Project Office
A Project Office (PO) means a place of business established to represent the interests of a foreign company executing a project in India. Such offices are prohibited from undertaking or carrying on any activity other than the activity relating to the execution of the project for which such office is established.

Eligibility:
Reserve Bank has granted general permission to foreign companies to establish POs in India, provided they have secured a contract from an Indian company to execute a project in India, and
  • the project is funded directly by inward remittance from abroad; or
  • the project is funded by a bilateral or multilateral International Financing Agency; or
  • the project has been cleared by an appropriate authority; or
  • a company or entity in India awarding the contract has been granted Term Loan by a PFI or a Bank in India for the project.

However, if the above criteria’s are not met, the foreign entity has to approach the RBI, Central Office, for approval.

Setting up of PO by foreign NGO / NPO / Foreign Government Bodies / Departments are under the Government Route. Such entities are required to apply to RBI for prior permission to establish an office in India.

Without prior permission of the Reserve Bank, no person being a citizen of / registered in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Hong Kong or Macau can establish in India, a PO in India.

Reporting requirements:
  • Initial Reporting to DGP
  • Submission of AAC to AD Bank
  • Annual Reporting to DGP along with a copy of the annual certificate
  • Foreign company establishing a PO in India is to furnish report through the concerned AD branch, to RBI incorporating the following details:
    a. Name and address of the Foreign Company,
    b. Reference Number and date of letter awarding the contract, 
    c. The total amount of contract,
    d. Address / e-mail address / telephone number / fax number of the PO,
    e. Tenure of PO,
    f.  Brief details of the Project undertaken,
    g. AD branch with whom the account has been opened and the foreign currency in which the account is opened,
    h. An undertaking to the effect that the PO is eligible to avail of the General Permission showing the reason thereof.

This Report shall be forwarded through the AD branch to the Regional Office concerned of the Reserve Bank of India within 2 months of establishment of the PO.

The PO shall also submit to the AD branch on an annual basis, a Certificate from a Chartered Accountant showing the Project Status and certifying that the accounts of the PO has been audited and the activities undertaken are in conformity with the General / Specific permission given by the Reserve Bank.