Finance Minister Arun Jaitley increased the foreign direct investment limit in insurance and defence to 49% from the current 26% through the FIPB route
Presenting the first Budget of the Narendra Modi government, finance minister Arun Jaitley increased the foreign direct investment limit in insurance and defence to 49% from the current 26%.
"The insurance sector is investment starved. Several segments of insurance sector need expansion. The composite cap of the insurance sector is proposed to be increased to 49% from the current level of 26% with full management and control through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) route," he said while presenting the Budget for 2014-15.
The move would help insurance companies to get much needed capital from overseas partners.
The proposal to raise FDI cap has been pending since 2008 when the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government came up with Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill to hike foreign holding in insurance joint ventures to 49 % from the existing 26 %.
He said the government will take up the Bill soon.
On defence sector, Jaitley said the composite cap of foreign exchange is being raised to 49% with full Indian management and control through the FIPB route. Currently, the government permits 26% FDI in defence manufacturing.
"India today is a largest buyer of defence equipment in the world. Our domestic manufacturing capabilities are still at a nascent stage,” he said.
"We are buying a substantial part of our defence requirements directly from foreign players, companies controlled by foreign governments and foreign private parties are supplying our defence requirements to us at a considerable outflow of foreign exchange," he added.
Further, to encourage development of smart cities which will also provide habitation for the new middle class, the Finance Minister announced that the requirement of the built up area and capital conditions for FDI is being reduced from 50,000 sq m to 20,000 sq m and from $10 million to $5 million respectively with a three years post completion lock in.