• Current Affair , 13th March 2020

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Parliament Passes The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020

     

    • Parliament passed The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for amendments in Mines & Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. Rajya Sabha passed the bill today while Lok Sabha already passed this bill on 6th March, 2020. The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, will open a new era in Indian coal & mining sector specially to promote Ease of Doing Business. Union Coal & Mines Minister Sh. Pralhad Joshi said that this Bill will transform the mining sector in the country boosting coal production and reducing dependence on imports.
    • The amended provisions clearly provide that companies which do not possess any prior coal mining experience in India and/or have mining experience in other minerals or in other countries can participate in auction of coal/lignite blocks. This will not only increase participation in coal/lignite block auctions, but also facilitate the implementation of FDI policy in the coal sector.
    • Now, the companies which are not ‘engaged in specified end-use’ can also participate in auctions of Schedule II and III coal mines. The removal of the end use restriction would allow wider participation in auction of coal mines for a variety of purposes such as own consumption, sale or for any other purpose, as may be specified by the Central Government.
    • The Bill also allows prospecting licence-cum-mining lease (PL-cum-ML) for coal/lignite which increases the availability of coal & lignite blocks, and coal blocks of varying grades ina wide geographical distribution will be available for allocation.
    • The successful bidders/allottees have now been entitled to utilize mined coal in any of its plants or plants of its subsidiary or holding company. Amendments also provide for allocation of the coal mine to the next successful bidder or allottee, subsequent to termination of its allocation along with the matters incidental to it. A provision has also been made for appointment of designated custodian for management of the mines, apart from Schedule II mines, which have come under production and whose vesting/ allotment order has been cancelled.
    • With the amendments, environment and forest clearances along with other approvals and clearances shall automatically get transferred to the new owners of mineral blocks for a period of two years from the date of grant of new lease. This will allow new owners to continue with hassle free mining operations. During the period, they may apply for the fresh licence beyond the period of two years.
    • The auction of lease of mines can now be started before expiry of lease period. It will enable the state government to take advance action for auction of mineral blocks so that the new lease holder could be decided before the existing lease gets expired. This will help in seamless production of minerals in the country.
    • The new provisions will also augment the exploration of the deep seated minerals and minerals of national interest by allowing Non Exclusive Reconnaissance Permit (NERP) holders to apply for composite licence or Mining Lease (PL-cum-ML).Various repetitive and redundant provisions of MMDR Act and CMSP Act have also been omitted for Ease of Doing Business.
    • The Bill replaces the ordinance for amendment of the MMDR Act 1957 and CMSP Act which was promulgated on 11th January 2020.

     

     

     

    1. The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020

     

    • The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, on February 4, 2020.  The Bill seeks to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934.  The Act regulates the manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of civil aircrafts, and licensing of aerodromes.

    Key provisions of the Bill include:

    • Authorities:  The Bill converts three existing bodies under the Ministry of Civil Aviation into statutory bodies under the Act.   These three authorities are: (i) the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), (ii) the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), and (iii) the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB).   Each of these bodies will be headed by a Director General who will be appointed by the centre.
    • The DGCA will carry out safety oversight and regulatory functions with respect to matters under the Bill.  The BCAS will carry out regulatory oversight functions related to civil aviation security.  The AAIB will carry out investigations related to aircraft accidents and incidents.  The central government may issue directions to these authorities on matters related to their functions, if considered necessary in public interest.
    • Power of centre to make rules:  Under the Act, the central government may make rules on several matters.  These include: (i) registration of aircraft, (ii) regulating air transport services, and (iii) prohibition of flight over any specified area.   The Bill adds the regulation of air navigation services to this list.  It also allows the centre to empower the Director General of BCAS or any authorised officer to issue directions and make rules on certain matters.  These matters include: (i) conditions under which an aircraft may be flown, (ii) inspection of aircrafts, and (iii) measures to safeguard civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference.
    • Adjudicating officers:  The Bill provides for the appointment of designated officers, not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to adjudicate penalties under the Bill.  Persons aggrieved by an order of a designated officer may appeal to an appellate officer.  Appeals must be filed by the aggrieved person within 30 days from the day the order is received.  
    • Offences and Penalties:  Under the Act, the penalty for various offences is imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, or both.  These offences include: (i) carrying arms, explosives, or other dangerous goods aboard aircraft, (ii) contravening any rules notified under the Act, and (iii) constructing building or structures within the specified radius around an aerodrome reference point.  The Bill raises the maximum limit on fines for all these offences from Rs 10 lakh to one crore rupees.
    • Under the Bill, the central government may cancel the licences, certificates, or approvals granted to a person under the Act if the person contravenes any provision of the Act.  Such licences include those given for: (i) the establishment of an air transport service, (ii) the establishment of aerodromes, and (iii) the operation, repair, and maintenance of aircraft.
    • The Bill allows for the compounding of certain offences under the Act or rules under the Act.  These include: (i) flying to cause danger to any person or property and (ii) the contravention of any directions issued by the Director General of any of the three bodies.  Offences may be compounded by the Director Generals as prescribed by the centre.  Compounding of offences is not allowed in case of repeat offences.
    • Courts will not take cognizance of any offence under this Act, unless a complaint is made by, or there is previous sanction from the Director General of Civil Aviation, BCAS, or AAIB.  Only courts equivalent or superior to a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of the first class may try offences under the Act.
    • Exemption for Armed Forces:  Aircraft belonging to the naval, military, or air forces of the Union are exempted from the provisions of the Act.  The Bill expands this exemption to include aircraft belonging to any other armed forces of the Union.  However, aircrafts belonging to an armed force other than the naval, military, and air forces which are currently regulated under the Act will continue to do so until specified otherwise by the central government.

     

    1. THE COMPETITION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2020

     

