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Govt unveils measures to boost inflows; fail to cheer markets

New Delhi(PTI): Government today announced steps including hike in FII limit into sovereign debt and liberalising overseas borrowing norms for exporters, but failed to arrest slide in rupee and stock markets.

The foreign institutional investors (FIIs) can now invest USD 20 billion into government securities (G-Sec), against the present limit of USD 15 billion.

Within this limit, sovereign wealth fund, insurance funds, pension funds, foreign central banks and multilateral agencies can participate. The lock-in period for FII investment up to USD 10 billion into G-Secs has been reduced to three years from five years, according to Finance Ministry.

The much-hyped measures, aimed at increasing overseas capital inflows, fell short of market expectations. The rupee touched a record low of 57.92 against a dollar, immediately after simultaneous announcements by RBI and the government.

The stock market too gave away the early gains and the Sensex closed 90 points lower.
Companies in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors with three-year track record of forex earnings, can now raise external commercial borrowings (ECBs) up to USD 10 billion a year.

“We are looking at companies which have a large export potential to access money from abroad and have a large investor base,” Joint Secretary in the Finance Ministry Thomas Mathew told reporters.

As a further liberalisation measure, individual overseas investors can now bring in up to USD three billion into mutual fund debt schemes which invest up to 25 per cent of their assets in infrastructure. Earlier, the limit was 100 per cent.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said, “We will soon see (more) measures … on implementation of large projects on which the Prime Minister has set up new mechanism to move things faster.

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