Vedanta bags Electrosteel as NCLT approves; first case to be resolved under IBC

On April 17, Electrosteel Steel became the first big success story of insolvency resolution with Anil Agarwal-owned commodity conglomerate Vedanta Ltd bagging the steelmaker. The Kolkata bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the resolution plan submitted by Vedanta for the listed company promoted by city-based Electrosteel Ltd. Vedanta informed stock exchanges that it was declared “successful resolution applicant” under the insolvency process and had received the Letter of Intent. On March 30, the Committee of Creditors (CoC) to the debt-laden Electrosteel Steels had chosen Vedanta as the highest bidder for the company, supporting the earlier decision of the resolution professional. “On going through the (resolution) plan (of Vedanta) we are also satisfied that the resolution applicant has taken into account the interest of all stakeholders and that the applicant has had necessary infrastructure that will enable the applicant to continue the corporate debtor company as a going concern. So we are satisfied the corporate debtor is in safe hands,” justice M B Gosavi and Jinan KR said in their 20-page order. Vedanta had declared the highest bidder for Electrosteel Steels, which has a loan default of Rs 10,273 crore. With the deal being sealed, Vedanta is the new owner of Electrosteel Steels.…
Continue reading

Tariff portal for consumers launched for greater transparency: TRAI

On April 16, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has taken steps to drive in transparency in the myriad tariff plans offered by telcos. It unveiled a beta version of a portal that aims to bring tariffs offered by different operators and in different service areas on one platform. It was a consumer friendly move made “To enable consumers see tariffs of different TSPs (telecom service providers) and different LSAs (licensed service areas) at a single place, a beta version of portal namely www.tariff.trai.gov.in has been released by TRAI,” the regulator said in a statement. “For easy access, various tariff plans and other tariff instruments are provided at TRAI web site in downloadable format. This platform would not only benefit the consumers but also help other stakeholders to do a comparative analysis,” it added. At present, telecom operators offer information on various tariffs on their own websites. Moreover, currently the new TRAI portal only has Delhi as option in the ‘Circle’ drop down menu. It lists operators such as Reliance Jio, Aircel, Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, and more. The website currently seems to have more than 1,000 plans for comparison. TRAI’s new portal can also show users all plans from a specific operator in a circle.…
Continue reading

Transgenders to be Recognised as Gender Category in PAN Application: CBDT

Recently, the government, allowing transgenders to be recognised as an independent category of applicants, amended Income Tax rules for securing a Permanent Account Number (PAN) for their tax-related transactions. On April 9, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which is responsible for framing of policies for the department, issued a notification, under Sections 139A and 295 of the Income Tax Act that provides a new tick box for the transgenders to apply for the PAN. The amendment will now be reflected in Form 49A (PAN application form for Indian citizens) and 49AA (PAN application form for those who aren’t Indian citizens). “Individuals from the transgender community were facing hassles in obtaining a PAN card and this problem was further magnified as Aadhaar had the third gender category but not PAN. Hence, the transgenders were not able to link their PAN with their Aadhaar due to this anomaly,” a senior official was quoted saying. As per updated data as of March 5, 2018 over 16.65 crore PANs, out of the total about 33 crore, have been linked with Aadhaar. The deadline to link these two has been extended recently till June 30, 2018 by the CBDT. With the government making quoting of Aadhaar mandatory for filing Income Tax Returns (ITRs) as well as obtaining a new PAN, this amendment seems a pleasant move.…
Continue reading

Government Of India Seeks To Regulate App Data Flow

In light of the Cambridge Analytica incident, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is looking at regulating app data flow and data ownership so that the government has additional control over telecom networks. Several phone details such as call logs, microphone and photo gallery—which aren’t essential to an app’s services—can be accessed by app manufacturers. TRAI is planning to create a framework that will calm all data privacy and security worries and the recommendations will probably be out this month. However, app makers are not happy with this move as they are already governed by the IT Act. App users underestimate the power of data and app makers sometimes sell that data and profit from it. App makers have rejected the idea being set by the TRAI which means TRAI will face issues with technology companies. For instance, the government body faced issues with technology company Apple over Apple’s lack of support for the TRAI’s Do Not Disturb app service. The Supreme Court is also looking at a law on data protection which will be India’s first such law and it will hopefully mitigate data privacy concerns.…
Continue reading

