New private investments dip 15%; States lead capex rise


In the fiscal year 2023-24, India witnessed a notable decline in fresh private sector investment plans, with foreign investors reducing their outlays by nearly a third. This dip in new investment announcements has raised concerns about the overall economic growth and the need for concerted efforts to stimulate investment activities.

  • As per data from investment tracking firm Projects Today, the manufacturing sector experienced a significant setback, with proposed outlays plummeting by 40%.
  • Meanwhile, state governments emerged as the driving force behind capital expenditure growth, indicating a shift in the investment landscape.

GS-03 (Economy)

Prelims Facts:

  • Capex: These funds are allocated by the government to acquire, construct, or improve physical assets. These assets include buildings, machinery, equipment, and infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  • FDI in India
  • FDI Routes and New Policies
  • Main Issue
  • Consequences
  • Suggested Measures

FDI in India:

  • Between April and August 2020, India witnessed a historic FDI inflow of USD 35.73 billion, the highest ever for the initial five months of a financial year. This surge occurred despite a 23.9% contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first quarter (April-June 2020). Comparatively, FDI inflows for this period in 2020-21 were 13% higher than the same period in 2019-20.
  • However, Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in India fell 13% to $32.03 billion in April–December 2023, due to lower infusion in computer hardware and software, telecom, auto, and pharma sectors.
  • The net FDI in India (inflows minus the outflows) also declined to $13.54 billion in April–November 2023 from $19.76 billion in the same period in 2022. The reasons for this fall include global inflows falling and an increase in repatriation of equity capital.
  • The total FDI inflows in the country in the FY 2023–24 is $17.96 billion, and total FDI equity inflows stands at $11.54 billion.
  • The top 5 countries for FDI equity inflows into India FY 2023–24 are Mauritius (26%), Singapore (23%), USA (9%), Netherland (7%), and Japan (6%).

FDI Routes and New Policies:

  • FDI in India operates through three routes: the Automatic Route, the Government Route, and a combination of both.
  • While the Automatic Route allows for FDI up to 100% without prior government approval, the Government Route mandates approval.
  • The government has introduced new policies, such as allowing 100% FDI in insurance intermediaries and imposing restrictions on investments from countries sharing a border with India, aiming to streamline and regulate foreign investment inflows.

Main Issue:

  • The decline in new private sector investment plans by 15.3% in the fiscal year 2023-24, coupled with a substantial reduction in foreign investments, has raised alarms about the health of India’s economy.
  • The manufacturing sector, in particular, witnessed a sharp decline of 40% in proposed outlays, significantly impacting the overall investment scenario. This downturn in investment activities poses serious challenges to economic growth and development, necessitating immediate attention and remedial measures.


  • Job Creation: It hampers job creation and economic expansion, as investment plays a crucial role in driving productivity and employment opportunities.
  • Manufacturing sector: Being a key contributor to GDP growth, is particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in investment activities, leading to potential stagnation and loss of momentum.
  • Lack of Confidence in International Investors: The reduction in foreign investments signals a lack of confidence among international investors in India’s business environment and economic prospects. This can have detrimental effects on the country’s reputation as an attractive investment destination and may deter future inflows of foreign capital.
  • Underutilization of Resources: The decline in investment plans may lead to underutilization of resources, idle capacity, and a slowdown in infrastructure development, further exacerbating economic challenges.

Suggested Measures:

  • Policy Reforms: The government should focus on implementing structural reforms to improve the ease of doing business and create a conducive environment for investment. Streamlining regulatory processes, reducing bureaucratic hurdles, and enhancing transparency in decision-making can instill confidence among investors and encourage capital inflows.
  • Incentives for Manufacturing: Given the significant decline in manufacturing sector investments, targeted incentives and subsidies can be provided to attract domestic and foreign investors. This could include tax breaks, subsidies for technology adoption, and incentives for setting up export-oriented units to boost manufacturing competitiveness.
  • Infrastructure Development: Accelerating infrastructure projects can stimulate investment activities and create multiplier effects across the economy. The government should expedite the implementation of key infrastructure projects, including those in transportation, energy, and digital infrastructure, to enhance connectivity and productivity.
  • Promoting Innovation and R&D: Investing in research and development (R&D) and fostering innovation can drive technological advancements and enhance the competitiveness of Indian industries. Encouraging collaboration between industry and academia, providing grants for R&D initiatives, and establishing technology parks and incubators can spur innovation-led growth.
  • Enhancing Investor Confidence: Communication and engagement with investors, both domestic and foreign, are essential to rebuild confidence in India’s economy. The government should proactively address concerns, provide policy clarity, and showcase the long-term growth potential of the country to attract investment across sectors.
  • Timely Execution of Projects: Ensuring timely execution of announced projects is crucial to realizing their intended benefits. The new government must prioritize project implementation, address bottlenecks, and enhance project monitoring mechanisms to prevent delays and cost overruns.