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RBI issues draft proposals to liberalise overseas investments norms

MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank on Monday issued draft guidelines to further liberalise regulatory framework governing overseas investments with a view to promote ease of doing business.
The RBI has placed on its website two documents — draft Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments – Overseas Investment) Rules, 2021 and draft Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Regulations, 2021.
Overseas investments and acquisition of immovable properties outside India by persons resident in India are presently governed by the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of any Foreign Security) Regulations, 2004 and Foreign Exchange Management (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property Outside India) Regulations 2015, respectively.
“With a view to further liberalise regulatory framework and also to promote ease of doing business, it has been decided to rationalise the existing provisions governing overseas investment,” the Reserve Bank said.
The rules and regulations will be finalised after public consultations, it added.
The Reserve Bank has sought comments and feedback from stakeholders on the two drafts by August 23, 2021.
The Draft Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments – Overseas Investment) Rules, 2021 has outlined the restrictions on overseas investments.
As per the draft, a person resident in India is prohibited from making Overseas Direct Investment (ODI) in a foreign entity engaged in real estate activity; gambling in any form; and offering financial products linked to Indian Rupee except for products offered in an IFSC.
Also, overseas investment will remain prohibited a foreign entity located in countries/ jurisdictions that are not Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) compliant country or any other country/ jurisdiction as may be prescribed by the central government, it said.
The other draft on Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Regulations, 2021 proposes that an Indian entity may lend or invest in any debt instruments issued by a foreign entity subject to such loans duly backed by a loan agreement and the rate of interest shall be charged on an arm’s length basis, among other things.

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