Government to further liberalise FDI policy: Chidambaram

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) The government will further liberalise and bring in more clarity to the overseas investment policy to attract foreign funds that will help tackle the current account deficit, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference on his completing one year as finance minister, Chidambaram said the government is "actively considering liberalising FDI" policy.

Chidambaram's comments came less than two weeks after the government liberalised FDI policy for various sectors, including telecom, insurance, defence and retail.

The finance minister said the government would soon bring in more clarity to the foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations in multi-brand retail which would help attract investments into the sector.

"The commerce ministry is in the last leg of clarifying the policy," he said, adding the proposal is likely to be placed at Thursday's cabinet meeting.

The government last year had opened the gates to foreign investors in multi-brand retail allowing up to 51 percent FDI.

However, no foreign investment has taken place in the sector so far.

Chidambaram hoped that the overseas investors would enter into the Indian multi-brand retail markets, once the issues were clarified. "FDI in multi-brand retail is being held back because there are some pertinent questions."

Chidambaram, who took charge of the finance ministry Aug 1, 2012, said the government was also considering a number of steps to help curb current account deficit that surged to a record high of 4.8 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

"We are looking at some compression in non-oil and non-gold import to curb demand for non-essential luxury items," he said.

The finance minister expressed confidence that government would be able to finance the current account deficit.

"We have already financed current account deficit by $88 billion (in 2012-13)...We will be able to fully finance current account deficit this year too," he said.

Other measure under consideration to curb current account deficit include liberalisation of external commercial borrowings (ECBs) norms and attracting investments from NRI deposits, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

On sovereign bonds, Chidambaram said: "Sovereign bond issue is an option on the table, but I will not rush into any decision."

RBI Governor D. Subbarao Tuesday had opposed the idea of issuing sovereign bonds saying it was not good for long-term financial stability of the country as it would make Indian economy more vulnerable to external shocks.

On the rupee, Chidambaram said the recent depreciation in the Indian currency was "quite unexpected".

"There is no level for the rupee, what we want is a stable currency," he said.

The rupee slipped to 61.18 against a dollar Wednesday, a day after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) left all key policy rates unchanged. The Indian currency is nearing the record low of 61.21 hit earlier this month.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »