The Cabinet on Wednesday gave its "ex-post-facto approval" to the major changes the Centre had announced in policies related to Foreign Direct Investment. These include 100% FDI through the automatic route in sectors of e-commerce related to India-made food products, broadcast technology such as DTH, cable and mobile television, as well as in animal husbandry.
Investments via the automatic route do not require prior approval from the RBI or the Centre. However, the civil aviation sector is allowed 100% FDI through this route only in brownfield projects. Brownfield projects are those started on the basis of earlier work or to rebuild a product from one that exists. Earlier, investments beyond 74% for these projects fell under the government route.
Moreover, FDI of 74% will be allowed through the automatic route in brownfield pharmaceuticals, and foreign investment beyond 49% in the defence sector will be allowed through the government-approval route in cases that will garner "access to modern technology".
The "simplification and liberalisation" of India's FDI policies are aimed at improving the ease of doing business in the country, which will in turn lead to "larger FDI inflows" that will contribute to "growth of investment, incomes and employment", the Narendra-Modi headed Cabinet said in an official release. These were the second major FDI policy amendments the government made since November 2015.