    BE it enacted by Parliament in the Seventy-first Year of the Republic of India as follows: — 1. (1) This Act may be called the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2020. Short title and commencement. (2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint: Provided that different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and reference in any such provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference to the coming into force of that provision. 12 of 2003. 2. In section 2 of the Competition Act, 2002 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act),–– Amendment of section 2. (a) in clause (a), the following Explanation shall be inserted, namely: –– “Explanation. – For the purposes of this section, the value of assets shall be determined by taking the book value of the assets as shown, in the audited books of account of the enterprise, in the financial year immediately preceding the financial year in which the date of proposed combination falls and if such financial statement has not yet become due to be filed with the Registrar under the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) then as per the statutory auditor’s report, made on the basis of the last available audited accounts of the company in the financial year immediately preceding the financial year in which the notice is filed under subsection (2) or sub-section (4) of section 6, as reduced by any depreciation, and the value of assets shall include the brand value, value of goodwill, or value of copyright, patent, permitted use, collective mark, registered proprietor, registered trade mark, registered user, homonymous geographical indication, geographical indications, design or layout- design or similar other commercial rights, if any, referred to in sub-section (1) of section 4A..”. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 2 (b) for clause (c), the following clause shall be substituted, namely: –– “(c) “cartel” includes an association of producers, buyers, sellers, distributors, traders or service providers who, by agreement amongst themselves, limit or control or attempt to limit or control the production, distribution, sale or price of, or, trade in goods or provision of services;”. (c) for clause (f), the following clause shall be substituted, namely: –– “(f) “consumer” means any person or, a department of the Government who buys, hires or avails of any goods or services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods or services other than the person who buys, hires or avails of such goods or services, respectively, for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such person, whether such purchase, hiring or availing of goods or services is for resale or for any commercial purpose or for personal use;”. (d) In clause (h), for the portion beginning with ““enterprise” means a person or a department of the Government” and ending with “energy, currency, defence and space;” the following shall be substituted, namely: –– “ “enterprise” means a person or a department of the Government or other entity regardless of its legal form or status, including units, divisions, subsidiaries, who or which is, or has been, engaged in any economic activity, relating to the production, storage, supply, distribution, acquisition or control of articles or goods, or the provision of services, of any kind, or in investment, or in the business of acquiring, holding, underwriting or dealing with shares, debentures or other securities of any other body corporate, either directly or through one or more of its units or divisions or subsidiaries, but does not include any activity of the Government relatable to the sovereign functions of the Government including all activities carried on by the departments of the Central Government dealing with atomic energy, currency, defence and space;”. (e) after clause (i), the following clause shall be inserted, namely: –– Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 3 “(ia) “Governing Board” means the governing board constituted under sub-section (1A) of section 8;”. (f) for clause (j),the following clause shall be substituted, namely: –– “ “Member” means a Member of the Commission or the Governing Board appointed under sub-sections (1) or (1A) of section 8, respectively and includes the Chairperson.;” . (g) after clause (k), the following clauses shall be inserted, namely: –– “(ka) “Panel of Whole-time Members” means a panel comprising of three Whole-time Members of the Commission; (kb) “Part-time Member” means a part-time Member appointed under clause (b) or clause (c) of sub-section (1A) of section 8; (kc) “party” includes a consumer or an enterprise or a person or an information provider, or a consumer association or a trade association, or the Central Government or any State Government or any statutory authority, as the case may be, and shall include an enterprise or a person against whom any inquiry or proceeding is instituted; and shall also include any enterprise or person impleaded by the Commission to join the proceedings;”. 18 of 2013 (h) in sub-clause (vi) of clause (l), for the words “section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956)”, the words, brackets and figures “clause (45) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013)” shall be substituted. 18 of 2013 (i) in clause (p), for the words “section 4A of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956)”, the words, brackets and figures “clause (72) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013)” shall be substituted. (j)in clause (q), for the word “Commission” the words “Governing Board” shall be substituted. (k) for clause (t), the following shall be substituted, namely: – “(t). “relevant product market” means a market comprising all those products or services: (i) which are regarded as interchangeable or substitutable by the consumer, by reason of Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 4 characteristics of the products or services, their prices and intended use; or (ii) the production or supply of which are regarded as interchangeable or substitutable by the supplier, by reason of the ease of switching production between such products and services and marketing them in the short term without incurring significant additional costs or risks in response to small and permanent changes in relative prices;”. (l) after clause (y), the following clause shall be inserted namely: –– “(ya) “Whole-time Member” means a whole-time Member appointed under sub-section (1) of section 8 and includes the Chairperson;”. 18 of 2013 (m) in clause (z), for the words “Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956)”, the words, brackets and figures “Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013)” shall be substituted. 3. In section 3 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 3. (a) in sub-section (3), after the proviso, the following proviso shall be inserted, namely: –– “Provided further that an enterprise or association of enterprises or person or association of persons though not engaged in identical or similar trade shall be presumed to be part of the agreement under this sub-section if it actively participates in the furtherance of such an agreement.”. (b) in sub-section (4), for the words “Any agreement amongst enterprises or persons at different stages”, the following shall be substituted, namely: –– “Any other agreement amongst enterprises or persons including but not restricted to agreements amongst enterprises or persons at different stages”. (c) in clause (a) of the Explanation, after the word “goods”, at both places where it occurs, the words “or services” shall be inserted; and after the words “purchase some other”, the word “distinct” shall be inserted. (d) for clause (b) of the Explanation, the following clause shall be substituted, namely: –– Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 5 “(b) “exclusive dealing agreement” includes any agreement restricting in any manner the purchaser or the seller, as the case maybe, in the course of his trade from acquiring or selling or otherwise dealing in any goods or services other than those of the seller or the purchaser or any other person, as the case may be;”. (e) in clause (c) of the Explanation, after the word “goods”, at both places where it occurs, the words “or services” shall be inserted. (f) in clause (d) of the Explanation, after the word “goods”, at both places where it occurs, the words “or services” shall be inserted. (g) in clause (e) of the Explanation, for the words “includes any agreement to sell goods on condition”, the words “includes, in case of any agreement to sell goods or provide services, any direct or indirect restriction” shall be substituted. (h) sub-section (5) shall be omitted. 4. In section 4 of the principal Act, in the Explanation to clause (a) of sub-section (2), the words “discriminatory condition or price”, shall be substituted with the words “conditions or prices”. Amendment of section 4. 14 of 1957 39 0f 1970 43 of 1958 47 of 1999 48 of 1999 16 of 2000 5. After section 4 of the principal Act, the following section 4A shall be inserted, –– “4A. Nothing contained in section 3 or section 4 shall restrict the right of any person to restrain any infringement of, or to impose reasonable conditions, as may be necessary for protecting any of his rights which have been or may be conferred under: (a) the Copyright Act, 1957 (14 of 1957); (b) the Patents Act, 1970 (39 of 1970); (c) the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 (43 of 1958) or the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (47 of 1999); (d) the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (48 of 1999); (e) the Designs Act, 2000 (16 of 2000); (f) the Semi-conductor and Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000 (37 of 2000); Insertion of a new section 4A Protection to holders of intellectual property rights, etc. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 6 37 of 2000 (g) any other law for the time being in force relating to the protection of other intellectual property rights. (2) Nothing contained in section 3 shall restrict the right of any person to export goods from India to the extent to which the agreement relates exclusively to the production, supply, distribution or control of goods or provision of services for such export.”. 6. In section 5 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 5. (a) after clause (c), the following provisos shall be inserted, namely: –– “Provided that the Central Government may in public interest and in consultation with the Commission prescribe any criteria other than those prescribed in clauses (a), (b) and (c), the fulfilment of which shall cause any acquisition of control, shares, voting rights or assets, merger or amalgamation to be deemed to be a combination under this section and a notice for any acquisition of control, shares, voting rights or assets, merger or amalgamation fulfilling such criteria shall be given to the Commission under section 6. “Provided further that, where either the value of assets or turnover or criteria prescribed under the first proviso in India of the enterprise being acquired, taken control of, merged or amalgamated is not more than such value as may be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with the Commission from time to time, such acquisition, merger or amalgamation, notwithstanding anything contained in clauses (a), (b), (c) or the first proviso, shall not constitute a combination under section 5 of the Act.”. (b) for clause (a) of the Explanation, the following clause shall be substituted, namely: –– “(a) “control” means the ability to exercise material influence, in any manner whatsoever, over the management or affairs or strategic commercial decisions by— (i) one or more enterprises, either jointly or singly, over another enterprise or group; or (ii) one or more groups, either jointly or singly, over another group or enterprise;”. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 7 (c)for clause (b) of the Explanation, the following clause shall be substituted, namely: –– “(b) “group” means two or more enterprises where one enterprise is directly or indirectly, in a position to — (i) exercise at least twenty-six per cent or such other per cent as may be prescribed, of the voting rights in the other enterprise; or (ii) appoint more than fifty per cent of the members of the board of directors in the other enterprise; or (iii) control the management or affairs of the other enterprise;”. (d) for clause (c) of the Explanation, the following clause shall be substituted, namely: –– “the value of assets shall be determined in the same manner as provided in the Explanation to clause (a) of section 2.” (e)after clause (c) to the Explanation, the following clauses shall be inserted, namely: –– “(d) “turnover” shall be as certified by the statutory auditor on the basis of the last available audited accounts of the company in the financial year immediately preceding the financial year in which the notice is filed under sub-section (2) or sub-section (4) of section 6. Turnover in India shall be determined by excluding intra-group sales, indirect taxes, trade discounts and all amounts generated through assets or business outside India from customers outside India, as certified by the statutory auditor on the basis of the last available audited accounts of the company in the financial year immediately preceding the financial year in which the notice is filed under sub-section (2) or subsection (4) of section 6; (e) where a portion of an enterprise or division or business is being acquired, taken control of, merged or amalgamated with another enterprise, the value of assets or turnover or other criteria prescribed under the first proviso of section 5, as may be applicable, of the said portion or division or business and/or attributable to it, shall be the relevant assets or turnover or other criteria to be taken into account for the purpose of applicability of the thresholds under section 5 of the Act.”. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 8 7. In section 6 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 6. (a) in sub-section (2), for the words “within [thirty days] of” the words “following the” shall be substituted. (b) after sub-section (2), the following Explanation to subsection (2) shall be inserted, namely: –– “Explanation. – For the purposes of this sub-section, “other document” shall mean any binding document, by whatever name called, conveying an agreement or decision to acquire control, shares, voting rights or assets. If the acquisition is without the consent of the enterprise being acquired, any document executed by the acquiring enterprise, by whatever name called, conveying a decision to acquire control, shares or voting rights shall be the “other document”. Where a public announcement has been made in terms of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011, for acquisition of shares, voting rights or control, such public announcement shall be deemed to be the “other document”.”. (c) in sub-section (2A), for the words “two hundred and ten”, the words “one hundred and fifty calendar” shall be substituted. (d) after sub-section (2A), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely: –– “Provided that the Commission may by order extend the period under sub-section (2A) beyond one hundred and fifty calendar days by such further period as it thinks fit, but not exceeding thirty calendar days in case parties to the combination request for additional time to furnish relevant information or remove defects to the notice filed under subsection (2) of section 6 as may be requested by the Commission.”. (e) in sub-section (3), after the words “section 29,”, the figures and letter, “29A,” shall be inserted. (f) for sub-sections (4) and (5) and the Explanation, the following shall be substituted, namely: –– “(4) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in sub-sections (2A) and (3) and section 43A, if a combination fulfils such criteria as may be prescribed in public interest by the Central Government in consultation with the Commission, and is not otherwise exempt under this Act from the requirement to give notice to the Commission Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 9 under sub-section (2) then notice for such combination may be given to the Commission in the form as may be specified under this sub-section and the fee which may be determined, by regulations, disclosing the details of the proposed combination and thereupon a separate notice under sub-section (2) shall not be required to be given for such combination. (5) Upon filing of a notice under sub-section (4) and acknowledgement thereof by the Commission, the proposed combination shall be deemed to have been approved by the Commission under sub-section (1) of section 31 of the Act and no other approval shall be required under sub-section (2) or (2A). (6) If within the period provided in sub-section (1) of section 20, the Commission finds that the combination notified under sub-section (4) does not fulfil the requirements specified under such sub-section and/or the information or declarations provided are materially incorrect or incomplete, the approval under sub-section (5) shall be void ab initio and Commission may pass such order as it may deem fit: Provided that the Commission shall give the parties to the combination an opportunity of being heard before passing any such order. (7) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this section and section 43A, the Central Government may in consultation with the Commission prescribe certain criteria in public interest, fulfilment of which shall exempt certain categories of combinations from the requirement to comply with sub-sections (2), (2A) and (4). (8). Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sections (4), (5), (6) and (7): (i) regulations specified by the Commission and rules prescribed by the Central Government on the matters referred to in these sub-sections as they stood immediately before the commencement of the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2019 and in force at such commencement, shall continue to be in force, till such time as the relevant rules and regulations are made by the Central Government and the Commission, respectively; and (ii) any order passed, fee imposed, combination consummated, resolution passed, direction given, Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 10 15 of 1992 15 of 1992 instrument executed or issued, or thing done under or in pursuance of any regulation specified by the Commission or rule prescribed by the Central Government shall, if in force at the commencement of the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2019, continue to be in force, and shall have effect as if passed, imposed, effected, given, taken, executed, issued or done under or in pursuance of this Act. (9) The provisions of this section shall not apply to share subscription or financing facility or any acquisition, by a public financial institution, foreign portfolio investor, bank or alternative investment fund Category I, pursuant to any covenant of a loan agreement or investment agreement. Explanation. —For the purposes of this section, the expression— (a) “foreign portfolio investor” has the same meaning as assigned to it in the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2014 made under the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (15 of 1992); (b) “alternate investment fund Category I” has the same meaning as assigned to Category I Alternate Investment Funds in the SEBI (Alternate Investment Funds) Regulations 2012 made under the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (15 of 1992).”. 8. After section 6 of the principal Act, section 6A shall be inserted, namely: –– “6A. Nothing contained in sub-sections (2A) of section 6 and section 43A shall prevent the implementation of an open offer or an acquisition of shares or securities convertible into other securities from various sellers, through a series of transactions on a regulated stock exchange from coming into effect if: (a) the Commission is notified of the acquisition within such time and in such manner as maybe specified by the Commission; and (b) the shares or convertible securities, as may be applicable, are maintained in such manner as may be specified; and Insertion of a new section 6A Open Offers, etc. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 11 (c) the acquirer does not exercise any ownership or beneficial rights or interest in such shares or convertible securities including voting rights and receipt of dividends or any other distributions, till the Commission approves such acquisition.”. 9. In section 8 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 8. (a) in the title, after the words, “Composition of”, the word “the ”, shall be inserted; and after the word “Commission,” the words “ and its Governing Board”, shall be inserted. (b) for sub-section (1), the following shall be substituted, namely: –– “(1) The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and six other Whole-time Members to be appointed by the Central Government.” (c) after sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely: –– “(1A) The Commission shall have a Governing Board which shall consist of the following Members: (a) the Members of the Commission; (b) Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance or his nominee, not below the rank of Joint Secretary and the Secretary of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs or his nominee, not below the rank of Joint Secretary, ex -officio; (c) four other Part-time Members to be appointed by the Central Government.” (d) in sub-section (2), after the words, “management, industry,”, the words, “technology, administration,” shall be inserted. (e) sub-section (3) shall be omitted. 10. In section 9 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 9. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 12 (a) in the title, after the words, “Chairperson and”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted, and after the words “Members of”, the word “the”, shall be inserted. (b) in sub-section (1), after the words “The Chairperson and other”, the word “Whole-time”, shall be inserted 11. In section 10 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 10. (a) in sub-section (1), after the words “The Chairperson and every other”, the word “Whole-time”, shall be inserted. (b) in the proviso to sub-section (1), after the words “Chairperson or other”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted. (c) after sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be inserted namely: –– “(1A) A Part-time Member (other than an ex officio Member) shall hold office as such for a term not exceeding three years from the date on which he is appointed.”. (d) in sub-section (2), after the words “or any other”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted. (e) after sub-section (2), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely: –– “(2A) A vacancy caused by the resignation or removal of any Part-time Member under section 11 or by death or otherwise shall be filled by fresh appointment by the Central Government.”. (f) in sub-section (4), after the words “the senior-most”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted. (g) in sub-section (5), after the words “the senior-most”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted. 12. In section 11 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 11. (a) in sub-section (2), after the words “or any other”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted, and, after the words “such Chairperson or”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 13 (b) in sub-section (3), after the words “in sub-section (2), no”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted, and, after the words “reported that the”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted. (c) after sub-section (3), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely: –– “(4) The Central Government shall have the right to terminate the services of any Part-time Member appointed under clause (c) of sub-section (1A) of section 8, at any time before the expiry of the period specified under subsection (1A) of section 10: Provided that no Part-time Member shall be removed under this sub-section unless he has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter.”. 13. In section 12 of the principle Act, –– Amendment of section 12. (a) in the title, after the words, “Chairperson and”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted. 18 of 2013 (b) for the portion beginning with “(1) The Chairperson and other Members shall not” and ending with “section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956)” the following shall be substituted, namely: –– “(1) The Chairperson and other Whole-time Members shall not, for a period of two years from the date on which they cease to hold office, accept any employment in or advise as a consultant, retainer or in any other capacity whatsoever, or be connected with the management or administration of- (a) any enterprise which is or has been a party to a proceeding before the Commission under this Act; or (b) any person which appears or has appeared before the Commission under section 35. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 35, the Chairperson and Whole-time Members after retirement or otherwise ceasing to be in service for any reasons shall not represent any person or enterprise before the Commission: Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply to any employment under the Central Government or a State Government or local authority or in any statutory authority or any corporation established by or under any Central, State or Provincial Act or a Government company Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 14 as defined in clause (45) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013).”. 14. After section 13, the following section shall be inserted to the principal Act, namely: –– “13A. Delegation (1) The Commission may, by general or special order in writing delegate to any Member of the Commission or officer of the Commission subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the order, such of the powers and functions of the Commission under this Act, except the powers and functions under sub-section (4) of section 22, as it may deem necessary. (2) The Governing Board may, by general or special order in writing delegate to any Member or officer of the Governing Board subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the order, such of the powers and functions of the Governing Board under this Act, except the powers and functions under section 64, as it may deem necessary.”. Insertion of a new section 13A Delegation 15. In section 14 of the principal Act, in sub-section (1), after the words “Chairperson and other Members”, the words and characters “(other than the ex-officio Members)” shall be inserted. Amendment of section 14. 16. For section 15 of the principal Act, the following shall be substituted, namely: –– “15. Vacancy, etc. not to invalidate certain acts or proceedings No act of the Governing Board or act or proceeding of the Commission shall be invalid merely by reason of— (a) any vacancy in, or any defect in the constitution of, the Commission or the Governing Board; or (b) any defect in the appointment of a person acting as a Chairperson or as a Member; or (c) any irregularity in the procedure of the Commission not affecting the merits of the case.” Amendment of section 15. 17. In section 16 of the principal Act, for the words “Central Government”, the word “Commission” shall be substituted. Amendment of section 16 18. For section 17 of the principal Act, the following shall be substituted, namely: –– Amendment of section 17 Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 15 “17. Appointment of Secretary, experts, professionals and officers and other employees of Commission and the Governing Board (1) The Commission and the Governing Board may appoint a Secretary and such officers and other employees as they consider necessary for the efficient performance of their functions under this Act. (2) The salaries and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of the Secretary and officers and other employees under sub-section (1), and the number of such officers and other employees shall be such as may be prescribed. (3) The Commission and the Governing Board may engage, in accordance with the procedure specified by regulations, such number of experts and professionals of integrity and outstanding ability, who have special knowledge of, and experience in, economics, law, business or such other disciplines related to competition, as they deem necessary to assist the Commission or the Governing Board, as the case may be, in the discharge of their functions under this Act.” 19. After section 18 of the principal Act, the following section shall be inserted, namely: –– “18A. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the general superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the Commission shall vest in the Governing Board. (2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision, the Governing Board shall perform the following functions: (a) make regulations on matters relating to competition and the administration of the affairs of the Commission as may be required under this Act; (b) enter into, vary, carry out and cancel, memorandums, arrangements and contracts on behalf of the Commission with any statutory authority or department of Government for the purposes of this Act; (c) take measures to promote competition advocacy, create awareness and impart training in competition issues; Insertion of a new section 18A Functions and meetings of the Governing Board Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 16 (d) assist the Central Government in developing a National Competition Policy, its periodic review and implementation; (d) perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Central Government. (3) The Governing Board shall meet at such times and places, and shall observe such rules and procedure in regard to the transaction of business at its meetings as may be provided by regulations: Provided that there shall be at least four meetings of the Governing Board in a year and at least one meeting in each quarter. (4) The Chairperson, if for any reason, is unable to attend a meeting of the Governing Board, any other Member so chosen by the Members present at the meeting, shall preside at the meeting of the Governing Board. (5) All questions which come up before any meeting of the Governing Board shall be decided by a majority of the Members present and voting, and in the event of an equality of votes, the Chairperson or in his absence, the Member presiding, shall have a second or casting vote. (6) The quorum for meetings of the Governing Board shall be two-thirds of the Members of the Governing Board of which at least two of the Members present should be Parttime Members.”. 20. After section 18A of the principal Act, as so inserted, the following section shall be inserted, namely: –– “18B. Any Part-time Member, who is a director of a company and who as such director has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any matter coming up for consideration at a meeting of the Governing Board, shall, as soon as possible after relevant circumstances have come to his knowledge, disclose the nature of his interest at such meeting and such disclosure shall be recorded in the proceedings of the Governing Board, and the Part-time Member shall not take any part in any deliberation or decision of the Governing Board with respect to that matter.”. Insertion of a new section 18B Part-time Member not to participate in meetings in certain cases 21. In section 19 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 19. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 17 (a) in sub-section (3), in clause (c), the words “by hindering entry into the market” shall be omitted. (b) in sub-section (3), in clause (d), for the words “accrual of benefits” the words “benefits or harm” shall be substituted. (c) in sub-section (3), in clause (e), after the words “provision of services;” the word “or” shall be omitted. (d) in sub-section (3), in clause (f), after the words “provision of services” the word “;or” shall be inserted. (e) in sub-section (3), after clause (f), the following clause shall be inserted, namely: –– “(g) any other factor as may be specified by regulations.”. (f) in sub-section (6), after clause (h), the following clauses shall be inserted, namely: –– “(i) characteristics of goods or nature of services; (j) costs associated with switching supply/demand to other areas; (k) any other factor as may be specified by regulations.”. (g) in sub-section (7), in clause (a), after the words “end- use of goods”, the words “or the nature of services” shall be inserted. (h) in sub-section (7), after clause (f), the following clauses shall be inserted namely: –– “(g) costs associated with switching demand/supply to other goods or services; (h) categories of customers; (i) any other factor as may be specified by regulations.”. 22. In section 20 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 20 (a) in sub-section (1), after the words “referred to in clause (c) of”, the words “section 5 or acquisition of control, shares, voting rights or assets, merger or amalgamation referred to in the first proviso of” shall be inserted. (b) in sub-section (1), after the proviso, the following Explanation shall be inserted, namely: –– Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 18 “Explanation. – For the purposes of this sub-section, the value of assets shall be determined in the same manner as provided in the Explanation to clause (a) of section 2.”. (c) for sub-section (3), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 5, the Central Government may in consultation with the Commission, by notification, enhance or reduce the value of assets or turnover or of any other criteria prescribed under the first proviso of section 5, for the purposes of that section.”. (d) in sub-section (4), in clause (c), for the word “combination”, the word “concentration” shall be substituted. 