A total of 99 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals are pending in various ministries/departments, including a maximum of 48 with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha.

Incidentally, the centre, in May, approved the phasing out of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board —or the erstwhile single window clearance mechanism for FDI proposals in sectors under the government approval route. The FIPB’s work has now been entrusted to the concerned administrative ministries/departments. Consequently, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for processing FDI Proposals has also been issued on June 29. In his 2017-18 Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had stated: “More than 90 percent of the total FDI inflows are now through the automatic route. We have now reached a stage where FIPB can be phased out. We have therefore decided to abolish the FIPB in 2017-18.”

Sitharaman stated that according to the SOP, once the proposal is complete in all respects, which should not be later than six weeks/eight weeks (in cases where comments of home ministry have been sought from security clearance point of view) from the receipt of the proposal, the competent authority shall, within the next two weeks, process the proposal for decision and convey the same to the applicant. On proposals where the competent authority proposes to reject the proposals or in cases where conditions for approval are stipulated in addition to the conditions laid down in the FDI policy or sectoral laws/regulations, concurrence of DIPP shall compulsorily be sought by the competent authority within 8 weeks/10 weeks (in cases where home ministry’s comments have been sought from security clearance point of view) from the receipt of the proposal, she added. -The Hindu