The Centre is creating an investor friendly environment to attract $50 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) annually by 2012, to keep pace with the economic growth and build infrastructure, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said.

Stating that he was for a structured dialogue between the Centre and the States for promoting industrial development, Mr. Sharma said the government would aim at $50 billion annual FDI flows by 2012 and $100 billion by 2017. Last year the FDI inflows were $35 billion, marking an eight fold increase. In the first half of 2009-10, the FDI inflows were around $15 billion.

He announced that a new scheme for labour intensive industry under which the Centre would provide a 50 per cent grant for industrial park/cluster with a ceiling of Rs. 40 crore covering sectors such as sports goods, glass products, toys, ceramics, jewellery and electronic hardware.

The Commerce Minister announced that the State Industries Ministers’ meeting would be made an annual affair. A special focus would be given to the manufacturing sector which contributed around 17 per cent of GDP and announced that a National Manufacturing Policy would be given shape by next year. India has the comparative advantage of a large base of manpower.

“We are creating the investor friendly environment bringing about a greater degree of uniformity, predictability and rationalisation across the country. We hope that we will be able to attract $50 billion FDI annually. India is a big country, it can absorb that and let us not forget that the projections of the next one decade for Indian infrastructure alone, is absorbing investments of one and a half trillion dollars,” he remarked.

More In: Economy | Business