Govt to release 6 discussion papers on FDI in May

One of the papers could be on liberalising the FDI regime in the retail sector. "We will bring out discussion papers and invite suggestion from the public," Secretary Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) R P Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a FICCI function here. When asked what areas the papers will cover, Singh said, "All the issues, which are troubling you will be covered."

Singh indicated that one of the papers would be on the multi-brand retail sector. While India allows 51 per cent FDI in single brand retail, foreign investment is not permitted in the lucrative multi-brand sector. Sources also said the papers would cover sectors like defence, pharmaceutical and agriculture.

The DIPP Secretary said the discussion papers would be released by May 12 or 13. Singh also said that the pharmaceutical department was not averse to FDI, but is demanding review of the policy. "They (Department of Pharmaceutical) are not opposing (FDI ). They are only saying that FDI (policy) should be reviewed and it should not result in Indian companies being purchased by outsiders," Singh said.

India allows 100 per cent FDI in drugs and pharmaceuticals through automatic route. In March this year, India had released a compendium of all the polices related with FDI with an objective of simplifying the norms. FDI inflows in the first 10 months of 2009-10 were USD 22.9 billion.

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