Ahead of Starlink promoter Elon Musk’s visit to India, the Union finance ministry on Tuesday notified amended rules under the Foreign Exchange Management Act to allow up to 100% foreign direct investment in some space sector activities.

Musk, who is also the chief executive officer of United States-based electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, will visit India on Monday. He is expected to announce an investment of $2 billion (over Rs 16,000 crore) to $3 billion (over Rs 25,000 crore) in India, Reuters reported, quoting unidentified persons aware of the matter.

Starlink provides internet access through a constellation of satellites placed in low-earth orbit. The company has applied for a licence to start satellite communication services in India, according to The Economic Times. The application is pending before the government.

The gazette notification issued by the finance ministry on Tuesday allowed 100% foreign direct investment into the space sector category of manufacturing and operation of satellites, satellite data products and ground segment and user segment. Up to 74% investment in these categories would be through the automatic route, meaning that it would not require the Centre’s approval. However, investment beyond 74% would require the government’s nod.

Earlier, foreign investment in the manufacturing and operation of satellites was allowed only with the government’s permission.

The government also allowed automatic foreign direct investment up to 49% in the categories of launch vehicles and associated systems or subsystems, and the creation of spaceports for launching and receiving spacecraft. Investment beyond 49% would require the government’s approval.

Additionally, 100% foreign direct investment through the automatic route was also allowed for manufacturing components and systems or sub-systems for satellites, ground segment and user segment.

The notification issued by the government on Tuesday brings into effect the Union Cabinet’s decision in February to allow 100% foreign direct investment in certain categories of the space sector.

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