It’s right time to pitch for FDI: Industry secretary

Anurag Jain, the secretary for promotion of industry and internal trade, is upbeat on industrial performance and FDI. In an interview, he talks to TOI about deciding on FTA after extensive consultations with industry. Excerpts:
How is the progress on Gati Shakti?? Are more sectors coming in?
The idea is to break silos and bring about more efficiency through a whole-of government approach. The organisation structure is in place. We have around 500 layers (on the GIS map) now under the National Master Plan at the central level. We have spoken to the state governments and identified 24 layers, including land revenue records, so that they can put their data and will help plan better. We have moved a lot, and by April we will start utilising it for the projects. The second part is economic ministries beyond basic infrastructure. The map shows the infrastructure right now and where it will be in 2024-25.
Will Rs 1-lakh-crore support for states speed up their integration?
Additional funds for infrastructure will be spent under the Gati Shakti concept, so you will get better quality spending, planning will be better, and implementation will be faster. The impact will be more than what it would have been under normal circumstances.

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Are you seeing better capacity utilisation in sectors and are certain industries have started adding capacity?
It has started to an extent. IIP has improved and the growth in manufacturing will be higher than services after a long time. As a result, industry’s share of the economy will rise. A lot of steps have taken place, such as PLI, and some of the trade agreements will help boost manufacturing.
Indian industry often complains of an adverse impact of FTA. How justified are the concerns?
We are undertaking extensive consultations with industry. Finally, a call is taken by the government and safeguards are put in place to check misuse. Every country has certain comparative advantages, you may be efficient in one and I may be good at something else. When we take a collaborative approach, it can be beneficial for both. One has to strike a fine balance.
What is the expectation on FDI inflows this year and for next financial year?
We have created a facilitative mechanism and opened the sectors a lot. It depends on several factors, including liquidity, the geopolitical situation and investment climate across several countries.
There is a reluctance in certain countries and companies to invest in some markets, which is also part of a strategy to diversify production chain in a post-Covid world. Are we seeing some of that reflecting in India’s FDI numbers?
The way the global situation is changing, next 18-30 months are most crucial for FDI. Most supply chains are realigning themselves and major decisions for new investment destinations are happening. This is the right time to pitch and fortunately the kind of work, which is being done, should help.
What is the experience with single-window clearance?
We have got 15 states and 20 departments on board and 11 more departments will be on-boarded by March-end. We are in talks with remaining states, some of them don’t have a single-window approval. There are some end-to-end decisions that have been taken place through the platform. Lot of improvements are being undertaken by some of the departments.

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