The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Challenges for Indian Startups with Foreign Investments

 GS-3 Mains Exam : Economy

Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the challenges faced by Indian startups due to the lack of a clear definition of “beneficial owner” in the context of foreign investments from neighboring countries. How does this ambiguity impact the compliance and legal environment for these startups?


  • An amendment to the Indian Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules (FEMA NDI) in 2019 has become a hurdle for Indian startups seeking foreign investments.

The Amendment’s Impact:

  • The amendment requires prior government approval (PN3 Requirement) for investments in Indian companies from entities or individuals in countries bordering India (“Neighbouring Countries”).
  • The lack of a clear definition for “beneficial owner” creates uncertainty, as definitions in other laws may not apply.

Industry’s Response:

  • Initially, the industry adopted a lenient view, relying on ownership thresholds from other laws.
  • However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken a stricter stance since late 2023.
  • This has led to:
    • Scrutiny of Foreign Owned or Controlled Companies’ (FOCCs) downstream investments.
    • Law firms advising clients against relying on ownership thresholds from other laws.

Concerns and Implications:

  • The PN3 approval process is time-consuming and has a high rejection rate.
  • Indian companies receiving foreign investment face the burden of compliance and potential fines of up to three times the investment amount.
  • This vagueness and harsh penalties threaten the survival of startups, especially those reliant on high investment amounts.
  • Non-compliance could lead to legal battles, further straining the court system.


  • Indemnity Challenge: Foreign investors may be hesitant to provide indemnities regarding compliance with the PN3 Requirement due to potential liabilities.


  • Define “Beneficial Owners”:
    • Establish clear ownership thresholds (10-25%).
    • Tailor thresholds to sector sensitivity (e.g., stricter scrutiny in telecom and defense).
    • Define control-conferring rights beyond ownership (excluding investor value protection rights like veto powers).
  • Consultation Mechanism: Implement a time-bound consultation process with regulators to clarify control rights in specific cases.


  • A well-defined “beneficial owner” with clear thresholds and control rights reduces ambiguity for both companies and investors.

Way Forward:

  • Foreign investment is crucial for India’s $5 trillion economy goal by 2025-26.
  • Removing bottlenecks for Indian companies and foreign investors is essential to attract investment and support India’s growth story.





The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : India’s Federal Structure Under Strain

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Polity

Revision Notes

Question : Evaluate the challenges faced by high-performing southern states in India’s federal structure. How does unequal devolution of resources and the potential for unfair delimitation affect their political and economic standing?

India’s federal system, designed to balance central authority with state autonomy, faces challenges. This system relies on a fair distribution of resources, but recent practices threaten this balance.

Fiscal Imbalance and the 91st Amendment:

  • Unequal Distribution: The central government’s use of “cess” (a tax not shared with states) disrupts the established system where states received a share of tax revenue. This concentrates resources with the center, potentially weakening states’ ability to address their specific needs.
  • Loss of Reward for Progress: The 91st Amendment, set to expire in 2026, ensured states with better population control received a larger share of parliamentary seats. The ruling party’s disinterest in renewal could penalize states that have invested in family planning and development.

The Plight of High-Performing Southern States:

  • Unequal Devolution: Despite contributing more in taxes, southern states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, etc., receive less in return compared to states with higher populations and lower development indicators. Uttar Pradesh, for instance, received a significantly larger devolution amount (₹25,069 crore) on June 10, 2024, compared to all southern states combined.
  • Delimitation Fears: A new census without the 91st Amendment’s protection could lead to a redrawing of parliamentary constituencies (delimitation) that unfairly reduces the representation of southern states with slower population growth. This could lead to their voices being less heard in national decision-making.

A Call for Reinvigoration: The Inter-State Council

  • Untapped Potential: The Inter-State Council, established by the Constitution but only functioning since the 1990s, has the potential to be a platform for dialogue and collaboration between states and the central government. However, it currently operates under the Ministry of Home Affairs, limiting its independence and effectiveness.
  • Revive and Empower: Revitalizing the Inter-State Council as an independent forum for consultation, decision-making, and dispute resolution is crucial. This would allow states to have a greater say in national issues and ensure a more equitable distribution of resources.

National Unity Through Fairness

India’s strength lies in its diversity held together by a sense of shared identity. However, this unity requires a system where all states feel they benefit from being part of the nation. Addressing these imbalances in the federal structure is essential to ensure that all states, regardless of their development level, feel like valued partners in the national project.




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