Capital Account Liberalisation

42. Until about 10 years ago, all foreign exchange transactions were tightly controlled by the government and by the RBI. We have progressively loosened these controls and made the current account completely convertible. We have also liberalised the capital account for certain purposes. I propose to take further measures for liberalising the capital account. These are:

l Indian companies wishing to invest abroad may now invest up to US $50 million on an annual basis through the automatic route without being subject to the three year profitability condition.

l Companies which have issued ADRs/GDRs may henceforth make foreign investments up to 100 per cent of these proceeds; up from the current ceiling of 50 per cent.

l Companies with proven track record wishing to invest larger amounts may now get a block allocation in advance from the RBI for investments overseas.

l Indian companies that have issued ADRs/GDRs may acquire shares of foreign companies up to an amount of US $100 million or an amount equivalent to ten times of their exports in a year, whichever is higher.

l ADRs/GDRs will be provided two-way fungibility. Converted local shares may be reconverted to ADRs/GDRs while being subject to sectoral caps, wherever applicable.

l Indian companies will now be permitted to list in foreign stock exchanges by sponsoring ADR/GDR issues against block share holding. This facility would have to be offered to all categories of shareholders.

The Reserve Bank of India will be issuing these guidelines separately.

43. Investments by Registered partnership firms and companies providing professional services have not, so far, been permitted to make overseas investments. This ban is now being removed. Similarly, Indian employees who have the benefit of ESOP schemes in foreign owned companies can now make investments abroad up to US $20,000 annually instead of in a block of 5 years.