Foreign direct investment in the pharma sector has more than doubled to USD 1.26 billion during the April-December period of 2013-14 fiscal amid concerns over increasing acquisitions of domestic firms by multinationals.
FDI in drugs and pharmaceuticals was USD 589 million in the April-December period of 2012-13, according to the latest data of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
Faced with the rush of multinationals to acquire Indian pharma firms, the Commerce and Industry Ministry had proposed tightening of norms for foreign investors in the existing firms, but the Union Cabinet rejected the proposal.
The department had proposed the norms to arrest the spurt in pharma MNCs taking over domestic firms that make "rare and critical" medicines.
As per estimates, over 96 per cent of the total FDI in the sector between April 2012 and April 2013 has come into brownfield, or existing, pharma.
The government had cleared a Rs 5,168 crore proposal of US-based pharma firm Mylan Inc's to acquire Indian generic drugs company Agila Specialties.
India allows 100 per cent FDI in pharma sector through automatic approval route in the new projects, but foreign investment in the existing companies are allowed only through the FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval.
Other sectors which received high FDI during the 9-month period of the current fiscal include services (USD 1.59 billion), automobile (USD 871 million), construction (USD 914 million) and chemicals (USD 490 million).
Overall, FDI into the country has declined by 2 per cent during the period to USD 16.56 billion.
The government has liberalised foreign investment norms in several sectors to attract more foreign players.