Real estate sector looks hopeful after Lok Sabha Results

With the 2014 Lok Sabha election results declared and Narendra Modi-led NDA coalition heading towards forming the government at the centre with formidable majority, the real estate industry is looking forward to stability and growth for the sector.

The new government formation has brought hope for the industry experts, who are now expecting revival of the real estate sector with economic reforms and policy revivals. They are expecting that the new government will bring in regulatory bill, industry status and necessary policy changes that have been held for long. Magicbricks brings in what the industry expects from the new government. Read more

India has won! Good days ahead: Modi

  • NO GENERATION GAP: Narendra Modi with his mother Hiraben and other family members at her residence in Gandhinagar today. Photo: Vivek Bendre
    NO GENERATION GAP: Narendra Modi with his mother Hiraben and other family members at her residence in Gandhinagar today.

“India has won! Good days are ahead,” BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said on Friday in his first reaction to the poll trends that indicate an impending BJP victory in the Lok Sabha polls.

“India has won! Bharat ki Vijay. Ache din ane wale hai (good days are ahead),” Mr. Modi, who is all set to become prime minister, tweeted.

Mr. Modi later met his mother to seek her blessings.

In initial trends, BJP alone was leading in 275 seats — its best ever tally in Lok Sabha polls, while the NDA is set to cross the 300-mark. The earlier best by BJP was 182 seats in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls when the party formed its government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Top BJP leaders including L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh congratulated Mr. Modi for the party’s electoral victory.

Buoyed by the party’s stellar performance, celebrations started at the party’s Delhi headquarters right from the time initial trends started trickling in and workers and leaders danced to the beats of ‘dhols’ and distributed sweets.

Mr. Modi, who is contesting from Vadodra and Varanasi was leading at both the places. While he was leading with a hefty margin of over 5.6 lakh votes in Vadodra, in Varanasi he was leading by over one lakh votes.

Source: Chennai Hindu

How to repatriate sale proceeds of Indian property

Tips for NRI – How to repatriate sale proceeds of Indian property

 

The recent times have seen an interesting new trend in the whole NRI property debacle – NRIs from North America and Europe are coming to India to sell their purchased or inherited real estate after they obtain citizenship in these countries. This is not a trend that has been extensively examined, but it makes perfect sense. Holding on to real estate is not always feasible if one is unable to manage them.

This is especially true if the NRIs in question do not visit India frequently and are not open to renting out their properties. They prefer not to burden relatives and friends with the task of paying property tax, maintenance and society dues and see more sense in encashing the capital value of their inherited properties

Selling such real estate is usually not the biggest challenge. What can create confusion is the viability – and ways and means – of remitting the resulting funds back into the country of residence. There is, in fact, a fairly straight-forward process.

The aspects that come into play are:

Taxation

As in the case of resident Indians, NRIs who sell purchased property after three years from the date of purchase will incur long term capital gains tax of 20%. The gains are calculated as the difference between sale value and indexed cost of purchase. Indexed cost of purchase is nothing but the cost of purchase adjusted to inflation. Calculation of indexed cost of purchase is easy – many websites provide a calculator; else a chartered accountant can assist.

In case of inherited property, the date and cost of purchase for purposes of computing the period of holding as well as cost of purchase is taken to be the date and cost to the original owner. To be more precise, the amount of long term capital gains together with the cost to the previous owner (i.e. the person from whom the property is inherited) would be considered as the cost of purchase. NRIs are subject to a Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) of 20% on the long term capital gains. But there are certain instances when NRI can get a waiver of TDS. One such case would be if the NRI is planning to re-invest the capital gains of the property in another property or in tax exempt bonds. In such cases, the NRI will be exempt from tax in India, and no TDS will be deducted either.

If the NRI sells the property before three years have elapsed since the date of purchase, short term capital gains tax at his or her tax slab is incurred. Short term capital gain is calculated as the difference between the sale value and the cost of purchase (without the indexation benefit). The NRI will be subject to a TDS of 30% irrespective of his or her tax slab.

