The new simplified version of foreign direct investment (FDI) policy will be out on March 31, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma said here on Friday.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the India International Seafood Show, Mr. Sharma said the new policy would be a single consolidated document instead of a dossier of press notes. Since liberalisation in 1991, the changes and updates to the FDI policy have been brought in through various press notes.

The Minister said India remained an attractive destination for investment. Some surveys had ranked India among the top three favoured investment destinations, he said. The export sector had weathered the storm of the global financial crisis thanks to the cautious and calibrated interventions of the government, the Minister said.

However, while sectors such as coffee, tea and gems and jewellery had done well, the performance of other segments such as engineering goods, garments, leather and handicrafts continued to cause concern.

To a question on the continuance of stimulus in the forthcoming Union budget, Mr. Sharma said Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was “well-informed of and sensitive” to the sectors that would require extended stimulus support.

On Bharti Airtel's efforts to acquire African assets of Zain Telecom, the Minister said “we would welcome Indian corporates to step out and become global players.”

On the government's position on attracting FDI in tobacco, the Minister said there was no need for FDI in the tobacco industry. “We are a responsible country. There is a ban on smoking in public places..,” he said. The Minister said he would rather see more FDI in technologies of the future such as innovation, research and green technologies.

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