NEW DELHI: An inter-ministerial group will meet on October 29 here to discuss the possibility of further simplification and easing of the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy with a view to attract overseas investors, an official has said.
The meeting will be chaired by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra.
Officials from different ministries, including defence, information and broadcasting, electronics and IT, and finance, will attend the meeting, the official said.
The exercise assumes significance as the department is holding series of internal meetings with different ministries and departments to look at sectors where more liberalisation of the FDI policy is possible.
Although FDI is allowed through automatic route in most of the sectors, certain areas such as defence, telecom, media, pharmaceuticals and insurance, government approval is required for foreign investors.
Under the government route, the foreign investor has to take prior approval of the respective ministry/department.
Through the automatic approval route, the investor just has to inform the RBI after the investment is made.
There are nine sectors where FDI is prohibited and that includes lottery business, gambling and betting, chit funds, Nidhi company, real estate business, and manufacturing of cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes using tobacco.
Recently the government has relaxed FDI norms in several sectors like single-brand retail trading, contract manufacturing, and coal mining.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech in July had proposed relaxation in the FDI norms for certain sectors such as aviation, AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming and comics), insurance, and single-brand retail with a view to attracting more overseas investment.
Currently, a standard operating procedure is laid out by the DPIIT through which foreign direct investment proposals are processed within a fixed time period of 8-10 weeks.
During the April-June period of the current fiscal, FDI into India increased by 28 per cent to USD 16.33 billion.