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The CAM Corporate Team can be reached at cam.mumbai@cyrilshroff.com

Telecom Reforms

Introduction

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), in second half of 2021, released a series of notifications for reforming the telecom sector and bringing much-needed reforms. These notifications were compiled in a booklet titled “Telecom Reforms 2021” and released by the DoT (“Reforms”). The Reforms span over different areas of telecom regulations including: Know Your Customer (“KYC”) Norms, amending the definition Adjusted Gross Revenue (“AGR”), a percentage of which is the license fee, Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”), Bank Guarantees, Customer Application Forms (“CAF”), sharing and assignment of spectrum, Standing Advisory Committee on Frequency Allocation (“SACFA”) clearance, Import of Wireless Equipment and liquidity requirements of Telecom Service Providers (“TSP”). In this blog, we provide an overview of the Reforms and present a brief overall analysis of the same.

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The TRAI's Recommendations on Unbundling Licenses

Introduction

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently recommended the unbundling of layers of telecom services through a system of differential licensing. The recommendations aim to “catalyse Investments and Innovation and promote Ease of Doing Business”. While the said recommendations have been welcomed by a cross-section of stakeholders, concerns were raised regarding the application of license fee as a percentage of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) at different levels. Even though the recommendations of the TRAI are not binding on the licensor (Department of Telecommunications (DoT)), they represent a significant shift in TRAI’s approach to the issuance of licenses in the telecom sector and possibly attracting new service providers.

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National Monetisation Pipeline – Fueling Economic Growth

INTRODUCTION

Monetisation of assets has  been  identified as one of the pillars for enhanced and sustainable infrastructure financing. The Finance Minister of India (“FM”) had, in December 2019, announced a National Infrastructure Pipeline (“NIP”) that envisages an investment of INR 111 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector in the period between 2019 and 2025 and brings in various opportunities for private sector to invest in infrastructure projects including the development and operation of the same. The FM in the annual budget 2021-2022 announced the launch of a new national monetisation pipeline[1] to bridge the gaps in infrastructure funding projects under the NIP and to unlock value from the current public investment in infrastructure through private sector efficiencies in operations and management of infrastructure. The NITI Aayog has now created the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP Volumes I & II) (“NMP”) in respect of the brownfield core infrastructure assets. The NMP is in furtherance of the Government of India’s (“Government”) strategic divestment policy, which aims to limit Government’s presence to only a select identified sectors with the rest to be handed to private players.

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Indian EdTech beyond the first phase - A booster shot for long term growth

Part one of this blog-series[1] discussed how factors like Covid-19 pandemic and introduction of the National Education Policy 2020 (“NEP”) enabled expansion of the educational technology (“EdTech”) sector and how it has grown by leaps and bounds in less than a year. Considering the demographics of our country and the deep-rooted conventional educational culture, this blog seeks to look at the key challenges and opportunities for the EdTech sector.
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Indian Edtech in 2020: The Effective First Shot

The outbreak of Covid-19 brought an unprecedented opportunity for the educational technology (“EdTech”) sector in India. The traditional face-to-face interaction between a teacher and students suffered a setback and almost instantaneously, there was a paradigm shift to the unconventional mode of online learning. This change brought the spotlight on EdTech industry following which it received the requisite financial and policy impetus to thrive through the financial year (FY) 2020-2021. A massive inflow of investments, acquisitions and emergence of new start-ups in the previous fiscal bear testimony to EdTech sector’s meteoric growth.
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FIG Papers No. 6 - Series–2 RBI Payment Regulations – 2009 to 2021 - Bank ‘nodals’ to PA PG licenses Blog

Introduction:

In our previous FIG Paper, we shared key learnings from our experience in connection with the payment aggregator and payment gateway guidelines (“PA/PG Guidelines”) issued by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) on March 17, 2020. Based on representations received from various industry associations and payment intermediaries, the RBI has formalised the clarifications (initially issued on September 17, 2020) relating to the PA/PG Guidelines on March 31, 2021 (“Clarifications”).
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RBI Payment Regulations - 2009 to 2021 - Bank nodals to PA PG licenses

Introduction:

In early March 2020, a regulatory moratorium imposed on a private bank in India froze the country’s digital payments ecosystem. Many payment aggregators (“PA”) and payment gateways (“PG”) had set up nodal accounts with this bank, including others, and it raised a question on whether the customer funds pooled in those accounts were bankruptcy ‘remote’. Within 10 days, the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) issued the payment aggregator and gateway guidelines (“PA/PG Guidelines”) on March 17, 2020, under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (“PSSA”), to regulate PAs and prescribe baseline technology standards for PAs and PGs.
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Year 2020 in Review - The Funds Perspective

Remembering the year 2020 could easily turn one pensive. The year posed unprecedented challenges for the funds industry, driving-forth fundamental changes in the manner business would be conducted alongside the pandemic. The year also marked an important milestone in the ever-evolving regulatory landscape, with several amendments critical for funds and fund managers being rolled out.

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FDI IN DIGITAL MEDIA - A CASE FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATION

 

The Government of India recently issued a clarification on FDI in digital media sector. The pre-cursor to this clarification is Press Note 4 of 2019 (“Press Note 4”) that allowed up to 26% FDI in entities engaged in uploading/ streaming of news and current affairs through digital media platforms under the Government approval route, similar to the print media sector. We have analysed the implications of the recent clarifications on entities that are engaged in the digital media sector.

Press Note 4 did not provide a definition of “Digital Media” and accordingly there were concerns regarding entities that fall within its ambit. The Government of India therefore issued the “Clarification on FDI Policy for uploading/streaming of news and current affairs through Digital Media” on October 16, 2020 (“Clarification”). The Clarification inter alia provides that Press Note 4 shall apply to the following types of entities registered or located in India:
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NEP 2020 - VOCATIONAL EDUCATION - FUEL FOR THE INDIAN DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDEND

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has defined ‘demographic dividend’ as the growth potential that results from shifts in a population’s age structure.[1] A study conducted by the UNFPA noted that India has an important window of demographic dividend opportunity from about 2005-06 to 2055-56 with 62.5% of the population falling in the working age group of 15 and 59 years. It is expected that the slice of working age group will rise to 65% (approximately) by 2036.[2] This study also recognised the importance of imparting vocational education (VE) to avail the benefits of the demographic dividend.

The National Education Policy, 2020 (Policy) recognises the seminal role of VE in building the Indian demographic dividend. The Policy observes that less than 5% of the Indian workforce within the age bracket of 19–24 years received formal VE when compared to countries such as the USA (52%), Germany (75%), and South Korea (96%).[3] While identifying the need to hasten the development of vocational skills, the Policy highlights the importance of removing rigid distinctions between vocational and academic streams, and eliminating harmful hierarchies between different areas of learning.
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