The Indian government introduced a slew of regulatory and legislative measures across sectors in the financial year 2020-2021 to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic while balancing the need for precautionary measures to curtail the spread of the virus. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code was amended to protect corporate entities defaulting on payment obligations during the Covid-19 pandemic from being dragged into insolvency process. The new Labour Codes were notified, overhauling existing labour laws. Some significant amendments to the foreign direct investment policy were introduced, specifically changes in relation to investments from countries with which India shares land border, restrictions in digital news media sector, liberalisation in the defence and insurance sector.
On the financial services front, the Reserve Bank of India issued circulars permitting banks, NBFCs and other lending institutions to grant a loan moratorium for payments on term loans. The period of moratorium was initially three months and, thereafter, extended by a period of another three months i.e., from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020.
Some of the big-ticket changes in the digital space included enactment of Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 and release of draft report on regulating non-personal data. On the other hand, the telecommunication sector saw one of the biggest changes with relaxations to the regulatory framework for Other Service Providers.
Notably, this year also marked some key developments on the tax front with the overhaul of the dividend distribution tax and expansion in the scope of the equalisation levy provisions.
On its part, the judiciary also took note of the hardship of litigants and announced an extension on limitation period for filings in all Courts and Tribunals at the start of the nationwide lockdown. There was also a significant transition to a digital mode of operation, with the courts embracing virtual hearings.
For a round-up of some of the key legal developments in the financial year 2020-2021 across practices and a brief insight on what to expect in the year ahead, please read our practice-wise updates, which can be accessed from these links:
3. Labour & Employment
4. Banking & Finance
5. Indian Capital Markets
6. Financial Regulatory Regime
7. Dispute Resolution
8. White-Collar Crime Investigations
9. Technology, Media & Telecommunications
10. Energy & Infrastructure
11. Direct Taxation
12. Indirect Taxation