The Securities Exchange Board of India ("SEBI") vide notification number SEBI/LAD-NRO/GN/2020/09 dated April 07, 2020 amended the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2019 ("FPI Regulations") and allowed foreign portfolio investors ("FPIs") from countries other than Financial Action Task Force member countries, to be registered as category I FPIs if such countries are specified by the Central Government by an order or by way of an agreement or treaty with other sovereign Governments. The notification may be accessed here [Securities and Exchange Board of India (Foreign Portfolio Investors) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020].

The amendment has been brought in by SEBI to boost the overseas investments in stocks. As per the FPI Regulations the category I registered FPIs enjoy greater privilege as compared to category II registered FPIs such as eligibility for investment in offshore derivative instruments, relaxation on overseas transfer provisions, etc. In addition to the above, category I FPIs also enjoy relaxation from indirect transfer provisions under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance vide order dated April 13, 2020, in continuation to the amendment brought in by SEBI, specified Mauritius as an eligible country from which jurisdiction FPIs can seek registration under category I FPI. The relevant order is attached herewith for your reference.

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