DOING BUSINESS IN INDIA
India is a vast country, enormously rich in natural resources and human resource capital. With a robust legal and financial system and a strong domestic consumption story (including a 300 million young, educated and affluent middle class population), India has emerged as one of the top most investment destinations and growth stories of the world.
Recognising India’s potential to grow even faster, the Government of India (GOI) has recently introduced a series of initiatives and measures to improve the environment for doing business in India such as the ‘Make in India’ campaign along with ‘Ease of Business Policy’. The main objective of these initiatives is to make India a global manufacturing hub. The GOI has also introduced an ‘eBiz Portal’, which is intended to improve the business environment in the country by enabling fast and efficient access to Government-to-Business (“G2B”) services through a single window online platform. As a result it is very convenient and time saving to set up and operate a business in India under the new regime.
Legal Market Overview
At the time of research, it was a year since Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister of India. His pro-business approach brought a renewed sense of optimism to the country and made a positive impact on the legal market. Key reforms have been introduced allowing increased foreign investment in sectors such as rail and defence, deregulation of fuel prices, and private competition in coal mining. India’s economy has stabilised, mainly due to the drop in oil prices, but further important reforms are yet to be implemented and these remain crucial for sustained economic growth.
Law firms report that banking and finance and capital markets work remain quiet as the necessary reforms to galvanise the financial sector have not yet been implemented, resulting in the continuation of lack of new loan availability. Corporate and M&A has had a mixed year as businesses remain cautious about new mandates. On the contentious front, activity in the dispute resolution arena has a healthy outlook with firms receiving a steady flow of new cases, particularly in the context of international arbitration. Projects work is also providing fertile ground for instructions, thanks to state investment in infrastructure.
The biggest news in India’s legal landscape in 2015 has been the dissolution of India’s largest law firm Amarchand & Suresh A Shroff & Co. As a result, two new firms have launched by the firm’s former managing partners and brothers, Shardul Shroff and Cyril Shroff. The former now runs Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, and the latter has opened Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Already, they make up a significant part of the competitive legal market together with other key players such as AZB & Partners, Luthra & Luthra, J Sagar Associates, Trilegal and Khaitan & Co.. Boutiques Tuli & Co (for insurance), Anand and Anand (for IP) and Karanjawala & Company (for dispute resolution) are also worthy of note. Following the demerger of Rajani, Singhania & Partners in late 2015, name partners Prem Rajani and Ravi Singhania now head up Rajani Associates and Singhania & Partners respectively.
Foreign firms continue to request permission to operate in the country, and the Bar Council of India has agreed (in principle) to stop opposing their entry ‘provided there is a reciprocal action by foreign governments’. With India’s significant amount of cross-border activity, international firms are following these developments with close attention.
Firms in the spotlight
Brus Chambers, Advocates & Solicitors
A specialised Indian Law Firm, Brus Chambers is a dominant force in shipping and virtually rules this sector. The firm has unrivalled expertise with strong track record and excels in corporate, merger, acquisition and joint ventures, projects and infrastructure. The firm is well known and has an excellent reputation for handling complex commercial litigation and international arbitration with a formidable reputation in resolving disputes. Brus Chambers team is praised for its knowledge and experience, is powerful and result oriented.
Chadha & Chadha IP
Chadha & Chadha IP is an ISO 9001:2008 certified intellectual property firm with its head office in New Delhi and nine branch offices across India. The practice traces its history to 1967 and has evolved for over four decades to become one of India’s most prominent IP firms.