Case Study: Market Entry and Regulatory Assessment


Intelligentsia worked with a European International Foundation (IO) client that focuses on child and maternal healthcare and well-being. The client has been operating for almost four decades in Europe and has been working in India since the 1990s. As part of its work in India, the foundation’s partners include state governments, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and the National Institute of Urban Affairs.  The client being a Non-governmental Organization (NGO) wanted to make an application to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in late 2017-early 2018 to set up a liaison office (LO) in the state of Orissa under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The stated objective of the LO is to represent the parent foundation in India, promote technical and financial collaboration with Indian partners and act as communication channel between Indian partners and the parent foundation. As part of IRA’s services, a customised mix of market entry and sustenance advisory with extensive assessment of regulatory landscape in India was provided to the client.


IRA conducted extensive source interviews with high level government and regulatory officials to identify the key processes and details to facilitate our client’s operations in India. IRA also interacted with several international NGOs and foundations to understand their operating model in India and how they mitigated the risks arising out of sudden regulatory changes in the sector.

Intelligentsia Impact

Intelligentsia helped the client understand the regulatory challenges in India and the future outlook of the same. The final report consisted of a trend analysis of how with the changing political landscape in India, a lot of INGOs and foundations had to acclimatise to the regulatory challenges. Based on our interactions, we also provided the ‘best case approach’ that would facilitate operations of our client in India.

Assessment of the regulatory framework in India included detailed view of:

  1.  Process of Applying
  2. Assessment of the process of applying for FEMA and FCRA licenses
  3. Identification of the key stakeholders and decision-makers in each of these processes
  4. Identification of the usual bottlenecks in the application processes for FEMA and FCRA for international NGOs
  5. Identification of the issues these organizations should be cognizant of
  6. Analysis of cases where international foundations/INGOs have applied for FEMA and/or FCRA licenses. What were the reasons for the INGOs opting for FEMA/FCRA licenses?
  7. What processes did these organizations follow to get their licenses and what were the outcomes? How was the experience of the applicants in this process?

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