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‘India to fast track mining lease proposals of Oz firms’

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that eight applications of Australian companies are pending in the country. Australian companies have applied for mining leases in the country and eight such applications are pending at different stages with the Ministry of Mines as well as the government of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, she said.

‘We are going to follow them up. We will follow it up in such a way that they clear without much of a hindrance because the government believes in ease of doing business and we do not want any thing that brings in rough edges...,’ the minister added.

She was addressing industry leaders from India and Australia during a luncheon meeting organised by industry chambers including CII and Ficci. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was present at the meeting.

Seeking investments, Sitharaman said that in the last 14 years, India has received only $600 million foreign direct investment (FDI) from Australia. On the other hand, India has invested over $1 billion in last decade.

‘I am very proud to say this. India's FDI in Australia in the last 10 years is little over $1 billion. Our entrepreneurs have shown excellent risk taking...,’ she said.

Australian companies have primarily invested in India in sectors such as services, metallurgy, telecommunication and automobile industries.

‘We solicit Australian companies investments in DMIC, aviation, metallurgy. These are areas where we want to see interest of Australian companies. Marine, fisheries, agro and food processing, energy, tourism and tourism related infrastructure are other important sectors where Australian firms can invest.

‘Australia has a lot of scope for Indian business and even more for Australians to invest in India because you are looking at a market which is yet to fully bloom...Please open up on investments. You will not find India less of a potential market where investments will be better rewarded,’ Sitharaman said.

Speaking at the occasion, Assocham President Rana Kapoor said that the bilateral trade between India and Australia is low and both the sides should work to enhance this. He said that the proposed free trade agreement between the countries would help in pushing trade and investments.
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