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Editorial

DOING BUSINESS IN INDIA

Introduction

Economic Growth

India is the world’s sixth largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP). According to the data, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has amounted to USD 2.59 trillion and the country’s economy has grown at a seven-quarter high of 7.7 per cent in the last three months ended March 2018 . India is projected to further grow at 7.4% of its GDP in 2019 as against China’s 6.8%, making it the fastest growing economy amongst emerging economies. According to the figures of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), India received USD 7.59 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) during April-June 2016-17. In the ease of doing business report 2019 released by the World Bank on India climbed 23 places from 100 to 77 among the 190 countries surveyed.

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Legal Market Overview

A prominent trend across the Indian political landscape is the speculation surrounding the general election scheduled for early 2019, and the potential impact the outcome will have on recent legislative implementations. Nonetheless, India's legal market remains buoyant, with banking, corporate, projects and infrastructure sectors remaining key areas of instruction and activity for firms.

2018 saw a landmark ruling by India's Supreme Court: the abolition of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and the official decriminalisation of homosexuality. A draft Personal Data Protection Bill, which aims to establish more rigorous data protection regulations, has attracted criticism for its limited protection of an individual's rights and remains in a liminal state at the time of writing.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which simplified the process for companies facing insolvency by combining existing legal frameworks into a streamlined, single law, remains a key talking point in the banking and restructuring sphere. Prime Minister Modi’s demonetisation of the currency has had its most prominent effects on foreign investment and taxation matters. The government’s goods and services tax (GST), passed in July 2017, which replaced several central and state taxes with a single unified tax, continues to play a significant role in deals.

The Real Estate Regulation and Development Act, passed in 2016, brought in stricter regulations for real estate transactions, and firms have noted its impact in recent transactions. However, infrastructure projects remain on the increase, notably in the renewable energy, railway and transport sectors, and cross-border projects and joint ventures are buoyant.

Dispute resolution matters, litigation and alternative dispute resolution alike, continue to thrive. The popularity of the arbitration process continues, following the recent reforms to the Arbitration Act, coupled with the confidential nature of proceedings.

Well-established law firms include Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & CoTrilegal, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan & Co.Kochhar & Co., and L&L Partners Law Offices, which underwent a rebrand in 2018. Other prominent firms in the market, which are moving away from the traditional family-run model, include ZBA, AZB & Partners, and J Sagar Associates.

The In-House Lawyer

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Legal Developments in India

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • WHHPL v NHAI

    New Delhi, 31st August 2019: West Haryana Highways Projects Private Limited (a Special Purpose Vehicle of Era Infra Engineering) was awarded a Concession Agreement by NHAI on DBFOT Toll basis for widening of existing two lane highway and also constructions of two new bypasses. Although WHHPPL substantially completed the work and Toll was stared in 2014, NHAI was not declaring the completion. Also WHHPPL suffered huge losses due to Project overrun including threat from Banks/Financial Institution w.r.t Insolvency Proceedings (needless to reiterate one such proceedings under I&B Code filed by Bank of Baroda (erstwhile Dena bank) was recently rejected by Principal Bench, New Delhi). It was the case of WHHPPL that NHAI failed to adhere to the terms of CA in fulfilling its obligation of handing over of land. The Arbitral Tribunal passed an Award in favor of WHHPPL inter alia agreeing with the contentions of WHHPPL and also held that NHAI was in breach of the CA. The Tribunal passed an award (including interest) of Rs.750 Crores in favor of WHHPPL .
  • Singh & Associates' (S&A) Founding Partner, Manoj K Singh, awarded with ‘Special Recognition...

    Singh & Associates' (S&A) Founding Partner, Manoj K Singh, awarded with ‘Special Recognition for Service to the Legal Profession’ at Achiever’s Awards 2019
  • GSTing till 2019 and ahead!!

    With the implementation of GST two years back, India has seen one of the biggest tax reforms for the growth and revival of its economy. Post the journey of peaks & troughs, the GST regime is finally settling in to the needs of business cycle. The Government, with the theme of promoting ‘ Ease of Doing Business ’, is trying hard to make this reform simpler, business friendly and transparent in its functioning. Such measures can also be seen during this year’s budget speech of our Hon’ble Finance Minister, wherein announcements were made towards the simplification of GST.
  • Ld’ Adjudicating Authority dismisses the Application under Section 7 by ICICI Bank against Hyderab

    Ld’ Adjudicating Authority dismisses the Application under Section 7 by ICICI Bank against Hyderabad Ring Road Projects Private Limited a Special Purpose Vehicle related to Era Infra Engineering Limited.
  • Singh & Associates' (S&A) Founding Partner, Manoj K Singh, wins “Dispute Resolution Lawyer...

    Singh & Associates' (S&A) Founding Partner, Manoj K Singh, wins “Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year” Award at Indian Legal Awards 2018-19, Legal Era
  • Sulphur Cap Ahead - Regulatory

    Sulphur Cap Ahead - Regulatory
  • GTDT Shipping - India

    Mr Shardul Thacker heads the shipping, oil and gas and banking practice group at Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe. Lloyd’s List ranked him third in their top 10 lawyers stating: “Highly regarded for his work in the liquefied natural gas sector, particularly for interesting and highly geared finance deals in relation to infrastructure projects, energy, ports and ships.” india_-_gtdt_shipping_
  • Chambers Guides - Insurance 2018 - India

    India is a common-law jurisdiction. In general, Indian laws borrow heavily from, and are based on, English law. However, insurance law in India has certain unique features that deviate from English insurance law. The primary legislation of insurance law in India is the Insurance Act, 1938 (the “Insurance Act”) and the Insurance Rules, 1939 (the “Insurance Rules”).
  • Transport Finance Review - India

    The transportation industry – aviation, shipping and rail – has been predominantly owned by government entities since India’s independence in 1947. Air India and Indian Airlines, both government-owned, rules the skies; the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), established in 1961 and owned by the government, owns and operates around one-third of the Indian tonnage. All railway property is government owned.
  • International Arbitration Review - India

    The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Act) provides the framework for arbitration and conciliation in India. Drafted on the basis of the UNCITRAL Model Law, it is divided into four parts. Each part governs a different aspect of the arbitration and conciliation process: a Part 1 governs commercial arbitration; b Part 2 governs the enforcement of certain foreign awards; c Part 3 governs conciliation; and d Part 4 contains supplementary provisions (regarding the power of the court to make rulings, etc.). The Act 2 was recently amended in 2016 with an aim to make it more robust by plugging the lacunae that existed in the original legislation.

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