Nath favors 100 FDI in malls, hotels

By agencies   |   Tuesday, 15 February 2005, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI:The commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath has proposed opening up the mall and hotel industry for foreign direct investment in order to boost the sector that promises to change landscape in future and create employment.

"I want to take a holistic approach on the issue of inviting foreign investment in construction and related areas. I have invited consultations on the issue," Kamal Nath said.

"We are now in the process of looking at FDI provisions relating to investment in construction of housing, townships and other built-up infrastructure. Increased investment in this area will have multiple benefits."

Right now foreign investment is not permitted in retail trade, while in real estate overseas capital is allowed only with a minimum capital base of $10 million and for development of integrated townships of 100 acres.

"I would not like to term the development of housing and integrated townships as real estate. It just means acquisition of land. We want money for incremental construction and creation of economic activity," the commerce minister said.

"It will generate employment, rejuvenate industrial sectors like cement and steel, add to our housing stock and improve infrastructure like roads, mass rapid transport system, electricity, water supply and solid waste management."

Kamal Nath also said the United Progressive Alliance government was committed to a comprehensive programme on urban renewal.

Some 13,000 people migrate each day from rural to urban areas and a solution to urban poverty lies in discouraging over migration by creating job opportunities in rural areas and improving the standard of living for the urban poor, he said.

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