Middle East

Low Tariff for Solar PV Projects: The Good and the Not So Good

Tariffs for solar power have been falling steadily since 2010 when the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (“JNNSM”) was launched – from the lowest tariff of ₹10.95 per kWh, discovered for photovoltaic (“PV”) projects in batch I of phase I of JNNSM, to ₹7.49 per kWh (being the lowest tariff discovered in reverse auctions based on discounted feed-in tariff) for PV projects in batch II of phase I of JNNSM, to a levelised tariff of ₹5.45 per kWh (₹4.95 per kWh in case benefit of accelerated depreciation is availed) for PV projects selected under reverse auctions based on viability gap funding (“VGF”) under batch I of phase II of JNNSM. 

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Inspiring innovation in start-ups – protection of intellectual property rights

India has become the fastest growing Start-Up base worldwide and stands third in the global Start-Ups ecosystem as per NASSCOM Start-Up Ecosystem Report 2015. With more Start-Up ventures taking shape, the ecosystem for establishing a successful a Start-Up is not only competitive but also tough to survive. In this scenario, novelty and innovation plays a pivotal role in attracting potential clients and investors. Inventions and creativity generates valuable intellectual property such as symbols, designs, content, marks, patents and images which can be protected under various legislations inter alia, Indian Copyright Act, 1957, Trade Mark Act, 1999, The Patents Act, 1970 and Designs Act, 2000. Consequently, proper implementation and enforcement of IP rights by a Start-Up is imperative. IP protection not only provides security against third-party infringements but also enhances the valuation and attractiveness of a Start-Up to investors.

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Call drops menace – Trai’s role and whether a rupee compensation is the answer to the problem

India’s mobile phone subscribers recently crossed the one billion mark. With the cheapest call tariffs in the world, India’s mobile user base is expected to contribute to massive growth in data usage and internet accessibility through mobile phones in the near future. However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has a bigger problem on its hands. Although India definitely seems to be shining (it may also outstrip the United States in smartphone users), it cannot be denied that this shining comes with a considerable amount of whining from mobile phone users about the rapidly increasing phenomenon of “call drops”. 

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Startup India, Stand Up India

To augment the entrepreneurial spirit of country’s youth and tap on the immense potential of innovative ideas, the Government of India has recently launched its ambitious new scheme, ‘Startup India’. While vast majority of Indian population is below 35 years of age and the Start-up culture is on the rise, young ventures face many challenges including lack of clarify on regulatory approvals, multiple registrations and compliances, lack of supporting eco-system and most important funding constraints. Sensitive to these constraints, the Government has decided to provide an enabling environment for nurturing talent, simplifying systems and processes, handholding, mentoring and incubating new ventures and most important providing financial support through this new initiative.

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RBI directed to disclose information under Right to Information Act

The issue of whether the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) is bound to disclose information sought under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (“RTI Act”) was recently examined by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case Reserve Bank of India and Ors. v. Jayantilal N. Mistry and Ors., decided on December 16, 2015. The case in question dealt with certain orders of Central Information Commissioner (“CIC”) requiring RBI to furnish information sought by the applications filed under the RTI Act seeking certain information of other banks in public interest. 

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E-Commerce: The VAT Conundrum

The e-commerce boom and build-up of online sales, has opened up a massive opportunity for the online service providers/aggregators. Popularity of the online market places has however, also brought with it certain legal and regulatory challenges especially in relation to taxability of the online aggregators.

One such issue that the online aggregators seem to be grappling with is applicability of value added tax (“VAT”). In one of its recent judgements, the Kerala High Court dealt with this issue, in the matter of Flipkart Internet Private Limited and Ors. v.State of Kerala and Ors.(2015 (5) KHC 522). The state revenue authorities had imposed a penalty on the petitioner (Flipkart Internet Private Limited and others) under the Kerala Value Added Tax Act (“Act”), on the ground that the petitioner had not registered itself as a ‘dealer’ under the Act and not filled returns and maintained true and correct accounts as mandated under the said Act. 

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Recent Liberalizations in the Defence Sector

With a view to boost the domestic defence industry, the Government has recently made certain critical announcements with respect to the offset policy (as contained in the Defence Procurement Procedure (“DPP”) 2013 issued by the Ministry of Defence) (“Offset Policy”) and the foreign direct investment policy (“FDI Policy”) in the defence sector. A snapshot of the same is given below:

I.              Offset Policy – Reinstatement of Services:

The Offset obligations may be discharged with reference to specified eligible products, and eligible services in accordance with the Offset Policy, but provisions related to ‘services’ were kept in abeyance vide the Ministry of Defence’s Office Memorandum dated May 23, 2013, issued in the wake of the Agusta-Westland Deal. The industry has been since then making representations to the Government to reinstate the eligible services for discharge of the Offset obligations. The Ministry of Defence has recently through its Office Memorandum dated December 7, 2015 reinstated ‘services’ as an eligible avenue for offset discharge as per the following terms and conditions: 

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FDI Liberalizations in the E-Commerce Sector

Under the Consolidated Foreign Direct Investment Policy (“FDI Policy”) issued by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (“DIPP”), FDI is permitted upto 100% under the automatic route in companies engaged in E-Commerce provided such companies would engage only in Business to Business (B2B) e-commerce. FDI in E-Commerce with respect to retail trading, however, was not allowed.

With the issuance by DIPP of Press Note 12 of 2015 dated November 24, 2015, certain critical amendments have been brought in the FDI policy with respect to the single brand retail sector and manufacturing sector vis-à-vis the E-Commerce space. 

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„Must Reede“ iseloomustas online ostlemise trendi.

2015. a „Must Reede“ on möödas ja maailma meedia on jäetud kajastama ostuhulluse tagajärgi. TGS retail meeskonna jaoks ei ole meedia järelkajas, et online ostude arv püstitas võimsad rekordid, midagi üllatavat. Oleme korduvalt oma blogis kirjutanud, et tarbijate käitumisharjumused on järjepidevalt muutumises ja tarbijate poodlemine mobiilsete sidevahendite kaudu on kasvav trend.

Numbritest – „Musta Reede“ jooksul sooritasid Ameerika tarbijad online`s, 4,21 miljardi euro eest oste, mis iseloomustab 14% suurust kasvu võrreldes eelmise aastaga. Kusjuures üle poole ostudest tehti just mobiilsete sidevahendite kaudu. UK-s sooritasid tarbijad online`s ca 1,6 miljardi euro eest oste. Amazon ja John Lewis on tänaseks ka tõdenud, et tegemist oli nende parima müügipäevaga. Amazoni hinnangul müüsid nad rohkem kui 7,4 miljonit eset (võrdluseks, et eelmisel aastal oli see number „kõigest“ 1,9 miljonit). 

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New multiple entry tourist visa for Thailand

In September 2015, a notice appeared in the Thai Government Gazette announcing the launch of the Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV). Thai Embassies are expected to start issuing such visas as of November 13, 2015.

The METV is an addition to the tourist visa. In the past, single-entry or double-entry tourist visas were most commonly issued. The METV permits the holder to travel in and out of Thailand multiple times during the 6-month validity period of the visa with duration of stay of up to 60 days per visit. The cost of an METV will be 5,000 baht. As the METV is newly implemented, please note that all Thai Embassies may not be completely familiar with this type of visa and the requirements for its issuance.

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