23. In section 21 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 21 (a) in sub-section (1), for the proviso, the following shall be substituted, namely: –– “Provided that any statutory authority, may, suo motu, make a reference to the Commission on any issue that involves any provision of this Act or is related to promoting the objectives of this Act.”. (b) in sub-section (2), after the words “recording reasons”, the words “or give its observations”, shall be inserted. 24. In section 21A of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 21A. (a) in sub-section (1), for the proviso, the following shall be substituted, namely: –– “Provided that the Commission, may, suo motu, make a reference to a statutory authority on any issue that involves provisions of an Act whose implementation is entrusted to that statutory authority.”. (b) in sub-section (2), after the words “recording reasons”, the words “or give its observations”, shall be inserted. 25. In section 22 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 22 (a) in the title, after the words, “Meetings of”, the word “the”, shall be inserted. (b) in sub-section (2), after the word “senior-most”, the word “Whole-time” shall be inserted. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 19 (c) for sub-section (3), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(3) All questions which come up before any meeting of the Commission shall be decided by a majority of the Whole-time Members present and voting”. (d) after sub-section (3), the following sub-section shall be inserted: –– “(4) The Chairperson may appoint Panels of Whole-time Members for the purposes of adjudging under this Act.”. 26. In section 26 of the Principal Act, –– Amendment of section 26 (a) after sub-section (2), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely: –– “ (2A) The Commission may not inquire into agreements referred to in section 3 or into conduct of an enterprise or group under section 4, if the same or substantially the same facts and issues raised in the information or reference from Central Government or a State Government or a statutory authority has already been decided by the Commission in previous orders.”. (b) after sub-section (3), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely: –– “ (3A) If, after consideration of the report of the Director General referred to in sub-section (3), the Commission is of the opinion that further investigation is required, it may direct the Director General to further investigate into the matter and the Director General shall, on receipt of such direction submit a supplementary report on his findings within such period as maybe specified by the Commission.”. (c) in sub-section (4), after the words “sub-section (3)”, at both places where it occurs, the words, letters and brackets “and (3A)” shall be inserted. (d) in sub-section (5), after the words “sub-section (3)”, the words “or the report of the Director General referred to in subsection (3A) or both, as the case may be,”, shall be inserted. (e) in sub-section (8), for the words “sub-section (3) recommends”, the words, letters and brackets “sub-section (3) or the report of the Director General referred to in sub-section (3A) or both, recommend(s)”, shall be substituted. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 20 (f) after sub-section (8), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely: –– “(9) Upon completion of the investigation or inquiry under sub-sections (7) or (8), as may be applicable, the Commission may pass such orders as it deems fit and send a copy of its order to the Central Government or the State Government or the statutory authority or the parties concerned, as the case may be: Provided that before passing such orders, the Commission shall issue a show-cause notice indicating the contraventions alleged to have been committed and such other details as may be specified and give a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the concerned parties.”. 27. In section 27 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 27 (a) for clause (b), for the portion beginning with “impose such penalty” and ending with “agreements or abuse”, the following words shall be substituted, namely: –– “impose such penalty, as it may deem fit which shall be not more than ten per cent. of the average of the turnover or income, as the case maybe, for the last three preceding financial years, upon each of such person or enterprise which is a party to such agreement or has abused its dominant position:”. (b) in clause (b), in the proviso, after the words “seller, distributor”, the words “buyer” shall be inserted, and, after the words “of its turnover”, the words “or income, as the case maybe,”, shall be inserted. (c) after the proviso to clause (b), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely: –– “Provided further that, for the purposes of this sub-section, the turnover or income, as the case maybe, shall be determined in such manner as maybe prescribed.” 28. In section 29 of the Principal Act, –– Amendment of section 29. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 21 (a) in sub-section (1), for the word “thirty”, the words “fifteen calendar” shall be substituted. (b) section (1A) occurring after section (1) shall be numbered as section (1B). (c) before sub-section (1B), so numbered, the following subsection shall be inserted, namely: –– “ (1A) The Commission shall form its prima facie opinion under sub-section (1) as to whether the combination is likely to cause or has caused an appreciable adverse effect on competition within the relevant market in India, within twenty calendar days of receipt of notice filed under subsection (2) of section 6.”. (d) for sub-section (2), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “ (2) The Commission, if it continues to be of the prima facie opinion that the combination has, or is likely to have, an appreciable adverse effect on competition, it shall, within seven calendar days from the date of receipt of the response of the parties to the combination, or the receipt of the report from Director General called under sub-section (1B), whichever is later, direct the parties to the said combination to publish details of the combination within seven calendar days of such direction, in such manner, as it thinks appropriate, for bringing the combination to the knowledge or information of the public and persons affected or likely to be affected by such combination.”. (e) in sub-section (3), for the words “fifteen working”, the words “ten calendar” shall be substituted. (f) in sub-section (4), for the words “fifteen working”, the words “seven calendar” shall be substituted. (g) in sub-section (5), for the words “fifteen”, the words “ten calendar” shall be substituted. (h) for sub-section (6), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(6) After receipt of all information, the Commission shall proceed to deal with the case in accordance with the provisions contained in section 29A or section 31, as the case may be.”. (i) after sub-section (6), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely: –– Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 22 “ (7) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this section, the Commission may accept appropriate modifications offered by the parties to the combination or suo-moto propose modifications or re-modifications, as the case may be, before the Commission has formed a prima facie opinion under sub-section (1) of section 29”. 29. After section 29 of the principal Act, the following section shall be inserted, namely: –– “29A. (1) Upon completion of the process under section 29, where the Commission is of the opinion that the combination has, or is likely to have, an appreciable adverse effect on competition, it shall issue a statement of objections to the parties, identifying such appreciable adverse effect on competition, and direct the parties to explain, within twenty-five calendar days of receipt of the statement of objections, why such combination should be allowed to take effect. (2) Where the parties to the combination consider that such appreciable adverse effect on competition can be eliminated by suitable modification to such combination, they may offer appropriate modification to the combination along with their response to the statement of objections issued under sub-section (1), in such manner as may be specified. (3) If the Commission does not accept the modification submitted by the parties under sub-section (2) it shall, within seven calendar days from the date of receipt of the proposed modifications under sub-section (2), communicate to the parties as to why the modification is not sufficient to eliminate the appreciable adverse effect on competition and call upon the parties to furnish, within twelve calendar days of the receipt of the said communication, revised modification(s) to eliminate the appreciable adverse effects on competition: Provided that the Commission shall evaluate such proposal for modification within twelve calendar days from receipt of such proposal for modification: Provided further that the Commission may suo-moto propose appropriate modifications and re-modifications, as the case may be, to the combination which may be considered by the parties to the combination.”. Insertion of a new section 29A Issue of statement of objections by the Commission and proposal of modifications Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 23 30. In section 31 of the Principal Act, –– Amendment of section 31 (a) in the title, after the words, “Commission on”, the word “certain” shall be omitted. (b) in sub-section (1), the words “including the combination” shall be omitted. (c) for sub-section (3), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(3) Where the Commission is of the opinion that any appreciable adverse effect on competition that the combination has, or is likely to have, can be eliminated by modification proposed by the parties or the Commission, as the case may be, under sub-section (7) of section 29 or subsections (2) or (3) of section 29A, the Commission may approve the combination subject to such modifications”. (d) for sub-section (4), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(4) Where a combination is approved under sub-section (3), the parties shall carry out such modification within the period specified by the Commission in its order under subsection (3).”. (e) for sub-section (5), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(5) Where – (a) the Commission has directed under sub-section (2) that the combination shall not take effect; or (b) the parties to the combination, fail to carry out the modification in such form and within such period as may be specified by the Commission in its order under sub-section (3); or (c) the Commission is of the opinion that the combination has, or is likely to have, an appreciable adverse effect on competition which cannot be eliminated by suitable modification to such combination, without prejudice to any penalty which may be imposed or any prosecution which may be initiated under the Act, the Commission may order that such combination shall not be given effect to, or be declared void, or frame a scheme to Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 24 be implemented by the parties to address the appreciable adverse effect on competition, as the case may be.”. (f) for sub-section (6), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(6) If the Commission does not, on the expiry of a period of one hundred and fifty calendar days from the date of notice given to the Commission under sub-section (2) of section 6, pass an order in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) or sub-section (5), the combination shall be deemed to have been approved by the Commission: Provided that the Commission may by order extend the period under sub-section (6) beyond one hundred and fifty calendar days by such further period as it thinks fit, but not exceeding thirty calendar days in case parties to the combination request for additional time to furnish relevant information or remove defects to the notice filed under subsection (2) of section 6 as may be requested by the Commission.”. (g) sub-sections (7), (8), (9), (10), (11) and (12) shall be omitted. (h) sub-section (13) shall be numbered as sub-section (7). (i) sub-section (14) shall be numbered as sub-section (8). 31. In section 32 of the principal Act, after the words “in sections 19, 20, 26, 29” the numbers and letter “, 29A,” shall be inserted. Amendment of section 32 32. In section 35 of the principal Act, after sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely: –– “(2) Without prejudice to sub-section (1), a person or an enterprise or the Director General may call upon experts from the fields of economics, commerce, international trade or from any other discipline to provide an expert opinion in connection with any matter related to a case.”. Amendment of section 35 33. In section 36 of the principal Act, in sub-section 2, for the words “this Act”, the words “sub-section (4) of section 22” shall be substituted. Amendment of section 36 34. In section 41 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 41 Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 25 (a) sub-section (3) and the Explanation occurring thereafter shall be omitted. (b) after sub-section (2), the following sub-sections shall be inserted, namely: –– “(3) Without prejudice to sub-section (2), it shall be the duty of all officers and other employees and agents of a party which is under investigation – (a) to preserve and to produce to the Director General or any person authorised by it in this behalf, all books, papers, other documents, records and information of, or relating to, the party which are in their custody or power; and (b) otherwise to give to the Director General all assistance in connection with the investigation which they are reasonably able to give. (4) The Director General may require any person other than a party referred to in sub-section (3) to furnish such information, or produce such books, papers, other documents or records before it or any person authorised by it in this behalf if the furnishing of such information or the production of such books, papers, other documents or records is relevant or necessary for the purposes of its investigation. (5) The Director General may keep in his custody any books, papers, other documents, records or information produced under sub-section (3) or sub-section (4) for up to one hundred and eighty calendar days and thereafter shall return the same to the person by whom or on whose behalf the books, papers, other documents, records or information were produced: Provided that the books, papers, other documents, records or information may be called for by the Director General if they are needed again for a further period of one hundred and eighty calendar days by an order in writing: Provided further that certified copies of the books, papers, other documents, records or information, as may be applicable, produced before the Director General may be provided to the party or person on whose behalf the books, papers, other documents, or records are produced at its cost. (6) A Director General may examine on oath – Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 26 (a) any of the officers and other employees and agents of the party being investigated; and (b) with the previous approval of the Commission, any other person in relation to the affairs of the party being investigated and may administer an oath accordingly and for that purpose may require any of those persons to appear before it personally. (7) Notes of any examination under sub-section (6) shall be taken down in writing and shall be read over to or by, and signed by, the person examined and may thereafter be used in evidence against it. (8) If any person fails without reasonable cause or refuses – (a) to produce to the Director General or any person authorised by it in this behalf any book, paper, other document, record or information which it is his duty under sub-section (3) or sub-section (4) to produce; or (b) to appear before the Director General personally when required to do so under sub-section (6) or to answer any question which is put to it by the Director General in pursuance of that sub-section; or (c) to sign the notes of any examination referred to in sub-section (7) he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one crore rupees, or with both, and also with a further fine which may extend to five lakh rupees for every day after the first during which the failure or refusal continues. (9) In this section – (a) the expression “officers”, in relation to any company or body corporate, includes any trustee for the debenture holders of such company or body corporate; (b) the expression “agent”, in relation to any person, means, any one acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of such person, and includes the bankers and Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 27 legal advisers of, and persons employed as auditors by, such person; and (c) any reference to officers and other employees or agents shall be construed as a reference to past as well as present officers and other employees or agents, as the case may be. (10) Where in the course of investigation, the Director General has reasonable grounds to believe that the books, papers, other documents, records or information of, or relating to, any party or person, may be destroyed, mutilated, altered, falsified or secreted, the Director General may make an application to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi for an order for seizure of such, book, paper, other document, record or information. (11) The Director General may requisition the services of any police officer or any officer of the Central Government, or of both, to assist him for all or any of the purposes specified in sub-section (10) and it shall be the duty of every such officer to comply with such requisition. (12) After considering the application and hearing the Director General, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate may by order authorise the Director General- (a) to enter, with such assistance, as may be required, the place or places where such books, papers, other documents, records or information are kept; (b) to search that place or those places in the manner specified in the order; and (c) to seize the books, papers, documents, records or information it considers necessary for the purpose of the investigation: Provided that certified copies of the seized books, papers, other documents, records or information, as may be applicable, may be provided to the party or person from whose place such documents have been seized at its cost. (13) The Director General shall keep in his custody such books, papers, other documents, records or information seized under this section for such period not later than the conclusion of the investigation as it considers necessary and thereafter shall return the same to the party or person Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 28 from whose custody or power they were seized and inform the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, of such return: Provided that the Director General may, before returning such books, papers, other documents, records or information as aforesaid, take copies of, or extracts from them or place identification marks on them or any part thereof. 