NEW DELHI: Inflows of foreign direct investment into India rose by about 25 per cent to USD 17.35 billion in the April-October period of the current fiscal, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.

Improvement in the macroeconomic situation and investor sentiment on account of a series of steps taken by the new government helped attract higher FDI, she said.
In April-October 2013, the country had received USD 13.82 billion foreign inflows.

The minister said however that there are challenges to boost manufacturing sector.

“Still there are number of challenges to make India a global manufacturing hub. (Those challenges) need to be identified and action plan has to be (formulated) to overcome this,” Sitharaman said.

She was speaking at the inaugural session of the day-long workshop on ‘Make in India’.

“We recognise that manufacturing requires infrastructure …’Make in India’ aims to boost entrepreneurship in India,” she added.

She also said that the government has taken several steps to cut red tape and rationalise existing rules and increased use of IT to make governance “effective and user friendly”.

“A strong manufacturing sector has the potential to take our economic growth to a higher trajectory, provide jobs to our youth and fulfil their aspirations,” Sitharaman said.

Speaking at the occasion, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth said that e-Biz portal has been launched to provide single window platform for clearances and approvals for the industry.

He said several central and state government services have been integrated with the portal and eight more central government services will be integrated within a month.

Eighteen sessions are being held as part of the one-day workshop in which 25 ministries and all the states have come to chart a roadmap for short and medium term to make ‘Make in India’ initiative a success, said an official statement.

The sessions will be held on different sectors including chemicals and petrochemicals, oil and gas, capital goods, pharmaceutical and skill development.

The minister the national workshop is aimed at getting industry and government on the same platform.

Discussions would be held on the results of the recent initiatives and also for the new initiatives that need to be undertaken to strengthen the ‘Make in India’ initiatives, she said.