Investment Opportunities in India

August 29, 2012

Investment Trends in India

India has grown as one of the significant economies in the world having immense potential for long-term growth. Indian economy is developing at a faster pace and is brimming with investment opportunities. As per McKinsey Global Institute, the average Indian’s income will triple by 2025. This will result in more investment in the coming years.

India: Investment Potential

According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Prospects Survey 2010-2012, India is the second-most profitable destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world. Indian markets have significant potential offering prospects of high profitability and a favorable regulatory regime for investors.

Investment for saving purpose in future is certainly a good idea. There are large numbers of companies that offer plenty of opportunities for different individuals. India with a matured capital market, backed by liberal policies and strong banking system has turned to a profitable business ambience both for domestic and international businessmen.

Entry strategies for global investors in India

The various entry strategies for foreign investors in India have helped to bring in huge amounts of FDI into India. Some of the investment strategiesinitiated by Indian government are:

  • A foreign company can start its operations in the country by setting up a new company according to the Companies Act 1956. The foreign direct investment of 100 per cent has been allowed by the Government of India in such companies.
  • An international company can start its operations in India by forming joint collaboration with an Indian company.
  • An international company can start its operations in India by setting up their branch office, representative office, and project office.
  • A foreign company can start its operations in India by establishing a wholly owned subsidiary in the sectors, where foreign direct investment up to 100 per cent is permitted under the FDI policy.

Areas of Investment

The scope for business in India is enormous and has led to more investment options in India. Some key areas like infrastructure, petrochemicals, power, automobile, electronic hardware, etc. are receiving attention not only for foreign but for domestic ventures also.

Further, there are various exciting opportunities for conducting business in India, especially, for entrepreneurs dealing in outsourcing technology, internet ventures, software development, e-commerce, etc. People can also find a niche market in India where they can sell various products like health care products.

Major initiatives in India

There are various initiatives taken in India that provide a liberal and investor friendly environment:

  • Simplified investment procedures
  • Liberalised trade policy and exchange regulations
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Enactment of competition law
  • Financial sector reforms

There is no dearth of investment options in India after the investment under the automatic route has been allowed by the Government. The Government has also revised its policy regarding FDI in Indian companies engaged in retail trade. Foreign investors will now be permitted, subject to certain conditions, to own up to 100 per cent of single-brand retail trading companies in India.

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Investment in Real Estate in India

Indian real estate has huge potential in almost every sector especially commercial, residential, retail, industrial, hospitality, healthcare etc. However, the major real estate developments in India are mainly the townships, residential units, shopping malls, offices, retail stores and commercial complexes.

The major growth has come due to increasing purchasing power, favourable demographics, existence of customer friendly banks & housing finance companies, professionalism in real estate and favorable reforms initiated by the government to attract global investors.

Real estate investment in India is primarily a long term investment providing low liquidity to an investor. Investors can look at renting out their property to bring consistency in revenues. This can also reduce the burden of EMIs for a property purchased on a loan. According to a survey conducted by ASSOCHAM, 65 per cent of working individuals prefer real estate as a mode of long term investment.

There are many banks and financial institutions that provide loans at attractive rate of interest to the builders. For example, HDFC Property Fund, Kotak Mahindra Realty Fund, and India Advantage Fund (ICICI), provide the funds for real estate development to the builders and developers for construction.

NRI real estate business is also on the rise in India. Recession had negligible impact on this sector. Therefore, the sector is opening up more and more investment opportunities for both domestic as well as foreign investors. The real estate sector is extremely a profitable venture, as the profits of investors have almost doubled or have derived 100 per cent profits in the residential segment.

The preferable time horizon for investment in real estate is four to seven years for better returns. The industry is popular for providing the second largest employment just after agriculture. One of the major reasons for this development is the policies taken by the Government of India.

