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With eye on defaulters, Centre tweaks Overseas Investment Rules

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From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Preventive fugitive offences

The Finance Ministry has released the Rules for Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment Rules), 2022 subsuming extant regulations for Overseas Investments and Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property outside India Regulations, 2015.

What are the news Overseas Investment Rules?

  • With an eye on wilful defaulters, the new rules stipulate that:
  • Any Indian resident will have to seek an no objection certificate before making any overseas financial commitment:
  1. Who has an account appearing as a non-performing asset
  2. Or is classified as a wilful defaulter by any bank
  3. Or is under investigation by a financial service regulator or by investigative agencies in India

What are the tweaks in overseas investment norms?

  • Any resident in India acquiring equity capital in a foreign entity or overseas direct investment (ODI), will have to submit an Annual Performance Report (APR) for each foreign entity, every year by December 31.
  • No such reporting shall be required where a person resident in India is holding less than 10% of the equity capital without control in the foreign entity.
  • There is no other financial commitment other than equity capital or a foreign entity is under liquidation.

Ceiling on investment

  • Any resident individual can make ODI by way of investment in equity capital or overseas portfolio investment (OPI) subject to the overall ceiling under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank.
  • Currently, the LRS permits $2,50,000 outward investment by an individual in a year.
  • These norms make it easier for domestic corporates to invest abroad.

What are the prohibitions?

  • Any Indian resident, who has been classified as a wilful defaulter or is under investigation by the CBI, the ED or the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO), will have to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC).
  • NOC can be obtained from his or her bank, regulatory body or investigative agency before making any overseas “financial commitment” or disinvestment of overseas assets.
  • The rules also provide that if lenders, the concerned regulatory body or investigative agency fail to furnish the NOC within 60 days of receiving an application, it may be presumed that they have no objection to the proposed transaction.
  • Additionally, the new rules also prohibit Indian residents from making investments into foreign entities that are engaged in real estate activity, gambling in any form, and dealing with financial products linked to the Indian rupee without the specific approval of the RBI.

 

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