Ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit next month, India is working overtime to iron out irritants in investment commitments worth nearly Rs 20,000 crore from US-based companies ranging across automobile, defence, railways and information technology among others.
A dedicated panel of bureaucrats — an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) — headed by industry secretary Amitabh Kant has been specifically tasked with the responsibility to sort out the procedural and regulatory glitches that companies say are holding up a full roll-out of their plans.
The IMC, which met last week for the first time, examined 30 cases including Ford, Cisco, Dell, eBay, GE, ScanDisk, Flextronics and Morgan Stanley, where the companies have pointed out that red-tape and bureaucratic impediments have resulted in delayed investment.
Ford has requested the government to resolve logistical bottlenecks for its Chennai plant and Gujarat Plant. The car maker, which has brought more than Rs 8,000 crore of FDI in these two plants, is looking at an elevated express highway connectivity between Chennai port and Chennai city for which the Department of Industrial Policy and promotion (DIPP) has instructed the road ministry and the highways authority to expedite the completion of the highway. Similarly, for their Gujarat plant, Ford has been talking to railways and shipping ministries and the National Highways Authority of India to help it export vehicles.
Companies such as Freescale Semiconductor India Pvt Ltd and Heinz are facing delays in obtaining licence and approval of their products from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the ministry of environment and forests and the Food Safety and Standards of India respectively.
Dell, which has invested over `700 crore, is facing a delay from the civil aviation ministry on getting a no-objection certificate (NoC) for height clearance.
Amazon, apart from seeking permission on the business to consumer (B2C) operation in e-commerce, has also requested an early solution to the state VAT laws from the department of revenue and the Karnataka government. It has also requested clarity on the rules to allow non-telecommunication companies to lease dark fiber to help it build the required infrastructure for the data centre. The DIPP has written to the DoT for this.
Defence giant BAE Systems wants to establish project offices, for which it needs clarity on various issues related to taxation and establishment status and defence production procedure.
Another round of discussion with the industry and the government will take place in the next 15 days, the official added.