NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India approved a plan on Wednesday to allow foreign investors to settle, emulating a policy in countries such as the United States and Singapore to woo investment from abroad.


The proposal, aimed at giving a fillip to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" program, was first announced in February's federal budget.


Foreigners need to invest 100 million rupees (1.13 million pounds) over 18 months, or 250 million rupees over three years, resulting in jobs for at least 20 resident Indians every fiscal year to be allowed to settle, the government said in a statement.


Those who meet the criteria would be eligible to stay for 10 years. The residency permit can be extended by a decade.


Up to now, such investors have been eligible for business visas lasting up to five years.


The cabinet approval comes months after the government unveiled sweeping reforms to rules on foreign direct investment, clearing the way for Apple to open stores and announcing easier terms for investors in sectors ranging from civil aviation to pharmaceuticals.

Modi has urged global businesses to come and manufacture in India since he took office two years ago.

His government has pointed to a 23 percent rise in foreign direct investment to $55.5 billion in the fiscal year to March as proof the policies are gaining traction.

Investors with the permanent residency status would be free to buy one home, and spouses and dependents would be allowed to take private jobs and study, the government said.

(Reporting by Nigam Prusty; Writing by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Malini Menon, Robert Birsel)