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Foreign Direct Investment

February, 2011

India has been ranked at the second place in global foreign direct investments in 2010 and will continue to remain among the top five attractive destinations for international investors during 2010-12 period, according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in a report on world investment prospects titled, 'World Investment Prospects Survey 2009-2012'.

The 2010 survey of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation released in December 2010, conducted among Japanese investors, continues to rank India as the second most promising country for overseas business operations.

A report released in February 2010 by Leeds University Business School, commissioned by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), ranks India among the top three countries where British companies can do better business during 2012-14.

According to Ernst and Young's 2010 European Attractiveness Survey, India is ranked as the 4th most attractive foreign direct investment (FDI) destination in 2010. However, it is ranked the 2nd most attractive destination following China in the next three years.

Moreover, according to the Asian Investment Intentions survey released by the Asia Pacific Foundation in Canada, more and more Canadian firms are now focusing on India as an investment destination. From 8 per cent in 2005, the percentage of Canadian companies showing interest in India has gone up to 13.4 per cent in 2010.

India attracted FDI equity inflows of US$ 2,014 million in December 2010. The cumulative amount of FDI equity inflows from April 2000 to December 2010 stood at US$ 186.79 billion, according to the data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

The services sector comprising financial and non-financial services attracted 21 per cent of the total FDI equity inflow into India, with FDI worth US$ 2,853 million during April-December 2010, while telecommunications including radio paging, cellular mobile and basic telephone services attracted second largest amount of FDI worth US$ 1,327 million during the same period. Automobile industry was the third highest sector attracting FDI worth US$ 1,066 million followed by power sector which garnered US$ 1,028 million during the financial year April-December 2010. The Housing and Real Estate sector received FDI worth US$ 1,024 million.

During April-December 2010, Mauritius has led investors into India with US$ 5,746 million worth of FDI comprising 42 per cent of the total FDI equity inflows into the country. The FDI equity inflows in Mauritius is followed by Singapore at US$ 1,449 million and the US with US$ 1,055 million, according to data released by DIPP.

Investment Scenario

In the year 2010, India has assumed a notable position on the world canvas as a key international trading partner, majorly because of the implementation of its consolidated FDI policy. The consolidation, first undertaken in March 2010, pulls together in one document all previous acts, regulations, press notes, press releases and clarifications issued either by the DIPP or the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) where they relate to FDI into India.

According to the modified policy, foreign investors can inject their funds though the automatic route in the Indian economy. Such investments do not mandate any prior government permission. However, the Indian company receiving such investment would be required to intimate the RBI of any such investment.

The FDI rules applicable to such sectors are, therefore, fairly clear and unambiguous.