Foreign Direct Investment in India

The Reserve Bank of India, this week, said that the total amount of FDI in India in the first quarter of this financial year exceeded the TOTAL received in 2005/06, which amounts to $10bn (£5.4bn).

Of the $10bn, a little bit more than $2.2bn was a result of the purchasing of shares by foreign companies in Indian businesses, which shouldn’t come as a surprise with the likes of Tesco and Vodafone showing an interest in India.

There’s an ongoing debate as to whether India can catch up with China, after all the latter nets upto $50bh on average every year. If India continues the explosive growth that these figures show, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t match China. After all, India has over the past few years accrued the following sums:

2005/06 – $10bn

2006/07 – $22bn

2007/08 – $32bn

If the first quarter trend continues, then India is likely to meet, and possibly break, the RBI’s FDI target of $35bn for 2009.

Economic Reform Wish List

With the Communists jettisoned from the UPA, I hope that the limited time that the Congress have in this parliament is used to bring in legislation / initiatives that will make a huge difference to India truly becoming a global player. If anything, Indian people stand to benefit the most from these policy changes.

My wish list is as follows:

1. FDI for multi brand retailing – foreign investment into the retail sector can only be a good thing and will serve as an engine for employment.

2. Civil Aviation – allow foreign equity participation in domestic airlines, allow airlines to small airports, and create cargo hubs to assist exports.

3. Foreign Education Providers Bill – let foreign universities tie up and invest in setting up campuses in India. The country may  be producing huge numbers of graduates, but this would create extra capacity and improve research capabilities.

4. Insurance Sector – let foreign investors invest upto 49%. The extra 23% jump will serve as a catalyst and enable more access of capital for the insurance sector.

Like I said, the UPA has a limited timeframe. Their general election is due in the first half of next year. Everyone knows that Manmohan Singh initiated the reform process in the early 90’s, he can leave a huge legacy if he delivers on substantive initiatives before the country goes to the polls.