New York– The Indian government has been able to change domestic public opinion in favour of inviting foreign investment into sectors of production that were earlier considered out of bounds both for ideological as well as security reasons, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.

“We have been able to invest FDI (foreign direct investment) in almost every sector of the economy,” Jaitley said on Monday night at an investors roundtable here jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the US-India Business Council.

Arun Jaitley

“Areas that were earlier considered sacrosanct, like defence manufacturing, we have been able to convince public opinion that it is better to invite foreign expertise to set up manufacturing in India,” he said.

“Suddenly we find a lot of joint ventures coming up (with foreign firms) for defence investment.”

Jaitley is on a week-long official visit to the US during which he will attend the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to be held in Washington.

The Finance Minster also said that his government had further simplified procedures for FDI entry into India.

“Ninety-five per cent of FDI anyway comes in through the automatic route. In my last budget, I had spoken about doing away with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board,” he said, adding that the body which sanctioned FDI proposals had outlived its purpose because of liberalisation in FDI rules. (IANS)