France on Monday said investments from its companies could jump from €10 billion (about Rs 60,000 crore) committed over the next two years if India opened up the floodgates for foreign investment in multi-brand retail and insurance sectors.
“There could be a lot more than that (€10 billion) for sure, if it was possible to develop activities in insurance and retail,” said Christine Lagarde, French minister for economy and finance, while addressing a meeting organised by industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
“If the Indian authorities consider it sensible to open up the sectors, I know French companies will significantly expand their activities.”
Everything is about “give and take”, it is a “two-way street,” she said.
Lagarde said that FDI in retail figured in her discussions with commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma. “I talked assurance, I talked retail,” she said after meeting Sharma.
Inter-ministerial consultations are currently on on the politically contentious issue.
The debate on opening the up foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail has gathered steam with the finance ministry preferring not to offer any comments on the matter, saying it would so during the inter-ministerial consultation.
The food and consumer affairs ministry, on the other hand, favours opening up FDI in multi-brand retail with a 49% cap.
The Planning Commission has said that “FDI in multi-brand retail trading should be permitted, since it will have both positive effects that are of value to the national economy.”
Dismissing fears related to the ill effects of opening up FDI on small retailers, Lagarde said India can learn from the French experience.