The Ministry of Corporate Affairs of the Government of India (MCA) has clarified on the exemptions provided to enterprises from application of section 5 that regulates combinations under the Competition Act, 2002 (Act) vide notification dated 27 March 2017 that was published in the official gazette on 29 March 2017 (Exemption Notification). The MCA also rescinded an earlier notification dated 4 March 2016 (Earlier Notification) that exempted an enterprise fulfilling certain criteria from the applicability of section 5 of the Act (Rescinding Notification).
In a bid to ensure that arbitration is the preferred means of dispute resolution for government entities, and in an effort to portray Mumbai as a proposed hub for international commercial arbitration, the Department of Law and Judiciary of the Government of Maharashtra (GoM) has vide circular dated 28 February 2017 certified the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA) as recognised arbitral institute for the purposes of its ‘Policy for Arbitration as a preferred mode of dispute resolution’ that was released by a government resolution dated 13 October 2016 (Resolution).
Pursuant to several ease of doing business initiatives of the Government of India, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion on 6 March 2017 notified the Trade Mark Rules, 2017 (Rules) thereby repealing the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules, 2002. While making the filing procedure for new trade marks simpler by, inter-alia, reducing the total number of forms, the Rules have also provided for a new procedure for determination of well-known trade marks in India.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has on 9 March 2017 permitted 100% (one hundred per cent) foreign direct investment (FDI) in ‘market place model of e-commerce’ sector under automatic route and subject to certain conditions. However, the RBI has prohibited FDI in ‘inventory based model of e-commerce’. In this regard, the RBI issued the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident outside India) (Fourth Amendment) Regulations, 2017 (Amendment Regulations).
The lower house of Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha) on 9 March 2017 passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Amendment Act) which was already passed by the upper house (Rajya Sabha) in August 2016. The Amendment Act amends the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Act) and now only requires the assent of the President of India before it is published in the Official Gazette, post which it shall become the law.
Keeping in line with the ease of doing business initiatives of the Government of India, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion on 6 March 2017 notified the Trade Mark Rules, 2017 (Rules) which repeal the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules, 2002 (Erstwhile Rules).
Some of the salient features of the Rules are as follows
Less than two days after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) amended the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2014 (Regulations) by way of an amendment notification dated 27 February 2017 (Amendment Notification), SEBI issued a fresh circular making further changes to the norms laid down for investments by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in unlisted corporate debt securities and securitised debt instruments vide a circular dated 28 February 2017 (Circular).
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) amended the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2014 by way of an amendment notification dated 27 February 2017 (Amendment Notification).
The Amendment Notification now defines ‘offshore derivative instrument’ as any instrument, by whatever name called, which is issued overseas by a foreign portfolio investor (FPI) against securities held by it that are listed or proposed to be listed on any recognised stock exchange in India, or unlisted debt securities or securitised debt instruments, as its underlying.
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has through 3 (three) notifications dated 30 January 2017 issued following regulations under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016:
(i) IBBI (Advisory Committee) Regulations, 2017 (AC Regulations):
AC Regulations provide for IBBI’s power to constitute advisory committees to obtain expert advice for efficient discharge of its functions. IBBI may constitute advisory committees on service providers; corporate insolvency and liquidation; individual insolvency and bankruptcy; and such other subjects as IBBI may consider expedient. AC Regulations also provide for composition of such committees, rules of procedure for their meetings, fee payable to their members and so on.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the Government of India (GoI) amended the Consolidated Foreign Direct Investment Policy Circular of 2016 (FDI Policy) and revised the guidelines in relation to investments made into infrastructure company in the securities market vide a notification dated 20 February 2017 (Revised Policy).