NRI selling their properties can apply to the income tax authorities for a tax exemption certificate under section 195 of the Income Tax Act. They must make this application in the same jurisdiction that their PAN belongs to and will be required to show proof of reinvestment of capital gains. If the NRI is planning to buy another house, the allotment letter or payment receipt will need to be produced; if capital gains bonds are chosen instead, an affidavit to this effect will have to be prepared. Usually, buyers withhold the last installment of payment until the NRI produces a certificate of exemption. A NRI has up to two years from the date of sale to invest in another property, or up to six months to invest in bonds.

Tax Exemptions

Section 54 – This section stipulates that if NRI sells a residential property after three years from the date of purchase and reinvest the proceeds into another residential property within two years from the date of sale, the profit generated is exempt to the extent of the cost of new property. To illustrate – if the capital gains is Rs 10 lakh and the new property costs Rs 8 lakh, the remaining Rs 2 lakh are treated as long term capital gains. The sold residential property may be either have been self-occupied property or given on rent. The new property must be held for at least three years.

NRIs cannot invest the proceeds on the sale of a property in India in a foreign property and still avail the benefit of Section 54. However, some recent hearings with the appellate authorities have held that exemption can be claimed under Section 54 even if the new house is purchased outside India. However, this is not explicitly specified clearly under the law, and it is advisable for an NRI to consult a tax expert before making any investment decisions outside India to avail of tax benefits under Section 54.

Section 54EC – This section of the Income Tax Act states that if an NRI sells a long term asset (in this case, a residential property) after three years from the date of purchase and invests the amount of capital gains in bonds of NHAI and REC within six months of the date of sale, he or she will be exempt from capital gains tax. The bonds will remain locked in for a period of three years.

Repatriation

General permission is available to NRIs and PIOs to repatriate the sale proceeds of property inherited from an Indian resident, subject to certain conditions. If those conditions are fulfilled, the NRI need not seek the RBI’s permission. However, if the NRI has inherited the property from a person residing outside India, he or she must seek specific permission from the RBI.

The conditions for repatriation of such funds are not really complicated – the amount per financial year (April-March) should not exceed USD 1 million, and should be done through authorized dealers. NRIs must provide documentary evidence with regard to their inheritance of the property, and a certificate from a chartered accountant in the specified format.

What NRIs must pay attention to is the income tax implications in their country of residence. Many countries tax their residents on their income regardless of where it originates from, while others provide partial or total exemption on capital gains arising on sale of a residential house if certain conditions are met. The most important point to ponder is the income tax liability in the country of residence on the amount of gain, and whether claiming exemption under Sections 54/54F/54EC is really worth it. The NRI may, in fact, be better off claiming only partial or no tax exemption on the capital gains in India.

 

Source: Firstbiz

 

 

Rental markets strong across India

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During the Jan-Mar 2014 quarter, rental markets across Indian cities displayed dynamism while capital markets remained subdued.

Due to the underlying low-sentiments amongst property buyers and the quarter ending just a few days before the general elections, the capital markets across the country remained stable. However, contrary to the capital markets, it was interesting to note that the rental markets were robust.

The general consensus in the country was against buying property which led people to opt for rental accommodations. This is the prime reason that held the growth of the National Property Index (NPI) during the Jan-Mar 2014 quarter with a rise of just a per cent.

More and more people were inclined towards renting out properties which reflected in the significant rise of rental values in prime localities across different cities. For instance, some cities such as Ghaziabad and Mumbai recorded a rise of rental values in almost all the localities that were tracked. Rental values rose by 5-10 per cent in several localities across different cities. This also posted an opportunity for property owners to earn some rental returns at a time when capital returns were hard to come by.

The reluctance towards buying property was also clearly visible from the capital trends across cities. Capital values have either dropped or remained largely stable across cities. Pune and Hyderabad witnessed the maximum positive growth with a rise of 3 per cent in the city index. Ghaziabad and Ahmedabad, on the other hand, recorded a negative trend.

As was visible in the previous quarters also, buyer preference continued to be inclined towards the mid-segment housing. The budget category of Rs 30-50 lakh was the most preferred. Even though there was a healthy demand of over 20 per cent for luxury properties, the segment continued to evade buyers. This resulted in an over-supply across all cities.

Thus, the latest edition of PropIndex, now in to its third year, revealed that the real estate markets are still awaiting resurgence. Now, with the general elections drawing a close across cities, positive trends may be expected post the results.

