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The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) launched a sleek new website last week for secure e-filing of applications which need government approval for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India. With the introduction of the new website, applicants will have to submit only a single copy of the application for records with the FIPB Secretariat instead of 15-18 copies which needed to be filed earlier.

The Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, which launched the website, said that as a part of good governance to enhance government procedural transparency and accountability, applicants of FDI could apply from anywhere in the world. They could take part in online communication with FIPB as well as other respective ministries or departments, get query alerts through SMS and email and ask questions through a query module which will be vetted by relevant ministries. Taking the launch as a “proactive” and “constructive” approach, a PIB  release said that the previous website was restricted in terms of features and processing capacities.

In a circular from late 2014, the Government mentioned why FDI is important for India:
“It is the intent and objective of the Government of India to attract and promote foreign direct investment in order to supplement domestic capital, technology and skills, for accelerated economic growth. Foreign Direct Investment, as distinguished from portfolio investment, has the connotation of establishing a ‘lasting interest’ in an enterprise that is resident in an economy other than that of the investor.”

The new website launch by FIPB, says the DEA, is a step towards “Minimum Government and Maximum Governance” by Good Governance. A centralised online attendance system was created late last year to track the work of central government employees. The Government’s Digital India campaign is also set to create 5 crore jobs as well as bring connectivity to towns and grams.

DEA’s move goes hand in hand with Modi government’s “Make in India” campaign, allowing FDI in sectors like retail, broadcast and print media, defense, civil aviation, telecommunication and tea plantations among others. Click here to get a lowdown on previous FIPB approvals, defers and rejections.