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|October 18, 1999||
Govt framing transparent guidelines for FDI, says Sinha
The government will soon remove procedural hassles for overseas investors so that the foreign direct investment can be trebled from $ 3 billion to $ 10 billion, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said.
''We have already defined our priorities and only procedural hassles need to be removed and we will do it soon,'' Sinha said in a television interview today.
The Central government will soon frame transparent procedural guidelines for foreign direct investment. ''As long as the foreign investors come within these guidelines, they would not have to run from this pillar to that post'', the finance minister told the British Broadcasting Corporation's World channel. The government has already defined the priority areas for foreign investment. These are power, telecom, roads and ports.
''There will also be a clear negative list where FDI will not be permitted.'' However, this would be a restrictive.
As for the pending legislations like the Insurance Regulatory Authority Bill, Foreign Exchange Management Bill and Money Laundering Bill, these would be taken up in the winter session of Parliament. The session starting from October 20, 1999 is ''formal for meeting certain constitutional obligations,'' he said.
Sinha dismissed fears that the international financial market would be subdued towards the end of the calendar year because of the year 2000 problem affecting disinvestment of public sector companies. ''We have checked up this and except for a week or so, the problem (Y2K) would not be as much as thought to be''.
The finance minister had set an ambitious target of Rs 100 billion to be raised through disinvestment in the financial year 1999-2000. While only six months have gone, Sinha sounded quite confident about achieving the disinvestment target. ''You are talking about only six months, there are full six months left and I am sure we will achieve our disinvestment target,'' he said.
Disinvestment of the public sector companies is being seen as one of the major initiatives to check the fiscal deficit, a big worry for the government. The finance minister in his new stint in North Block said he has a strategy worked out for keeping the fiscal deficit within the budgeted target of four per cent.
Sinha asked why the media was obsessed with levy of fresh taxes every time there is a problem of fiscal deficit. ''There are other ways to control fiscal deficit and I am as much concerned with the problem as anybody else,'' he said.
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