The move would help insurance firms to get much needed capital from overseas partners. The proposal to raise FDI cap has been pending since 2008 when the previous UPA government came up with Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill to hike foreign holding in insurance joint ventures to 49 per cent from the existing 26 per cent.
He said the government will take up the Bill soon. On defence sector, Jaitley said the composite cap of foreign exchange is being raised to 49 per cent with full Indian management and control through the FIPB route. Currently, the government permits 26 per cent FDI in defence manufacturing. "India today is a largest buyer of defence equipment in the world. Our domestic manufacturing capabilities are still at a nascent stage.
"We are buying substantial part of our defence requirements directly from foreign players, companies controlled by foreign governments and foreign private parties are supplying our defence requirements to us and at a considerable outflow of foreign exchange," he added. Further to encourage development of smart cities which will also provide habitation for the new middle class, the Finance Minister announced that the requirement of the built up area and capital conditions for FDI is being reduced from 50,000 sq m to 20,000 sq m and from USD 10 million to USD 5 million respectively with a three years post completion lock in. MORE