Cabinet Allows NRIs to Buy up to 100% Stake in Air India

The cabinet allowed non-resident Indians to acquire up to 100% of state-owned Air India.

“Today’s decision on Air India is one milestone decision where NRIs who are Indian citizens will get permission to invest 100% in the airline,” information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters in a briefing.

The government has put its entire stake in Air India up for sale. Previously, NRIs could own up to 49% in the carrier. The higher limit could increase participation in the divestment. An attempt to sell as much as 76% of Air India in 2018 had been unsuccessful.

There is no change in the limit for overseas investors in the national carrier, including foreign airlines, which remains at 49%, directly or indirectly.

Substantial ownership and effective control of Air India will have to remain in the hands of Indian nationals after the divestment.

The change brings Air India in line with investment rules for other airlines, in which 100% FDI is permitted under the automatic route for NRIs.

The amendment is “meant to liberalise and simplify the FDI (foreign direct investment) policy to provide ease of doing business in the country”, the government said in a press release.

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