Investment Opportunities in India

April 26, 2013

Scenario of real estate sector in India

The Indian real estate sector has witnessed significant growth in the past few years and is expected to grow at the rate of 30 per cent in the coming years. The sector has emerged as one of the most appealing investment sectors for domestic as well as foreign investors.

The major factors responsible for growth in the sector are 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 real estate investments.

Growth prospects

The Indian real estate market size is expected to touch US$ 180 billion by 2020. In fact, the demand is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 per cent between 2010 and 2014, with tier I metropolitan cities projected to account for about 40 per cent of this.

Investment opportunities

At present, investment trends in India are showing a huge number of NRIs investing in Indian real estate sector.

India needs to invest US$ 1.2 trillion over the next 20 years to modernise urban infrastructure and keep pace with the growing urbanisation, as per a report released by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)-India’s urban awakening.

Growing infrastructure requirements from sectors such as education, healthcare and tourism are providing numerous opportunities in the sector. Further, India is going to produce an estimated two million new graduates from various Indian universities during the year, creating demand for 100 million square feet of office and industrial space. In addition, presence of a large number of Fortune 500 and other reputed companies will attract more companies to initiate their operational base in India, thus creating more demand for corporate space.

FDI in Indian real estate

Construction development sector (including townships, housing, built-up infrastructure & construction-development projects) has attracted a cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) worth US$ 22,007.67 million from April 2000 to February 2013, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

In addition, the sector is set for robust inflows of US$ 4-5 billion from overseas investors in the next couple of years, with Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai emerging as the favourites, as per Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate consultancy giant.

Government initiatives in the sector

The Government of India (GOI) has allowed FDI up to 100 per cent under the automatic route in townships, housing, built-up infrastructure and construction development projects to increase real estate investment, generate economic activity, create new employment opportunities and add to the available housing stock and built-up infrastructure.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted permission to foreign citizens of Indian origin to purchase property in India for residential or commercial purposes. Further, the government is also committed to introducing FDI in multi brand retail, introduce changes in the existing SEZ policy to resurrect developer interest and expand the role of the private sector in infrastructure development.

Tax Advantages

People can avail 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
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Investment opportunities for foreign investors in India

The Indian economy has continuously recorded high growth rates and become an attractive destination for investment. 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.

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. “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, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Investment sectors in India for NRIs

The sectors in which the non-resident Indian (NRI) can invest through the automatic route include agriculture, mining, alcohol brewing, power, industrial explosives, hazardous chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, transport, insurance, industrial parks, non-banking financial institutions, etc. In some cases, the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) may be required. These include sectors like tea, infrastructural companies except telecom, publication of newspaper and periodicals, courier service and single brand product retailing.

The various sectors where NRI investments in India are prohibited include retail, atomic energy, lottery and gambling establishments, tobacco products, etc.

Investment environment in India

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, tax holidays, liberalisation of external commercial borrowing norms, etc. are the important reasons for increasing NRI investments in India.

NRIs are permitted to open bank accounts in India with funds remitted from abroad, foreign exchange brought in from abroad or with funds legitimately due to them in India, with authorised dealer.

Ways of investing in India

The foreign investors can invest in India in two ways:

  • Incorporation of an Indian company: The foreign investor can set up a separate legal entity in India under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956. The foreign investors can invest in such Indian company up to 100 per cent of capital based on sectoral guidelines specified by the Government of India.
  • Unincorporated entity: A foreign company can operate in India, by establishing a Branch Office of the other place of business (foreign entity), subject to conditions and activities permitted under the Foreign Exchange Management Regulations.

Investment Facilitation

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 facilitate NRIs and overseas corporate bodies of overseas Indians which want to invest in India.

Further, in order to ease the process of investment in India, OIFC has developed an online toolkit– Investment Guide to India. The toolkit serves as a simple, practical and stage-wise investment guide for the non-resident Indians wanting to invest in India.

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