Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Govt scraps FIPB to further liberalise FDI regime

The Union Cabinet that met today cleared a proposal to India Tv Cabinet that met today cleared a proposal to abolish the FIPB
Ellis Copeland | 25 May, 2017, 03:31

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the abolition of the 25-year-old Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which now vets FDI proposals requiring the government approval.

FIPB was constituted under the Prime Minister's Office following economic liberalisation in the early 1990s.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday announced the abolition of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in his budget for 2017-18 as part of efforts.

FDI proposals will now be cleared by the concerned ministries and in cases where government has security concerns the matter will also be approved by the home ministry.

The Government is of the view that with the elimination of the process for FIPB clearance, Foreign Investors will find India more attractive destination and this will result in more inflow of FDI.

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Briefing reporters, finance minister Arun Jaitley said that there are now only 11 sectors where foreign investments require prior government approval.

An e-filing facility was an important initiative of the FIPB Secretariat to further enhance its efficiency and transparency of decision making. "Those in the pipeline will go back to the concerned ministries".

The FIPB is headed by the secretary, department of economic affairs, and includes the commerce secretary, DIPP secretary, MEA's secretary (economic relations) and the secretary, overseas Indian affairs ministry. The FDI proposals above Rs 5,000 crore would continue to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The government relaxed FDI norms in June 2016 in single brand retail, civil aviation, airports, pharmaceuticals, animal husbandry and food products, whereby investors in these sectors do not need to seek approval from the FIPB.

Currently, about 91-95 per cent of FDI is coming through the automatic route. India attracted $60 billion in foreign direct investments in the year to March 2017, up 8 percent from the previous year, government data showed. It was shifted to the department of industrial policy and promotion in 1996, and then came under the department of economic affairs of the finance ministry in 2003. "The government needs to follow through its moves on ease of doing business", said Mahindra Group's Shukla, adding labor reforms should be the next move after ensuring smooth GST implementation.

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