Courtesy: Times of India Real Estate Section

Many New projects launched in Chennai Padur

Padur, a locality situated along the Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai is witnessing several new residential project launches. The locality is getting increasingly popular amongst the IT professionals due to its affordable property values and easy connectivity.

Buoyed by healthy residential demand, the locality is serving as a preferred location for residential development due to availability of land parcels. A Jagdish, a city-based realtor of Ananthi Realty Services says, “There are close to 10 developers who have their projects under-construction in Padur. With almost 4,500-5,000 housing units being constructed, the location is majorly tapped by the IT professionals working in nearby locations. About 7 out of 10 homebuyers in Padur are IT professionals.”

Presently, developers such as MMRF Realty and Infrastructure, XS Real, TVH Builders, Jain Housing and Constructions, Nahar Foundations Pvt Ltd and Shri Janani Homes Pvt Ltd among others are coming up with projects here. While a few of these are expected to hand over possession within a few months, others have slated their project deliveries by 2015 and 2016.

There are projects in all sorts of budget ranges, suiting homebuyers with different affluence levels. For instance, the projects by XS Real offer small sized 2 and 3BHK apartments within Rs 36-50 lakh, the project by TVH Builders offers medium sized 2 and 3BHK units within Rs 46-60 lakh, the project by Jain Housing and Constructions offers apartments in a price bracket of Rs 45-70 lakh and the project by MMRF Realty and Infrastructure offers only villas priced between Rs 1.3-1.5 crore. With property values ranging between Rs 3,500-4,300 per sq ft, Padur offers properties in various budget categories.

A user on Magicbricks and a resident of the locality says, “Padur is resided by both middle-income and high-income homebuyers. Surrounded by IT hubs and educational institutions, Padur attracts homebuyers from all spheres and is majorly preferred for its easy connectivity to other parts of the city.”

While it is conveniently accessible from Sholinganallur, Siruseri IT Park and Kelambakkam via the OMR, it is connected to Urapakkam and Tambaram via the Vandalur-Kelambakkam Road.

“Padur is gradually growing as a high-end location. Other than being well-connected via road networks and public transport, the locality is plush with ultra-modern infrastructures such as hospitals, educational institutions and entertainment centres,” says Giridaran K of VIP Housing and Properties, a city based realtor.

Chettinad Hospital, one of the major healthcare facilities in Chennai is situated in Padur. Apart from that, there are several engineering colleges, schools and restaurants which brace the livability of the area.

Source: Times of India Chennai

Chennai electric suburban rail is 83 years old

The newly-inaugurated rail road happened to be the earliest metre gauge to be electrified in the country.

Electrical trains between Beach and Tambaram began in 1931

This April, the Chennai city’s suburban railways, as we know it, turns 83.

On April 2, 1931, the first electrically-operated railway service between Madras Beach and Tambaram was launched by Sir George Fredrick Stanley, the then governor of Madras.

The newly-inaugurated rail road happened to be the earliest metre gauge to be electrified in the country. It was only a month after the official inauguration that the service was opened to the public on May 11, 1931.

The plan to electrify railway lines in Madras however was not new. Sir Percy Rothera, an agent of the South Indian Railways, had foreseen the need for such a service way back in 1923.

With the city expanding, largely agricultural areas such as Saidapet, St. Thomas Mount and Tambaram were fast developing into residential quarters. It was only by 1931 that Rothera’s proposal saw the light of day.

As part of the suburban remodelling initiative of South Indian Railways, an ambitious plan was announced.

A new line between Beach and Egmore, and two between Egmore and Tambaram, were proposed to be built.

The Madras Electricity Supply Corporation which powered the railway lines was aided by sub-stations in Egmore and Meenambakkam.

The city which, until then, had the single steam rail line between Harbour and Tambaram, used by both passenger and goods trains, was soon to have more options.

The number of trains shuttling passengers was increased to 45 a day, running every 10 minutes at peak hours, and every 30 minutes, otherwise.

The running time between Madras Beach and Tambaram, which previously took 2 hours, was now covered in merely 49 minutes.

Moreover, commuters could avail of the train service from 4 in the morning right up to 12 at night.

On December 27, 1930, the authorities received their first consignment of 25 electric carriages from England. Painted a dull green with a black wheel base, the new carriages were parked in Tambaram station.

