Legal & Regulatory
Government Relaxes FDI Policy for Single-brand Retail
The government has relaxed FDI norms in 15 sectors. The policy revision will now allow single-brand retail firms to sell directly online if they have an established brick and mortar store. According to guidelines released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), 30 percent of the value of goods purchased must be sourced from the opening of the first store. Presently, single-brand retail is allowed only 49 percent in FDI; this may be raised up to 100 percent if the government approves.
Government to Face Opposition during Winter Session
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has announced that the Winter Session of Parliament will commence from the November 26 until December 23. Analysts expect the government to debate a number of key reform bills, including for the Goods and Services Tax Bill (GST), land acquisition, Factories Act amendments, real estate and bankruptcy laws.
MHA Approves Security Clearances for 1,500 firms
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reported that it has granted 1,500 security clearances since the beginning of the year. News reports state that only a few applications are now awaiting security clearances. Earlier in June, the MHA announced that it was attempting to streamline the process of obtaining security clearances to expedite the process and aid the government’s ease of doing business and Make in India initiatives.
Ease of Doing Business Improving
The ease of doing business has improved in India, according to the latest Ease of Doing Business Report issued by the World Bank. The 2016 report ranked India at 130 out of 189 countries (first place being the easiest place to do business), an improvement from India’s 134 ranking in 2015.
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Siddhartha Thyagarajan
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Walmart personnel paid bribes amounting to several million U.S. Dollars to support operations in India. The report stated that Walmart personnel made small payments between US $5 and US $200 to low-level government officials. According to the report, the bribes were made to obtain real estate permits and facilitate the movement of goods through customs. The report emerged from a U.S. government-led Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation against Walmart in Mexico.
India to Improve Business Environment for Startups
The federal government is planning to reduce regulatory hurdles for startups in India. According to a Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) official, an inter-ministerial panel is currently deliberating details of a policy that proposes exempting startups from 22 federal rules and regulations. These proposed reforms reportedly include exemption from company and labor laws until a startup’s turnover reaches a certain level, exemption from certain taxes for a specified period, and liberalizing the system for raising capital globally. The policy may be unveiled as early as next month, according to an official with the Ministry of Trade.
CCI Outlines Complaints against Google
The Competition Commission of India (CCI), India’s anti-trust authority, recently published a report that claims Google is abusing the dominance of its search engine to promote its services over competitors. According to the local media, the CCI report makes two primary allegations against Google: one, Google’s search engine prioritizes Google-related services and content despite search relevance; and two, Google’s search engine prioritizes sponsored content or advertising based on advertising paid to Google.
By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Kimberley Wright
Social impact assessments (SIAs) are an important part of the investment phase for many companies in India. Derived from the Environmental Impact Assessment model (EIA), which first originated in the 1970s as a way to evaluate the impact of infrastructural projects on communities, SIAs are now used by a number of countries like India in urban planning and development to assess the impact of projects on individuals and their communities.