5 of 1898 (14) Save as otherwise provided in this section, every search or seizure made under this section shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, (5 of 1898), relating to searches or seizures made under that Code.”. 35. In section 42 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 42 (a) in sub-section 2, for the words “sections 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 42A, and 43A of the Act, he shall be punishable with fine”, the words “sections 6, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 42A,43, 43A, 44 and 45 of the Act, he shall be punishable with a penalty” shall be substituted. (b) in sub-section 3, for the words “pay the fine”, the words “pay the penalty” shall be substituted. 36. In section 42A of the principal Act, after the words “under sections”, the number “6”, shall be inserted. Amendment of section 42A 37. In section 43 of the principal Act, in clause (b), for the word “fine”, the word “a penalty”, shall be substituted. Amendment of section 43 38. For section 43A of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted, namely –– “43A. If any person or enterprise fails to give notice to the Commission under sub-section (2) or sub-section (4) of section 6 or contravenes sub-section (2A) of section 6 or submits information pursuant to an inquiry under subsection (1) of section 20, the Commission may impose on such person or enterprise, a penalty which may extend to one percent, of the total turnover or the assets or other criteria prescribed under the first proviso of section 5, whichever is higher, of such a combination: Provided that in case any person or enterprise has given a notice under sub-section (4) of section 6 and such notice is found to be void ab initio under sub-section (6) of section 6, then a notice under sub-section (2) of section 6 may be given by the acquirer or parties to the combination, as may be applicable, within thirty calendar days of the order of the Substitution of section 43A Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 29 Commission under sub-section (6) and no action under this section shall be taken by the Commission till the expiry of such thirty day period. Explanation. – For the purposes of this section, the value of assets shall be determined in the same manner as provided in the Explanation to clause (a) of section 2.”. 39. In section 44 of the principal Act, in clause (b), for the words “one crore”, the words “five crores”, shall be substituted. Amendment of section 44 40. In section 45 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 45 (a) in the title, for the word, “offences”, the word “contraventions”, shall be substituted. (b) in sub-section (1), after the words “Without prejudice to the provisions of”, the words “sub-section (6) of section 6 and”, shall be inserted. (c) in sub-section (1), for the word “fine”, the words “a penalty” shall be substituted. 41. In section 46 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 46 (a) In sub-section (1) , after the word “trader”, at both places where it occurs, the word “, buyer” shall be inserted; and for the words “it may deem fit”, the words “may be specified in regulations” shall be substituted. (b) In the second proviso to sub-section (1), after the word “trader”, the word “, buyer” shall be inserted. (c) In the fourth proviso to sub-section (1), after the word “trader”, in both places where it occurs, the word “, buyer” shall be inserted, and, for the word “offence”, the word “contravention” shall be substituted. (d) after sub-section (1) of the principal Act, the following sub-sections shall be inserted namely: –– “(2) The Commission may allow a producer, seller, distributor, trader, buyer or service provider included in the cartel, to withdraw its application for lesser penalty under this section, in such manner and prior to such time as may be specified: Provided that notwithstanding the withdrawal, the Director General and the Commission shall be entitled to use for the purposes of this Act, any evidence submitted by a producer, seller, distributor, trader, buyer or service provider in its Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 30 application for lesser penalty, save and except its admission. (3) Where during the course of the investigation, a producer, seller, distributor, trader, buyer or service provider who has disclosed a cartel under sub-section (1), makes a full, true and vital disclosure under sub-section (1) with respect to another cartel in which it is alleged to have violated section 3, which enables the Commission to form a prima facie opinion under sub-section (1) of section 26 that there exists another cartel, then the Commission may impose upon such producer, seller, distributor, trader, buyer or service provider a lesser penalty as may be specified in regulations, in respect of the cartel already being investigated, without prejudice to the producer, seller, distributor, trader, buyer or service provider obtaining lesser penalty under sub-section (1) regarding the newly disclosed cartel.”. 42. In section 48 of the Principal Act, –– Amendment of section 48 (a) in sub-section (1), for the words “be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly” the words “be in contravention of this Act and unless otherwise provided in this Act, the Commission may impose such penalty on such persons, as it may deem fit which shall not be more than ten percent of the average of the income for the last three preceding financial years”, shall be substituted. (b) after sub-section (1), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely: –– “Provided that in case any agreement referred to in subsection (3) of section 3 has been entered into by a cartel, the Commission may unless otherwise provided in this Act, impose upon persons referred to in sub-section (1), a penalty of up to ten percent of the income for each year of the continuance of such agreement:”. (c) in sub-section (1), in the second proviso, after the word “Provided”, the word “further”, shall be inserted, and, for the word “punishment”, the word “penalty” shall be substituted. (d) in sub-section (2), for the words “guilty of that contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly”, the words “ in contravention of this Act and the Commission may, unless otherwise provided under this Act, impose such penalty, as it may deem fit, Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 31 which shall not exceed ten percent of the average income for the last three preceding financial years:” shall be substituted. (e) after sub-section (2), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely: –– “Provided that in case any agreement referred to in subsection (3) of section 3 has been entered into by a cartel, the Commission may, unless otherwise provided under this Act, impose upon such person a penalty as it may deem fit which shall not exceed ten percent of the income for each year of the continuance of such agreement.” . (f) in the Explanation, in clause (a), the word “and” occurring after the word “individuals;” shall be omitted. (g) in the Explanation, in clause (b), after the words “partner in the firm”, the word and character “; and” shall be inserted. (h) in the Explanation, after clause (b), the following clause shall be inserted, namely: –– “(c) “income”, in relation to a person, shall be determined in such manner as maybe prescribed. 43. After section 48 of the principal Act, the following section shall be inserted, namely: –– “48A. (1) Any person, against whom any inquiry has been initiated under sub-section (1) of section 26 for contravention of sub-section (4) of section 3 or section 4, may submit an application in writing to the Commission, in such form as may be specified by the Commission, proposing for settlement of the proceeding initiated for the alleged contraventions. (2) An application for settlement under sub-section (1) may be submitted at any time after the receipt of the report of the Director General under sub-section (4) of section 26 but prior to such time before the passing of an order under section 27 or section 28 as may be specified in regulations made under this Act. (3) The Commission may, after taking into consideration the nature, gravity and impact of the contraventions, agree to the proposal for settlement, on payment of such sum by the applicant and/or on such other terms as may be determined by the Commission in accordance with the Insertion of a new section 48A Settlement Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 32 regulations made under this Act and specify the manner in which the settlement terms will be implemented and monitored in accordance with the regulations made under this Act. (4) If the Commission is of the opinion that the settlement offered under sub-section (1) is not appropriate in the circumstances or if the Commission and the party or parties concerned do not reach an agreement on the terms of the settlement within the time specified by regulations, it shall pass an order rejecting the settlement application and proceed with its inquiry under section 26 of the Act. (5) The settlement proceedings under this section shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure specified in the regulations made under this Act. (6) No appeal shall lie under section 53B against any order passed by the Commission under this section. (7) All settlement amounts, excluding the legal costs, realised under this Act shall be credited to the Consolidated Fund of India.”. 44. After section 48A of the principal Act, as so inserted, the following section shall be inserted, namely: –– “ 48B. (1) Any person, against whom any inquiry has been initiated under sub-section (1) of section 26 for contravention of sub-section (4) of section 3 or section 4, may submit an application in writing to the Commission, in such form as may be specified by the Commission, offering commitments in respect of the alleged contraventions stated in the Commission’s order under sub-section (1) of section 26. (2) An offer for commitments under sub-section (1) may be submitted at any time after an order under subsection (1) of section 26 has been passed by the Commission but within such time prior to the receipt by the party of the report of the Director General under subsection (4) of section 26 as may be specified in regulations made under this Act. (3) The Commission may, after taking into consideration the nature, gravity and impact of the alleged contraventions and effectiveness of the proposed commitments, accept the commitments offered and specify the manner in which the commitments will be implemented and monitored along with any other terms as may be Insertion of a new section 48B Commitment Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 33 determined by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made under this Act. (4) If the Commission is of the opinion that the commitment offered under sub-section (1) is not appropriate in the circumstances or if the Commission and the party or parties concerned do not reach an agreement on the terms of the commitment within the time specified by regulations, it shall pass an order rejecting the commitment application and proceed with its inquiry under section 26 of the Act. (5) The commitments offered under this section shall be governed in accordance with the procedure specified in the regulations made under this Act. (6) No appeal shall lie under section 53B against any order passed by the Commission under this section.”. 45. After section 48B, as so inserted, the following section shall be inserted, namely: –– “48C. If an applicant fails to comply with the order passed under section 48A or 48B at any time after it is passed or it comes to the notice of the Commission that the applicant has not made full and true disclosure or there has been a material change in the facts, the order passed under section 48A or 48B, as may be applicable, shall stand revoked and withdrawn and such person may be liable to pay appropriate legal costs incurred by the Commission which may extend to rupees one crore and the Commission may restore or initiate the inquiry with respect to which the order under section 48A or 48B was passed.”. Insertion of a new section 48C Revocation of the settlement or commitment order and penalty 46. In section 49 of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 49. (a) for sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(1) The Central Government or a State Government may, in formulating a policy including review of laws having an impact or likely to have an impact on competition or any other matter, as the case may be, make a reference to the Commission for its opinion on the possible effect of such policy on competition and on the receipt of such a reference, the Commission shall, within sixty calendar days of making such reference, give its opinion to the Central Government, or the State Government, as the case may be, which may thereafter take further action as it deems fit.”. Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 12th February 2020 34 (b) for sub-section (3), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely: –– “(3) The Governing Board of the Commission shall take suitable measures for the promotion of competition advocacy and culture, creating awareness and imparting training about competition issues.” . 47. In section 51 of the principal Act, Amendment of section 51. (a) in sub-section (1), after clause (d), the following clause shall be inserted, namely: – “(e) all sums received by the Commission from such other sources as may be decided upon by the Government.”. (b) in sub-section (2), after the word “Commission”, in both places where it occurs, the words “and the Governing Board”, shall be inserted. 48. In section 53A of the principal Act, in sub-section (1), in clause (a), for the words “sub-sections (2), (6) of section 26”, the words “sub-section (6) of section 6, sub-sections (2), (2A), (6) and (9) of section 26”, shall be substituted. Amendment of section 53A 49. In section 53B, in sub-section (2), after the proviso, the following proviso shall be inserted, namely: –– “Provided further that no appeal by a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the Commission, shall be entertained by the Appellate Tribunal unless the appellant has deposited twenty-five per cent of that amount or such other lower amount as may be prescribed and in such manner as may be prescribed.”. Amendment of section 53B 50. In section 53N of the principal Act, –– Amendment of section 53N (a) in sub-section (1), after the words “under sub-section (2) of section 53Q”, the words “or the orders of the Supreme Court in an appeal against the findings of the Appellate Tribunal under section 53T”, shall be inserted. (b) in sub-section (2), after the words “findings of the Commission” the words “or Appellate Tribunal or the Supreme Court”, shall be inserted.

