India overhauls indigenisation rules


MUMBAI – India has announced a radical overhaul of its foreign ownership rules to attract more overseas investment.

Airlines and some defence industries may now be 100% foreign owned – up from 49% and 74% respectively.

And for overseas retailers there's respite from a rule that required 30% of what they sold to be Indian sourced.

The BBC's Simon Atkinson in Mumbai said it was the biggest signal yet that the country is serious about attracting more foreign investment.

The move will be welcomed by brands like IKEA and Apple which see India as the next big market, he added

Investment rules in pharmaceuticals and food production have also been relaxed.

The new rules were introduced "with the objective of providing major impetus to employment and job creation in India," the government said in a statement.

"With these changes, India is now the most open economy in the world for FDI [foreign direct investment]."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last announced major reforms in November 2015.

The local sourcing rules have been relaxed for up to three years – and for another five years if the company can prove that "state-of-art" and "cutting edge" technology is involved.

"We will inform Apple to indicate whether they would like to avail new provisions," Rajesh Abhishek, secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion told a news conference.

"These changes are fairly significant, particularly if you look at them in the context of what happened over the weekend with Governor Rajan's decision to step down," said Shilan Shah, India economist at Capital Economics in Singapore.

"It might be the government's way to illustrate its commitment to reforms and mitigate any investor fallout following [Mr] Rajan's decision," he told Reuters news agency.

Comments are closed.