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MIB to process FDI proposals relating to broadcasting, print media

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) is now the nodal ministry for all foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals related to the broadcasting and print media sectors, as per the official memorandum issued by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on the abolition of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the abolition of the FIPB in his budget speech and the union cabinet had approved the abolition proposal on 24 May.

The memo further stated that FDI proposals by non-resident Indians (NRIs)/export-oriented units (EOUs) requiring approval of the government will be dealt with by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and the DIPP will continue to be the administrative ministry for this purpose.

The DIPP will also handle applications for issue of equity shares under the government route for import of capital goods machinery equipment (excluding second-hand machinery), as well as applications for issue of equity shares for preoperative/pre-incorporation expenses (including payments of rent, etc.).

Applications for investments from ‘countries of concern’ requiring security clearance as per the extant FEMA, FDI policy and security guidelines will be processed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

It further clarified that only such investments falling under the automatic route sectors/activities requiring security clearance may be processed by the MHA itself, while cases pertaining to other approval route sectors/activities requiring security clearance may be processed by the nodal administrative ministries/departments in consultation with the MHA.

Applications for foreign investment in a core investment company or an Indian company engaged only in the activity of investing in the capital of other Indian companies will be processed by the Department of Economic Affairs, MoF, irrespective of the sector in which the investment is being made.

In respect of applications in which there is a doubt about the administrative ministry concerned, the DIPP shall identify the administrative ministry/department where the application will be processed.

Applications requiring the approval of the government will continue to be received by the existing FIPB portal, the oversight of which shall be transferred to the DIPP from the DEA within four weeks.

Upon receipt of the FDI application, the administrative ministry/department concerned shall process the said application. To that end, a standard operating procedure (SOP) with detailed guidelines will be developed and laid down by the DIPP in consultation with administrative ministries/departments/sector regulators so as to guide the administrative ministries/departments for processing of the FDI proposals and ensure consistency of treatment and uniformity of approach across sectors.

The SOP shall involve the process of inter-ministerial consultations for the examination of FDI proposals, where necessary. The SOP will also recognise that ordinarily FDI applications, including those related to NRIs/EOUs, food processing, single-brand retail trading (SBRT) and multi-brand retail trading (MBRT) proposals, should be decided in 60 days.

The administrative ministry/department will seek the approval of the minister-in-charge/Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on the application as per the existing FDI policy.

The consensus of the DIPP would be mandatory with reference to the FDI applications which are proposed to be rejected by the competent authority or where approval is proposed by competent authority, subject to additional conditions not provided in the FDI policy.

The monitoring of the compliance of conditions under the FDI approvals, including past cases approved by the FIPB, shall be done by the administrative ministries/departments concerned.

Joint quarterly review meeting will be undertaken by a committee co-chaired by secretary, DEA, and secretary, DIPP, on the pendency of proposals with the government. The secretary of the administrative ministry/department concerned may also be invited to attend the meeting.

There are about 4,500 files currently with the FIPB secretariat. These files are important from the point of view of reference, record and examination by investigating agencies. These files are permanent in nature and will be transferred to the ministry/department concerned by the FIPB secretariat.

All past, present and future litigations and liabilities, in various courts and adjudicatory forums, in relation to the approvals of the governments, shall be handled by the respective administrative ministry/department. An affidavit to this effect will be filed accordingly in all such pending and ongoing cases.

RTI applications and appeals pending with the FIPB secretariat shall be transferred to the respective administrative ministry/department.

In February 2015, the government had launched a user-friendly and secured website, fipb.gov.in, for filing of applications seeking approval of the government.

Subsequent to the abolition of the FIPB, the management and responsibility for running the website will be that of the DIPP. The administrative ministries/departments will be granted access to the online portal from where they can download and process their respective applications.

All applications pending with the FIPB portal as on the date of abolition of the FIPB will be transferred to the respective administrative ministry/department by the DlPP.