FDI proposals in print, broadcasting to be cleared by MIB; satellites by DoS

MUMBAI: 5 June, 2017. That’s the date the Indian government announced that all foreign  direct investment (FDI) proposals  relating to the print and broadcast sector will be approved by the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB).

Approvals for proposals relating to satellite and telecom FDI investment have been put under the ambit of the department of space and department of telecom, ministry of communications, respectively.

This was announced by the government  through a circular issued on the foreign investment promotions board (FIPB) website by ministry of finance joint secretary Saurabh Garg. The circular has pointed out that the following ministries will provide approval for foreign capital inflow proposals:

*Ministry of mines (mining), department of defence production,

*ministry of defence (defence),

*ministry of homes affairs (FDI in small arms manufacturing),

* ministry of civil aviation (aviation),

*ministry of home affairs (private security agencies),

*department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), ministry of commerce & industry (trading – single and multi brand and food products retail trading),

*department of financial services, ministry of finance (banking – both public and private);

*department of economic affairs (DEA), ministry of finance (financial services in areas where there is no regulator or more than one or ambiguity about the regulator)

* department of pharmaceuticals, ministry of chemicals & fertilizers (pharamceuticals)

The circular has also stated that NRI FDI proposals or FDI proposals for  export oriented units will continue to come under the ambit of the DIPP and will be processed by it. The DIPP will also have the responsibility to identify the right ministry if there is a doubt about who should deal with an FDI application. Applications for FDI into core investment companies or into Indian investment companies which will solely invest in Indian companies will need the DEA approval no matter which sector the investment is being made, says the circular.

Investors  will continue making their FDI applications through the FIPB portal, the oversight of which is being transferred to the DIPP from the DEA by next month.

The government has stated that the DIPP will lay down a standard operating procedure (SOP)  in consultation with each department/ministry.  It has stated that the SOP could involve the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) where necessary and it has to have a consistency of treatment and uniformity of approach towards all sectors. It has also ordered that departments and administrative ministries will need to get the approval  of the minister in charge/cabinet committee on economic affairs on each FDI application as per the FDI policy.

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