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In the current economic scenario, there is no country that is left out from the impact of globalization, and every country is dependent on each other to form a strong global economy. Foreign Direct Investment has become an important source for private external finance and is always welcomed by the regulators. That is why the policy related to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India has been liberalized and most of the sectors have been allowed under the automatic route. There are only a few sectors which are not under automatic route and required the approval from the government.
Let us understand in detail about the automatic route and approval route for FDI in India.
Investment in the form of FDI can be made in the following ways in India:
Automatic Route: Prior approval is not required from Reserve Bank of India or Government of India for the activities/ Sectors mentioned under Regulation 16 of FEMA 20(R).
Government Route: Prior approval is required from the Government of India or Reserve Bank of India. Activities/ Sectors which are not covered under the automatic route, are covered under the Government route.
|1||Mining and Mineral Separation of titanium bearing minerals and ores||100%||Up to 100%|
|2||Food Product Retail Trading||100%||Up to 100%|
|4||Publishing/printing of scientific and technical magazines/speciality||100%||Up to 100%|
|5||Publication of facsimile edition of foreign newspaper||100%||Up to 100%|
|6||Print Media – Publishing of newspaper and periodicals dealing with news and current affairs||26%||Up to 100%|
|7||Print Media – Publication of newspaper and periodicals dealing with news and current affairs||26%||Up to 26%|
|8||Air Transport Service – Scheduled, and Regional Air Transport Service||100%||Beyond 49%|
|9||Investment by Foreign Airlines||100%||Up to 49%|
|10||Satellites- establishment and operation||100%||Up to 100%|
|11||Telecom Services||100%||Beyond 49%|
|12||Pharmaceutical Brownfield||100%||Beyond 74%|
|13||Banking-Private Sector||74%||Beyond 49%|
|14||Banking-Public Sector||20%||Up to 20%|
|15||Private Security Agencies||74%||Beyond 49%|
|16||Broadcasting Content Service||49%||Up to 49%|
|1. FM Radio|
|2. Up linking of ‘News & Current Affairs’ TV Channels|
|17||Trading – MBRT||51%||Up to 51%|
File online Application with Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal (FIFP), formerly known as Foreign Investment Promotion Board. FIFP is the new online single point interference of Government of India to facilitate Foreign Direct Investment. This Portal is administered by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal trade.
After online Application, DIPP will identify the concerned Administrative department for the same and will transfer the case to the relevant department.
|S.No.||Activity/ sector||Administrative Ministry/ Department|
|(i)||Mining||Ministry of Mines|
|(ii)||Defence||Ministry of Mines|
|a) Items requiring Industrial Licence under the Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951, and/or Arms Act, 1959 for which the powers have been delegated by Ministry of Home Affairs to DIPP||Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence|
|b) Manufacturing of Small Arms and Ammunitions covered under Arms Act 1959||Ministry of Home Affairs|
|(iii)||Broadcasting||Ministry of Information & Broadcasting|
|(v)||Civil Aviation||Ministry of Civil Aviation|
|(vi)||Satellites||Department of Space|
|(vii)||Telecommunication||Department of Telecommunications|
|(viii)||Private Security Agencies||Ministry of Home Affairs|
|(ix)||Applications involving investments from Countries of Concern which presently include Pakistan and Bangladesh, requiring security clearance as per the extant FEMA 20, FDI Policy and security guidelines, amended from time to time|
|(x)||Trading (Single brand, Multi brand and Food Product retail trading)||Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion|
|(xi)||FDI proposals by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)/ Export Oriented Units requiring approval of the Government|
|(xiv)||Financial services activity which are not regulated by any Financial Sector Regulator or where only part of the financial services activity is regulated or where there is doubt regarding the regulatory oversight||Department of Economic Affairs|
|(xv)||Applications for foreign investment into a Core Investment Company or an Indian company engaged only in the activity of investing in the capital of other India Company/ies|
|(xvi)||Banking (Public and Private)||Department of Financial Services|
Physical submission of the Application needs to be made within five days of the communication received from DIPP to the concerned department, If the Application is digitally signed, then there is no need to submit the physical application.
Once the documents are received by the concerned authority, the department conducts the preliminary investigation of the documents within one week of receiving them.
Other departments give their comments, if any, within two/ four/ six weeks as specified under the regulation to the concerned authority. The concerned Authority, after receiving the comments, approves or rejects the application within two weeks. The complete procedure takes a total of ten weeks to get the approval from the concerned Authority.
Explained in the Flow Chart:
This is a procedural matter which requires the expert advice for understanding the sectors that fall under the government approval route, set of documents to be produced with the department, liasoning with the department, resolving to the query of the department based on a preliminary investigation, understanding the requirement of the department. The inflow of capital without taking government approval will attract the penalty for non-compliance as mentioned regulations. Taking Professional advice may help you in saving your time and protect you from the penalties imposed in case of any errors.