Reforms initiated by the Indian Government

The Government including reserve bank of India (RBI) and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) has liberalised the rules and regulations for the NRIs to make investment in real estate. India has emerged as a top-most favourable destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world with 100 per cent relaxation of FDI regulations in real estate.

The Government of India has now allowed international and domestic companies to operate real estate funds through private equity funding. RBI has also decreased its rate of interest in the home loan division.

Tax Advantages

People can avail the huge tax benefits on investing in real estate:

  • Tax exemption is available on re-investment of sale proceeds of property in eligible possibilities.
  • Tax benefit is available on interest on housing loan raised in India.

Nowadays, real estate investment in India is more productive and revenue generating in comparison to other businesses. India is a safe investment destination for real estate sector with assured returns of 10 to 12 per cent.

India is becoming an Investment Hub

India is the fastest growing economy in the world with buoyant investment climate. According to recent trends, India is only second to China in the league of favorite investment destinations. As the Indian economy is developing very fast, it has opened new avenues for people to start businesses. The country is extraordinarily rich in various resources with very low-cost labour. Doing business in India is a profitable option as the majority of the industries and sectors are almost untapped and hence the fear of facing stiff competition is less.

Entry Routes for Investment in India

Foreign Investment is easily permitted in almost all sectors. An Indian company may receive Foreign Direct Investment under two routes:

Automatic route: The foreign investor does not require any approval from the Reserve Bank of India or the Government of India for making investments. FDI up to 100 per cent is allowed under the automatic route in all sectors.

Government Route: The prior approval of the Government of India, Ministry of Finance, and Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is required for making investment in India.

Sectors that an investor can look for long-term prospective are:

Banking: The Indian banking sector is one such industry, which has enormous upside growth potential. Investing in India can give investors above average return over long-term in the banking sector.

Healthcare: With the rise in disposable incomes and penetration of healthcare insurance, the demand for healthcare is growing day by day. The health and pharma sectors are quite promising in the current market conditions. Investors with a long-term prospect can invest in strong companies in the healthcare sector.

Education: The Indian Education industry is another industry which is poised at the wings of growth. Increasing awareness, rising disposable incomes and availability of loans for higher education creates a huge demand in the sector. So, it is one of the most important investment sectors in India.

Food processing: India is a country that largely depends on its agriculture. Thus, food processing industry in the country is among the largest in the world. The industry enjoys patronage from government, private players and cooperative sectors. Even the government ensures steady investment in this sector by introducing various changes in the “National Food Processing Policy”.

IT Sector: India is known as the IT hub. The BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and the KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) industries are enjoying a fast paced growth rate. Thus, investing in the giant software industry in India is really a good decision.

Real estate: Real estate has emerged as one of the most appealing investment sectors for domestic as well as foreign investors. The real estate sector will continue to derive its growth in future because of changing consumer lifestyles. For example, nowadays people prefer to live in societies (apartments) with facilities like swimming pool, gym, security rather than just houses.

“Our economic and commercial relations are expanding. But there is still a lot of untapped potential that needs to be exploited, especially in sectors like agro-processing, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, medical equipment, seafood, automobile parts, tourism and hospitality, IT and IT-enabled services,” according to Anand Sharma, Commerce and Industry Minister.

Scenario of Power Sector in India

Infrastructure refers to all those services and facilities that constitute the basic support system of an economy. The development of an adequate infrastructure is essential for sustainable growth of the Indian economy. Power is one of the most important components of infrastructure that affects economic growth and well-being of nations.

India is the fifth largest electricity producing nation in the world. Power generation has grown over 100 fold since independence. The total installed capacity in India is above 1, 50,000 MW, of which majority of capabilities is with public sector companies. Only 15 per cent capacity is from the private sector, though this is now starting to increase.

The power sector is normally divided into three sub-systems:

Generation: It is done at power plants or stations that convert some form of mechanical, chemical, or nuclear energy into electrical energy.

Transmission: It is the process of transferring the generated power to a distribution system.

