Economy

Centre to seek States' help to push reform policies

Arun S. New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on December 26, 2011




Faced with a domestic industrial slowdown and tough external environment, the Centre has decided to engage the State Governments to get them on board on some big-ticket policies.

The Commerce and Industry Minister Mr Anand Sharma is planning to hold consultation with the State Industry Ministers early next year — probably in January or February.

Topping the agenda would be fast-tracking the implementation of the recently announced National Manufacturing Policy, allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, the India-European Union Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement, diversification of exports to new markets (especially Africa), upgrading trade infrastructure and measures to cut transaction costs.

In the run-up to the meeting, the Commerce and Industry Ministry is busy collecting inputs from its own officials and from stakeholders including leading companies headquartered in various states or zones. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Commerce and Industry Ministry is in the process of sending out draft agenda notes and seeking opinion from the states, official sources told Business Line.

Politically charged

Besides, since the meeting is expected to be politically charged, the Centre is weighing options on whether to hold several meetings in various regions or zones and go by the majority opinion in those meetings or convene a national meeting for a larger consensus at one go.

“We have now reached a critical situation where our economic growth has dipped. Even some of the main Opposition parties have begun to understand that they have gone overboard in pushing their opposition to some policies. There is a growing realisation that we need to work together in the larger interest of the nation,” a senior official said.

On the National Manufacturing Policy, the Centre is adopting a twin approach: one for the states that are located in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (regarding the proposed National Investment and Manufacturing Zones), and the other for informing those states interested in taking advantage of the policy, about its benefits.

In this regard, the Centre would make an example of pro-active states such as Gujarat that are attracting more investments as they are more investment-friendly.

On allowing FDI in retail, the Centre will assess its potential benefits with the states including on controlling inflation, generating employment and manufacturing, especially in the crucial agriculture-related sector.

The emphasis on improving trade infrastructure, cutting down transaction costs as well as inking the trade and investment pact with EU (a traditional export destination) and diversification of trade to new markets, such as Africa, comes against the backdrop of falling demand in the EU due to the euro zone crisis, sluggish demand in the US and the Centre's strategy to double exports to $500 billion by 2013-14.

arun.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 26, 2011
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