Legal & Regulatory

India Regulatory Brief: Ola, Uber Strikes, TCS Clause under GST Worries E-tailers, and Government Tackles H-1B Visa Debate

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Ola, Uber face new challenge with driver strikes

Following initial protests in Hyderabad and Bengaluru last year, widespread strikes by drivers associated with cab aggregators are taking place this month across India. While Ola and Uber drivers partially called off their indefinite strike in the National Capital Region after meeting with Delhi transport minister Satyendar Jain on Sunday, not all drivers’ unions are convinced. Further, a planned joint strike is scheduled for February 15 across the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Ola and Uber drivers will participate in the upcoming strike according to their union representatives.

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Foreign Law Firms to be Allowed in Indian SEZs?

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By Pritesh Samuel

In another sign that the government is keen to allow to foreign law firms and accountants in India, the government on January 3 amended the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules which may make legal and accountancy services from foreign companies possible in SEZs.

The amendment was published in the Official Gazette, which says, “In the Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006, in Rule 76, for the words “professional services (excluding legal services and accounting) rental/leasing services without operators”, the words “professional services, rental/leasing services without operators” shall be removed. In other words, such services may be outsourced to foreign entities in such SEZs.

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Service Charge Notification Confounds Consumers, Industry in India

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

Last month, the Department of Consumer Affairs issued a notification that asked state governments to ensure the service industry understood service charges are voluntary, rather than mandatory.

The notification stated that hotels and restaurants must clearly inform customers that service charges are “discretionary and voluntary”. Further, the notification said consumers who are dissatisfied with services can request that service charges are waived.

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New SEZ App to Benefit Importers, Exporters

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By Dezan Shira & Associates 

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) launched a mobile app called SEZ India under the government’s e-governance initiative. The app provides detailed information about the country’s special economic zones (SEZ), including information on regulations and trade policies.

In addition, the app acts as an integrated tool to facilitate speedy processing of various transactions for the SEZ developers and units.

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India Regulatory Brief: Telecom Network Audit, Risk Controls for Insurance Industry

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TRAI to audit telecom networks

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will conduct a new type of audit on telecommunication networks across India during the first week of February. Although TRAI regularly audits telecommunication networks independently, TRAI recently asked telecom operators to assist with the February audit, which will test operators in five cities – Jaipur, Bhopal, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata – for call success, blocked call, and call dropped rates as well as signal strength.

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Restrictions Eased for Companies in International Financial Service Centers in India

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By Pritesh Samuel & Koushan Das 

In a move that will boost foreign investment and business in the Indian economy, the Modi government recently unveiled various incentives for private companies that want to set up in international financial service centers (IFSC) in the country. These include granting such firms exemptions from several norms in the Companies Act, 2013. IFSCs serve customers outside the domestic economy and handle cross-border financial products and services. They can be set up in special economic zones (SEZs) to avail benefits and inducements that are applied to such zones.

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India Regulatory Brief: Startups May Be Exempt from Local State Laws, Companies Act Norms Relaxed for IFSC Firms

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Government Asks States to Exempt Startups from Local State Laws

In keeping with the government’s goal of a flourishing startup sector in India, the government is in discussion with state governments to allow startup firms to get exempt from local laws, including labor regulations. Many such firms get entangled into regulatory and tax disputes as their evolution propels them into legal grey areas, with the need for the updation of regulatory norms and laws. This is why the central government is considering a more flexible approach, whereby startups can benefit from regulatory easing.

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Corporate Social Responsibility in India

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Editor’s Note: The article was first published in July 2012 and has been updated on January 11, 2017 as per the latest developments.

By Dezan Shira & Associates

India is the first country in the world to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandatory, following an amendment to The Company Act, 2013 in April 2014. Businesses can invest their profits in areas such as education, poverty, gender equality, and hunger.

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