SEBI proposes allowing foreign VCs to invest in core infra companies

SEBI's proposal is expected to infuse funds into the infrastructure sector, crucial for development of the country and has vast positive spill over effects over various other sectors and the entire economy


Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed allowing foreign venture capital investors (FVCIs) in core investment companies (CICs) for infrastructure sector to help attract overseas funds in this space.


The final norms would be put in place after taking into account public comments on the proposal and amending existing regulations, SEBI said. As on 30th September, there are 197 FVCIs registered with SEBI with a cumulative net investment of Rs42,776 crore.


Releasing a concept paper, the market regulator said the proposal is aimed at "removing any hindrance for investment in the infrastructure sector through the FVCI route and to boost the infrastructure sector in the country".


According to the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), India requires Rs65 lakh crore investments in infrastructure.


SEBI said the proposal is based on the fact that CICs are essentially holding companies and do not engage in financing activity similar to other NBFCs. Therefore, the proposal does not go against the intent of the FVCI Regulations of not allowing FVCI investment in non-banking financial services.


"The proposal is expected to infuse funds into the infrastructure sector which is crucial for development of the country and has vast positive spill-over effects over various other sectors and the entire economy.


"This proposal to allow investment by FVCIs in CICs investing in infrastructure companies has also been endorsed by the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India. The proposal is one of the recommendations of High Level Committee on Financing of Infrastructure," SEBI said.


It is proposing that the negative list under the FVCI Regulations "is suitably modified to replace 'equipment leasing and hire purchase companies' with Asset Finance Companies and Infrastructure Finance Companies", SEBI added.


Public comments have been sought till 15th November.


Currently, SEBI's FVCI norms do not permit these foreign funds to invest in non-banking financial services (NBFCs). Therefore, FVCIs are not allowed to invest in CICs under the FVCI Regulations since CICs are classified as NBFCs by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).


SEBI has actively encouraged setting up of varied frameworks for investment in infrastructure so that the lack of structures for financing of infrastructure is not an impediment for the development of the sector.


Recently, SEBI notified Infrastructure Investment Trust or InvITs norms to attract more funds in a transparent manner into the infrastructure sector.


FVCIs are investors incorporated and established outside India investing primarily in venture capital undertakings in India either directly or through venture capital funds or alternative investment funds (AIFs).


What Are You?

The constitution as the point of reference for religious matters


When this question was put to a classroom of school children, all of them correctly mentioned their religion. Not one said that he or she was an Indian!


Except for maybe some Islamic countries, we Indians make a huge fetish of our religion, religious beliefs and rituals and wear it all on our sleeves. Instead of religion being a deeply personal experience, it is now a measure for display. Even majoritarian countries, like Sri Lanka, which is Buddhist by far, spend more time on business, hospitality and fun. They concentrate on earning money. We need to learn from them.


In 1992, some people were deeply agitated about what they considered a religious matter. When informed that the Constitution of India allowed certain practices, one disputant said that the Constitution does not apply in religious matters! Was she correct?


You be the judge.


Can the Constitution of India be a reference point in matters religious? Or for that matter, matters not religious? Since this question is bound to raise many hackles, we leave the answer until later.


The Constitution has many parts. Each one refers to the rights and duties and procedures applicable to citizens of India. To many, the ‘Ambedkar’ Article, Article 32, seems the most important. Maybe. However, the ones that are equally important are those which detail the fundamental rights of all, listed in Part III. To this author, if the Constitution had no more than this Part, he would be happy. Because this is what allows him, and you, the freedom of choice, expression and to happiness itself.


More than 200 years ago, a slave named James Somersett was captive on board a ship.


Captive as a slave, not as a criminal, on a vessel bound for the Americas. The ship was berthed on the River Thames, in England, which meant that the ship was in English territorial waters. The man asked for his freedom; after all, habeas corpus was an English concept since the days of the Magna Carta. Did English law apply on board a foreign carrier? Or did it not?


You be the judge.


Lord Mansfield pronounced thus: “The air of England is too pure for any slave to breathe.


Let the black go free.” Two hundred years later, Lord Denning was to say this about a communist. “The law of England knows of no colour bar, whether it be the colour of a man’s skin or of his politics.” The bon mot in both these stories is ‘freedom’.


We come to India, the High Court of Bombay; circa 2014. Three men, Dr Ranjit Mohite, Kishore Nazare and Subhash Ranware, had decided that they would not follow any particular religion. They wanted it to be so declared in public; through a public notification. The government baulked. The trio went to court.


“India is a secular, democratic republic and there is complete freedom for any individual to decide whether he or she wants to adopt or profess any religion,” the judges said. “If a person is practising any particular religion, he or she can give up that religion and claim that he or she does not belong to any religion,” they added. Freedom, once again, upheld. Freedom of thought, the most powerful weapon in the world.


Which brings us back to the question at the beginning of this column. And to the specific Article 25. It reads thus: “Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.” And that means to disavow all religions as well. More than the three ‘Ps’, it is the unfettering of the mind, the conscience, that takes the cake.


To fully understand the depth of these freedoms, one must think of life without any one of them. One needs to remember that what might be inconvenient today may be inconvenient for the opposite side tomorrow. And that side, without the Constitution’s protection to us, may try to enforce its will by hook or by crook.


In short, respect the Constitution. It’s all we really have.


…And the right answer should be, “A free man”!


(Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to [email protected])



Bapoo Malcolm

3 years ago

On a lighter note:

Who wants more than one wife with the excess baggage that that involves. 4 mothers-in-law!

And a dozen sisters-in-law?


