A foreign company can invest in an Indian company through a joint venture agreement (or as a wholly owned subsidiary) in the areas which are otherwise not reserved exclusively for the public sector or which are not under the prohibited categories such as real estate, insurance, agriculture and plantation.Foreign investment into India is governed by the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy and the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA).
Foreign investments into India, a two tier approval has been provided:-
Automatic Approval Route:– FDI in sectors or activities to the extent permitted under automatic route does not require any prior approval either by Government of India or Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The investors are only required to notify the Regional office concerned of RBI within 30 days of receipt of inward remittances and file the required documents with that office within 30 days of issue of shares to foreign investors.
Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) Approval Route:– FDI in activities not covered under the automatic approval route requires prior Government approval and are considered by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).The FIPB has been set up in the Ministry of Finance to promote inflows of FDI into the country, as also to provide appropriate institutional arrangements, transparent procedures and guidelines for investment promotion and to consider and approve/recommend proposals for foreign investment.
Approvals of composite proposals involving foreign investment or foreign technical collaboration are also granted on the recommendations of the FIPB. The companies having foreign investment approval through FIPB route do not require any further clearance from RBI for receiving inward remittance and issue of shares to the foreign investors.
The proposals to FIPB shall contain the following information:-