Cabinet eases norms for FDI in coal mining and single-brand retail

Prakash Javadekar
Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar. Photo: PTI

In a bid to boost the flagging economy, the government on Wednesday (August 28) relaxed norms for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in several sectors including coal mining, single brand retail, digital media and manufacturing.

Claiming the last financial year has witnessed the largest FDI inflow, Union minister Piyush Goel, after a cabinet meeting, said, “FDI regulations have been liberalised. FDI regime has been simplified. This will also boost employment for the youth. We see an opportunity to make India a manufacturing hub.”

The Centre also came up with a host of measures to boost investment and exports, including approving ₹6,268 crore subsidy to enable export of nearly 60 lakh tonnes of sugar in the 2019-20 season. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We have taken an important decision in the interest of sugarcane farmers. The cabinet has approved export subsidy for 6 million tonnes for 2019-20,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters after the cabinet meeting. The Cabinet has also approved 75 new medical colleges to be established by 2021-22. This move will add 15,700 MBBS seats in the country, and improve the healthcare system.


The government said 100% FDI under automatic route in coal mining and associated infrastructure has been approved. “To boost domestic manufacturing, 100% FDI in contract manufacturing under automatic route has been allowed,” he said, adding that 26% FDI has been allowed in digital media.

On FDI in single brand retailing, the Cabinet has expanded the definition of mandatory 30% domestic sourcing norm. It also allowed single brand retailers to start online sales, waiving the previous condition of setting up a mandatory brick-and-mortar store, he said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also approved setting up of 75 government medical colleges to be attached with existing district or referral hospitals by 2021-22.

The establishment of new medical colleges, under phase III of the ongoing centrally-sponsored scheme, will add at least 15,700 MBBS seats in the country. The new medical colleges would be set up in under-served areas having no medical colleges, with district hospitals having at least 200 beds, a government statement said.

The establishment of new medical colleges, to be attached with existing district and referral hospitals, would lead to an increase in the availability of qualified health professionals, improve tertiary care in government sector, utilise existing infrastructure of district hospitals and promote affordable medical education in the country, it said.

“The scheme on establishment of new medical colleges would lead to addition of at least 15,700 MBBS seats in the country,” the government said.

Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of India had approved a record ₹1.76 lakh crore payout.

The record transfer, including a surplus of ₹1.23 lakh crore for 2018-19, will boost the government’s finances at a time it strives to tackle a nearly five-year low economic growth with lakhs of estimated job cuts across sectors, and defend its ambitious target of containing fiscal deficit at 3.3% of the GDP.