Comments Invited on the Interim Report of Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee by 20th February, 2015

Comments Invited on the Interim Report of Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee by 20th February, 2015

             The Union Finance Minster Shri Arun Jaitley during his Budget Speech of 2014-15 announced that an entrepreneur friendly legal bankruptcy framework would be developed for SMEs to enable easy exit.

            Pursuant to the above announcement, a Committee was set-up under Shri TK Viswanathan, former Secretary General, Lok Sabha and former Union Law Secretary, on 22.8.2014 to study the corporate bankruptcy legal framework in India and submit a report.

            The Committee has submitted an Interim Report, which is placed on the website of the Ministry of Finance at ><.

            Comments/suggestions on the recommendations contained in the Interim Report may be sent to Director (FSLRC), Ministry of Finance, Deptt of Economic Affairs, Room No 68-A, North Block, New Delhi 110001, or via email at  latest by 20th February 2015.


Health Minister reviews preparedness of Gujarat on H1N1

Assures full Central assistance

Union Health Minister Shri J P Nadda chaired a high level meeting to review preparedness of Gujarat for H1N1 and to discuss various health issues, at Gandhinagar today. Present at the meeting were Shri Nitinbhai Patel, Health Minister, Gujarat; Shri Shankarbhai Chaudhari, MoS, Health, Gujarat and senior officers of the Gujarat Government including Shri Anil Mukim, Principal Secretary (Health) and Shri J P Gupta, Commissioner (Health).

The Union Minister reviewed the work being carried out for creating awareness regarding the preventive measures against H1N1. He expressed satisfaction that MPs, MLAs, local public representatives along with school teachers, anganwadi workers and ASHAs are supporting the awareness drive carried out in the 14 districts affected with H1N1. It was stated that the awareness drive has been further intensified with special screening OPDs for those suffering from influenza like illness (ILI) at places such as mass gatherings, house to house survey and contact tracing by trained health workers in four districts of Kutch, Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara which share ¾ of the burden of total cases in the state. More than 17 lakh persons have been covered under the drive. The Health Minister was informed that teams of health officials are visiting hospitals to verify facilities and adherence to treatment protocols and universal precautions for infection control.

Union Health Minister also reviewed the preparedness in terms of number of testing kits, personal protective equipment, labs, anti-virals and isolation wards. The state officers presented that Gujarat has state of the art diagnostic facilities. They are conducting tests free of charge for those suspected of H1N1, seeking treatment either from the government or private health facilities. At present, five diagnostic labs can test samples; total of 1707 samples have been tested this year, it was informed. In addition to the cases from the state, it was stated that as many as 90 patients from neighbouring states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Silvassa exhibiting symptoms of H1N1 have been tested and treated. To cater to the need more than 471 beds for treatment of indoor patients have been kept reserved in various secondary and tertiary health care centers in state. The Union Health Minister assured all necessary assistance from the Centre to manage H1N1.

Shri J P Nadda also visited hospitals to take a first-hand review of the prevailing facilities for managing H1N1. He visited the Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, and took a round of the Cancer, Ophthalmology and Nephrology hospitals.

The Union Health Minister also discussed other health issues including Ebola during the meeting.


Concerned Ministries agree to streamline approvals for construction projects in urban areas

Shri Venkaiah Naidu suggests a 30-day approval target

Ministers and Secretaries of 7 ministries discuss issues and way forward

Seeking to promote construction activity in urban areas, the Government today decided to substantially reduce the number of approvals and No Objections required for taking up construction projects in urban areas through rationalisation. Ministers and Secretaries of seven related ministers held extensive discussions on the current system of according approvals and the way forward at a meeting convened by the Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu. The suggestion of Shri Naidu to ensure all approvals with in 30 days from the date of application formed the basis of discussion.

Besides Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu, Civil Aviation Minister Shri P.Ashok Gajapati Raju and Minister of Environment & Forests and Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar and Secretaries of Urban Development, HUPA, Civil Aviation, Culture, Defence, Environment & Forests and Climate Change and Consumer Affairs participated in the deliberations that lasted more than an hour.

Dr.Nandita Chatterjee, Secretary(HUPA) informed the Ministers that at present 30-50 approvals were required to be taken from central and state governments resulting in an average approval time of 90 – 600 days for construction projects. She said that based on the parameters of Procedures, Cost and Time taken for approvals, India is ranked 182 among 185 countries, adversely impacting investments.

