With India facing an economic slowdown, a sharp decline in the value of rupee and declining investment sentiment abroad, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is currently on a globe trotting spree to address the concerns of the investors. Mr Sharma is also expected to Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in various sectors.

During his talks with global corporate leaders and ministerial counterparts, Mr. Sharma has hinted at changes in the FDI policy in the coming months to make it more investor friendly and also review caps on FDI in various sectors. ``The year 2012 has been terrible for us. India, with its huge growing population of youth, cannot afford to have low level growth rate. We have to create an environment to restore the confidence of the investors. We are grappling with the situation and the future, from here, certainly does not look very good. But we have to rise to the occasion and ensure that concerns of one and all are addressed and the country is put back on the path of high growth,’’ Mr. Sharma told a Global India Business Meeting here on Monday.

The gathering saw the presence of Indian corporate sector led by FICCI chairperson, Naina Lal Kidwai and senior vice president, Sidharth Birla. Talented young director and writer Imtiaz Ali was also among the team.

The Indian, British and Northern Ireland corporate leaders discussed how India and Europe could forge a new partnership to fuel growth and enhance trade and economic engagement. Mr. Sharma also had a bilateral meeting with GregoryBarker, Minister of State for energy and Climate Change and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skill, Vince Cable.

Mr. Sharma began his visit to Finland where he met business leaders and sought investment. Later he attended St. Petersburg International Economic Forum at the invitation of Andrei Belousov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The Indian side made a presentation on the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor highlighting opportunities for the Russian companies in the infrastructure sector.

``India and Russia have a significant potential in the areas of infrastructure, aviation, power generation, energy, IT, bio and nanotechnologies, fertilizers and chemicals. I also discussed with the Eurasian Economic Commission chairman, Viktor Khristenko the issue of comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russian Federation,’’ Mr.Sharma said.

According to the latest figures, FDI inflows registered 38 per cent decline to$22.42 billion in 2012-13 compared to previous year. FDI inflows into India were $35.12 during 2010-11. In March 2013, India attracted $41.52 billion FDI. The highest recipient of FDI was the service sector with $4.38 billion followed by hotel and tourism industry at $3.25billion and automobiles at $1.35 billion. India requires $1 trillion over the next five years for the infrastructure sector such as ports, airports and highways to give a boost to growth and economic activity.

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