Nep 2020- An Interplay Of Education And Technology

The National Education Policy, 2020 (“Policy”), unveiled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (“MHRD”), is revolutionary in every sense. While the Policy focuses on multiple aspects, including the need for early childhood care, inclusive education and revamping of the current curriculum, an inherent thread that runs through the Policy is the interplay of education and technology.

Over the last decade, India has transformed itself into an ‘information intensive society’ and there is a growing requirement to embrace the usage of technology in the field of education. In this regard, the Policy notes that one of the central principles steering the education system will be the ‘extensive use of technology in teaching and learning, removing language barriers, increasing access as well as education planning and management’. Continue Reading NEP 2020: An Interplay of Education and Technology

The Centrotrade Enforcement Saga Ends on a High Note

The recent judgment of Centrotrade Minerals v. Hindustan Copper[1] had seen two previous rounds of litigation before the Supreme Court finally enforced a foreign award, passed in 2001 after 19 years, in favour of Centrotrade.

Background

The Appellant, Centrotrade, a US company and the Respondent, Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL), an Indian company, entered into a contract under which Centrotrade was required to supply 15,500 DMT of copper concentrate to HCL at Kandla Port in India. Centrotrade supplied the concentrate, but disputes arose over the dry weight of the concentrate supplied.

Two-tiered Arbitration

The arbitration agreement in the contract provided for a two-tiered, arbitration: a first arbitration in India, which could be appealed by the unsatisfied party through a second arbitration to be conducted by ICC in London.

Centrotrade invoked arbitration and in 1999 the Indian arbitration rendered a ‘nil award.’ This award was carried in appeal by Centrotrade to an ICC arbitration in London. Continue Reading The Centrotrade Enforcement Saga Ends on a High Note

Revised Framework for Core Investment Companies – Tightening the Screws

Introduction

The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) has modified the regulatory landscape applicable to core investment companies (“CICs”), as per its circular dated August 13, 2020 (“Revised Framework”), in order to ensure stability of the financial system and address systemic risks posed by inter-connectedness of CICs and their group companies. In contrast to the light-touch regulation issued exactly a decade ago on August 12, 2010, the Revised Framework imposes far more stricter norms.

In furtherance to its announcement in the Statement on Development and Regulatory Policies issued on June 6, 2019, along with the Second Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy for the year 2019-20, the RBI constituted a working group under the chairmanship of Mr. Tapan Ray (non-executive chairman, Central Bank of India and former secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs) (“Working Group”) to review the regulatory and supervisory framework applicable to CICs. The Working Group issued its report in November 2019 and the Revised Framework has now been issued based on the recommendations of the Working Group. Continue Reading Revised Framework for Core Investment Companies – Tightening the Screws?

AGRI-SPACE AS A KEY INVESTMENT DESTINATION

1. Background

  • India is an agrarian economy. It has the second highest population in the world, as well as the second highest arable land area in the world. With rising demand and natural resources under pressure, agriculture as a sector is drawing sharp attention from a necessity as well as interest perspective.
  • It must be noted that the agri-sector has wide reach, as it covers within its ambit not just the core cultivation sector, but also allied sectors that are just as critical. In recent times and, more specifically in 2020, the Indian government has also made special efforts to support this wider sector.
  • Hereunder, we will share a brief overview of the recent reforms in the sector and the viability of the sector from an investors’ point of view.

Continue Reading Agri-Space as a Key Investment Destination : Some Thoughts

ESOPS as Managerial Remuneration - Do Regulators Need to Revisit Regulatory Architecture

Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs) are a well-recognised method of compensating employees and attracting and retaining the best talent. Compensation in the form of equity shares helps in creating a sense of ownership in the mind of employees. Benefit schemes for employees, including ESOPs, have gained popularity, especially in technology start-ups that have limited financial resources in the initial years, but want to attract the best talent. ESOPs are the option or a right, but not an obligation, which is offered by a company to its employees to purchase its shares at a pre-determined price in the future. ESOPs align the interest of the employees with long term interest of the companies and play a vital role in retaining employees at the growing stage of the company.

Section 2(37) of the Companies Act, 2013 (“Act”), defines ‘employees’ stock option’ as the option given to directors, officers or employees of a company or of its holding company or subsidiary company or companies, if any, which gives such directors, officers or employees, the benefit or right to purchase, or to subscribe for, the shares of the company at a future date at a pre-determined price. The Act expressly prohibits ESOPs for Independent Directors[1] as the law makers believe that it compromises the ‘independence’ of such Independent Directors. Section 62(1)(b) of the Act provides for the approval of shareholders by a special resolution. Rule 12 of the Companies (Share Capital & Debentures) Rules, 2014, lays down the legal framework for issuance of ESOPs for unlisted companies. Listed companies having ESOP plans are required to comply with the SEBI (Share Based Employee Benefits) Regulations, 2014 (“ESOP Regulations”). Continue Reading ESOPS as Managerial Remuneration: Do Regulators Need to Revisit Regulatory Architecture?

