- Pilot phase of eBiz portal may be completed by the year-end
- Proposals of the Companies Law Committee – A case of good spring-cleaning
- SBI granted operating licence by Myanmar
Environment & Ecology
- Colour-coded categorisation: Government releases list of industries
- New snake species discovered in Gujarat
Pilot phase of eBiz portal may be completed by the year-end
A pilot version of eBiz (a government to business portal) which aims at improving the ease of doing business in India, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
- The pilot phase will be completed by the end of 2016 with the integration of 50 government services related to investors, industries and businesses of the Centre and ten states — Andhra Pradesh (AP), Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and West Bengal.
- Out of these 50 services, 26 are related to the Central government and 24 are to the states.
- In the year 2013, Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced the launch of eBiz, India’s first Government-to-Business (G2B) portal which aims at transforming and developing a conducive business environment in the country.
- The eBiz portal is also a part of National e-Governance Plan’s integrated mission mode projects.
- It is being developed with the help of National Institute of Smart Government and IT major Infosys through the Public Private Partnership route.
- The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is the nodal Central government agency for the eBiz project.
Aim of eBiz:
- The government aims to integrate more than 200 services to the portal within a few years.
Objective of eBiz:
- An objective of the project is to improve India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business index.
Significance of eBiz:
- The portal will provide a one-stop shop for providing G2B services to investors and business communities in India. The portal will also help in reducing the delays and complexity in obtaining information and services.
- Businesses that are already operating in India or planning to start operations can use the portal to obtain licences, approvals, clearances, no objection certificates, permits and even for filing of returns.
- Once these services pertaining to starting, running and closing down a business – completing the entire lifecycle of a business entity — are integrated to the eBiz portal, it will effectively become a single window clearance mechanism.
- Businesses and investors will be able to use the services 24X7 online, including for completing e-forms online, uploading them as well as the required documents as attachments, making payments online, submitting the forms online, tracking the status of applications, receiving SMS alerts from the government, obtaining the needed licenses or permits and downloading the certificates and getting approvals.
Proposals of the Companies Law Committee – A case of good spring-cleaning
The Committee appointed by the Government of India to suggest changes in the Companies Act, 2013 and Rules made thereunder, in the interests of various stakeholders, has submitted its report.
The enactment of the Companies Act 2013 ushered in a new regime of corporate governance and provided fillip to the way business is conducted in India.
About the committee:
- The Companies Law Committee was set up in June 2015, with the mandate to further improve and streamline the Companies Act 2013.
- The overall managerial remuneration payable by a public company should not exceed 11% of the net profits of that company except with the approval of the shareholders and the Central Government. Similar approvals are required for companies having inadequate or no profits.
- The report recommends simpler regulatory regime by proposing removal of government approval for managerial remuneration with few additional disclosures. This would be in sync with international practices and reduce procedural delays.
- The report recommends removal of restrictions on layering of subsidiaries since it was likely to have a substantial bearing on the functioning, structuring and the ability of companies to raise funds. Effectively, companies will be permitted to make investment through more than two layers of investment companies as per the report.
- The Act specifies that an independent director must not have or had any pecuniary relationship with the company, its holding, subsidiary or associate company or their promoters or directors, during the two immediately preceding financial years or during the current financial year. Even minor pecuniary relationships were covered due to this provision even though such transactions may not impact independence of directors. The report proposes to introduce a threshold for pecuniary relationships in relation to qualification for an independent director. This would further ease the implementation of provision for appointment of independent director by companies.
- Threshold has been proposed for punishment for fraud to avoid misuse of provision; frauds involving amounts below specified limits which do not involve public interest to be given differential treatment and compoundable. Penalty/fine proposed to be reduced in case of non-compliance with various sections of the Act.
- The Committee also recommended certain changes specifically for encouraging start-ups which include reducing compliance burden on account of private placement procedure, permitting start-ups to raise deposits for its initial five years without any upper limits, to issue ESOPs to promoters working as employees etc.
SBI granted operating licence by Myanmar
SBI was granted operating licence by Myanmar Government along with three other Asian banks.
- They are Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, Sun Commercial Bank of Taiwan and Shinhan Bank of South Korea.
- With this, total 13 foreign banks have now been given permission to operate inside the Myanmar so far in an attempt to attract overseas investment to the emergent nation.
Environment & Ecology
Colour-coded categorisation: Government releases list of industries
A new Four-colour Classification Scheme for industries based on their pollution potential has been released by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
What’s this Re-categorization?
- Re-categorization of industries based on their pollution load is a scientific exercise. The old system of categorization was creating problems for many industries and was not reflecting the pollution of the industries. The new categories will remove this lacuna and will give clear picture to everyone.
- This ‘Re-categorization’ is a part of the efforts, policies and objective of present government to create a clean & transparent working environment in the country and promote the Ease of Doing Business.
- Another feature of the new categorization system lies in facilitating self-assessment by industries as the subjectivity of earlier assessment has been eliminated.
Purpose of Re-categorization:
- The purpose of the categorization is to ensure that the industry is established in a manner which is consistent with the environmental objectives.
Significance of Re-categorization:
- The new criteria will prompt industrial sectors willing to adopt cleaner technologies, ultimately resulting in generation of fewer pollutants.
Under the new categorisation system, Industrial sectors have been categorised into four colours category based on the on ‘Range of Pollution Index’.
- White category: A new category, white, has been added to include the industries that are “practically non-polluting”. These industries, like air cooler or air conditioning units, chalk factories, biscuit tray units, won’t need a green clearance enabling easier financing. Pollution index lower than 20 have been rated white.
- Red category:Includes Cement industry, Petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, sugar, paper and pulp, nuclear power plants, organic chemicals, fertilizers, fire crackers. Industries scoring 60 and above on a scale of 1 to 100 have been rated red.
- Orange category:Includes coal washeries, glass manufacturing, paints, stone crushers, and aluminium and copper extraction from scrap. An index between 41 and 59 earns an orange category
- Green category:Includes aluminium utensils, steel furniture, soap manufacturing and tea processing. A score between 21 and 39 gets a green.
The categorisation is based on a pollution index developed by the environment ministry taking into account the emissions, effluents, and hazardous waste generated, and the resources it consumes.
New snake species discovered in Gujarat
A team of naturalists and young Indian researchers have recently discovered a new snake genus and species in Gujarat.
- The snake genus has been named Wallaceophis in honour of the legendary 19th century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), considered the father of biogeography.
- The Wallaceophis Gujaratenisis is presently found in just seven localities of Gujarat and virtually nothing is known about its biology.
- The snake species has been named Gujaratenisis to commemorate the western Indian state where it was discovered.