The Union Cabinet will soon take a call on the winding up of the 25-year-old Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today. “A decision has been made for closure of the FIPB. Necessary arrangements will have to be made on which discussions have happened among several ministries… The Cabinet has to take a call on it,” she told reporters here. She said this in a media briefing on initiatives and achievements of the ministry in the last three years.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget for 2017-18 had proposed scrapping of the FIPB — an inter-ministerial body under the finance ministry’s Department of Economic Affairs that processes FDI proposals and makes recommendations for government approval. The government is yet to announce the modalities of the new system of processing applications which fall under the approval route.
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The FIPB was initially constituted under the Prime Minister’s Office in the wake of economic liberalisation in the early 1990s. Sectors that are under the approval route for FDI includes defence and retail trading. As per the proposed mechanism, respective ministries would take care of the FDI proposals. Asked about more liberalisaton in the FDI policy, Sitharaman said the government has brought in a number of big-ticket reforms and the “process will continue”. “We will have a lot more discussions on easing up (FDI norms),” she pointed out.