The industry ministry's discussion paper on liberalising the multi-brand retail argues that foreign investment in the sector would help bridge in supply loopholes in the food chain and, thereby, help tame high food inflation
New Delhi: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the government is considering further liberalisation of foreign direct investment (FDI) policy for meeting the ambitious $I trillion fund requirement in the next five years for infrastructure development, reports PTI.
"Discussions are underway to also liberalise the FDI policy," Mr Mukherjee said at an IIF event here. The move comes in the backdrop of a slowdown in FDI and its impact on the current account deficit.
FDI during April-December this fiscal declined by 23% to $16 billion from $20.8 billion in the same period last year.
The current account deficit (CAD) has been projected at 3.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for the fiscal 2010-11.
The country's CAD, representing the difference in inflows and outflows of foreign exchange, barring capital movements, stood at 2.9% of the GDP last fiscal.
Mr Mukherjee further said that the sustainability of growth momentum of the country in the medium-term depends critically on quality and pace of infrastructure development.
The infrastructure sector requires an investment of a whopping $1 trillion in the 12th Plan, beginning year 2012 -17.
Mr Mukherjee said the 8% growth rate achieved by the economy during 2009-10 came on the back of stimulus provided by the government to tide over the financial slowdown. India's GDP is expected to expand by 8.6% in 2010-11.
"This growth... vindicates the expansionary fiscal and monetary policy stance adopted during and after the economic slowdown in the sector half of 2008. The economy is thus back to its pre-crisis growth momentum," he said.
Mr Mukherjee also said that the rising commodity prices and volatility in capital flows is a source of worry. Also, political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has pushed global crude prices to $116 a barrel, its highest since 2008.
Even the World Bank has expressed serious concerns over food prices rising to "dangerous levels" globally and said food inflation has pushed 44 million people in developing countries into extreme poverty since June last year.
"The major emerging market economies are experiencing robust growth, though volatility in capital inflows and inflation, including from the hardening of global commodity prices, is a source of worry," Mr Mukherjee said.
India's inflation at the end of January stood at 8.23%, higher than the Reserve Bank of India's comfort level of 5%-6%. Also, food inflation was recorded at double-digit level at 10.39% for the week ended 19th February.
The government has been toying with the idea of opening the retail sector for foreign direct investment (FDI). India's retail sector is dominated by mom & pop stores (kirana shops).
The industry ministry's discussion paper on liberalising the multi-brand retail argues that foreign investment in the sector would help bridge in supply loopholes in the food chain and, thereby, help tame high food inflation.
DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund new issue closes on 7th March
DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund has launched DSP BlackRock FMP-12M-Series 15, a close-ended income scheme.
The primary investment objective of the schemes is to seek capital appreciation by investing in a portfolio of debt and money market securities. The scheme will invest only in such securities which mature on or before the date of maturity of the schemes. The schemes may also use fixed income derivatives for hedging and portfolio balancing. The tenor of the scheme is 15 months.
The new issue closes on 7th March. The minimum investment amount is Rs10,000.
CRISIL Short Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. Dhawal Dalal is the fund manager of the scheme.
Kotak Mahindra new issue closes on 18th March
Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company has launched its latest fund-of-fund named 'Kotak Gold Fund'. This open-ended fund will enable investors to take exposure to gold without having a demat account. In addition to this Kotak AMC will offer investors the option to invest Rs1.000 per month through the SIP route.
The Kotak Gold Fund closes on 18th March and its performance will be benchmarked against the prices of physical gold.
Sandesh Kirkire chief executive officer, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company said, "We see a lot of potential with Kotak Gold Fund primarily because of two significant factors. One by providing a platform to investors to invest in gold without a demat account and also create a discipline by systematically investing in Gold as an asset class." Mr Kirkire elaborated, ' In recent times, gold has shown a low correlation with other asset classes while at the same time its returns potential has been similar to equity assets performance. As a result allocation into gold improves portfolio diversification and can minimise the downside risk of the portfolio.'
The fund attracts the benefit of long term capital gains tax after one year of investment. This is in contrast to physical gold where you have to pay short term capital gains tax for a period upto three years. Also the returns of this fund do not attract any wealth tax, which is not the case with physical gold.