FDI limit likely to be raised in Union Budget

Increased FDI in major sectors, including petroleum, civil aviation and telecommunication services, is likely soon.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2003 00:38 IST

Increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in major sectors, including petroleum, civil aviation, telecommunication services and non-news print media, is likely soon. A group of ministers recommended the quantum of hikes after a meeting on Thursday.

The budget on Friday is expected to incorporate the new policy, which hopes to attract foreign revenue.

The group of ministers, headed by Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, has decided to allow 100 per cent FDI in oil refineries, exploration and physical infrastructure in airports and 49 per cent FDI in airlines.

The recommendations, which will have to be approved by the Cabinet, also suggest 100 per cent FDI in non-news scientific and technical journals and 74 per cent in telecom services (up from the current 49 per cent).

Earlier, a task force headed by Planning Commission member N.K. Singh had recommended enhancement or elimination of FDI ceilings in the sectors dealt with by the group of ministers, as well as small-scale industries, biotechnology and coal and mining.

On Thursday, Singh told the Hindustan Times that the removal of the sectoral caps was a positive development. “The kernel of my report, however, dealt with other procedural issues which would result in cataclysmic changes,” he said.

Singh had recommended a new FDI law to replace the current one, which is not considered promotional. He had also recommended restructuring of bodies like the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, and several changes in the institutional framework of special economic zones.

First Published: Feb 27, 2003 23:21 IST