Govt body stops publishing FDI data despite RBI releasing estimates

Govt body stops publishing FDI data despite RBI releasing estimates

The country's FDI inflow growth rate has seen a decline in the past few years - from 27% in FY15 to a mere 1.24% in FY18.

Minister of State for Commerce & Industry CR Chaudhary had informed Parliament last month that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has gone up from $45.15 billion in 2014-15 to $60.97 billion in the last fiscal.

However, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' campaign and improvement in Ease of Doing Business rankings, the country's FDI inflow growth rate has actually seen a decline in the past few years - from 27% in FY15 to a mere 1.24% in FY18.

Also Read: FDI into India up from $45 billion to $61 billion in 4 years, but rate of growth is slowing down

Interestingly, the Department of Industrial Policy and Production (DIPP), which had been posting FDI figures on its website quarterly since July 2015 - and cumulatively every month since November 2005 - has not published any statistics for the past six months. According to The Business Standard, the last time the department published this data was in August 2018 and that was for the April-June period.

This is despite the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regularly releasing its own quarterly and monthly estimates which DIPP uses as inputs along with its own databases to compile total investment inflows. Department officials are reportedly tight-lipped about the development.

The numbers are rather telling. In FY15, the Modi government's first year in power, FDI had shot up by 27%. In FY16, the FDI inflow stood at $55.56 billion, posting a robust growth of over 23%. The next year the FDI growth slowed to 8.38%, clocking in $60.22 billion. In FY18, the total FDI inflow was $60.97 billion with the growth dropping further. Citing RBI data the daily added that in the April-November period of the current fiscal, India received gross investment of $40.98 billion, which is 2% lower than the corresponding period in the previous year.

Government agencies such as Invest India and the India Brand Equity Foundation, which are often the first point of contact between the government and foreign investors, have reportedly also not received the latest figures. DIPP's sudden silence is therefore raising eyebrows among credit ratings agencies, private equity firms and banks alike.

Moreover, as per the AT Kearney FDI Confidence Index 2018, while India remains the largest investment destination in the subregion, largely due to its large and growing market, the country slipped three notches to 11th ranking in 2018 compared to the previous year. In fact, this is the first time it has fallen out of the top 10 since 2015.

It's not just the FDI growth rate that is worrying - the source of funds has also been a concern in the past fiscal. Data submitted in Parliament last year showed a shocking spurt in FDI from tax haven countries like Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein and Bahamas.

With PTI inputs

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