External commercial borrowing (India)

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An external commercial borrowing (ECB) is an instrument used in India to facilitate the access to foreign money by Indian corporations and PSUs (public sector undertakings). ECBs include commercial bank loans, buyers' credit, suppliers' credit, securitised instruments such as floating rate notes and fixed rate bonds etc., credit from official export credit agencies and commercial borrowings from the private sector window of multilateral financial Institutions such as International Finance Corporation (Washington), ADB, AFIC, CDC, etc. ECBs cannot be used for investment in stock market or speculation in real estate. The DEA (Department of Economic Affairs), Ministry of Finance, Government of India along with Reserve Bank of India, monitors and regulates ECB guidelines and policies.

For infrastructure and greenfield projects, funding up to 50% (through ECB) is allowed. According to a report in The Hindu in January 2013, the Reserve Bank of India raised the ECB limit "for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) classified as infrastructure finance companies (IFCs) ... from 50 per cent to 75 per cent of owned funds, including outstanding ECBs".[1] In telecom sector too, up to 50% funding through ECBs is allowed. Recently Government of India[2] allowed borrowings in Chinese currency yuan.Corporate sectors can mobilize USD 750 million via automatic route,whereas service sectors and NGO's for microfinance can mobilize USD 200 million and 10 million respectively.[3]

Borrowers can use 25 per cent of the ECB to repay rupee debt and the remaining 75 per cent should be used for new projects. A borrower can not refinance its entire existing rupee loan through ECB. The money raised through ECB is cheaper given near-zero interest rates in the US and Europe, Indian companies can repay part of their existing expensive loans from that.


  1. ^ "ECB limit raised for infrastructure NBFCs". The Hindu. January 7, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-06-12. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  2. ^ http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/article3742241.ece?homepage=true&ref=wl_home
  3. ^ http://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/BS_ViewMasCirculardetails.aspx?id=8101#S2