On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the POI-Parliamentarians Conference in New Delhi, said that a record $60 billion FDI came into India in fiscal 2016-17:
The PM’s exact words were: “…इसी का नतीजा है कि साल 2016-17 में 60 billion dollars का अभूतपूर्व FDI भारत में आया।“
Congress leader Raj Babbar reportedly accused the PM of putting out a wrong figure, arguing that the government was not saying the truth. Babbar reportedly said: “the prime minister should have told the Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) that fresh investment in 2014, during the UPA government of Manmohan Singh, was Rs 16.2 lakh crore and it came down to Rs 7.9 lakh crore in 2017.”
Perhaps Mr Babbar has confused two rather different entities. What the PM was talking about was Foreign Direct Investment, which, as a matter of fact, was indeed $60 billion in fiscal 2016-17. Here is the relevant part of the release from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in May 2017:
There were media reports too, at the time, which would show this figure had been in the public discourse for some time and was not cooked up by the government.
For instance, below is a report from The Indian Express saying that $60 billion FDI was expected in 2016-17, which was published in June 2016. Thus, the trends in FDI were already anticipating this record to be made:
Then, post facto, there were again reports in the media that that $60 billion FDI had indeed come in. Below, for instance, is a report from Hindustan Times published in May 2017, once the figures were issued by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry:
Thus, the PM was quoting the exact and accurate figure on FDI for 2016-17 in his address.
What then was Mr Babbar talking about? It appears that he has confused FDI with fresh investments. The report talks about his mentioning “fresh investment” and that investment is at its “lowest in last 13 years”. It seems that Mr Babbar may have even confused FDI with fresh investments by Indian companies, which in the December quarter reportedly stood at Rs 77,000 crore.
To return to the question of FDI, here is another figure that Mr Babbar could perhaps consider. In the first two quarters (April-September) of fiscal 2017-18, FDI already stands at $25.35 billion. That is a 17% increase from the $21.62 billion in the year-ago period.
Below is the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion’s (DIPP) tweet from November 2017, which had first disclosed the figures:
Thus, not only was the Prime Minister quoting the correct amount of FDI in 2016-17, which was indeed a record $60 billion but, in the current fiscal too, FDI inflows have been doing very well – not only have they reaffirmed the trend but also surged 17% from the first two quarters of the last fiscal.