France promises $5 billion for insurance sector in India
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New Delhi: With Parliament recently giving its nod for raising the cap on foreign direct investment in the insurance sector from 26% to 49%, India can look forward to $5 billion in investment from France in the sector, French ambassador to India Francois Richier said on Monday.
According to Richier, in 2014, French investment flows into India were comparable with those into China.
Richier was speaking at an event organised by the French embassy and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on the number of French companies in India.
“When you compare the share of French FDI (foreign direct investment), India receives 6% whereas China receives 7% as of 2014. This shows that while China has GDP four times greater than India, the French investment is roughly the same. There is far more attraction to India than China due to the large market, wonderful workforce and cultural connection,” the French ambassador said.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France next month, Richier said he was sure that Modi would “carry a message so that it encourages companies to enjoy the ease of doing business in India”.
In his comments, Amitabh Kant, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion noted that there was a “new vibrancy and dynamism in India” with the Narendra Modi-led government “determined to ease the process of doing business in India”.
In the past six decades, India had become a “very complex and difficult place to do business” with the addition of rules, regulations and paperwork. “Over the last six months, we have removed 40%-45% of them,” Kant said, citing the example of filling of forms for imports and exports for which 11 forms were required. “Now, we have brought it down to three. For setting up business, we have shortened procedures and cut down on the number of days,” he said.
To further ease the experience of doing business in India, Kant said the government had created an e-business platform where 14 departments have been brought together and all approvals can be taken at one place.
“Our objective is that over a period of time, we can link up all the state and central governments so that India becomes an easy place to do business.”
Modi’s visit to France next month offers “a unique opportunity to promote market India create a huge awareness about India,” he said.
Modi will be in France 9-12 April and in Germany 12-14 April and then head onwards to Canada.
Referring to the Make in India campaign launched by Modi in September to encourage foreign manufacturers to invest in the country, Kant said this was aimed at integrating India into the globalized economy and making it part of the global supply chain. “The objective is to open up our economy to the maximum extent. In the last six to seven months, we have opened up railways, construction, medical devices, insurance, just about everything. Other than multi-brand retail, India is the most open economy in the world,” he said.
India was also working to improve infrastructure, he said, adding the intention was to ramp up capacities in size and scale.
“As India advances, one of the key lessons to learn from France is the process of urbanisation,” he said, adding 700 million people would be living in cities in the next five decades.
Addressing the media separately in New Delhi, trade minister Nirmala Sitharaman said India would be showcasing its strengths at the 13-17 April Hannover Messe fair in Germany.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be reaching out to the global business and technology leaders on the new initiatives of the Indian government for doing business in India,” a statement from the commerce ministry said.