Which are the schemes available to NRIs for direct investments in India with repatriation benefits?
NRIs can invest in new issues of shares/convertible debentures of Indian companies under direct investment schemes such as 24% scheme/40% scheme/100% scheme. They can also invest in the schemes of domestic Mutual Funds floated by public/private sector institutions/companies and bonds issued by public sector undertakings, Non-resident investors are not required to apply for permission to invest but the company concerned will have to obtain permission from Reserve Bank.
What is 24% Scheme?
Under the 24% scheme, Indian companies engaged or proposing to engage in any activity including finance, hire purchase, leasing, trading or other services, establishment of schools/colleges. etc.(except agricultural/plantation activities) are allowed by Reserve Bank to issue shares/debentures to NRIs with repatriation benefits to the extent of 24% of the new issue.
What is 40% Scheme?
Under the 40% Scheme, Indian companies engaged or proposing to engage in the following activities are allowed by Reserve Bank to issue shares/debentures to NRIs with repatriation benefits to the extent of 40% of the new issue.
- Industrial and Manufacturing units
- Hotels with 3, 4 or 5 star category
- Hospitals and diagnostic centres
- Shipping companies
- Development of computer software
- Oil exploration services
Can NRI investors freely get remittance of interest/dividend under the 24% /40% Scheme?
There is restriction on the amount of remittal dividend. Remittance of interest/dividend to NRI investors will be allowed by authorised dealers under the posers delegated to them.
Which are the industries specified under 100% Scheme?
Under 100% Scheme, NRIs are permitted to invest in high priority industries listed in Annexure III to the Statement on Industrial Policy dated 24th July 1991 of the Government of India up to 100% of the new issue.
Is dividend/interest earned in respect of investment made under the 100% Scheme freely remittable to the NRIs abroad?
Yes, Dividend/interest can be remitted freely apart from the case of consumer goods industries where the outflow on account of dividend is required to be balanced by export earnings of the company either in the year of declaration of dividend or in the years prior to the declaration of dividend, This necessity is made compulsory for a period of seven years from the beginning of commercial production.
How can an NRI obtain permission of Reserve Bank for investment under the 24% or 40% or 100% Scheme?
NRI investor need not apply to Reserve Bank. Application for necessary permission under the schemes should be made by the Indian company/firm to the Central Office of Reserve Bank in Mumbai in form ISD/ISD(R).
In addition to the 24%, 40% and 100% Schemes are there any scheme for investment by NRIs in the equity of Indian companies?
Yes. NRIs are permitted to undertake revival of sick industrial units by making bulk investment in them to the extent of 100 per cent either by way of purchase of active equity shares or in the form of subscription to new equity issues.
Can repatriation possible for the capital brought into India for revival of a sick Industrial unit?
How can an NRI obtain permission of Reserve Bank for investment in a sick industrial unit?
Application for necessary permission should be made by the Indian company to the Central Office of Reserve Bank in Mumbai in form RSU.
Under the existing Industrial Policy, investment by foreign collaborators upto 51% of the equity is allowed by Reserve Bank on repatriation basis in certain high priority industries. Can NRIs take up the balance 49% equity in such cases on repatriation basis?
Can NRIs invest in companies engaged in real estate development in India?
Yes. Investment upto 100% in the new issue of equity shares/convertible debentures of Indian companies engaged in the followed areas is allowed--
i) Development of serviced plots and construction of built up residential premises;
ii) Real estate covering construction of residential and commercial premises including business centres and offices;
iii) Development of township;
iv) City and region level urban infrastructure facilities including roads and bridges;
v) Manufacture of building material;
vi) Financing of housing development.
What is the process to obtain Reserve Bank permission in this regard?
Applications for the purpose should be made by the concerned Indian company to the Central Office of Reserve Bank in Mumbai in form ISD(R).
Is repatriation of the original investment and/or dividend income be freely permitted?
Yes. Repatriation of original investment will be permitted after a lock-in period of three years from the date of issue of the equity shares/convertible debentures. In addition, OCBs will be permitted to repatriate net profit (upto 16 per cent) arising from the sale of such investment after the lick-in period of three year. Annual dividend/interest on equity shares/debentures can, however, be freely remitted subject to payment of tax.
Can NRIs permitted to invest in Air Taxi operations?
Yes. Investments upto 100% equity participation for carrying on Air Taxi operations are permitted in terms of the guidelines issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation for Air Taxi operations. Applications for the purpose should be made to Reserve Bank (Central Office) in form ISD(R) by the concerned Indian company.
Are there any restrictions on repatriation of the investment made under this scheme or income earned thereon?
No. However, repatriation of the investment and /or remittance of dividend will be permitted only after the expiry of five years of operation and only out of accumulated net foreign exchange earnings.
Can NRIs invest in non-convertible debentures on repatriation basis?
Yes. Applications for necessary permission should be made to Reserve Bank (Central Office) by the concerned Indian company in form ISD.
What is the procedure to be followed for making investment in the schemes of domestic Mutual Funds or public sector bonds with repatriation benefits?
The concerned Fund/Public Sector Undertaking should obtain the required permission from Reserve Bank for issue of units/bonds to NRIs. Applications for the purpose are required to be made to the Central Office of Reserve Bank in form ISD(R).
Are NRIs eligible to invest in 100% Export Oriented Units on repatriation basis?
Yes. NRIs will be allowed to invest up to 100% in 100% Export Oriented Units subject to obtaining approval from the Government of India, Ministry of Industries (SIA) for setting up the EOU. In the case of units located in Export Processing Zones, approval from the Development Commissioner of the concerned zone is required to be obtained. Thereafter an application should be made to the concerned regional office of Reserve Bank in form ISD alongwith copy of Government approval for necessary clearance under FERA 1973.
Are NRIs allowed to acquire shares disinvested by Government of India in Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) by inviting sealed tenders?
Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission for NRIs to acquire shares of PSEs on their bids being successful, provided the holding of a single NRI investor does not exceed one per cent of the paid up capital of the PSE concerned , the purchase consideration /bid money is paid by way of remittance from abroad or by debit to his NRE/FCNR accounts.
How does the issue of rights entitlement done to NRIs?
For the issue of rights entitlement for NRIs, the concerned company should approach the Reserve Bank by using the prescribed form if on repatriation basis. However, rights entitlement on non-repatriation basis would be covered by the general permission (Please see Answer to Question No. 52 and 53).
What procedure should be followed by NRIs for renunciation of rights entitlement?
An application to Reserve Bank furnished by a letter detailing therein the folio number of the shares held and the manner in which the rights are being sold should be made by the NRIs.
What is the procedure for issue of bonus shares?
The concerned Indian company should approach Reserve Bank for issue of bonus shares to NRIs if the original investment is on repatriation basis. Issue of bonus shares in respect of investment on non-repatriation basis is covered by general permission (Please also see Answer to Question No. 52).
Are NRIs allowed to obtain loans abroad against the collateral of share/debentures of Indian companies?
Yes. Authorised dealer have been permitted to grant loans/overdrafts abroad to NRIs through their overseas branches and correspondents against collateral of the shares/debentures of Indian companies held by them, provided the concerned shares/debentures were acquired on repatriation basis.
Is sale proceeds of the shares/debentures allowed to be remitted abroad for liquidation of outstanding against such loans/overdrafts?
Yes, subject to payment of Income tax, Capital Gains tax etc. payable, if any.