Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Guruprasad Mohapatra said they are working on a Geographic Information System-enabled data base of industrial areas and clusters across the country.
“In terms of infrastructure, India has 12 Japanese industrial townships across nine states, a 13th is being planned in Assam. These are integrated industrial parks with ready to move in infrastructure facilities, with world-class infrastructure, plug and play factories, pre-approved licences and investment incentives exclusively for Japanese companies,” he said.
The secretary was speaking at the Invest India Exclusive Investment Forum – Japan Edition, through video conference.
He also said a fast track system is being worked out with the objective to identify and solve problems faced by Japanese companies and investors with their operations in India in an effective and time bound manner.
India, Mohapatra said, is removing regulatory compliances like zero liquid discharge to encourage investments in sectors like semiconductors.
“In this regard, we are holding a high level meeting on August 13 to review and discuss the way forward on India’s zero level discharge policy,” he added.
The secretary hoped that by April 2021, an investment clearance cell to provide facilitation and support to business on one stop digital platform would be launched.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech proposed to set up an investment clearance cell for entrepreneurs to provide pre-investment advisory, information related to land banks and facilitate clearances.
Speaking at the event, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said both the nations are looking to have trusted partners from authentic investors.
“I think it is important that Japan and India expand trade and business relationships…Japan is one of most important and trusted trading partners and the fourth largest contributor of FDI to India and the current partnership will certainly expand through the proposed India-Japan Industrial Competitiveness Partnership (IJICP),” Goyal said.
Under IJICP, trade and industry ministries of both the countries will jointly work towards enhancing India’s industrial competitiveness through discussion in areas such as development and utilization of industrial zones to promote foreign direct investment, lowering cost of logistics, and facilitating smooth governmental procedures.
Japanese Vice Minister for economy, trade and industry Shigehiro Tanaka said that in this partnership both the countries have been discussing sectoral and also company specific issues.
Citing a survey, he said many of the Japanese companies are of the view that India has a high potential to be a global export hub and it has to work to remove obstacles such as price competition, quality issues, and weakness in logistics systems.
On price competition, he said “we have been hearing” that increasing labour cost and stringent rules of origin sometimes prevent companies to utilise the benefits of a free trade agreement.
On quality issues, Tanaka said goods and services that do not meet standards of MNCs were posing problems and under logistics, time consuming customs procedures are often cited as problems .
According to a survey by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), some of these issues raised by Japanese companies were not clearly unique to COVID-19, but actually most of them are typical issues regarding the general business environment and solving these matters will attract more foreign companies and would strengthen India’s industrial competitiveness.
“In the partnership, we are also discussing company specific issues such as appropriation of land, and also late payments in some cases,” he said adding solving them will also help improve the image of India as a favourable investment destination.