Hitting back at the critics of the Government, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, on Wednesday, said the very fact that big multi-national companies were making investment commitments indicated that neither the UPA-II government nor India had lost direction or initiative.

Mr. Sharma’s strong stand comes in the wake of $5 billion investment announced by Coca Cola and 1.5 billion euro by IKEA in the last one week.

“It is good news, and things are moving. It’s not that we have lost our direction. We have not.

“The gains of policy initiatives are flowing steadily and slowly, and we should be patient to see the results,” Mr. Sharma told journalists after his meeting with Coca Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent here.

Mr. Kent had announced, on Tuesday, that Coca Cola would invest $5 billion between now and 2020 on various activities, including setting up of new bottling plants.

Last week, home furnishing major IKEA approached the government with a proposal to invest 1.5 billion euro to set up 25 stores in the country.

Mr. Sharma said the government was working in the direction of providing investor-friendly climate.

“As far as the government is concerned, we have made it very clear that we believe in an environment, which is welcoming and supportive for investors. We have taken a number of steps and have come out with policy initiatives,” he added.

Citing the example of allowing 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail, he said, the issue had received good response from investors. “There are three investment applications, which have already come and more are in the pipeline,” he added.

The government has come under attack from various quarters, including rating agencies and a section of the corporate sector, for failing to carry out policy reforms, decline in foreign investments and overall economic slowdown. The country's foreign direct investment (FDI) declined by 41 per cent to $1.85 billion in April as compared to the same period in the previous fiscal.

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