Govt raises foreign investment limit in defense to 49 pc

Govt raises foreignNEW DELHI: In order to boost manufacturing and reduce import dependence, the government today proposed to raise the foreign investment limit to 49 per cent in the defense sector.

While presenting the Budget 2014-15, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that India is the largest buyer of defense equipment in the world and the domestic manufacturing capacities are still at a nascent stage.

The country is buying substantial part of defense requirements directly from foreign players.

“Companies controlled by foreign governments and foreign private sector are supplying our defense requirements to us at a considerable outflow of foreign exchange.

“The composite cap of foreign exchange is being raised to 49 per cent with full Indian management and control through the FIPB route,” he said.

At present, India permits 26 per cent FDI in the defense manufacturing. In April, the Commerce and Industry Ministry has said that companies engaged in the sector were not allowed to further increase foreign portfolio investment beyond August 2013 level.

In April, the Ministry had said that “FPI/FII (through portfolio investment) in companies holding defense license as on 22 August, 2013 will remain capped at the level existing as on the said date. No fresh FPI/FII is permitted even if the level of such investment falls below the capped level subsequently”.

During 2001 and August 2013, 49 per cent foreign investment (26 per cent FDI + 23 per cent FII) was allowed in this sensitive sector.

During this time, India has attracted only USD 5 million investments.

India opened up the defense equipment industry to private sector in May 2001. -PTI

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