asked the government to fast-track reforms and ensure fiscal discipline. The minister, however, said all announcements related to investments and FDI will be made in one go.
“The PM and FM have reaffirmed the govt’s commitment to continue with the reform agenda. The govt will take decisions which are the expectations of the industry and investors,” Sharma added.
There has been a strong demand among industry leaders that the government take steps to put an end to the atmosphere of uncertainty and send a clear and positive signal about the intent to battle the slowdown and revive the economy.
Adi Godrej, President, CII told CNBC TV18 that the industry discussed that in order to improve GDP growth and industrial productions, a lot of steps need to be taken. “The statement the finance ministry made on Aug 6 was an excellent statement. We suggested that those policies be implemented as early as possible.”
During a meeting, Sharma reportedly also told industry captains that a comprehensive package of reforms on FDI policy will be announced in the second week of September.
Sharma said the industry has raised issues related to cost of credit, reduction in capacity addition and matters related with foreign direct investment.
“There is a sharp concern about the decline in industrial production particularly in the manufacturing sector. We know that there are strong head winds and a conscious effort has to be made…I will urge the RBI to take an early view on cost of credit for industry,” he added.
A worsening economic situation pulled down the index of industrial production by 1.8 percent in June, its third fall in four months.
“Though inflationary pressure is there but depreciation of rupee also adds to that pressure. The economic activity has to continue. Cost of credit has to be made available and it has to be affordable…In the rest of the world, the cost of credit has been brought down,” Sharma said.