The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry will scrutinise the application and forward it soon to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for its approval.
The world's third-largest retailer proposes to buy a 50 per cent stake in Tatas-owned Trent Hypermarket Ltd, which runs 16 outlets in the southern and western regions with backend support from Tesco.
If the application is successful, Trent and Tesco would aim to form a partnership with equal stakes in Trent Hypermarket, according to a statement from Trent.
Tesco plans to open three to five stores every financial year and will sell 14 categories of products, according to its application, official sources said.
The items to be sold at its stores include tea, coffee, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, dairy products, wine, liquor, textiles, footwear, furniture, electronics and jewellery.
"We assure them all support for expedited clearances. I am sure that the other global leaders will also look at investing in India," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.
This is the first application for multi-brand retailing since the government allowed 51 per cent foreign direct investment in the segment in September last year. It comes two months after Wal-Mart Stores and Bharti Enterprises said they would go their separate ways for retail operations in India.
Trent Vice-Chairman Noel Tata said, "We believe that our understanding of the Indian market, coupled with Tesco's unparallelled global retail expertise, will allow us to leverage the tremendous potential of the market to the benefit of all stakeholders."
Tesco proposes to operate stores in India under various banners, including Star Bazaar, Star Daily and Star Market, with the tag line reading, 'A Tata and Tesco Enterprise.'
Earlier this year, the Tatas formed separate ventures with Singapore Airlines and AirAsia.