Boasting of wide sliding doors, a well-designed seating arrangement, and thick glass fronts, the new trains promised comfortable travel.

The governor, at the opening ceremony, is reported to have said that the new service would transform ‘desolate south Madras into burgeoning garden cities’.

Partially prophetic that: Chennai is certainly burgeoning now, garden or not.

 

Courtesy: The Hindu

Most preferred areas for rental accommodation in Chennai

In Chennai, certain locations, such as Velachery, Adyar, Thiruvanmiyur, Medavakkam and Sholinganallur, are the most preferred areas for rental accommodation.

If you are looking for a rented accommodation in Chennai, the Magicbricks’ list of top ten localities for rent will give you an insight in to which locations to consider.

As per the data with Magicbricks, five localities – Velachery, Adyar, Thiruvanmiyur, Medavakkam and Sholinganallur – have remained on the top of the list of preferred localities for four quarters in a row.

In the present quarter Jan-Mar 2014, Velachery has topped the list followed by Adyar, Thiruvanmiyur, Medavakkam and Sholinganallur in the order. So, what makes these localities so popular as rental destinations? Proximity to IT hubs is a common thread in all localities. Let’s find out more.

Velachery

Velachery is preferred as a rental abode due to its proximity to the IT set ups along the OMR (Old Mahablipuram Road). The location has been on the top of the chart since the last four quarters. Well-planned residential layouts and established social and physical infrastructure have ensured continued demand for the locality.
Rental values in the locality vary from Rs 10,000-20,000 per month for a 900-1000-sq-ft 2BHK apartment. A 3BHK unit is available for Rs 25,000-40,000 per month.

Adyar

Adyar is one of the most centrally-located residential places in Chennai. Its proximity to OMR (around 5 km) makes it an ideal rental option for those who can afford the high rental values. A 3BHK sized around 1200-1800 sq ft is available for a monthly rent of Rs 25,000-40,000. A 2BHK, on the other hand, commands anywhere between Rs 20,000-25,000 per month, reveals data with Magicbricks.com.

Thiruvanmiyur

Being well-connected to both OMR and ECR (East Coast Road) is the prime advantage that Thiruvanmiyur enjoys and the reason for its popularity as a rental accommodation. The location offers both 2 and 3BHK units. A 3BHK apartment is more easily available. Rental values vary markedly from Rs 25,000-70,000 per month, as per Magicbricks. A 2BHK is available for Rs 15,000-25,000 per month approximately.

Medavakkam

Lying just off the OMR, Medavakkam is another preferred location for rental accommodations. Apart from its proximity to OMR, affordable rental values as compared to the other options, also makes Medavakkam an ideal choice.

A 3BHK is available for RS 10,000-15,000 per month while a 2BHK is 5000-10,000 per month.

Sholinganallur

Sholinnallur also rides on the affordability factor. Out of the top five locations, it is the only one that is situated along the OMR.

A 3BHK apartment sized around 1200-1700 sq ft is available for a monthly rent of Rs 15,000-20,000 per month. A 2BHK, on the other hand, commands a monthly rent of around Rs 10,000-15,000 per month.

Source: Times of India Real Estate

NRI investments in India legal?

Are you a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) and uninformed of your rights over making a real estate investment in India? And, are you completely aware of what kind of properties you can buy or sell in India? Well, several others like you who are looking forward to either make or exit their investments in India have raised queries on the consumer forum of Magicbricks, .

In order to explain the legalities of purchasing in India, it is first required to understand, who as per law is recognised as a NRI. “The persons residing outside India are categorised as Non- Resident Indians (NRI) or a foreign national of Indian Origin (PIO) or a foreign national of non-Indian origin. While NRIs and PIOs can definitely acquire/dispose properties in India, a foreign national of non-Indian origin is also covered by the relevant notifications in our country,” says Asha Basu, partner, S Jalan and Co Advocates.

The buying transaction of a NRI is governed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the rules and regulations fall under the purview of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Giving an insight on the legal rights of NRIs for investing in India, Basu adds, “Any NRI, holding an Indian Passport, does not require prior permission from the RBI to buy residential or commercial immovable property in India. The purchase consideration may be paid either by remittance of funds from abroad through normal banking channels or out of the Non-Resident External (NRE), Foreign Currency Non Resident (FCNR) or Non-Residential Ordinary (NRO) accounts.”

