Big FDI push in digital media, single-brand retailing and other sectors

Big FDI push in digital media, single-brand retailing and other sectors 1

In major decisions to liberalise Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms to boost investment, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday allowed 26%t FDI in digital media and relaxed FDI norms for foreign single-brand retailers.

At present, 49% FDI is provided under the approval route in news channels, but now it has been expanded to digital media, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters at New Delhi.

“The extant FDI policy provides for 49 % FDI under approval route in up-linking of ‘News & Current Affairs’ TV channels. It has been decided to permit 26 % FDI under government route for uploading/streaming of news and current affairs through Digital Media, on the lines of print media,” the minister said.

The cabinet also allowed single-brand retailers to start online sales, waiving the previous condition of setting up a mandatory brick-and-mortar store, he stated. In single-brand retail trading, Goyal said the definition of 30 per cent local sourcing norm has been relaxed. “Online sales will result in job creation in logistics, digital payments, customer care, training and product skilling.”

The cabinet also approved 100 per cent FDI under automatic route in contract manufacturing, Goyal said.

Asked what it means for a company like say Apple which wants to come and set up a manufacturing base in India, Goyal said India is the right place to invest because of availability of skilled manpower, robust manufacturing technology base and people knowing the art of setting up plants quickly.

“So, in every sense, India has the opportunity to leverage the movement of factories to the other parts of the world and I think we have tried to make it simple to leverage on this opportunity,” he said.

The cabinet also approved 100% FDI under automatic route in coal mining and associated infrastructure, the minister said.

“It has been decided to permit 100 per cent FDI under automatic route for sale of coal, for coal mining activities including associated processing infrastructure subject to provisions of Coal Mines Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals Act, 1957,” Goyal said.

As per the present FDI policy, 100% FDI under automatic route is allowed for coal and lignite mining for captive consumption by power projects, iron and steel and cement units and other eligible activities permitted under and subject to applicable laws and regulations, he said.

Talking about the impact these decisions will have, Goyal said they will bring scale to India and give a legup to the Make In India programme, besides will help large companies through their manufacturing arms to relocate in India. “This will also help exports go up, earning precious foreign exchange and obviously give jobs,” he added.

Asked if these decisions would disturb the level-playing field for domestic players, Goyal said, on the contrary, this will open up opportunities for domestic players.

The cabinet also approved Rs 6,268 crore subsidy for export of 6 million tonnes of sugar during the 2019-20 marketing year starting October. “This will liquidate surplus domestic stock and help sugar mills in clearing huge sugarcane arrears to farmers,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

The subsidy will benefit farmers of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, besides other sugarcane growing states, he said. “The government is giving subsidy for export of 5 million tonnes of sugar for the current 2018-19 marketing year,” he added.

The cabinet also approved setting up of an International Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) Javadekar said adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch it during UN Climate Summit in New York on September 23.

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