Since data-dependent markets have high levels of concentration and entry barriers, EU policymakers have been trying to enhance business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) data sharing since 2020. In addition, the EU hopes to ramp up data access through collaborative cloud infrastructures. Despite GDPR, many recent EU legislations have focused on removing barriers to the free flow of data. Although existing EU laws, such as those related to digital markets and services, include newer rules, the obligation to ensure compliance falls primarily on gatekeepers and large providers. Moreover, it does not create portability between cloud service providers (CSPs). Likewise, the EU’s Data Governance Act, which promotes voluntary data-sharing, does not apply to CSPs. It is in this context that the European draft Data Act (DDA) facilitates switching between CSPs and other data processing services. Further, the DDA puts in place safeguards against unlawful international data transfers by CSPs. In addition, it imposes obligations on data holders to make their information available without discriminating between comparable categories of data recipients, including in respect of partner or linked enterprises.
SEBI v. Abhijit Rajan: A Flawed Interpretation of the Insider Trading Regulations?
In September 2022, the Supreme Court of India in SEBI v. Abhijit Rajan interpreted the insider trading regulation in India to include a ‘profit motive’ as an essential requirement for establishing a charge of insider trading. This note analyzes the Supreme Court judgement and highlights certain issues that arise for consideration following such judgement.
Being Cool: Investment Opportunities and Policy Imperatives to Combat Global Warming
Recent studies find that a steady rise in temperature across India will significantly impact socioeconomic productivity and GDP growth. Importantly, heat-related stress produces corresponding cooling demands. In this regard, the World Bank recently identified opportunities for the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) to encourage private investment in key sectors, such as space cooling in buildings, cold chain and refrigeration, passenger transport air-conditioning, as well as refrigerants. Nevertheless, such investments may be constrained by the country’s international obligations, such as those in respect of HCFCs and HFCs. Besides, India’s climate mitigation strategy, including its thrust towards renewable energy and decarbonization, remains inadequate by itself. Emissions from short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) need to be addressed as well. Accordingly, strategic investments in innovative ventures, such as seaweed start-ups that focus on reducing agricultural methane, can be explored further. In addition, the waste and agricultural commodities sectors, along with their critical interface with technology, may be significantly scaled up in the next few years.
Renewed Focus: New Norms Directing the Electric Vehicles Sector
The Indian government has shown a continued commitment to its national mission on e-mobility and battery storage, including with respect to establishing a comprehensive roadmap for the increased adoption of electric vehicles (“EVs”) in the country. However, unlike the impressive roll-out of Chinese EV charging infrastructure, India’s has lagged. Further, with respect to EV battery production, India remains heavily reliant on Chinese imports to satisfy domestic demand for lithium and lithium-ion, as well as other raw materials. Nevertheless, several new laws and policies, formulated by various ministries and government departments over the past few months, have provided the necessary impetus towards an improved ecosystem – including through initiatives by the Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the Bureau of Indian Standards, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, as well as NITI Aayog. This note provides a snapshot of some such key government initiatives.
E-Vroom! An Overview of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Sector in India
Over the last few years and months, several policies and laws related to electric vehicles (EV) have been introduced in India, spanning several discrete pivots, such as in respect of: (1) local manufacturing, (2) emissions and waste reduction, and (3) charging infrastructure and batteries. This note aims to highlight some of the key initiatives undertaken by the government in the Indian EV sector, along with existing concerns and future opportunities.
Building Bonds: The Mechanics of India’s Debut Sovereign Green Issuance
India’s debut issuance of sovereign green bonds by auction provides a significant opportunity to ascertain the current market appetite for such sustainability-linked initiatives, including among institutional investors. Indeed, such bonds have been successful in the past in the context of an eclectic set of sovereign issuances. Among other things, standards established by such issuance may lead to welcome improvements in the Indian bond market in general terms. For instance, Indian companies may want to ride on enhanced credibility standards, as applicable, and seek to better address persistent concerns related to greenwashing. Such broad advantages notwithstanding, in this piece, we look at some of the finer details related to India’s debut sovereign green bond issuance.
Global Investigations Review: The Guide to International Enforcement of the Securities Laws (Second Edition)
We are pleased to present the India chapter of the Global Investigations Review’s Guide to International Enforcement of the Securities Laws (Second Edition). The India chapter has been authored by Niti Dixit, Shahezad Kazi, Zahra Aziz and Gladwin Issac, all lawyers at S&R.
The India chapter provides information on relevant statutes and the government authorities responsible for investigating and enforcing them, conduct most commonly the subject of securities enforcement, and legal issues that commonly arise in enforcement investigations in India.
Renewed Challenges to the IBC Distribution Waterfall
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“IBC”) ushered in a new era in the Indian insolvency regime by introducing a distribution waterfall mechanism under Section 53 of the IBC. The waterfall mechanism prioritizes dues owed to financial creditors over dues owed to operational creditors and government authorities.
The waterfall mechanism in the IBC is based on the recommendations of the Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee. The preamble to the IBC also highlights its objective of balancing the interests of the stakeholders, including by alteration in the order of priority of payment of government dues.
There has recently been a rising trend of courts and tribunals seeking to deviate from the distribution waterfall under the IBC. Unfortunately, this tends to put the success of an insolvency resolution process at risk. In this note, we examine three recent examples and discuss why any such deviation could disturb the delicate balance sought to be achieved under the IBC.
The Promise of ‘Virtual’ Power Purchase Agreements
In the US and elsewhere, ‘virtual’ power purchase agreements (VPPAs) have appealed to a wide variety of corporate buyers, including for the purpose of meeting renewable energy (RE) targets quickly. Further, compliance with ‘green’ mandates by procuring renewables through a VPPA has become an important element of business branding across the world. With regard to India, too, recent reports suggest that VPPAs are essential to meet corporate needs and wants, particularly in the country’s expanding commerce and industry (C&I) segment.
However, in response to investor demand with respect to environment, social, and governance (ESG) standards, if a company seeks to shift completely to RE, it may not be able to do so for various reasons, including on account of inherent risks in RE generation. Further, ‘physical’ PPAs are not viable for projects below a logistical minimum. Accordingly, C&I consumers with lower load requirements and/or fragmented demand may not yet have a cost-effective mechanism to procure RE, despite India’s newly democratized ‘open access’ regime. In this regard, VPPAs may still be the answer.
Nevertheless, given that your company needs/wants to acquire or generate RE – should, and can, you enter into a VPPA in India?
Bilateral Courts: Wooing Europe with Investor-friendly Free Trade Deal
Negotiations between the EU and India in respect of a significant trade and investment deal are currently ongoing. This EU-India deal involves three separate agreements: (1) a free trade agreement (FTA), (2) an investment protection agreement (IPA), and (3) an agreement on geographical indications. Of particular interest is the proposed investment court system (ICS) in the IPA. Although ICS marks a break from standard dispute-resolution mechanisms under investment treaties, it has been used by the EU in the past across FTA-plus deals signed with Canada, Vietnam, and Singapore. Previously, investor-state arbitration (ISA) was the standard template for resolving international investment disputes. Now, the EU wants to include ICS in all its future treaties. While it remains to be seen whether ICS offers a superior paradigm relative to ISA, the EU itself has argued, including before UNCITRAL, that ICS will ensure a more consistent jurisprudence and improve judicial accountability. Nevertheless, as India looks to export more capital in the future, whether ICS will be able to protect investors better in the long run is something that India needs to think about.