Govt to review FTAs with countries, SEZs across the country

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The Centre is studying Special Economic Zones in the country and all the Free Trade Agreements with other nations to analyse the benefits they have given to the Indian economy, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said.

"I have instructed my ministry officials to look at all FTAs and decide individually on whether they are useful or not and decide on changes...

"I have also instructed officials to do a complete review of SEZs and why they have not worked. We are going to review and rework SEZs," she told reporters here.

The Minister also said that traders and stakeholders have raised concerns about certain provisions in the new Companies Act. "Next Saturday in Delhi, we are holding a consultation with all stakeholders to look into the provisions."

On government's stand on FDI in retail sector, she said, "Our stand on the issue is clear. FDI in multi-brand retail is not welcome at the moment."

On the controversy triggered by the recent IB report on NGOs, she said, "It is a report generated by previous government. BJP has not initiated this. We will check authenticity of this report and look

into the issue."

The report noted that funding of several Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) was "cleverly disguised" as donations for issues like human rights and instead used for funding protests to stall developmental projects.

About the fishermen issue with Sri Lanka and recent arrests made by its Navy,she said, "We are constructively working for a long term solution to the issue."

On ceasefire violations by Pakistan, Sitharaman said, "Defence Minister Jaitley is in Jammu and Kashmir today to see and assess the situation. Defence Minister and Ministry of External Affairs are working together to ensure sovereignty and safety of our country is not compromised."

To a query on the nature of the budget, the government is presently working on, she said, "It will be a very inspiring budget. A budget that will give a message for sentiments to be revived, a budget that will send the right signals and for growth and business to improve."

Sitharaman was in the city to meet delegates of trade bodies like Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and others, ahead of the Union Budget.

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