External Commercial Borrowing Simplified

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The term "External Commercial Borrowing" (ECB) refers to the borrowing of funds in a currency other than the local currency by *eligible entities from non-resident lenders. The Exchange Control Board (ECB) in India is subject to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), which requires the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to oversee it and provide precise rules and regulations.

Important Points

1. Eligible Borrowers: Businesses based in India, financial institutions, infrastructure businesses, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are examples of the types of borrowers who are eligible to borrow through ECBs. The eligibility requirements are subject to change based on the particular ECB route and the purpose of the transaction.

2. Borrowing can be done for a variety of reasons, including project financing, capital expenditure, meeting working capital requirements, investing in new initiatives, and repayment of previous debts. ECBs are one type of asset that can be used for these purposes. The RBI outlines the permitted applications for various ECB routes in its regulations.

3. Lenders: Recognised lenders such as international banks, export credit agencies, foreign collaborators, and foreign equity holders can be used to raise the capital needed to purchase ECBs. The RBI's guidelines need to be followed in order for the lenders to be compliant with them.

4. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may authorise certain types of loans, buyer's credits, supplier's credits, securitized instruments, and other financial instruments to be used as ECBs. Other forms of borrowing are also possible.

5. Currency and Maturity: ECBs are normally denominated in a different country's currency; however, some ECB channels do permit borrowing in Indian rupees. The duration of time until an ECB matures is contingent on both the reason for the borrowing and the particular ECB route that is selected.

6. Regulatory Framework: The RBI's rules serve as the regulatory framework for ECBs; these guidelines establish the structure for borrowing, repayment, pricing, reporting, and compliance. ECBs are governed by these guidelines. In order to maintain consistency throughout the economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) routinely examines and revises these rules.

7. ECB Routes: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has developed a variety of various routes for ECBs. These routes are determined by variables such as the total amount borrowed, the industry of the borrower, and the origin of the funds. The automated route, the approval route, and the specific ECB windows are examples of these pathways.


1. Diversification of Funding Sources: In addition to the domestic market, the ECB offers access to a larger selection of funding sources. In order to reduce their dependency on domestic funding choices, borrowers can diversify their sources of financing and tap into overseas markets.

2. Lower Interest Rates: In some situations, ECBs may provide borrowing choices with lower interest rates than those available domestically. The favourable international market circumstances present an opportunity for borrowers to get borrowing at more affordable rates.

3. Longer Maturity Period: In comparison to domestic borrowings, ECBs frequently have longer maturity terms, enabling borrowers to secure cash for a longer time period. By matching repayment plans to expected cash flows, this can aid in financing long-term investments.

4. Flexible Financing alternatives: The sorts of financing alternatives offered by ECBs are flexible. Depending on their unique needs and the state of the market, borrowers can select from a variety of instruments, such as loans, buyer's credit, supplier's credit, securitized instruments, etc.


1. Entities that are normally qualified to borrow money from ECBs include the following:

a. Corporations: Public and private limited businesses, registered partnership firms, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and companies operating in the manufacturing, infrastructure, and service industries are examples of corporate entities in India.

b. Non-banking financial institutions (NBFCs), home finance firms, and asset finance companies are examples of financial institutions.

c. Companies involved in infrastructure-related industries like power, telecommunications, transportation, and urban infrastructure are known as infrastructure companies.

d. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs): Charitable institutions working in fields including microfinance, health care, and education.

e. Exporters are businesses and organisations that engage in export-related activities.

f. Financial soundness: Borrowers must satisfy a number of financial requirements, including as profitability, a healthy net worth, and adherence to prudential standards. Depending on the ECB method and the intended use of the borrowing, the precise financial criteria could change.

2. Track record: In general, lenders expect borrowers to have a positive history of abiding by all applicable rules and laws, particularly those pertaining to taxes and loan repayment.

3. Sector-Specific Requirements: Depending on the borrower's industry, several ECB channels may have particular eligibility requirements. Infrastructure firms, for instance, could have extra specifications about the scope, clearances, and approvals of the project.

4. ECB Route and limitations: Depending on the borrower's profile, including ownership, credit rating, and sector designation, the borrower may be eligible for different ECB routes and borrowing limitations. Each ECB route has borrowing restrictions set by the RBI.


What does the term "external commercial borrowing" (ECB) mean?

When you hear the term "ECB," you are talking about when eligible Indian firms borrow money in foreign currency from non-resident lenders. It enables Indian companies to obtain capital from global markets in order to meet their financing requirements.

Who can borrow money from the ECB?

Indian businesses, financial institutions, infrastructure providers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and a few other entities as determined by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are eligible for ECB.

What are the ECB money' permissible end uses?

The ECB's resources can be utilised for a variety of things, such as project finance, capital expenditures, working capital requirements, loan repayment, and investment in new initiatives. The acceptable end-uses for various ECB routes are defined by the RBI.

What are the routes available for ECB?

Variety of ECB routes, including the automated route, the approval route, and unique ECB windows, have been established by the RBI. The quantity of the loan, the borrower's industry, and the funding source are only a few examples of the variables that affect the route and borrowing limitations.

What is the ECBs' maximum borrowing capacity?

Number of variables, including the borrower's industry, ownership, credit standing, and the precise ECB route selected, affect the maximum borrowing limit for ECBs. The RBI establishes borrowing caps for each type of borrower.

What are the ECBs' reporting requirements?

Borrowers must adhere to their reporting responsibilities to the RBI for ECBs. This entails filing regular reports, like ECB-2 returns, that provide information on the borrowing, how the money was used, and when it was paid back.

Are ECBs subject to any hedging requirements?

To reduce foreign exchange risk, the RBI may impose hedging requirements depending on the quantity and form of ECB. Borrowers might need to limit their exposure to changes in foreign exchange rates.

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