“NRI of Indian nationality does not require any permission for acquisition, transfer or disposal ofproperty by the way of gift of immovable property. However, this property should not be a farmhouse, an agricultural land or a plantations property. A declaration on form IPI 7 is required to be filed with RBI within 90 days of the date of purchase, in order to acquire a commercial propertyfor carrying out any industrial, commercial or trading activities by proprietary partnership firm in India,” adds Basu.

In fact, not only sell, but any NRI/PIO can even rent out their property without the approval of the RBI. The rent received can be credited to Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO)/Non-Resident External (NRE) account or even dispatched abroad.

Answering one of the users enquiring about whether a NRI/PIO requires seeking permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in order to sell their property, the legal expert of Magicbricks says, “As long as the property is being sold to a resident of India, a NRI or a PIO, one does not need to seek any permission from RBI.”

In another aspect where users needed to know whether they can apply for home loans in India, Magicbricks issued a set of guidelines for NRI Investments on its online property fair, India Calling. As per the guidelines, NRIs can take a home loan for purchase of a property. RBI also allows NRIs to take a loan for repairs and renovations of their home. RBI states in its website that the buyer, however, has to adhere to the FEMA regulations at the time of taking the loan. “Banks cannot grant fresh loans or renew existing loans in excess of Rs 1 crore against NRE and FCNR deposits, either to the depositors or to third parties,” the site mentions.

Such loans can be repaid by different means. For instance, by way of inward remittance through normal banking channel, by debit to the NRE/FCNR/NRO account of the NRI/ PIO, out of the rental income from such a property or by cheques from one’s local relative’s bank account.

Are NRIs liable to pay capital gain taxes on sale of their properties? Subhash Lakhotia, tax and investment consultant, R N Lakhotia & Associates answers in the Guide to Buying a House by Magicbricks, “The tax liabilities in India are the same for a resident India, a non-resident Indian or a foreigner. If one sells a residential property in India after holding it for a period lesser than 3 years, they are liable to accrue Short-Term Capital Gains (STCG). It is not possible to save tax on the STCG. The sale proceeds in this case are added to the income of the property owner and tax is calculated according to the slab rates of Income Tax.

“In order to save taxes on long-term capital gains, which are arrived after disposing a property by holding it for a minimum of three years, NRIs can invest the sale proceeds in a residential property. In case the sale proceeds are not re-invested, a tax of about 20 per cent of the total gains has to be then paid,” adds Lakhotia.

The road to investments in India for the NRIs is clear. They can not only buy or sell property but can also reap in the benefits of renting out the property.

Source: Times of India

What are the Tax Implications for NRI Getting a property in India as a gift ?

Plan well before accepting a gift

Sridhar, a leading advocate, brought an interesting tax situation to me, for his cousin Ms Nirmala. Before I get into the details of the issue involved, let me explain a little regarding the background. Nirmala left India almost 15 years ago with her husband and settled in the United States. She became a naturalised American Citizen, and is also a PIO cardholder by virtue of her Indian origins and connections. She received a house property at Bangalore from her mother as a gift in 2010, and wants to sell it.

Her mother inherited this property through the will, after the demise of her husband in 2009, and the property was originally constructed in 1980. The expected sale value of the gift was Rs 1.20 crore. She wanted to know what the legal and tax ramifications would be in India as well as USA, for sale as well as repatriation. Having received a gift for the US-living non-resident Indian is a bonanza, more so at a time when the US economy is reeling under recession. But wait, look at the challenges.

TAX LIABILITY

There is no doubt that the gift received in India from the mother is an exempt gift, as it falls under the definition of Sec 56(1) of the Indian Income-Tax Act. However, the profits on the sale of the property are subject to capital gains tax. As per section 49(1) of the Income-Tax Act, the period of holding the property dates to the time when her father started owning the property, since it was an inheritance by her mother, and subsequently a gift to Nirmala.