Shri Prakash Javadekar has agreed to the suggestion that most of the forest and environment related regulations can be included in the Building Bye-laws for ensuring compliance by the concerned urban local bodies. He also said that his Ministry will soon come out with different guidelines for different plot sizes which could also be similarly incorporated in Development Control Regulations. Shri Javadekar informed that issues relating to Coastal Zone Regulations will also be resolved soon. He further informed that delineation of exact boundaries of 639 ecologically sensitive zones will be speeded up to remove ambiguities that would enable quick approvals. Problems of hill areas in finding land for housing for the poor with most of the land categorized as forest land will also be looked into, assured Shri Javadekar.

Civil Aviation Minister Shri Ashok Gajapati Raju agreed that his Ministry will furnish necessary maps and information regarding height restrictions for construction in the funnel zone of all airports to the concerned urban local bodies for necessary action.

Secretary, Department of Culture informed that prevailing restrictions for construction near monuments are being revisited and maps for each site will soon be published for the benefit of urban local bodies for according quick approvals.

Secretary (Consumer Affairs) said that the National Building Code-2015 will be finalized by September this year with the objective of enabling single window clearance for construction projects.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that the Government, to the extent possible should enable a mechanism where in only a minimum number of clearences would be required to be taken and the same accorded online in a maximum of 30 days.


DV Sadanada Gowda Inaugurates Assocham Conference on ‘Strengthening Economy Through Judicial Reforms,’

Says Need to Develop an Appropriate Institutional Framework to Resolve That More and More Disputes Using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms


 Union Law & Justice Minister Shri  D.V. Sadananda Gowda today inaugurated the ASSOCHAM”s National Conference on “Strengthening Economy through Judicial Reforms” here in  New Delhi. He said If we desire to be recognized as a destination of choice for trade and commerce, it is imperative for us to focus on building an effective judicial system as an integral part of the economic reform agenda.  Accelerated justice will free up billions of dollars blocked in litigation against projects in several parts of the country and enable it to be put to productive use. The Minister said         Improving judicial productivity through systemic changes is very important.  It is said that nearly 70 per cent of civil cases in Australia, US and Canada are settled even before the trial begins.  This is because both parties to the litigation are aware of the probable time period - `outcome date certainty`.

         Some of the measures being undertaken on priority basis for ensuring the timely and effective enforcement of commercial contracts involve exploring the possibility of setting up of specialized fast track courts/tribunals at the subordinate level and specialized commercial divisions at the High Court level to deal with the commercial cases and encouraging arbitration to resolve contractual disputes. This is in addition to the proposals that are being pursued for the adoption of information technology solutions and court and case management systems for handling such cases.  The Law Commission of India has recently submitted its 253rd Report on Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts and Commercial Courts Bill, 2015 containing their recommendations on speedy disposal of high value commercial suits.  The report contains several valuable suggestions that are being examined by the Government.

Some of the areas of concern that need to be taken up urgently are :
· Inadequacy of judicial manpower.
· Non-implementation of existing provisions aimed at expeditious disposal of cases.
· Indiscriminate use of writ jurisdiction.
· Need for Bar reforms.
· National and State Litigation Policies.

The Minister said there is a need to develop an appropriate institutional framework so that more and more disputes may be resolved using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms.  This involves setting up of adequate number of ADR centers, providing training to mediators and arbitrators and creating awareness about ADR processes.  This will help in reducing the burden of courts while at the same time providing parties with recourse to timely settlement of disputes.  The Government will shortly bring out necessary amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

  He informed that a proposal to amend the Negotiable Instruments Act to introduce measures to resolve cases arising under Section 138 through ADR mechanisms is currently under consideration.  Similarly the draft Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2014 prepared by the Ministry of Road Transport will introduce provisions for reduction in traffic challan cases and resolution of traffic cases without resorting to litigation as well as expeditious disposal of motor accident cases.

Shri Sadananda Gowda said though many laws that have been outdated and are no longer relevant continue to remain in the statute book. He said Government has started the process of repeal of 36 original Acts, 750 Amending Acts and about 900 Appropriation Bills to clean up the statute book.

The Minister opined that the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) in the administration of justice is another important area.  This will help pave the way for revamping court processes, adopting court and case management systems and overall process re-engineering of the judicial system.  All of this is sought to be achieved through the e-Courts Mission Mode Project that is being implemented by the Department of Justice in association with the Supreme Court e-Committee and the National Informatics Centre. The objective of the e-Courts Project is to provide designated services to the citizens as well courts by ICT enablement of all district and subordinate courts. Phase I of this project focused on the computerization of subordinate courts, which will be followed by the setting up of centralized filing centres, digitization of documents, adoption of document management systems, creation of e-filing and e-payment gateways in Phase II of the project that was approved by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court in January 2014.

