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Nodal agency to help investors

New Delhi, Dec. 17: The government today announced the setting up of an Industrial Investment Facilitation Board that will act as a one-stop facilitation shop to help both domestic and foreign investors in setting up units in the country.

Although the high profile IIFB will periodically review the implementation of projects worth more than Rs 100 crore, any investor can approach the body for help irrespective of his investment limit.

Disinvestment minister Arun Shourie, who also holds charge of commerce and industry, told newspersons that the IIFB will be a nodal agency helping to sort out investment worries both at the central and state levels.

While Shourie argued he was doing what states like China had done long back, BJP sources said his original plan had been for a body to help foreign investors alone. But intense lobbying by RSS hardliners who feel domestic investors are being treated like poor cousins, had forced Shourie to tailor it to be an omnibus body which would act as a facilitator for all investors—a task which may well turn out to be too mammoth for the nascent body.

Shourie also announced he would draw up a package of incentives which would persuade states to set up similar facilities and re-engineer investment and industrial policies to make them simpler and more easier for investors to follow.

The IIFB plan is a result of the second part of report prepared by the Govindrajan Committee on “reforming investment procedures”. It also calls for setting up re-engineering and facilitation cells within each ministry which will coordinate with the high powered investment promotion body. A committee of secretaries will review progress every month.

The government will also dispense with the need for gazette notifications, whenever any decision is formally announced.

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