Therefore, the asset is a long-term capital asset (more than 36 months) and hence 20 per cent long-term capital gains tax has to be paid by her for the gains portion. The capital gains portion has to be computed by reducing the indexed cost of acquisition from the sale price. Now, while adopting the indexed cost of acquisition, the tax payer faces the anomaly. Contrary to the logical treatment of indexing the cost of acquisition, which should be capable of being imperatively inferred from the year of acquisition, i.e.1980-81, she would get indexation only from 2010-11, being the first year in which she held the asset.

This anomaly arises on account of the fact that the definition doesn’t provide for indexing from the year in which the previous owner held the asset.

In other words, instead of having cost of indexation at 711 for the year 2010-11, she would get indexation as 100, which is for 1981-82.  The tax liability is huge in India…Isn’t it? Let us look at her tax implications in the US, it being her resident country. As a US citizen and resident, Nirmala needs to include her global income in the US and comply with the tax laws of America.

THE US CONTEXT

The said house sale in India is “real property held for investment” to use US tax jargon, and therefore any loss/gain is reportable and gain is taxable.

You need to know the price you sold it (or are planning to sell it for) and the cost you bought it for. Of course, we do remember you didn’t buy this. So how do we arrive at the cost basis? Here comes the twist in the tale: To figure out what is your basis (cost) in the property received as a gift, you must know both the donor’s basis, as well as the fair market value (FMV) of the property, at the time the gift was given to you.

If the FMV at the time of the gift is less than the donor’s basis, your basis depends on whether you have a gain or loss on the actual sale. To state it simply, if you have gain on sale, your basis will be the same as the donor’s basis, and if you have a loss, your basis is the FMV of the property at the time of gift. “Adjusted basis” is cost, plus any improvements or any reductions to value of property, during the time you hold it or the donor held it. You may take credit for the taxes paid in India while arriving at your tax liability in USA as per DTAA.

It doesn’t stop with this. You need to file an information report in Form 3520 for having received the gift in India, failing which penalty proceedings would await. If you wish to repatriate the money to USA, you need to comply with the RBI formalities and transfer the funds. If you don’t wish to repatriate the proceedings but prefer to keep it in India in a bank or mutual funds or shares, the reporting requirements in FBAR format have to be done before June 30 each year. The failure of complying this will result in $10000 per incident.

To figure out the basis cost for the property, you must have both the donor’s basis, as well as the fair market value, at the time of gifting.

Courtesy: Business Line

Factors for consideration for NRIs while buying property in India

Tips for NRIs before buying property in India

Tips for NRIs before buying property in India

With over 20.20 million of NRIs (Non-resident Indian) and PIOs (Person Of Indian Origin) across the globe, the overseas investment into Indian real estate has never been an issue. Majority of these people have invested in the homeland in consideration to their individual future plans.

Factors for consideration for NRIs while buying property in India

  1. Which property can a NRI or PIO buy?
  2. How to pay for these properties?
  3. Repatriation of the capital gains?
  4. Availability of home loan
  5. Can a NRI sell or transfer a property?

Which property can a NRI or PIO buy?

An NRI or Person of Indian Origin (PIO) can own both residential as well as commercial properties in India and there is no restriction on the number of properties you can buy. However, you cannot purchase any agricultural land, farm house and plantation property. You can have ownership of such property only if they have been gifted or inherited.

How to pay for these properties

The money for purchase of property can be made either by way of funds remitted to India from abroad through regular banking channels or through the balance in the  Non Resident External (NRE), Non Resident Ordinary  (NRO) or Foreign Currency Non Resident  (FCNR) Account.

Repatriation of the capital gains

NRI and PIO have been allowed to repatriate original investment in equivalent foreign exchange in residential/ commercial properties. However, the gains from such transactions have to be re-invested in the real estate market in India.

Availability of home loan

Loan to an NRI is available the same way they would be to an eligible resident, for reference below mentioned criterion is must for availing home loan

  • Minimum age of 18 years.
  • Valid Indian passport (for NRIs) / valid foreign passport (for People of Indian Origin – PIOs).
  • Steady source of income.
  • Employed abroad for at least 2 years.
  • Valid job contract or work permit.

Can NRIs sell or transfer property

An NRI can sell property in India to a person resident in India or to an NRI. A PIO can sell property in India to a person resident in India or to an NRI or a PIO but after having a prior approval from the Reserve Bank of India.

Source: Times of India