NeSL - THE NEW WAY OF ELECTRONIC EXECUTION

 INTRODUCTION

Execution of a document means the placement of signatures by all persons who are required by the character of the instrument to sign the same in order to give it a binding effect under law. It is based on the classic principle of consensus ad idem i.e. two parties entering a contract should agree upon the same thing in the same sense. One amongst the many problems for closure of transactions posed by COVID-19 is the mechanism of execution of documents. The traditional way of executing agreements involved the parties to be physically present at a place and affix the signatures, stamps, common seals, etc., along with paying the necessary stamp duty as prescribed under the relevant stamp laws. However, with the imposition of a nationwide lockdown, travel restrictions and norms of social distancing in place, the manner of execution of documents has had to be reimagined.
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After more than three months of lockdown, there is no denying that the Indian economy has been impacted. This is also evidenced by the stimulus packages announced by the Government of India, in an attempt to protect and revive the economy. With most people staying indoors 24*7, electricity consumption in the commercial sector was also impacted initially, although the levels have been restored in a phased manner. This coupled with different lockdown strategies in different states, is also continuing to impact business at large. Taking into account the impact of COVID-19 across the globe, and the lockdown in the country, the government of India and certain central agencies have been providing clarification and issuing memorandums/notifications to guide the infrastructure industry, specifically the renewable energy (RE) sector, and RE projects in terms of COVID-19 being declared as a force majeure (FM).


Continue Reading COVID-19 Cloud Cover: Not so sunny times for renewable energy sector!

Covid-19 – Navigating choppy waters for Port Projects

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedent crisis throughout the world and has caused widespread disruptions in normal operations across industries and life in general. In India, the National Disaster Management Authority determined that India was threatened by the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and took steps to prevent the spread of the pandemic in the country under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. On March 24, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs declared a 21-day lockdown under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 with effect from March 25, 2020. Such lockdown has been subsequently extended three times by the Ministry of Home Affairs and now remains in force till May 31, 2020.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has been issuing guidelines to determine the operation of essential and non-essential services during the period of lockdown and has attempted to restrict movement of persons throughout the country. The guidelines have caused States to close their borders and even movement within a State has been prohibited, unless it is in relation to an essential service. At the time of the first order of lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs excluded the ‘operation of seaports for cargo movement, relief and evacuation and their related operational organisations’ from the ambit of the lockdown. However, due to the disruptions in the supply chain, the inter-state and intra-state movement restrictions and the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an impact on operational as well as under construction port projects.
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Covid-19 - Flight Plan for Indian Aviation Industry

Covid-19 crisis has severely impacted almost all industries but disruptions in the airline industry is so profound that it is assumed to be greater than the combined crises of 9/11 and the 2008 global financial put together. The Government of India (acting through DGCA) (“GoI”) has vide its (i) order dated March 23, 2020 passed under Section 88(1) of the Aircraft Act, 1934; and (ii) orders dated March 26, 2020 and April 14, 2020 directed inter alia all aircraft operators to suspend the operations of all the domestic flights and all scheduled international commercial passenger services until May 3, 2020. The forward air travel bookings are far outweighed by the cancellations. Air travel demand is drying up in ways that are unprecedented with no semblance of normalcy on the horizon. For an industry which is already stressed, Covid-19 has only accelerated the process of bankruptcy filing by several companies (like Virgin Australia and Air Mauritius). Those airline companies which are still in business have also suffered misfortunes as coronavirus-forced lockdowns have kept their fleets grounded. Per the market sources, apart from the pay cut, several airline companies (Indigo, Go Airlines) have also taken other cost cutting measures including furloughs.
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Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles in India - Policy and Challenges

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for the success of deploying electric vehicle (“EV”) scheme in India is the lack of adequate charging infrastructure (“Charging Infrastructure”). The revised guidelines for Charging Infrastructure for EV, issued on October 01, 2019 (“CI Guidelines”),[1] aim to simplify the process for setting up Charging Infrastructure. Below is a brief analysis of the CI Guidelines:
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Race to Space - Space Activities Bill, 2017 - commercialization of space

Spearheaded by the Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India has developed low cost indigenous space capabilities for peaceful purposes over five decades. The proposed Space Activities Bill, 2017 (Bill), seeks to dismantle the Government monopoly on space and encourage private sector involvement. Will it lead to advancement of the space programme?

Globally, the space sector is no longer the preserve of Governments, as entry barriers to private players are being lifted[1]. The need for technological advancement, cost reduction and emerging opportunities such as mineral exploration of planets, are some of the reasons for encouraging the private sector. ISRO began commercialising certain space activities by opting for a public-private partnership model[2]. It has since seen many start-ups, but has yet to translate into a wider role for the private sector.  
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Part I - Electric Vehicles: Disrupting the Automotive Ecosystem

The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with an increasing demand for energy. Given that historically India has relied on pollutant hydrocarbons to run its power plants and vehicles, there has been an increasing focus on setting ambitious ‘green’ targets, especially in light of the alarming levels of pollution in India. The Government of India (GoI) has actively encouraged the adoption of electric vehicles with the idea of shifting the production of new automotive vehicles from internal combustion engine models to electric vehicles by 2030.
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 Toll Operate and Transfer model - NHAI

With a view to monetise the operational national highways, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) introduced the Toll Operate and Transfer (TOT) model for partnership with private developers in the road sector. Under this model, NHAI passes on the toll collection rights and operation and maintenance obligations for 30 years to the private developer against payment of upfront, one-time, lump sum concession fees quoted by the private developer as part of the comprehensive bidding process. Projects under this model are awarded as a bundle of operational national highways, which allows the investor to offset the risks of one project against another. Since existing and operational roads are auctioned under the TOT model, it does not need developers with construction skills to participate.
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Through this short post, we seek to examine the current downtrend in oil prices, and what it means from an Indian context. As in any downtrend, the intent ought to be to maximise opportunities and isolate effects of any threats and the author accordingly seeks to analyse how these threats may be turned into opportunities. This short piece further examines how, despite the usual market rhetoric, India could position itself to take advantage of the current downturn.

 Global Response

In the wake of the downtrend, the immediate response of global exploration and production (E&P) companies was to hold off large capital investments in new projects and capital-intensive exploration activities. These decisions now stand vindicated as barrel prices have hovered around the US$45-50 mark. Several of the big companies made retrenchments and streamlined costs across the supply chain.
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The regulatory regime governing the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in India is a complex one that has undergone a plethora of change in recent times. This post examines the many developments as well as the past discourse that has set the context for change. .

Brief Background of the Regulatory Regime Governing the Hydrocarbon Sector

In post-1991 India, regulatory reforms in the hydrocarbon sector were implemented through a royalty-cost recovery regime initially under a set of Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) (Pre-NELP PSCs) and thereafter under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP). Both regimes presented challenges for contractors as well as the Government. Cost recovery meant that the contractor would spend money upfront to explore and recover the same from the revenue generated from the block, then sharing any balance revenue, i.e. “profit”, with the Government.


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