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MEA to oversee foreign investments in States

With more foreign dignitaries expressing their desire to visit cities other than Delhi, a special section will also coordinate visits to Tier Two cities, said MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin (in picture).  

Aiming to streamline foreign infrastructure investment, the government has announced a new division in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), appointing a joint secretary for “Centre-State” relations.

Confirming the development, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told The Hindu: “The new post will increase engagement between the MEA and State governments to coordinate State delegations visiting abroad, passport issues and political clearances, as well as to set up a database of State-level tie-ups and work on sister cities.”

With more foreign dignitaries expressing their desire to visit cities other than Delhi, the special section will also coordinate visits to Tier Two cities. However, the new division will not deal with policy disagreements of the kind seen between the Centre and Tamil Nadu over Sri Lanka and with West Bengal over the Teesta accord with Bangladesh.

Sources said the move had followed several complaints from other countries on the lack of coordination between State governments and the Centre. In one such case in August, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India had written to the government, seeking “urgent intervention” to help iron out differences in commitments by the Centre that were not implemented by the States on major projects such as the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial corridor, for which Japan had committed $100 billion in 2009.

The negative feedback received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent Japan visit led to the setting up of a special management team in the PMO to deal specifically with Japanese investment.

The MEA has now decided to pre-empt other such problems, with Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh setting up the Centre-State coordinating office inside the Ministry, which will be run by IFS officer Gopal Baglay, who recently returned from a posting in Pakistan.

The Hindu has learnt that there have been misgivings over the impact of the new push towards involving States in the MEA’s operations. Some embassies have reportedly opposed State officials being posted at missions abroad, while others have questioned the wisdom of allowing the States to deal with foreign governments directly.


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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 8:12:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mea-to-oversee-foreign-investments-in-states/article6530956.ece

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