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Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

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Last updated: Oct, 2021

About FDI in India


Apart from being a critical driver of economic growth, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been a major non-debt financial resource for the economic development of India. Foreign companies invest in India to take advantage of relatively lower wages, special investment privileges like tax exemptions, etc. For a country where foreign investment is being made, it also means achieving technical know-how and generating employment.

The Indian Government’s favourable policy regime and robust business environment has ensured that foreign capital keeps flowing into the country. The Government has taken many initiatives in recent years such as relaxing FDI norms across sectors such as defence, PSU oil refineries, telecom, power exchanges, and stock exchanges, among others.

Market size

According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), FDI equity inflow in India stood at US$ 547.2 billion between April 2000 and June 2021, indicating that the government's efforts to improve ease of doing business and relaxing FDI norms have yield results.

FDI equity inflow in India stood at US$ 17.56 billion between April 2021 and June 2021. Data between April 2021 and June 2021 indicates that the automobile sector attracted the highest FDI equity inflow of US$ 4.66 billion, followed by computer software & hardware sector (US$ 3.06 billion), services sector (US$ 1.89 billion) and metallurgical industries (US$ 1.26 billion).

Between April 2021 and June 2021, India recorded the highest FDI equity inflow from Singapore (US$ 3.31 billion), followed by Mauritius (US$ 3.29 billion), the US (US$ 1.95 billion), Cayman Islands (US$ 1.32 billion), the Netherlands (US$ 1.09 billion), Japan (US$ 539 million) and the UK (US$ 345 million).

In the same period, Karnataka registered the highest FDI equity inflow of US$ 8.45 billion, followed by Maharashtra (US$ 4.09 billion), Delhi (US$ 1.95 billion) and Gujarat (US$ 765 million).


Some of the significant FDI announcements made recently are as follows:

  • In August 2021, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) announced to invest US$ 100 million in Amp Energy India Pvt. Ltd. to expand in the renewable energy market in India.
  • In July 2021, FedEx Express announced an investment of US$ 100 million in Delhivery, an Indian logistics start-up, to expand in the country.
  • In July 2021, Ascendas India Trust, Singapore-based developer of IT and logistics parks, announced to invest an estimated Rs. 1,200 crore (US$ 162.78 million) to build the first phase of its first data centre project in the country.
  • In July 2021, Swiggy raised funds worth US$ 1.25 billion from foreign investors including SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Prosus (a tech investor), which took the entire company’s valuation to US$ 5.5 billion.
  • In June 2021, Urban Company, a home services marketplace, announced that it has raised ~Rs. 1,857 crore (US$ 255 million) in a fund raiser round led by Wellington Management, Prosus Ventures and Dragoneer.
  • In April 2021, Amazon India launched the US$ 250 million ‘Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund’ for Indian start-ups and entrepreneurs to boost technology innovations in the areas of digitisation, agriculture and healthcare.
  • In November 2020, Rs. 2,480 crore (US$ 337.53 million) foreign direct investment (FDI) in ATC Telecom Infra Pvt Ltd. was approved by the Union Cabinet.
  • In November 2020, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced to invest US$ 2.77 billion (Rs. 20,761 crore) in Telangana to set up multiple data centres; this is the largest FDI in the history of the state.
  • Since April 2020, the government has received over 120 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals worth ~Rs. 12,000 crore (US$ 1.63 billion) from China. Between April 2000 and September 2020, India received US$ 2.43 billion FDI from China.
  • According to the Department of Economic Affairs, India’s outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) stood at US$ 1,554.91 million in August 2021 vs. US$ 2,213.48 million in July 2021.
  • In May 2021, Ernst & Young (EY) ranked India as the most attractive solar markets for PV investments and deployments.

Government Initiatives

In September 2021, India and the UK agreed for an investment boost to strengthen bilateral ties for an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’.

In June 2021, the Finance Ministers of G-7 countries including the US, the UK, Japan, Italy, Germany, France and Canada attained a historic contract on taxing multinational firms; under this, the minimum global tax rate would be at least 15%. The move is expected to further boost foreign direct investments in the country.

In September 2021, the Union Cabinet announced to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) via the automatic route, from the previous 49% in the telecom sector in India, to boost the sector.

In August 2021, the government amended the Foreign Exchange Management (non-debt instruments) Rules, 2019, to allow the 74% increase in foreign direct investment limit in the insurance sector.

In May 2021, the Finance Ministry notified the final rules for foreign investment limit (74%) in the insurance sector. This is expected to benefit 23 private life insurers, 21 private non-life insurers and seven specialised private health insurance firms.

In March 2021, Mr. Shripad Naik, the Minister of State for Defence, stated that a total of 44 Indian companies, including public sector units, have received approvals related to FDI for joint production of defence items with foreign organisations.

In December 2020, the government of Uttar Pradesh agreed to provide Samsung Display Noida Private Limited with special incentives to set up a mobile and IT display product manufacturing unit. Under the Central Government's scheme for promotion of manufacturing electronic components and semiconductors (SPECS), Samsung will also receive a financial incentive of Rs. 460 crore (US$ 62.61 million). This project will develop a global export hub in Uttar Pradesh and will help the state attract more foreign direct investments (FDI).

In December 2020, changes in the guidelines for the provision of Direct-to-Home (DTH) services have been approved by the Union Cabinet, enabling 100% FDI in the DTH broadcasting services market.

Road ahead

India is expected to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) of US$ 120-160 billion per year by 2025, according to CII and EY report. Over the past 10 years, the country witnessed a 6.8% rise in GDP with FDI increasing to GDP at 1.8%.

In terms of attractiveness, investors ranked India #3; ~80% investors have plans to invest in India in the next 2-3 years, while ~25% reported investments worth >US$ 500 million, the Economic Times reported.

Further, as per a Deloitte report published in September 2021, India remains an attractive market for international investors both in terms of short-term and long-term prospects.

India ranked43rd on the Institute for Management Development (IMD)’s annual World Competitiveness Index 2021. According to the IMD, India's developments in government efficiency are primarily due to relatively stable public finances (despite COVID-19-induced challenges) and optimistic sentiments among Indian business stakeholders with respect to the funding and subsidies offered by the government to private firms.

Note: Conversion rate used for September 2021 is Rs. 1 = US$ 0.014

References: Media Reports, Press Releases, Press Information Bureau, Press Trust of India, RBI, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)