     

     

    1. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019

     

    • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 was promulgated on December 28, 2019.  The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 (similar to the Ordinance) was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 12, 2019.  The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance on December 23, 2019.
    • The Code allows creditors to initiate an insolvency resolution process, if a company defaults on its payments.  The Ordinance introduces an additional threshold for certain classes of financial creditors, including allottees of real estate projects, for initiating the resolution process.  At least 10% of them or 100 such persons have to jointly initiate the process.
    • The Ordinance empowers the resolution professional to require suppliers to continue providing goods and services.  This provision will not apply if the debtor has unpaid dues arising from such supplies during the moratorium period.
    • The Ordinance provides that the company will not be liable for any offence committed prior to the insolvency resolution process, if there is a change in the management or control of the company.
    • Under the Code, the insolvency resolution process commences when the Insolvency Resolution Professional (IRP) is appointed.  The Ordinance states that the IRP must be appointed on the date of admission of the application by NCLT, which will be considered as the insolvency commencement date.

    Key Issues and Analysis

    • In case of defaults by real estate developers, the insolvency resolution application should be filed jointly by at least 100 homebuyers or 10% of their total number.  The rationale for adding such a threshold only for certain creditors is unclear.  Further, a homebuyer wishing to initiate the process may not have details of other allottees.
    • The Ordinance empowers the resolution professional to require suppliers to continue providing goods and services during the moratorium period.  This provision overrides the agency of suppliers to negotiate and decide whether to continue a contractual arrangement.  It may also force supply of goods and services even if the supplier finds it risky or unviable.
    • In order to balance the rights of the suppliers, the Ordinance provides that suppliers have to continue supplying only if their current dues are paid.  In other countries, additional safeguards are available.  These include the right to seek a payment guarantee, and court-granted permission to terminate contract in cases where the supplier demonstrates that continuation will cause hardship.

    PART A: HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ORDINANCE

    Context

    The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) provides a time-bound process to resolve insolvency among companies.  Insolvency is a situation when a company is unable to repay its debt.  If the company defaults by one lakh rupees, a creditor (such as banks or suppliers) can initiate the insolvency resolution process.

    A Committee of Creditors is constituted to decide regarding the insolvency resolution.  The Committee consists of financial creditors to the insolvent company.  Financial creditors include creditors who had given loans to the company.  Other creditors such as suppliers and employees to whom the company owes money are called operational creditors.  The IBC was amended in 2018 to classify allottees of real estate projects as financial creditors.  The Committee may consider a resolution plan which typically provides for payoff of debt by merger, acquisition, or restructuring of the company, and may require creditors to forgo some amount.  If a resolution plan is not accepted by the Committee, the assets of the company are liquidated.  In case of liquidation, proceeds from the sale of assets are used to settle the claims as per a specified order.

    In November 2017, the Insolvency Law Committee was set up to review IBC, identify implementation issues, and suggest changes.  It submitted its report in March 2018.  The Committee recommended that the supply of goods and services essential to keep a particular business running cannot be terminated when a company is undergoing insolvency resolution. [1]

    In a few cases, after successful resolution, investigations or actions (e.g. attachment of property) were initiated against companies for offences committed by previous promoters.  For instance, after NCLT approved JSW Steel’s resolution plan for Bhushan Power and Steel, the Enforcement Directorate attached the latter’s properties for its prior offences. [2]

    In this context, the IBC (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 12, 2019.  The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance on December 23, 2019 for examination.  Subsequently, the IBC (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, similar to the Bill, was issued on December 28, 2019.

    Key Features

    • Threshold for certain creditors for initiating resolution process:  The Code allows the creditors to initiate an insolvency resolution process, if the amount of default by the debtor is at least one lakh rupees.  The Ordinance adds an additional requirement for certain classes of financial creditors for filing application. These classes include real estate allottees and security or deposit holders represented by a trustee or agent.  The application by these creditors should be filed jointly by at least 100 such creditors or 10% of their total number, whichever is less.
    • Supply of critical goods and services not to be discontinued:  The Ordinance mandates that the supplies of goods and services considered critical by the resolution professional cannot be discontinued during the moratorium period.   Moratorium period refers to the time period during which NCLT prohibits persons from taking certain actions against the corporate debtor, such as filing or continuation of suits, execution of court orders, or recovery of property.  This applies to goods and services that are considered critical to protect and preserve the value of the debtor and manage its operations as a going concern.   Suppliers of critical goods and services can stop supplying if: (i) the debtor has not paid dues arising from the supplies during the moratorium period, or (ii) in certain other circumstances as may be specified.
    • Licenses and permits not to be terminated due to insolvency:  The Ordinance states that any existing license, permit, registration, or clearance given by any government authority to the debtor will not be suspended or terminated due to insolvency.  This provision will be applicable as long as the debtor does not default in the payment of current dues arising for the use or continuation of such licenses or permits.
    • Liabilities for prior offences:  The Ordinance states that the company will not be liable for any offence committed prior to the commencement of the insolvency resolution process.  Such liabilities will cease and the company will not be prosecuted from the date the resolution plan is approved by the NCLT.  Further, the Ordinance provides immunity to the company from actions against their property in relation to such offences.  Such actions include attachment, seizure, retention, or confiscation of property.
    • Immunity to the company will be given only if the resolution plan results in a change in the management or control of the company.   The new management should not include: (i) a person who was a promoter, or in the management or control, of the company, (ii) a related party of such a person, or (iii) a person suspicious of abetting or conspiring for commission of the offence against whom a complaint has been filed in court.  Further, officers in default or persons associated with the company and directly or indirectly involved in the offences committed by the company will continue to be liable for those offences.
    • Appointment of the Interim Resolution Professional and commencement date:   Under the Code, the insolvency commencement date is the date on which an application for corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) is admitted.  An Insolvency Resolution Professional (IRP) is required to be appointed within 14 days from the date of admission of the application for CIRP.  The date of appointment of the IRP is treated as the insolvency commencement date.  The Ordinance states that the IRP must be appointed on the date of admission of the application, which will be considered as the insolvency commencement date.

    PART B: KEY ISSUES AND ANALYSIS

    Additional threshold for certain creditors for initiating resolution process

    The IBC allows any creditor to initiate an insolvency resolution process, if the amount of default by the debtor is at least one lakh rupees. [3]  The Ordinance adds an additional requirement for certain classes of financial creditors for filing application.  These classes include real estate allottees and security or deposit holders represented by a trustee or agent.  The application by these creditors should be filed jointly by at least 100 such creditors or 10% of their number.  The question is whether a threshold based on the number of creditors should be specified for filing of an application.  Other financial creditors or an operational creditor can file an application based on a default of one lakh rupees or more.  However, these specified classes of creditors will not be able to file an application if they are unable to meet this additional threshold, irrespective of the amount of default.

    The threshold aims to prevent potential abuse of the Code by certain classes of financial creditors. [4]  As of September 2019, of the 10,860 IBC cases pending with NCLT, 1,821 cases (17%) have been filed by homebuyers. [5][6]   While the threshold may prevent abuse of the Code by deterring the filing of frivolous applications by a few persons, it can also act as a barrier in genuine cases of default.  It may be argued that the objective may be achieved through other measures as well.   For instance, for homebuyers, the Supreme Court pointed out that any fraudulent intention behind the filing of an application can be proven by the developer before NCLT at the stage of examining the application. [7]  Note that NCLT can impose a penalty of up to one crore rupees on persons filing applications with fraudulent or malicious intent for any purpose other than insolvency resolution or liquidation.

    Further, creditors of these specified classes may be unduly burdened with finding sufficient fellow creditors.  Meeting the threshold may prove to be difficult as the required information about other such creditors may not be available.  For example, if a homebuyer intends to file an application, he may not have information regarding other allottees under that real estate project which can be used to identify or contact them.  Such information may only be available with the defaulting company.

    Continuation of supply of critical goods and services

    Interference in contractual arrangements

    Typically, supply of goods and services are arranged through contracts which allow either party to terminate the contract in certain cases.  These include those circumstances where an insolvency proceeding may have been initiated against one of these parties. [8]   The Ordinance empowers the resolution professional to require vendors to continue supplies of critical goods and services during the moratorium period.  It may be argued that the provision overrides the agency of a supplier to negotiate the terms and to decide whether to continue a contractual arrangement.

    Ensuring the continuation of supply of goods and services, which are critical to the business, may enhance the earning potential of the company and maximise its value. [9]   This would ultimately benefit all the creditors in the event of sale or liquidation of the company. 8  While this may be necessary to enable the company’s survival, it may lead to an adverse impact on the business of a supplier as he is obligated to continue supplying even if it is risky or unviable.8  Hence, the question is whether such interference in contractual arrangements is appropriate.

