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New Delhi:  The government has announced reforms touching 15 sectors, easing foreign direct investment or FDI in mining, civil aviation, defence, broadcasting, construction. It has also relaxed norms related to investment by companies owned and controlled by NRIs.The major reforms push, being billed as the biggest in the FDI regime, comes two days after the ruling BJP suffered a crushing defeat in the Bihar assembly elections. Also, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for his first visit to the United Kingdom, focussed predominantly on business and investment."To further boost this entire investment environment and to bring in foreign investments in the country, the Government has brought in FDI related reforms and liberalisation touching upon 15 major sectors of the economy," Including Mining, Civil Aviation, Defence the government said in a press release that listed the sectors for which FDI measures have been announced today.It sought to allay fears that the BJP's defeat in Bihar will lead to a further slowdown in economic reforms. "With this round of reforms, the government has demonstrated that India is unstoppable on the path of economic development," the government said, adding, "The Prime Minister has reiterated that the economic wellbeing of the people of India is the main task before him."It is being seen as a message that the government continues to be focussed on the economy and a counter to the criticism that PM Modi's Bihar campaign deviated from his development agenda.The Bihar result on Sunday dealt a body blow to PM Modi's plans to win most state elections in the next three years to gain full control of parliament and push key reforms.The government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha or upper house which is selected by state assemblies, and opposition parties have blocked most of its reforms including the Goods and Services Tax bill, the biggest overhaul of taxes since independence.Investors are already fretting over the delay in reforms and the Bihar defeat is expected to galvanise opposition parties ahead of Parliament's winter session and five state elections next year."The crux of these reforms is to further ease, rationalise and simplify the process of foreign investments in the country and to put more and more FDI proposals on automatic route instead of government route where time and energy of the investors is wasted. It is one more proof of minimum government and maximum governance," the press release said.It noted that the World Bank has improved India's ranking by 12 places on Ease of Doing Business and that India has been rated by global Institutions as the leading destination for FDI in the world. "FDI has gone up by 40%," it said.
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