Investing in India

Last updated: April 22, 2021

The Indian investment platter at the international high-table is impressive. The country’s rapid transformation from an economy with potential to be counted among the most attractive destinations for FDI is noteworthy. The improvement is an outcome of past best practices and present policy reforms undertaken by the Government of India over the last few years. Focusing on building the nation by giving its 1.35 billion population education, jobs, infrastructure, healthcare, and a better quality of life, India has opened its doors to domestic and international investors to realise its vision.

India’s credentials as an ideal investment destination revolve around several successes. It is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and leads the world in terms of the young employable population. Today, the world outsources half of its IT services to India. The country is the world’s second-largest contributor to agricultural produce and the third-largest defence spender.

ISRO, India’s space agency, launched 104 satellites into the orbit in a single mission in 2017, overtaking the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014. India is the largest producer of milk, cashew, tea, turmeric, black pepper in the world, and has a bigger entertainment market than the USA and the UK. India is also the fastest-growing telecom market in the world. This list is long and the possibilities for growth and development, immense.

Today, India offers foreign investors a business-friendly environment that guarantees the security of their long term investments through an impartial judiciary, a sophisticated legal and accounting system, a user-friendly intellectual infrastructure, and a free and vibrant press. The entrepreneurial spirit of India’s private sector makes it a hub of innovative economic activity and offers scope for foreign direct investment (FDI), joint ventures, and collaborations.

Aimed at opening up the economy further, in 2016 the Union Government made some radical changes to the FDI policy. Eased norms for investments in major sectors such as defence, civil aviation, mining, construction, pharmaceuticals, and broadcasting freed up these sectors for 100 per cent foreign ownership. 

In a further round of liberalisation, India has allowed

  • 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) allowed for Insurance intermediaries
  • The statutory limit for FPI investment in a company increased to sectoral limit
  • Local sourcing regulation to be eased for FDI in single-brand retail outlets 

Government approvals have become more flexible as well. Most of the sectors, except for a few, have been brought under the ‘automatic route’ for FDI, which means prior approval by the government or the Reserve Bank of India, the apex bank, is not required.

The GOI is keen to attract FDI as distinguished from portfolio investment since it implies a lasting interest in an enterprise and can generate more jobs and accelerate economic growth. For the foreign investor, it makes business sense to invest in India’s rapidly growing economy.

The Government of India has also scrapped the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and replaced it with a new mechanism, under which proposals are approved by the concerned sector ministries. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, oversees the applications filed on the Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal and forwards them to the concerned administrative ministry.

Approval letters in standard format are uploaded on the portal for the benefit of investors. An SOP is being followed to process FDI applications.

Guidelines for investors are available through the consolidated FDI policy circular and press notes and are updated from time to time on the DPIIT portal.

Proposals for foreign investment in sectors/activities requiring Government approval (as amended from time to time) can be filed online on the Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal.

The Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal (FIFP) is the new online single point interface of the Government of India for investors to facilitate Foreign Direct Investment. This portal is being administered by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

This portal will continue to facilitate the single window clearance of FDI applications that are through the Government route. Upon receipt of the FDI application, the concerned Administrative Ministry/Department shall process the application as per the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP).

If the online filing of application is with a digital signature by an authorised signatory, the physical submission of the copy is not required. For applications without digital signature, once the e-filing of the application is completed, the applicant is required to file/courier only a single signed copy of the printed version of the online application, along with the duly authenticated copy of the documents attached with the application, to the Nodal Officers of the concerned Administrative Ministry/Department as per the SOP.

The additional features such as e-communication, quicker processing, reduced paperwork, SMS/email 414xswex and many more continue to exist. Before you log in for the online application form, please take some time off to register on the portal.

The Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) division of the Ministry of External Affairs is dedicated to the cause of connecting Indian Nationals settled abroad with their motherland. OIA provides information, partnerships, and facilitations for all matters related to Overseas Indians (comprising Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). The Division has four verticals to handle its diverse scope of services:

  • Diaspora Services
  • Financial Services
  • Emigration Services
  • Management Services

Besides dealing with all matters relating to Overseas Indians, the Division is engaged in several initiatives for the promotion of trade and investment, emigration, education, culture, health as well as science and technology. For more information: Division of Overseas Indian Affairs.

For details of facilities available to NRIs/PlOs (including Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholders, with regard to maintenance of bank accounts in India, please refer to the guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India 

Investment in shares and securities by NRIs/PIOs are governed by the FDI Policy as per the provisions of section 3.1 of the policy.

For regulations governing purchase of Immovable property in India by NRIs/PIOs, please refer here

Secretariat for Industrial Assistance (SIA) under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India, provides a single-window service for entrepreneurial assistance, Investor facilitation and monitoring implementation of the projects.

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Joint Secretary 

Secretariat for Industrial Assistance (SIA)
Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Udyog Bhavan, New Delhi-110 011, INDIA
Tel.: +91-11-23011983
Fax : +91-11-23011034
E-mail: sia_dipp[at]ub[dot]nic[dot]in

Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
Foreign Investment Division,
Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road, Mumbai-400 001, INDIA
Tel.: + 91-22-2266 1603
Fax: + 91-22-2266 5330

Registrar of Companies
Ministry of Corporate Affairs

A) 4th Floor, IFCI Tower,
61, Nehru Place,
New Delhi – 110019
Phone: 011-26235703, 26235708
Fax: 011-26235702