Government re-promulgates ordinance for companies law amendments

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 21, 2019

NEW DELHI: The government has re-promulgated an ordinance to amend the companies law that seeks to plug critical gaps in corporate governance and compliance framework as well as improve the ease of doing business in the country.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet cleared the proposal to promulgate the Companies (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.

A bill to replace the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, that was promulgated in November could not be passed during the last session of the current Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »

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Govt clears reform to enhance domestic oil and gas exploration

Source: Business Standard, Feb 20, 2019

New Delhi: The Union government on Tuesday decided to offer the private sector bigger oil and gas areas that belong to its companies Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India on relaxed conditions.

“To enhance production from existing nomination fields of ONGC and OIL, enhanced production profile will be prepared by both PSUs. For production enhancement, bringing new technology, and capital, national oil companies will be allowed to induct private sector partners,” said a government press release. Read the rest of this entry »

Angel tax relief for startups: Funding cap for exemption raised to Rs 25 cr

Source: Business Standard, Feb 20, 2019

New Delhi: Bowing to sustained pressure from start-ups and venture capital funds over the so-called angel tax, the government on Tuesday eased tax norms for new businesses in a bid to boost investment and job creation.

The angel tax is levied on start-ups that have received equity infusion in excess of the fair valuation, with the premium being paid by investors as their income. It was introduced in the 2012-13 Budget by the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to curb money laundering.

The government has allowed start-ups that have raised capital up to Rs 25 crore to claim tax benefits, as against Rs 10 crore earlier. It has also announced a slew of waivers and a definition tweak in line with demands from the sector. Exemptions have been allowed for investments by non-resident Indians and alternative investment funds (AIFs) as well as for the infusion of capital into start-ups in the form of equity stake in a listed company, according to the latest norms issued by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Read the rest of this entry »

Government approves new national electronics policy eyeing 1 crore jobs

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 2019

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a new electronics policy which aims to create a USD 400 billion electronic manufacturing ecosystem by 2025 and generate 1 crore jobs in the country.

“We are targeting USD 400 billion (ecosystem) by 2025. It will give jobs to 1 crore people,” Law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after the Cabinet meeting.

The National Electronics Policy 2019 proposes to boost mobile manufacturing in the country to 1 billion units worth USD 190 billion (about Rs 13 lakh crore) of which 600 million units worth USD 110 billion (about Rs 7 lakh crore) will be exported from the country.

Under the policy, the government aims to push manufacturing of strategic electronics required by defence and other strategic sector in the country.

The first electronics policy came in 2012.

India raises customs duty on goods imported from Pakistan to 200%

Source: ETRetail.com, Feb 17, 2019

NEW DELHI: The government said on Saturday that it had raised customs duty on all products imported from Pakistan to 200%, a stern warning to the neighbour in the wake of the deadly terror attack in Kashmir which killed 40 securitymen on Thursday.

The move comes a day after India withdrew the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to Pakistan. India had granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 but Islamabad has refused to reciprocate. “India has withdrawn the MFN status to Pakistan after the Pulwama incident. Upon withdrawal, basic customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India has been raised to 200% with immediate effect,” Union finance minister Arun Jaitey said on micro blogging platform Twitter.

Sources said the decision was taken on Saturday afternoon and is being seen as a strong message that India does not wish to have trade links with Pakistan. It is also being seen as a measure to isolate the neighbour and pile pressure on Islamabad to act against terrorists operating from its soil. Read the rest of this entry »

Govt eases green clearance norms for captive power plants

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Feb 17, 2019

New Delhi: The Centre has exempted industries like steel, cement and metal from mandatory prior environment clearance for setting up a new or expanding the existing captive power plant employing waste heat recovery boilers (WHRB) without using any auxiliary fuel.

The exemption to industries having potential for heat recovery has been given to promote energy conservation and reduce green house gas emissions, according to an order.

This exemption was so far given to thermal power plants using waste heat boilers without any auxiliary fuel. Read the rest of this entry »

Cabinet may relax 30% local sourcing norms for single-brand retailers


Source: Business Standard, Feb 13, 2019

New Delhi: The cabinet is expected to soon consider a proposal of FDI-linked relaxation for mandatory 30 per cent local sourcing norms for foreign single brand retailers by allowing them more time to comply with regulations, sources said.

The commerce and industry ministry has already circulated a draft cabinet note seeking views of different ministries including the department of economic affairs on the proposal, one of the sources said, adding that “after receiving the comments, the ministry would soon approach the cabinet for its consideration”.

With a view to attract big players such as iPhone maker Apple, as per the proposal, single-brand retail firms may be permitted to open online stores before setting up brick-and-mortar shops if they bring in over $200 million foreign direct investment (FDI).

But such firms would have to set up brick-and-mortar shops within two years of starting online sales.

Currently, online sale by a single-brand retail player is allowed only after opening of physical outlet.

Retail traders may also be allowed to adjust the incremental sourcing of goods from India for global operations during the initial 6-10 years, from the current five years (beginning April 1 of the year of the opening of first store), against the mandatory sourcing requirement of 30 per cent of purchases from India.

These relaxations too would be subject to quantum of FDI one brings in India.

While six years’ time would be given to a retailer that invests $100 million in the sector, 8 years and 10 years time would be given to those who bring in $200 million and $300 million foreign inflows in the sector, respectively.

In January 2018, the government allowed 100 per cent FDI in the sector, permitting foreign players in single-brand retail trade to set up own shops in India without government approval.

That time, the government also relaxed mandatory local sourcing requirement of 30 per cent by stating that a foreign retailer would be able to get credit from incremental rise in sourcing for its global operations from India towards the mandatory 30 per cent local sourcing requirement for its business in the country.

In 2016, Apple India had sought relaxation in the local sourcing norms to set up single brand retail stores in India.

During April-September 2018-19, FDI in India declined by 11 per cent to $22.66 billion.