    Note that the IBC already provides an enabling mechanism to the resolution professional to secure necessary supply contracts.  A resolution professional is allowed to raise funds to manage operations of the company as a going concern.  Insolvency resolution process costs, which have the highest priority in payment upon liquidation include any costs incurred in managing operations during the moratorium period and any financial debt incurred to meet such costs.9  Therefore assurance of priority in payment may be used by the resolution professional to persuade suppliers to continue supplies through a mutual agreement.8

    Safeguards for suppliers

    In order to balance the rights of the suppliers, the Ordinance provides that suppliers have to continue supplying only if their current dues are paid.   Insolvency laws in other countries such as USA similarly allow the resolution professional to require the supplier to continue performing the contract.8,[10],[11]  In United Kingdom, the insolvency law only provides for a narrow list of essential goods and services (gas, water, electricity and communication services) whose supply cannot be terminated on the grounds of insolvency. [12]  These laws also provide certain additional safeguards to the suppliers.

    These additional safeguards include: (i) the right of suppliers to seek a payment guarantee, (ii) specified timeline for clearance of dues of supplies during the moratorium period (in United Kingdom, within the period of 28 days from the day on which payment is due) (iii) the right to seek compensation for monetary losses caused by defaults, (iv) court-granted permission to terminate contract in cases where the supplier can demonstrate that continuation will cause hardship, and (v) treatment of all obligations, including any past dues before the start of the insolvency proceedings, as part of the administrative costs and assurance of a priority in payment.8,10,11,12

    The Ordinance does not provide such additional safeguards to protect the interests of vendors supplying critical goods and services to an insolvent company.

    Immunity to the corporate debtor from liabilities for prior offences

    Under the Code, liabilities for offences committed by the company before CIRP starts (prior offences), where such liabilities are known, become a part of the claims against the debtor.  These claims are settled as per the approved resolution plan or liquidation order.   However, liabilities for prior offences may also arise after the CIRP gets over because of an ongoing prosecution or investigation, or a new investigation.  In these cases, the corporate debtor may be held liable for prior offences, even if a third party takes control of the company.  The Ordinance gives immunity to the debtor, including its properties, from prior offences, provided the resolution process results in a change in its management or control.  Although the debtor (company as a legal entity) will be given immunity from prior offences, the individuals responsible for committing such offences on behalf of the debtor will still be held liable.

    The question may be whether the debtor should be given a blanket immunity and absolved of prior offences due to insolvency resolution under IBC.  Such immunity would not be available if a company changed hands through the normal market mechanism of merger or acquisition.  That said, in the case of a merger or acquisition, the acquiring company may require the seller to provide indemnity; in the case of a CIRP, there is no seller, so the law may have to provide protection to the person who acquires the company.

     

    1. INDIAN INSTITUTES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2020

     

    • THE INDIAN INSTITUTES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2020 A BILL further to amend the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 and to amend the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-private Partnership) Act, 2017. BE it enacted by Parliament in the Seventy-first Year of the Republic of India as follows:— CHAPTER I PRELIMINARY 1. (1) This Act may be called the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020. (2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. Short title and commencement. Bill No. 61 of 2020 AS INTRODUCED IN LOK SABHA 5 2 CHAPTER II AMENDMENT TO THE INDIAN INSTITUTES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2014 2. In the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014, in section 41, in sub-section (3), for the word “elected” at both the places where they occur, the word “nominated” shall be substituted. CHAPTER III AMENDMENT TO THE INDIAN INSTITUTES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP) ACT, 2017 3. In the Schedule to the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-private Partnership) Act, 2017,— (a) after serial number 2 and the entries relating thereto, the following shall be inserted, namely:— (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) “2A.
    • Bihar Indian Institute Indian Indian Institute of Information Institute of of Information Technology, Information Technology, Bhagalpur Technology, Bhagalpur.”; being a society Bhagalpur registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860) (b) after serial number 3 and the entries relating thereto, the following shall be inserted, namely:— (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) “3A. Gujarat Indian Institute Indian Indian Institute of Information Institute of of Information Technology, Information Technology, Surat being Technology, Surat.”; a society Surat registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860) (c) after serial number 7 and the entries relating thereto, the following shall be inserted, namely:— (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) “7A. Karnataka Indian Institute Indian Indian Institute of Information Institute of of Information Technology, Information Technology, Raichur being a Technology, Raichur.”; society registered Raichur under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860) Amendment of section 41 of Act 30 of 2014.
    • Amendment of Schedule to Act 23 of 2017. 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 (d) after serial number 8 and the entries relating thereto, the following shall be inserted, namely:— (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) “8A. Madhya Indian Institute Indian Indian Institute Pradesh of Information Institute of of Information Technology, Information Technology, Bhopal Technology, Bhopal.”; being a society Bhopal registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860) (e) after serial number 13 and the entries relating thereto, the following shall be inserted, namely:— (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) “13A. Tripura Indian Institute Indian Indian Institute of Information Institute of of Information Technology, Information Technology, Agartala Technology, Agartala.”. being a society Agartala registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860) 3 5 10 15 20 25 4 STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-private Partnership) Act, 2017 (the said Act) was enacted to declare certain Indian Institutes of Information Technology established under Public-private Partnership mode as institutions of national importance, with a view to develop new knowledge in information technology and to provide manpower of global standards for the information technology industry and to provide for certain other matters connected with such institutions or incidental thereto. 2. The said Act was enacted in pursuance of a scheme approved by the Government to set up twenty Indian Ins  titutes of Information Technology in Public-private Partnership mode.
    • Fifteen such institutes were incorporated as institutions of national importance under the said Act. The Government has decided to include five more institutes which have been subsequently established as societies at Bhagalpur (Bihar), Surat (Gujarat), Raichur (Karnataka), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) and Agartala (Tripura), also within the ambit of the said Act to be institutions of national importance. 3. The proposed legislation also provides for rectifying a patent error in sub-section (3) of section 41 of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 so as to substitute the word “elected” with “nominated”, for clarity. 4. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives.

     

    1. Budget for Chhattisgarh

     

    • The Chief Minister, Mr. Bhupesh Baghel, presented the Budget for Chhattisgarh for the financial year 2020-21.
    • The Gross State Domestic Product of Chhattisgarh for 2020-21 (at current prices) is projected to be Rs 3,62,214 crore.  This is a 10% increase over the revised estimate for 2019-20.
    • Total expenditure for 2020-21 is estimated to be Rs 1,00,491 crore, a 0.5% increase over the revised estimate of 2019-20.  In 2019-20, total expenditure is estimated to increase by 6.6% (Rs 6,158 crore) from the budget estimate for the year.
    • Total receipts (excluding borrowings) for 2020-21 are estimated to be Rs 84,131 crore, an increase of 10.7% as compared to the revised estimate of 2019-20.  In 2019-20, total receipts (excluding borrowings) are estimated to fall short of the budgeted estimate by Rs 4,050 crore (5.1% of the budgeted estimate).
    • Revenue surplus for 2020-21 is targeted at Rs 2,431 crore, or 0.67% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).   Fiscal deficit is targeted at Rs 11,518 crore (3.18% of GSDP).  In 2019-20, the fiscal deficit is estimated to be Rs 21,089 crore (6.4% of GSDP).
    • In 2020-21, the sector of Irrigation and Flood Control (23%), Education (9%) and Police (8%) saw the highest increase in allocations over the revised estimate of previous year.  Agriculture (27%) saw the largest decline in allocation over the revised estimate of previous year.

    Policy Highlights

    • Agriculture:  Rajiv Gandhi Kisaan Nyay Yojana, will be launched with an outlay of Rs 5,100 crore for providing appropriate benefit to farmers for their produce.  Five horticulture colleges and two dairy diploma colleges will be set up across the state.  A new food technology institute will be set up in Raipur.
    • Education:  Tuition fees of students from the state, who take admission in any of the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, or All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, will be borne by the state government.  Such graduates will be eligible for direct recruitment in the government and semi-government institutes of the state.  16,000 persons working as teaching staff in the state on a contract basis, but have completed two years of service, will be given permanent commission from July 1, 2020.
    • Health:  Mukhyamantri Suposhan Yojana will be started to eliminate malnutrition and anaemia in the state.  Rs 60 crore has been allocated for this purpose.  Priority and Antyodaya ration card holder families will be eligible for cashless medical treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh.  For other ration card holder families, the limit is Rs 50,000.  Rs 550 crore has been allocated for providing cashless medical treatment to 65 lakh families.
    Chhattisgarh’s Economy

    • GSDP:  The growth rate of Chhattisgarh’s GSDP (at constant prices) is estimated to be 5.3% in 2019-20, a decline from the 7.1% growth rate in 2018-19.
    • Sectors:  Agriculture, Industry, and Services are estimated to contribute 17%, 46%, and 37%, respectively to the state’s economy in 2019-20.  Both industry and services sectors have seen a decline in their growth over the last few years.
    • Per capita income:  The per capita income of Chhattisgarh in 2019-20 is estimated at Rs 98,281 (6.3% higher than that of 2018-19).
    • Unemployment:  According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (2017-18), Chhattisgarh had an unemployment rate of 3.3%, compared to the all-India unemployment rate of 6.1%.
    Figure 1:  Growth in GSDP and sectors in Chhattisgarh (year-on-year, at 2011-12 constant prices)

     

    Sources: Chhattisgarh Economic Review 2019-20; PRS.
    Note: Industry includes mining and manufacturing.  Figures for 2019-20 are Second Advanced Estimates.

    Budget Estimates for 2020-21

    • The total expenditure in 2020-21 is targeted at Rs 1,00,491 crore.  This is 0.5% higher than the revised estimates of 2019-20.  This expenditure is proposed to be met through receipts (other than borrowings) of Rs 84,131 crore and borrowings of Rs 15,701 crore.  Total receipts for 2020-21 (other than borrowings) are expected to be 10.7% higher than the revised estimate of 2019-20.  However, they are estimated to fall short of the budgeted estimate by Rs 4,050 crore (5.1% of the budgeted estimate).

     

     

    1. Nidhi Companies  to apply to the Central government for updation of their status/ declaration as Nidhi Company in Form NDH-4 in accordance to  amended provisions of the Companies Act and Nidhi Amendment Rules 2019

     

    • In order to make regulatory regime for Nidhi Companies more effective and also      to accomplish the objectives of transparency & investor friendliness in corporate environment of the country, the Central Government has recently amended the provisions related to NIDHI under the Companies Act and the Rules (effective from 15.08.2019).
    • The amended provisions of the Companies Act (Section 406) and Nidhi rules (as amended w.e.f. 15.08.2019) require that the Nidhi companies have to apply to the Central government for updation of their status/ declaration as Nidhi Company in Form NDH-4.
    • The time-frame for applying to Central Government in form NDH-4 is as under:-
    1. Companies incorporated as Nidhi beforeNidhi Amendment Rules, 2019 i.e. 15.08.2019 have to apply within a period of one year from the date of its incorporation or within 9 months of the Nidhi Amendment Rules i.e. 15.08.2019 whichever is later.

