USD83 Billion and Counting

This October, Invest India, the foreign investment promotion arm of the government, crossed a milestone: it received the 100,000th investment-related query, from a Japanese auto-components company, which isconsidering investing in India.

Foreign direct investment commitments – as opposed to “intentions” – worth $83.5 billion have come through the facilitator; and 90 per cent of it came in the past 15 months.

“Most of these investments are greenfield, which shows foreign investors’ confidence in India’s long-term prospects,” says Deepak Bagla, CEO & MD of Invest India, a public-private partnership company. Industry bodies such as FICCI, CII and Nasscom hold 51 per cent equity in the company; the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion holds the rest.

That private sector feel Invest India functions out of a Ministry of Commerce building in New Delhi, but the private sector character of Invest India gives it operational flexibility, particularly in hiring and fixing salaries.

The company has 110 investment professionals, many of whom have traded lucrative jobs for the “satisfaction of working for the country”. They handle queries from prospective investors, and chase investment opportunities.

Among Invest India’s notable ‘winnings’ is the Indo UK Institute of Health (IUIH), which has committed to spend $5 billion to set up 11 medi-cities in India. These will be like industrial estates, in which other investors will set up hospitals, medical colleges and research labs. Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have signed MoUs with IUIH to build medi-cities in the State; construction in Maharashtra is scheduled to begin in December. French car-maker Peugeot and Danish wind-turbine company Vestas are also among those assisted by Invest India.

Data from the DIPP show that FDI (including re-invested earnings) into India rose from $36 billion in 2013-14 to $45 billion in 2014-15; $55.5 billion the next year; and $60 billion in 2016-17. In the first quarter of this year, India received $14.5 billion of FDI.