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Role of India’s National Company Law Tribunal

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By Pritesh Samuel

In June, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) amended the Companies Act of 2013, introducing the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), and replacing the Company Law Board (CLB) after 14 years of deliberations.

The NCLT will be a single judicial forum to judge all disputes concerning the affairs of Indian companies. Both the NCLT and NCLAT were made effective from June 1; they should enable faster implementation of the bankruptcy code and also reduce the burden of hundreds of cases pending in the courts.

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India’s Rankings in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2017

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By Melissa Cyrill

The latest edition of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (DBR) sees India marginally improve its ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking by just one spot, moving to 130th from 131st last year. New Zealand topped the Doing Business Rankings this year, displacing Singapore which fell to second place. Along with India, all the BRICS nations exhibited subdued performances as Brazil fell to 123rd from 121st in 2016, Russia fell to 40th from 36th in 2016, and South Africa slipped two places to 74th from 72nd in 2016. China marginally improved from 80th in 2016 to 78th.

With respect to India, the new ranking reflects the country’s progress in just two out of ten parameters, thereby exposing clear gaps between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government reform initiatives and actual implementation.

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Simplifying Personal Tax Filing in India – Digital Solutions and New Initiatives by the Government

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By Melissa Cyrill

India’s Central Board of Taxes (CBDT) is gradually unveiling a slew of initiatives that seek to expand the country’s taxpayer base by increasing institutional transparency and easing assessment and payment process for taxpayers. Mostly in the form of digital solutions, the CBDT aims to revamp the country’s laggard tax administration infrastructure by implementing an efficient paperless system and simplifying the existing communication interface.

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Sagarmala: Developing India’s Ports to Aid Economic Growth

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By Pritesh Samuel

The Sagarmala project is an Indian government initiative to develop the country’s ports and logistics to accelerate economic growth. By developing the program, the government hopes to reduce logistics costs for domestic as well as import/export cargo by optimizing infrastructure investment. A recent study done in September estimates that the resultant cost savings could range from US$ 5.2 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) to US$ 5.9 billion (40,000) crore per year by 2025. The government has planned six megaports under the project, namely the Vizhinjam International Seaport (Kerala state), Colachel Seaport (Tamil Nadu), Vadhavan Port (Maharashtra), Tadadi Port (Karnataka), Machilipatnam Port (Andhra Pradesh), and Sagar Island Port (West Bengal). Data shows that despite its long coastline of 7,517 km (4670.84 miles), India’s coasts only contribute to 15 percent of national trade activity.

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Indian Government Set to Introduce Reforms to Labor Laws

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By Pritesh Samuel

In a sign that the government wants to get serious about overhauling labor laws, India plans to introduce a proposed Wage Code bill that will guarantee minimum wages across the country in the winter session of parliament. The draft bill will also streamline the definition of wages by combining four wage related laws – the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. This is in line with the government’s plan of improving India’s ranking in the World Bank’s annual ease of doing business assessment.

Altogether, the government aims to combine 44 labor related Acts into four codes, which will cover wages, industrial relations, social security, and working conditions. In the existing set-up, aside from a myriad number of labor laws, India does not have a national minimum wage law. Rather, each state decides its own minimum wage law, making it difficult for businesses to ascertain their exact costs. In addition, those in the unorganized sector do not get any social security or health benefits, and implementation of any wage law is lax.

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Key Outcomes of the 2016 BRICS Summit

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By Melissa Cyrill

The eighth annual BRICS summit was held from October 15 to 16 this year in Goa, India. BRICS, the acronym, refers to the formal grouping of five nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa; their annual conference is attended by the executive heads of these respective states. As a collective, BRICS brings together the five major emerging economies of the world, comprising 43 percent of the world’s population, contributing to 30 percent of the world GDP, and holding a 17 percent share in world trade.

While the BRICS have ordinarily focused on economic issues of mutual interest, their agenda has widened of late to encompass various topical global issues. This is why the 2016 summit was an unusually sensitive gathering for the international grouping, as matters related to border security and international terrorism some divided members, according to their respective national foreign policy interests. Nevertheless, the 2016 summit ended on an optimistic note with a call for stronger business, trade, and energy relationships.

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Industry Spotlight: India’s Dynamic Solar Energy Sector

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By Melissa Cyrill

All around the world, a decisive shift has emerged in favor of the adoption of renewable energy sources. Reflecting this, is the international consensus that fell behind the Paris Agreement in record time. As of October 5, 79 countries have ratified the Convention to the historic climate accord, including India, which signed it on October 2. Having surpassed the required ratification threshold, the Paris Agreement will come in force on November 4, 2016.

Aside from its political support for the tackling of climate change, India is a keen partaker of the shift to renewables. Under the present government, the country has set itself ambitious targets for clean energy production backed by investor incentives and regulatory changes. This article will discuss India’s rapidly expanding solar generation capacity, which is at the forefront of the country’s clean energy vision, the investment outlook of the solar sector, and finally the challenges to be addressed.

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Indian Government Introduces Amendment to Fix Retail Price of Essential Commodities

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

On October 10, India’s government modified its Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules by including a provision to fix the retail price of any essential commodity. As per the notification, the changes will affect goods under the Essential Commodities Act and will apply to goods sold in both loose and packaged form in retail markets.

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