Inter-ministerial meeting to deliberate on FDI in pharma soon

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma on Thursday said the Government had decided to remove limitations of compulsory lock-in-period and minimum built-up area for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the construction industry for old age homes and all educational institutions with immediate effect.

Chairing the first meeting of the Government-Industry Task Force here, Mr. Sharma said there was a huge deficit of educational infrastructure and there was a need to attract foreign investments for creating world-class infrastructure in the education sector. The meeting also took up whole lots of issues being faced by the Indian industry and the government's response to that.

Mr. Sharma informed the industry about the government's efforts to rationalise various procedures for the industry and the efforts to bring down the transaction cost.

43 % rise in inflows

He expressed satisfaction over the fact that FDI inflows in the first seven months of the current calendar year have been $17.83 billion which is 43 per cent increase over the previous period.

On the issue of FDI in pharmaceutical industry, he said the Prime Minister would be convening an inter-ministerial meeting soon to deliberate on whether FDI in the pharmaceutical sector should continue on the automatic route even for brownfield investments or it should be placed under the government approval route.

The Indian industry led by Harsh Pati Singhania, Rajan Bharti Mittal, Sanjay Kirloskar, Venu Srinivasan and Rajiv Kumar raised the concerns pertaining to high interest rates and their lack of validity as a way to fight inflation. They said the industry was facing problems pertaining to environment, land and natural inputs such as coal. They also wanted the Government to look into the labour-related rigidities and asked for measure to help small and medium enterprises.

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