The Indian Budget 1996-97 The Indian Economy Overview


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FIPB, Tariff Commission and Disinvestment Commission

  1. In keeping with the promises made in the Common Minimum Programme, government have reconstituted the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. The Foreign Investment Promotion Council will also be set up shortly. Together, they will vigorously promote and approve foreign direct investment in India keeping in view the objective of attracting at least $ 10 billion every year.

  2. In order to expedite foreign investment approvals and also increase the transparency of the process, government have decided to expand the list of 35 industries which are eligible for automatic approval upto 51% of foreign equity. The expanded list will be announced separately by my colleague, the Minister of Industry. At present, the automatic approval procedure is subject to the requirement that the value of foreign equity should cover the total import of capital goods. This condition was introduced in 1991 when capital goods imports were subject to import licensing. As capital goods have been free of import licensing restrictions since 1992, this condition is being dropped.

  3. Government have also initiated action to set up an independent Tariff Commission.

  4. Government have approved the proposal to establish a Disinvestment Commission. Any decision to disinvest will be taken and implemented in a transparent manner. Revenues generated from such disinvestment will be utilised for allocations for education and health and for creating a fund to strengthen public sector enterprises. The interim Budget for 1996-97 took credit for Rs.5,000 crore through disinvestment. I propose to take credit for the same amount. The disinvestment will be done in three tranches, approximately in September, November and January/ February.

    Industrial Sickness

  5. The Sick Industries Companies Act (SICA) has a narrow definition of sickness and cannot deal with incipient or potential sickness. Managements have been able to use the BIFR route to abdicate their legitimate responsibilities. Under the present dispensation workers, financial institutions, banks and government are often the losers. I have initiated a total review of SICA and the working of BIFR and I intend to bring a new Bill in the winter session of Parliament.
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