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Global CEOs want faster clearances, uniform tax
February, 01st 2010

Investors and CEOs assembled at the World Economic Forum here want faster clearances for projects in India and a uniform tax rate. 

Several of them interacted with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who assured them that within the defined Foreign Direct Investment policy, the government would not only ensure speedy clearances but also facilitate them.

However, "the issues which they had were improving mechanism in states for cutting down the time for approvals and rationalisation and uniformity of the taxes throughout the country," Sharma told.

Sharma, who had several meetings in small groups with CEOs, apprised them with India's ambitious tax reforms through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that will replace most of the taxes at the Central and the state level.

Sharma said India's FDI policy regime assures investors of security of investment, intellectual property rights, data protection and exclusivity.

After establishing itself as a services hub for the world, India would work towards becoming a global sourcing centre for manufacturing.

The factory production contributes about 20 per cent to the country's GDP against over 55 per cent from the services.

With an intention to increase the share of manufacturing in economic production, the government will soon come out with a national policy.

"We have started work on the manufacturing policy. We want to make India the production hub of the world," he said.

In a difficult global investment scenario, India received FDI of USD 19.37 billion during April-November 2009-10.

At the macro level, investors remain bullish, he said. He said India and China are being clubbed as the two important emerging economies witnessing the shift of the economic balance of power.

"The shift is clearly acknowledged. And the new world economic order is headed in the right direction, reflecting the ground realities," he added.

Asked whether India would be willing to increase the FDI cap in single brand retail from 51 per cent, Sharma said, "it is adequate". As for the multi-brand, the foreign firms can enter world's second fastest growing economy only for back-end support.

India prohibits FDI in multi-brand retail but allows it for the cash-and-carry models like the WalMart's joint venture with the Bharti Group.

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