 Supreme Court sets out object and purpose of Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure,1908

Introduction

Judicial time is precious and ought to be employed in the most efficient manner possible. Sham litigations are one such menace that not only waste the time of the courts, but also cause unwarranted prejudice and harm to parties arrayed as defendants in such litigations, thereby defeating justice. In order to deal with such a menace, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (“CPC”), under Order VII Rule 11[1] (“O7 R 11”) provides litigants the option to pursue an independent and special remedy, empowering courts to summarily dismiss a suit at the threshold, without proceeding to record evidence, and conducting trial, on the basis of the evidence adduced, if it is satisfied that the action should be terminated on any grounds contained in this provision.

Recently, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“SC”) in the case of Dahiben v. Arvindbhai Kalyanji Bhanusali[2] (“Case”), while dealing with an appeal against an order allowing rejection of a suit at the threshold, had occasion to consider various precedents, discussing the intent and purpose of O7 R11, while setting out the principles in relation to the same. Continue Reading Supreme Court sets out object and purpose of Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

Consumer Protection E-Commerce Rules - Need for More Clarity Blog

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has, on July 23, 2020, notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“Rules”) under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (“Act”), with an intent to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce and protect interests and rights of consumers.

Scope and Applicability 

The Rules are intended to apply to (i) all goods and services bought or sold over digital or electronic networks, (ii) all models of e-commerce, and (iii) all formats of e-commerce retail, with the exception of natural persons transacting in their personal capacity (which is not part of any professional or commercial activity undertaken on a regular or systematic basis). In the absence of any guidance on what ‘regular or systematic basis’ means, a plain reading of this exclusion makes it very narrow.

The Rules govern e-commerce entities (“Platforms”), which own, operate, or manage, a digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce, and sellers of products and services. Continue Reading Consumer Protection E-Commerce Rules: Need for More Clarity

SEBI report on RPTs – Deeper Reflections

SEBI had implemented the Kotak Committee recommendations on Related Party Transactions (RPTs) by making amendments to the Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements Regulations, 2015 (“LODR”) on May 9, 2018. In less than two years, in November 2019, SEBI constituted a Working Group (WG) to re-examine the RPT provisions of the LODR, against the backdrop of new corporate scandals, which surfaced, where certain abusive RPTs were undertaken by the listed entity at a subsidiary level, which were not captured by the LODR provisions. The WG Report addressed this loophole and made several recommendations, which were examined by the author in his blog article titled “SEBI Working Group on Related Party Transactions: Will the net be cast too wide? published on February 5, 2020.

In this Blog, the author wants to share his deeper reflections on some of the recommendation made in the WG report. The author argues that this WG report requires a more detailed scrutiny by the SEBI, before it is enacted into a law, by amendments to the LODR. Both these blogs should be read together to get a complete picture of the changes proposed in the WG report. Continue Reading SEBI report on RPTs – Deeper Reflections

Infrastructure Investment Trusts – Simplifying the Structure

The infrastructure sector is a key driver for any economy. Among the many avenues of financing large-scale investments in infrastructure, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments and capital raising, setting-up and establishing infrastructure investment trusts (“InvITs”) has begun to gain traction with developers of infrastructure projects, including by public sector undertakings, to enable them to monetise their assets and undertake further infrastructure development. In the last few months, an increasing interest has also been evinced by large private equity firms, development institutions and multilateral and bilateral financial institutions in not only investing in the units of InvITs, but also in setting-up InvITs either on their own or jointly with Indian developers due to the yields offered by InvITs and the favourable and welcome changes to the tax regime applicable to InvITs, including unlisted InvITs. Continue Reading Infrastructure Investment Trusts – Simplifying the Structure

 

Real Estate Collaborations & Significance of Corporate Due Diligence 

Introduction

India’s real estate sector has been witnessing critical changes since the last few years, including the promulgation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (the “RERA Act”). The implementation of the RERA Act has pushed the sector to organise and standardise operations and management of real estate entities. The checks and balances imposed by the RERA Act and liquidity crunch faced by the real estate market has forced the dislodgment of small and unorganised players. Owing to such changes, the real estate market is now witnessing a phase of consolidation and collaboration. Continue Reading Real Estate Collaborations & Significance of Corporate Due Diligence