Why in News?
The Home Ministry has given security clearance to more than 5,000 investment proposals, including for Foreign Direct Investment, in the last four years.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
The Ministry had formulated a new national security clearance policy in 2015 after the government decided to speed up projects, which were stuck for lack of approval by Intelligence Bureau (IB) or other agencies including the State police.
The objective of the national security clearance is to evaluate potential threats to proposals received by the Home ministry and to provide a national risk assessment.
Among foreign countries, the maximum investment proposals in critical sectors like telecom and defence that was cleared by the Home Ministry in 2017, were from China, United Kingdom, U.S. and Mauritius.
NOTE4STUDENTS-At present, only 11 sectors, including defence and retail trading, require government approval for foreign direct investment. Over 90% of FDI proposals have come through the automatic route.
New national security clearance policy
The policy has 15 parameters on which inputs from security agencies are sought. Once it has got an application from an investor, the Ministry decides on the status of security clearance to the company within 4-6 weeks.
As per the policy, the promoters, owners and directors of the company are mandated to give self-declarations regarding any criminal history on their part, which reduced the period required to give security clearance from 2-3 months earlier to just 4-6 weeks now.
Security inputs from the Intelligence Bureau, the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate and other agencies are sought only in cases of serious crimes and not in case of minor offences.