Physical settlement to be made mandatory in phased manner: SEBI

On April 11, markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) decided to make physical settlement of stock derivatives mandatory in a phased or calibrated manner, a move that could bring some much-needed balance between equity cash and derivative segments. The regulator has reinforced the existing entry criteria for introduction of stocks into the derivative segment in line with the increase in market capitalisation since the last revision of the criteria in 2012, SEBI said in circular. In physical settlement, traders will have to take delivery of shares on the settlement day against the derivatives positions. The move is expected to revive the stock lending and borrowing market but it could impact activity in futures and options, observed brokers and analysts. The existing criteria like market wide position limit and median quarter-sigma order size has been altered upward from current level of Rs 300 crore and Rs 10 lakh, respectively to Rs 500 crore and Rs 25 lakh, respectively. An additional criterion of average daily deliverable value in the cash market of Rs 10 crore has also been prescribed. The enhanced criteria need to be met for a continuous period of six months. “It has been decided that physical settlement of stock derivatives shall be made mandatory in a phased/calibrated manner,” SEBI noted.…
Continue reading

S K Mohanty appointed whole-time member: SEBI

On April 6, Santosh Kumar Mohanty was appointed a whole-time member of market regulator SEBI for a period of three years. At present, Mohanty hold the position of Executive Director (ED) of SEBI — heading the commodities derivatives-market regulation department created by the regulator post its merger with the Forward Market Commission (FMC). Prior to this assignment, he was serving as Director in the former commodity market regulator Forward Markets Commission. Moreover, he has also served in the Income Tax Department in various capacities in Kolkata, Nagpur and Mumbai as an officer in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS). Mohanty, has been appointed for three years, or till the age of 65 years, on the pay as admissible to an Additional Secretary to the Government of India, or a consolidated salary of Rs 3,75,000 per month, an order said. Reportedly, five former and present EDs of SEBI were shortlisted for the position.…
Continue reading

Bond investment limit increased for FPI’s by RBI

On April 7, the Reserve Bank upped debt investment limits for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) across all segments, which will collectively result in a rise of over Rs 1 trillion in fiscal year 2018-19. As per the notification of the central bank, the total debt limit will rise to Rs 5,94,600 crore by September 2018 and go up further to Rs 6,49,900 crore by end of the fiscal year with the present limit being Rs 5,45,823 crore. “The limit for Foreign Portfolio Investor (FPI) in central government securities would be increased by 0.5% each year…,” RBI said. The limits on FPI investment in State Development Loans (SDLs) would remain unchanged at 2 percent of outstanding stock of securities, it said. On corporate bonds, the FPI investment will be fixed at 9 percent of outstanding stock of corporate bonds and all the sub categories within the segment will be discontinued. In the government securities general category, the limit has been revised up to Rs 2,07,300 crore by September 2018 and Rs 2,23,300 crore by March 2019 from the present Rs 1,91,300 crore, it quantified. For the long term G-secs, the limits will go up to Rs 92,300 crore by end of the fiscal from the present Rs 65,100 crore, with a mid-fiscal cap of Rs 78,700 crore.…
Continue reading

Simultaneous handling of food and currency notes or coins is unhealthy, create awareness: FSSAI to states

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a notification to all states/UTs commissioner of Food Safety, for the welfare and wellbeing of general public, to start a systematic campaign for creating awareness amongst all citizens to discourage the simultaneous handling of food and currency notes/coins. 1. Currency notes and coins are widely exchanged for goods and services by all sections of society. Handling of currency with unclean and soiled hands, use of saliva during counting, and storage under unhygienic conditions leads to its contamination with harmful microorganisms. Cross contamination from currency is a risk to human health leading to a wide variety of diseases including food poisoning and skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Children, pregnant women, aged and immune-compromised persons are particularly vulnerable to such infections. 2. Food vendors, especially street food vendors, often prepare and serve food, and collect money from patrons using the same hand. It is advised that food handlers, food sellers and others should avoid handling currency and food simultaneously. It is recommended that gloves be used to handle food and bare hands be used to handle currency. Ideally, handling of food and money should be physically separated. After handling currency, hands should be thoroughly washed before touching food and vice versa.…
Continue reading

PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline extended to June 30: CBDT

View PDF On March 27, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced special measures for transaction of central and state government business by banks handling government accounts on March 31 in view of the closing of the financial year on that day. The RBI also said special arrangements have been made to conduct special clearing operations on March 31 in order to facilitate government receipts and payments. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) extended the last date for linking of Aadhaar with Permanent Account Number (PAN) from March 31, 2018, to June 30, 2018. The extension of deadline comes as a major relief to people who are yet to obtain or their Aadhaar cards. The new deadline for other services like bank accounts and phone numbers has not been announced yet. This is a fourth extension given by the government for individuals to link their Permanent Account Number (PAN) with their biometric ID (Aadhaar). Section 139 AA (2) of the Income Tax Act says that every person having PAN as on 1 July 2017, and eligible to obtain Aadhaar, must intimate his Aadhaar number to the tax authorities. As per updated data till 5 March, over 16.65 crore PANs, out of the total about 33 crore, have been linked with Aadhaar.…
Continue reading

RBI slaps Rs 3-crore penalty on Axis Bank, Rs 2 crore on Indian Overseas Bank

On March 5, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it has imposed a penalty of Rs 3 crore on Axis Bank for violation of NPA classification norms, and Rs 2 crore on Indian Overseas Bank for not complying with the KYC regulations. In a statement issued, RBI said that a statutory inspection of the private sector lender with regard to its financial position as on March 31, 2016 showed violations of various regulations issued by the central bank. “The RBI has imposed, on February 27, 2018, a monetary penalty of Rs 30 million on Axis Bank Ltd for non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on Income Recognition and Asset Classification (IRAC) norms,” it said. Regarding the state-owned Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), the RBI said in a separate release that a “fraud was detected” in one of the branches of the bank. “The examination of the documents, including the bank’s internal inspection report, revealed, inter alia, non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on Know Your Customer (KYC) norms,” the RBI said, while imposing the Rs 2 crore penalty on IOB. The central bank also said the action on the two commercial banks is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance “and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers”.…
Continue reading

Rs 10 lakh fine for NDTV, Rs 3 lakh each on 4 executives levied: SEBI

Capital markets watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on media firm NDTV and of Rs 3 lakh each on four individuals, including promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, for certain disclosure lapses. In its 23-page order, SEBI said there were allegations against K V L Narayan Rao, NDTV’s Executive Vice Chairman, but proceedings against him were stopped after his death in 2017. The persons in charge of a company or the principal officer are liable for the compliance of clause 36 of the listing agreement, which deals with disclosure by a listed company of any share price sensitive information, as stated by SEBI. “These people constitute the management of the company who are responsible for the day-to-day and overall operations of the company. Further, it is an admitted fact that the decision not to disclose the tax demand was a conscious decision taken by the management of NDTV,” the order said. Sebi said it conducted an investigation based on a complaint received from Quantum Securities, a shareholder of NDTV, that NDTV did not disclose the order of Dispute Resolution Panel-II of the Income Tax Department, within 2 days of receipt of information, to the stock exchanges.…
Continue reading

For effective implementation of Bankruptcy Code, IBBI & RBI ink MoU

On March 12, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) inked an agreement with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for increased cooperation in effective implementation of the insolvency law. The MoU comprises “sharing of information between the two parties, subject to the limitations imposed by the applicable laws” and “sharing of resources available with each other to the extent feasible and legally permissible,” along with other highlighting factors too, a Finance Ministry statement said. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) provides for time -bound and market-determined insolvency resolution. The IBBI and the RBI are interested in the effective implementation of the Code and its allied rules and regulations, through a quick and effective resolution process. “They have agreed under the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to assist and co-operate with each other for the effective implementation of the Code, subject to limitations imposed by the applicable laws,” the release said. The two entities intend to conduct periodic meetings to discuss matters of mutual interest, including regulatory requirements that affect party’s responsibilities, enforcement cases, research and data analysis, information technology and data sharing. Additionally, there would be cross-training of staff, capacity building of insolvency professionals and financial creditors.…
Continue reading