Interview: OIFC CEO

Ms Sujata Sudarshan 

“Partnerships vital for synergy and outreach”

India Empire is a Media Partner of the OIFC. We spoke to its CEO, Sujata Sudarshan

Ms Sujata Sudarshan, CEO, OIFC

The OIFC has come a long way since its inception. Please tell us about the major initiatives you’ve taken as CEO of this organization?
I would like to highlight some of the initiatives taken since I took over:
• Branding and promotion of OIFC to enhance visibility about OIFC activities.
• Governments of Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Rajasthan join as life time Partner States.
• States initiated in the “Online Query Addressal” process to answer state specific queries.
• Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Reunion Island join as Associate Partner.
• Commissioned a Region-Specific Diaspora Survey of the Indian Diaspora in phases, to understand their concerns and expectations in their economic engagement with India. This year the focus regions are Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia.
• Diaspora Engagement Meets held at Canada (Toronto), The Netherlands (The Hague) and Trinidad & Tobago (Port of Spain), Kenya - East Africa and Mauritius

You’ve also built your outreach in the Diaspora through partnerships. Do we see the same trend continuing in the months ahead?
Absolutely, partnerships bring synergy which is essential for enhancement of outreach.

The OIFC is meant to provide handholding services for overseas Indians, but the actual investment / query redressal must be done by states. At what stage do you let the overseas Indian deal directly with the other side?
A significant component of OIFC services is answering queries of Overseas Indians. OIFC addresses queries in areas of foreign investment consulting, regulatory approvals, market research, joint venture partner identification, project financing, accounting, taxation, legal, portfolio investments and others with the help of its Experts or ‘Knowledge Partners’ such as banks and private sectors firms, specializing in areas of NRI investments, market entry, taxation, etc. 
OIFC facilitates and assist State Governments of India to project investment opportunities to Oversees Indians to expand their engagement with their state of origin.
OIFC does the initial introduction and once the “right connect” is set up between our stakeholders, OIFC allows the overseas Indian to deal directly.

In which areas do you get maximum queries?
In the last 6 months data, the top 6 areas /sectors for which OIFC received queries are:
Information (20%), financial sector (16%), setting up business (14%), banking (9%), taxation (3%) and real estate (3%).
The top 7 countries that submitted online queries at the OIFC portal are UAE (13%), Saudi Arabia (11%), USA (7%), Qatar (4%), UK (3%), Kuwait (2%), South Africa (1%)

According to you, have investments-related sentiments been on the rise in India as far as Overseas Indians are concerned?
India’s Private transfer inflows, mainly comprising of remittances from Indians working overseas, in financial year 2011-2012, 2010-11, 2009-10, 2008-09 and 2007-08 are $66.1 billion, $55.6 billion, $53.4 billion , $46.9 billion and $ 43.5 billion respectively.
Hence cumulatively, a total sum of $ 265.5 billion represents the India’s Private transfer receipts inflows from April 2007 to March 2012. This exceeds the cumulative FDI in India in the same period by $ 127.2 billion.
Recently in last 2 months, the Government of India cleared this fact through the exceptional policy decisions across sectors from multi-brand retail to civil aviation and broadcasting that “India means business”. The reforms are a substantive Government push, which are being welcomed by industry and business associations within the country. These can be expected to have multiplier effects and benefits on the economy, including a boost to infrastructure and employment generation.


January 2013

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