All big-ticket foreign investment proposals involving Rs 2,000 crore and above in infrastructure, manufacturing, technology and innovation will be routed through a five-member high-powered panel headed by Niti Aayog deputy chairman Arvind Pangariya. PM Narendra Modi has cleared setting up of this panel, which includes economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das, industry secretary Amitabh Kant and former cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekhar.
An official from the PMO is likely to be inducted into the panel shortly to streamline clearances for foreign investments, especially large proposals. “With investment proposals directly pouring into the PMO after the prime minister’s various visits abroad, a mechanism has now been put in place for streamlining projects on the ground,” said a top official who did not wish to be identified.
Modi had scrapped all ministerial groups hitherto set up by the erstwhile UPA government, including the cabinet committee on investment (CCI).
The Pangariya panel will coordinate with different states where the projects are expected to come up “more as a facilitator than a clearing house” for hastening implementation, the official added.
While billions of dollars worth foreign investments are expected after prime minister Modi met investors and heads of Fortune 500 companies, it became virtually impossible for the PMO to keep track of companies, investors, funds and debt firms willing to put their money into India.
“This necessitated putting together an inter-ministerial mechanism to realise investments and projects on ground,” the official said.
“Sustaining and pacing out investments across states as well as handholding if there are bottlenecks, is the mandate of this panel,” he added.
The Pangariya panel is in addition to the special dispensation for Japan with two officials from the Abe government inducted into the industry ministry to handhold Japanese investors and speed up clearances.
A similar dispensation is also in offing for the US technology investors, especially after top five American technology firms, including Facebook and Google chief executives, promised to take a bigger exposure of the Indian technology landscape.
Despite the Pangariya panel, the existing mechanism of FIPB and cabinet committee on economic affairs will not be tinkered with.
Foreign investment flows to India have reportedly crossed the $31 billion mark during this January-June period, outsmarting China’s $28 billion and US’s $27 billion, according to a study by London-based investment research firm fDi Markets.
The UK, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia have been relegated down the pecking order in global sweepstakes for attracting foreign investments, said the study. It has also reported more than doubling of capital investments in the first six months of this fiscal, vis-à-vis $12 billion received in the same period a year ago.
But RBI has put the gross foreign investment inflows during January–June 2015 at a more modest $20.3 billion while net inflows were pegged lower at $18.3 billion.
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