So, it is only the hardened few who can do it. And we get cases of non-Muslim bigamy. It not unusual.

The thing to do is to make bigamy an offence per se, for every Indian. Not only if the first wife, or second, complains. Make it an IPC matter, so the state can act. Of course, if you jail the fellow, 2 wives will suffer. And the kids.

Just using the internet to air views and comments will never help. We need reasoned debate, a meeting of minds. And then in Bismarck's words, ".... choose the second best.". The art of the possible; the attainable. Politically.

But unfortunately, demonization will end. Where does one find new targets for pot-shots?

Art. 21 says a right to "live happily". Not just exist. That is settled law. So it must mean a right to die too. But as I said before, what about misuse?

Can the fingerprint of a half dead person be used to signify his right to die? When should such a declaration be made validly?

As for the choice of religion, the mandatory affirmation on each and every paper must end. It must be restricted to health records as they are necessary for tracing diseases. And for personal matters like testamentary suits, marriage laws (but with a choice of opting for civil marriage and its statues). Beyond that, why must all Indians be compartmentalized?

I want to see other minority communities opt for a common civil code and start debate. At the moment an option to opt for one seems the best bet. But there are more fertile brains and capable people than I.

Bapoo M. Malcolm

Ramesh Iyer

3 years ago

It is ironic that the Constitution of India didn't mention 'secular' in its preamble until the 42nd Amendment in 1977. Yet since the beginning, Govt of India (and some States) have been providing subsidies and grants to select religious communities, which belies the Constitution in letter & spirit. Moreover, religion should have been treated as a matter of personal choice and to be practiced in private. Besides, not having a Uniform Civil Code has made unruly religious groups run amok depending on which political dispensation is in power. Also, while Constitution allows every citizen freedom to choose and practice a religion of their choice, it should have explicitly mentioned right to NOT practice any religion. Article 21 guarantees right to life, so does it also mean it implies right not to live, decriminalizing suicide ?


Bapoo Malcolm

In Reply to Ramesh Iyer 3 years ago

Yes. These are questions that need replies. Moneylife has carried articles on such items. Personally I am for euthanasia. But how does draw the line? It can be misused.

The place to start is to stop demonizing any community. The Haj subsidy is the starting point.

There are more bigamist non-Muslims than Muslims. The increase in the Muslim population matches the overall growth of the country's demography. Yes, I am also against rooting for other countries, even other than Pakistan, in sporting events. Why only sports? In all things. My sister, a naturalized Australian, was stopped by me when she applauded India against the Aussies.

In the same vein, I do not like Indians settled abroad telling us what to do and how to vote. They need to mind their own business. Or else return to the country that they abandoned for richer climes.

I know it hurts others to see money spent on non-their communities. Parsis pay a tax to travel to Udvada, Gujrat, at the border. Why not an Iranshah subsidy? It would be a fraction of the Haj amount.

The Common Civil Code is a must. But will it be a common Hindu Civil Code? Majoritarinism will rule. The ideal code would be one that all can accept. Do you see it possible?

Why not try drawing up one? Just as an exercise. And without prejudices or you will end up with one no better than the Sharia, and ruled by Khaps, Panchayets and bigots.

Are you ready for that? I am not.

Bapoo M. Malcolm

JDI Dating fined $600,000 for posting virtual, fake profiles

What's love got to do with the computer generated (virtual or fake) profiles? In the case of one England-based online dating service, nothing at all, says the FTC


What’s love got to do with it? In the case of one England-based online dating service, nothing at all, says the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The profiles were just too good to be true and now a settlement with the feds prohibits JDI Dating from misrepresenting its computer-generated populace. (Hang tight, we’ll explain.)


JDI Dating operates 18 websites worldwide, including,, and Some of the profiles on these dating websites are so-called “Virtual Cupids,” or fake, computer-generated profiles made to look like those of real people.


The FTC had alleged that JDI Dating uses Virtual Cupids to induce non-paying users with restricted accounts to upgrade to paid memberships with more options, such as the ability to find out more information about who “winked” at them, send personalized messages, and view full-sized photographs. What they don’t know, the FTC said, is some of the winks that entice them to upgrade their memberships come from the phony profiles.


What’s more, the FTC alleged in its complaint, those paid memberships set users up for recurring monthly charges without adequately disclosing the terms of the automatic renewal negative-option plan tied to having a paid account.


According to the complaint:


The profiles of these Virtual Cupids frequently contain photographs and personal information mimicking real people, and the Virtual Cupids often appear to reside in the same geographic area as the consumer. The communications from Defendants’ Virtual Cupids are computer generated and are sent at specific intervals measured from the consumer’s date of enrollment.


The complaint stated that the only indication that a particular user is in fact a Virtual Cupid comes in the form of a small “v” encircled by a larger “C” in the top right portion of the profile. The terms and conditions page for addresses the dating site’s Virtual Cupid program, stating that the fake profiles are part of “an effort to promote broader user, member and/or subscriber activity and fuller participation… “


The settlement is the agency’s first law enforcement action against an online dating service, and the second in which it cites a violation of the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act. It prohibits JDI Dating from misleading its users into thinking they’re being sought after by real people when in actuality the profiles are computer-generated.


But the settlement also allows the company to continue its Virtual Cupid program so long as it’s disclosed clearly when someone enrolls in the service that not all communications will come from actual people.


JDI Dating will pay more than $600,000 in redress. No word yet on how much of that will make its way into the pockets of those consumers who were repeatedly charged for membership without their consent.


For more on how a dating site may deceive, click here.




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