LEX-LUMIS

Government of India amends Code for Independent Directors

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs of the Government of India vide a notification on 5 July 2017 that was published in the Official Gazette of India on 6 July 2017 (Notification) amended Schedule IV of the Companies Act, 2013 which sets out the ‘Code for Independent Directors’ (Code).

Pursuant to the Notification, inter-alia, the following key changes have been made to the Code

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Post FIPB: DIPP releases Standard Operating Procedure for processing FDI proposals

Less than a month after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) published an office memorandum setting out the roadmap for the post-FIPB abolishment period, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has on 29 June 2017 published a standard operating procedure (SOP) for processing foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals in India.

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Enterprises exempted from mandatory 30 day notice to CCI for combinations

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs of the Government of India by way of a notification in the Official Gazette on 29 June 2017 exempted every person or enterprise that is a party to a combination under section 5 of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act) from providing a mandatory notice to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) within 30 (thirty) days of either approval of the proposal relating to merger or amalgamation set out in section 5 (c) of the Act by the board of directors of the merging or amalgamating enterprise, or execution of any agreement or document for acquisition referred to in section 5 (a) of the Act or of acquiring control referred to in section 5 (b) of the same for a period of 5 years commencing from 29 June 2017 onwards (Exemption Notification).

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Establishments now required to publish an equal opportunity policy for persons with disabilities

The Government of India recently notified the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017 (Rules) in the Official Gazette. The Rules are issued under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (Act), and were enacted to give effect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and for related matters.

The Act and the Rules are applicable to every establishment including Government establishments and private establishments.

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Union Cabinet approves FIPB phase out; ministries empowered to process FDI applications

Continuing its stance of promoting ‘maximum governance and minimum government’, the Union Cabinet of the Government of India chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 May 2017 gave its approval for phasing out the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and empowered individual government ministries/ departments to process applications for foreign direct investment (FDI) requiring government approval. A press release was issued on 24 May 2017 itself by the Press Information Bureau of the Government of India (Press Release) in this regard.

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Government of India amends Banking Regulation Act, 1949; authorises RBI to tackle bad loans

The Government of India (GOI) amended the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (Act) vide a notification in the Official Gazette on 4 May 2017 by means of a presidential ordinance (Amendment Ordinance). The Amendment Ordinance has given the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) powers to tackle bad loans by issuing directions to any banking company to initiate insolvency proceedings for any default in debts, and also for issuing directions to banking companies for resolution of stressed assets.

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Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 comes into full effect from 1 May 2017

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation on 19 April 2017 notified in the Official Gazette of India, the remaining sections (i.e. 3-19, section 40, sections 59-70 and sections 79-80) of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (Act) with effect from 1 May 2017 thereby protecting the interests of real estate buyers in India.

The Act aims to promote transparency and accountability in the real estate sector and provides for an adjudicating mechanism for speedy dispute redressal in the form of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) (as adopted by various States), with appeals from decisions, directions or orders of the RERA and/ or the adjudicating officer being made to the appellate tribunal under the Act (Appellate Tribunal).

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Indian and foreign companies now permitted to merge or amalgamate with each other

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs of the Government of India (MCA) on 13 April 2017 notified section 234 of the Companies Act, 2013 (Act) that provides for mergers or amalgamations of an Indian company with a foreign company and vice versa (Commencement Notification). The MCA vide a separate notification dated the same day also inserted a new rule, i.e. Rule 25A in the Companies (Compromises, Arrangements and Amalgamations) Rules, 2016 (Rules) to regulate such mergers or amalgamations, which shall come into force from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of India (Merger or Amalgamation Rule).

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