     

    1. Companies incorporated as Nidhi on or after Nidhi Amendment Rules, 2019 i.e. 15.08.2019 have to apply within 60 days of expiry of one year from the date of incorporation or extended  period (as granted by concerned Regional Director).
    • In case a company does not comply with the above requirements, it shall not be allowed to file Form No. SH–7 (Notice to Registrar for any alteration of share capital) and Form PAS–3 (Return of Allotment).
    • Such companies are required to ensure strict adherence to provision of Companies Act, 1956/2013 and Nidhi Rules, 2014 as amended. In case of contravention  of the provisions of these Rules, the company and every officer of the company who is in default shall initially be punishable with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees and further fine in case of continuous violations.
    • Further, the Investors are advised to verify the status of Nidhi company from the notification issued by Central Government in official gazette before making any investment or deposit.
    • Under Nidhi Rules, 2014, Nidhi is a company which has been incorporated as a Nidhi with the object of cultivating the habit of thrift and saving amongst its members, receiving deposits from, and lending to, its members only, for their mutual benefit.

     

     

    1. On the occasion of 130th Foundation Day of National Archives of India an exhibition named “Jallianwala Bagh” inaugurated in New Delhi

     

    • On the occasion of 130thFoundation Day of National Archives of India (NAI), Joint Secretary of Ministry of Culture Shri P.L. Sahuinaugurated an exhibition Jallianwala Bagh” at the premises of National Archives, New Delhi in the presence of Director General of National Archives of India Shri Chandan Sinha. Based on the original documents, this exhibition is an endeavour to commemorate the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre covering a period from (1915-50). The exhibition will remain open for public viewing till 30 April 2020.
    • The present exhibition is primarily presented with the help of original and digital copies of archival documents relating to the Jallianwala bagh Massacre available in National Archives of India. This is an earnest attempt to portray the relentless struggle of the Indian people against the British tyranny through our record holdings.

     

    1. Steps Taken to Boost Export

     

    • Primary focus  Government export promotion schemes/ policies is to refund duties and taxes levied on inputs used in production of export products, reduce cost disability by providing incentives to specified products and improve all-round ease of doing business. Overall thrust is on enhancing competitiveness and growth in exports of all products groups across all destinations. As a result, our export products and destinations are fairly diversified. In Financial Year 2018-19 products were exported to 233 countries/territories covering all big and small trading countries. During this period, we exported products in all the 168 principal commodity groups.

    Government is taking holistic measures to make exports competitive whether it is ensuring access to affordable credit, initiating exporter friendly schemes, promoting districts as export hubs, improving logistics and improving utilisation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

    In order to boost India’s exports, Government has taken several steps, including:

    1. A new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 was launched on 1stApril 2015. The policy, inter alia, rationalised the earlier export promotion schemes and introduced two new schemes, namely Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) for improving export of goods   and ‘Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS)’ for increasing exports of services. Duty credit scrips issued under these schemes were made fully transferable.
    2. Based on Mid-term Review of the FTP 2015-20 undertaken on 5th December, 2017, incentives for labour intensive / MSME sectors were increased by 2%.
    • A new Logistics Division was created in the Department of Commerce for integrated development of the logistics sector.  India’s rank in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index moved up from 54 in 2014 to 44 in 2018.
    1. Interest Equalization Scheme on pre and post shipment rupee export credit was introduced from 1.4.2015 providing interest equalisation at 3% for labour intensive / MSME sectors. The rate was increased to 5% for MSME sectors with effect from 2.11.2018 and merchant exporters were covered under the scheme with effect from 2.1.2019.
    2. For improving ease of doing business, online issuance of Importer Exporter Codes (IEC), has been started. India’s rank in World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking improved from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2019 with the rank in ‘trading across borders’ moving up from 122 to 80.
    3. A new scheme called “Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)” was launched with effect from 1st April 2017 to address the export infrastructure gaps in the country.

    (vii) A comprehensive “Agriculture Export Policy” was launched on 6th December, 2018 with an aim to double farmers’ income by 2022 and provide an impetus to agricultural exports.

    (viii) A new scheme called “Transport and Marketing Assistance” (TMA) has been launched for mitigating disadvantage of higher cost of transportation for export of specified agriculture products.

    1. CCI approves combination involving setting up of Mindspace REIT by K. Raheja Corp Group

    • The Competition Commision of India (CCI) approves proposed combination involving setting up of Mindspace REIT (REIT) by K. Raheja Corp Group and acquisition of certain equity shareholding held by selling shareholders in the Target Entities by REIT, under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002.

    The parties to the combination are:

    1. Acquirer: Mindspace Business Parks REIT (“Mindspace REIT”)
    2. Target Entities: Raheja IT Park (Hyderabad) Limited, Intime Properties Limited, Sundew Properties Limited, Avacado Properties and Trading (India) Private Limited, Gigaplex Estate Private Limited, KRC Infrastructure and Projects Private Limited, Horizonview Properties Private Limited; and Mindspace Business Parks Private Limited (“Target Entitites”)

    Mindspace REIT is set up as a contributory, irrevocable and determinate trust under the provisions of the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, with object and purpose to carry on a real estate investment trust, as permissible under the REIT Regulations, to raise funds through the REIT, to make investments in accordance with the REIT Regulations and the investment strategy and to carry on the activities as may be required for operating the REIT, including incidental and ancillary matters thereto.

    The Target Entities are special purpose vehicles and are active in the commercial real estate industry. The business of the Target Entities consists of 10 commercial real estate projects. These commercial real estate projects are a mix of information technology parks, commercial buildings and special economic zone projects located in Mumbai Region, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai.

    The proposed transaction pertains to setting up and listing of a real estate investment trust (REIT) in India. It essentially entails acquisition of certain equity shareholding held by the selling shareholders in the Target Entities by Mindspace REIT, in accordance with the Securities Exchange Board of India (Real Estate Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014 (REIT Regulations) (Proposed Combination).

    The CCI approved the Proposed Combination under Section 31(1) of the Act.

    1. Protecting IP Intensive Industries

     

     

    • Intellectual Property (IP) intensive industry is not defined, however, this Department has taken various initiatives to strengthen Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Regime in India like legislative improvements, modernisation of IP offices, manpower augmentation, use of IT and technology, e-filing of applications, acceptance of email in all IPO transactions, online delivery of certificates of grant/registration of patent, trademark and designs in digital format, use of video-conferencing for hearing of IP applications, SMS alert to get updates,expedited examination of IP applications, spreading awareness in IPR, India’s accession to WIPO administered treaties, signing of pilot Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) project with Japan in the month of December 2019.

    Impacts of the initiatives taken during last 5 years are as under:

     

    • Period of examination of new Trademarks applications has been reduced from  13   months to less than 30 days.

     

    • Trademark is registered in less than 7 months, if there are no objections or opposition filed, as compared to 3-5 years required earlier.

     

    • 25 lakh trademark registrations in just four and half years (2015 to 2019)   as   compared to 11 lakh registrations during 75 Years (1940-2015).

     

    • Patent examination increased from 22631 in 2014-15 to 85426 in 2018-19.

     

    • Time required for patent examination reduced from average 72 months in 2014- 2015 to average around 36 months in 2019.

     

    • Grant of patents has increased from 5,978 in 2014-15 to 15,283 in 2018-19.
    • The Government of India has been working steadily to improve India’s ranking in Global Innovation Index (GII) and this is evident from the fact that India has been consistently moving up on global ranking in past few years. India’s ranking has improved from 81 in 2015 to 52 in 2019 in GII. Amendments in IP Acts are considered by the Government of India as and when deemed necessary.

     

     

     

     

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

     

    1. Australia unveils 11.4 billion US dollars stimulus package to stave off recession amid coronavirus outbreak                                                           
    •  Australia on Thursday put forward a 11.4 billion US dollars stimulus package to stave off a recession due to the economic impacof the coronavirus outbreak. The package includes cash payments for small businesses and welfare recipients.
    • Australia has recorded more than 120 cases of the virus and three deaths. The World Health Organization declared the global coronavirus crisis as a pandemic on Wednesday causing, jolting markets worldwide and raising the sense of urgency surrounding efforts to contain it.
    • The Australian government will spend 7.1 billion US dollars before June 30, the end of the financial year, with the remainder to be spent before July 2021.
    • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the package would provide an immediate stimulus to Australia’s economy. Up to 6.5 million people – nearly a quarter of the country’s population on government benefits will receive one-off payments of 485 US dollars.
    • The stimulus measures were announced following a 1.6 billion US dollar health package, which includes up to 100 coronavirus fever clinics to be set up.

     

     

    1. ADB asks staff at Manila office to work from home after visitor tests positive for COVID-19

     

    • The Asian Development Bank on Thursday asked employees at its Manila headquarters to work from home after a visitor to the bank tested positive for COVID-19.
    • The bank’s Manila headquarters facility will be closed from today for cleaning and disinfecting. The decision will not affect the bank’s operations which will continue.

     

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

    1. Tiger Woods to be inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame in 2021 class

    • American golfer Tiger Woods will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021. The hall of fame, located in St. Augustine, Florida, released a statement on Wednesday saying Woods, winner of 15 major titles, will be inducted in the male competitor category.
    • Woods was among 10 finalists named in March as candidates for 2021. His 93 worldwide victories include a record-tying 82 US PGA Tour titles. He won his 15th major title at the Masters last April, ending an 11-year major drought after career-threatening injuries.
    • Woods is a three-time winner of the career Grand Slam and in 2000-01 completed the “Tiger Slam” when he became the first golfer since Bobby Jones to hold all four major championship titles at the same time. The 2021 class was chosen by Hall’s selection committee, a 20-member panel.

     

     

    1. Rain delays toss in first ODI between India & South Africa at Dharamshala

    • Rain has delayed the toss in the first one day international between India and South Africa in Dharamshala today. India, led by Virat Kohli, is set to take on South Africa under Quentin De Kock today in their first ODI encounter since the ICC World Cup 2019.
    • Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya are making a comeback in the 3 match series. This is also the first time that the Men in Blue will be taking on the Proteas in Dharamshala.

     

     

     

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