Another area that needs urgent attention is the lack of comprehensive and accurate data relating to court cases.  Positive steps in this direction have been initiated through the launch of the e-Courts portal, which aims at creating the National Judicial Data Grid, providing citizens with online information about case filings, case status and electronic copies of orders and judgments from courts that have already been computerized.  However, we are still few steps away from providing real-time access to Judicial Data Grid.  Ensuring the availability of such real-time judicial statistics at the earliest possible will go a long way in enhancing transparency and accountability in our legal system. It will also encourage more insightful research and studies on various issues relating to judicial administration , the minister added.

The successful completion of these initiatives for judicial reforms is a priority of the Government. He thanked the organisers  for inviting and sent suggestions and inputs related with his ministry will be welcome, said the minister. He also released a souvenir on the theme of conference ‘Strengthening economy through judicial reforms’.

hri J P Nadda also visited hospitals to take a first-hand review of the prevailing facilities for managing H1N1. He visited the Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, and took a round of the Cancer, Ophthalmology and Nephrology hospitals.

The Union Health Minister also discussed other health issues including Ebola during the meeting.


Union Steel & Mines Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar leads a delegation to Mining Indaba-2015 in South Africa

Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Minister for Mines and Steel is leading Indian delegation of mining fraternity to MINING INDABA 2015 at Cape Town, South Africa. Shri Rajinder Shukla, the Minister for Mineral Resources, Energy and Public Affairs, Government of Madhya Pradesh is also accompanying the delegation.

Mining Indaba is an annual global event on mining in South Africa with 10,000 delegates participating from across the globe. Eighteen mining Ministers from countries like South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, Gabon, Eritrea, Kenya, Mali and others are participating into the 2015 edition.

The marquee highlight is the presence of Mr. Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of Britain on 10 February 2015.

The key objective of the Indian delegation was to highlight the recent amendments in the Indian mining regulations and project investment opportunities for foreign companies in Indian mineral sector. The agenda is to bring latest global technology in Indian mining sector. This would facilitate exploration, leading to unlocking of the huge mineral wealth in the country. India looks at African Continent as an opportunity for acquiring mineral assets. This would ensure continuous supply of minerals from abroad to supplement the domestic production; feeding the industries in their Make in India initiative.

On his first day of the visit, Shri Tomar along with other member of delegation met Professor Michael Katz, Chairman of M/s ENSafrica and Mr. Robert Appelbaum, Partner & Head South Asia of M/s Webber Wentzel; the two biggest law consultancy firms in the South Africa. He also met Mr. Tom Albanese, Chief Executive Officer, Vedanta Resources Plc (Black Mountain Group), and senior officials of Chamber of Mines of South Africa; the largest chamber for mining in African region.

The Minister highlighted upon the recent amendments made to the mining laws and regulations in India. He informed that these amendments would help in bringing in transparency in allocation of minerals through auction route. He also stated that to eliminate the delays in getting approvals and clearances there has been devolution of further powers to provincial governments. The processes have been made simpler. In order to provide stability, the tenure of the lease has been extended to 50 years from the current lease life of 30 years.

He informed that further powers have been vested with the state governments with 31 additional minerals being completely delegated to the provincial governments, thus enhancing the list of such minerals to 54.

He also informed the participants that a National Mineral Exploration Trust has been set up to enhance mineral exploration in the country. He also stated that the District Mineral Fund has been created for the benefit of the society affected by the mineral operations.

He briefed that such initiatives would help in the long-term sustainable mining ensuring inclusive growth of the society. He urged the companies like Vedanta to carry on their good work and help create the brand India across the globe.

The participants welcomed the initiatives of the government to reform the Indian mining sector, they appreciated that recent amendments to the mining regulations will help in furthering the investment and growth of the Indian mining sector. They also appreciated the fact that India is the first nation in the world to grant minerals completely through the auction route.

The Minister asked the participants to explore opportunities around

a) Exchange Visits and Participation in Mining conference / workshops organized by each other

b) Exchange of information and publication on mining laws, regulation, technology and management

c) Promote and encourage joint ventures and cooperation between member units

d) Cooperation in skill development, upgradation of technology and managerial competence

Besides the Ministers; Shri Naresh Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Government of India Shri Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Secretary, Mineral Resources, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Narendra Kothari, Chairman, National Mineral Development Corporation, Shri Nikunj Srivastava Private secretary to the Minister and major industry associations like CII, FICCI and FIMI participated into the deliberations and discussions.

Comments Invited on the Interim Report of Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee by 20th February, 2015 Comments Invited on the Interim Report of Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee by 20th February, 2015 Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 9:38 PM Rating: 5

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