Distribution: It is the final stage in the delivery of electricity to end users. It involves providing the transmitted power to individual homes, commercial areas, etc.

Growth and Performance

The Indian Ministry of Power has set a goal, “Mission 2012: Power for all”. Along with providing cent per cent access to electricity, the main aim is to provide reliable and good quality power to enhance commercial feasibility.

Due to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, there is a huge demand for power in India. This creates enormous opportunities for private players because of high energy shortage. Government is inviting private investment in power infrastructure in India by providing various incentives to set up power plants, according to research report of Indian Power Sector Analysis.

A massive capital investment of around US$ 200 billion is required to meet Mission 2012 targets. The Indian electricity sector, will add nearly 45,000 megawatt (MW) to its total installed capacity by 2013-14, to the existing production, according to a RNCOS research report. This has welcomed several global companies to establish their operations in India under the public-private partnership programs.

Investment Policy

Government of India has initiated several reform measures to create a favourable environment for investment in the country. Some of the measures are:

  • There is no requirement of licenses to set up new power plants in India. According to the Ministry of Power, 100 per cent FDI is permitted in generation, transmission and distribution system of power sector in India.
  • Indian Government provides income tax holiday for a block of 10 years in the first 15 years of operation and waiver of capital goods’ import duties on mega power projects (above 1,000 MW generation capacities).
  • Power procurement is permitted through a transparent bidding process. There is no customs duty on the import of capital goods for mega power projects.
  • The Government of India has also constituted independent regulatory commissions in 22 states, so that each State has its own electricity regulatory commission. Distribution reforms have been initiated with distribution being privatised in few states like Mumbai, Orissa and Delhi.

August 6, 2012

Investment Prospects for NRI’s in India

India is considered to be the second favourite destination for investors from other countries. India’s unique and vast geography, endowed with diverse topography, has made it one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world.

The healthy growth of the Indian economy also becomes evident from the inflow of the foreign direct investment (FDI). Investment opportunities in India are plentiful. It becomes evident with the numerous MNC’s not only trailing their products and services into the Indian markets but also coming forward to set up their manufacturing units in India.

The vast investment opportunities available and the positive investment climate in India have become a part of every business entrepreneur’s life. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has set up an Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) as a not-for-profit-trust, in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to promote investment opportunities amongst the overseas Indians.

Some of the fruitful investment options in India are:

Fixed deposits: It is the most common among the investment opportunities in India. These are safe investments and provide decent return.

Insurance sector: There are a lot of insurance companies emerging these days as the health is becoming less secured because of the unhealthy life style of present generation. Some of the common insurance policies are life insurance, health insurance, home insurance and the car insurance policies.

Investment in Stock: The investment in stock market in India is one of the fastest means of earning. As the stock prices are always fluctuating, the chances of risk are also high along with high profits.

Mutual Funds: It is a collective investment scheme that pools money from many investors or foreign investors in India to purchase securities such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments and similar assets. It is an easy and safe investment with periodic withdrawals.

Real Estate: The population in India is increasing and therefore land is always in demand. Besides the need to reside, the establishment of industries also requires land. The projection of real estate includes sectors such as hospitality, manufacturing, housing, retail, commercial etc. Thus it is obvious that the cost of real estate is not going to fall down. Thus the investment opportunities in India are high and by investing in a land and selling it on demand by others is an easy source to earn money.

Also, there are many other exciting business investment opportunities in India, especially, for industrialists dealing in outsourcing technology, internet ventures, software development, e-commerce, etc.

The Government of India is trying to accommodate and utilise the conducive investment climate of the country by relaxing and even introducing new policies. The change in government policy, availability of cheap resources, strong operational units, etc. are the important reasons for FDI in India. It is important for foreign investors in India to have some trend analysis of investment scope before they plan to start or set up a business in India, thus the role of investment advisors to prepare extensive investment guides to help and direct the trade investments and the scope of foraying into a particular business in India becomes crucial.

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