`Sitharaman meets India Inc on reviving stalled growth

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday met representatives of industry to discuss issues stifling growth and what the states and the central government could do together to improve the situation.

“We had detailed discussions on industry. We tried to understand the situation on investments and industry’s mind on what is happening in the Indian economy and what the states and the centre can do to improve the situation,” she told reporters after the meeting.

The issues discussed included improving imports, the competitiveness of specific sectors, increasing foreign direct investments (FDI), besides Indian industry’s concerns over foreign trade agreements.

Industry chamber FICCI said in a statement here that the issues discussed included “measures to further liberalise FDI regime, new initiatives that could be taken up under the Make in India programme and a strategy to promote start-ups”.

It pointed out in their submission note to the ministry that the combined index of eight core industries in November 2015, was 1.3 percent lower as compared to November 2014, and cumulative growth during April-November 2015-16 was 2 percent as compared to 6 percent for the same period last year.

“According to the recent manufacturing survey of FICCI, the outlook for Indian manufacturing sector in Quarter 3 of 2015-16 looks to be weakening, as lesser percentage of respondents expect high growth to continue in Q-3 (October-December 2015-16),” the industry chamber said.

Ending a 25-month expansion run, manufacturing activity in India fell into the contraction zone in December, according to the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’Index.

“Given the need to support economic recovery, we feel that public investments, particularly in infrastructure, need to be stepped up even next year,” FICCI said.

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