Chamber Voice – January 2020

President's Note

Dear Friends,

Following your dreams is typically easier said than done. For a few people, this dream may pan out easily, however for most people, the road to achieving their dreams is long, challenging, and tortuous. While none of this suggests that the pursuit of ones dreams isn’t worthwhile; the experience is actually more rewarding than the final outcome. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it’s the courage to continue that counts.”

The Chamber is creating a platform that will give students a chance to dream big and work towards achieving that dream. The Chamber’s Annual Certificate Programme ‘The Last Mile – Eligibility and Beyond’will be held on the 14th and 15th of February 2020. TLM 2020 will focus primarily on inspiring students to do what they love to do and will also showcase people who are success stories today because they believed in themselves. We really believe that a little motivation and inspiration from people who have successfully pursued their dreams can be the change required to get started.

I request you all to look at the details of the programme and spread the word about it so that the maximum number of students can benefit from this two day Workshop.

2019 has been a year when the Indian economy went through various crises resulting in a steep cut in the economic growth forecasts for the coming year. At this juncture, we are now once again awaiting the announcement of the Union Budget hoping that the Government will use this opportunity to unleash reforms to restore economic growth and to set a clear roadmap for achieving the ambitious $5 trillion economy target by 2025. We hope that the Budget will have a plan of action to combat the economic slowdown and put India on a path of prosperity.

As is the practice each year, this year too, the Chamber will be organizing the ‘Annual Post Budget Lecture 2020-21’ on Thursday the 6th of February 2020 at the Avenue Centre, Panambilly Nagar, Ernakulam. Mr. Homi P Ranina, Senior Tax Consultant has once again graciously agreed to deliver the Annual Lecture, as in previous years. I trust that all our members will be present on this occasion to listen to Mr. Ranina’s views on the Union Budget.

The Kerala State Budget too is around the corner and the Research Wing of the Chamber has prepared a comprehensive ‘Pre Budget Memorandum – Kerala Budget 2020-21’ for submission to the Government. With this, the Chamber hopes to supplement the Government of Kerala’s Nava Keralam efforts towards a mission mode of development. The Research Report suggests sectoral reforms relating to innovation, ease of doing business, education, health, tourism, governance, etc.

We kicked off the year’s programmes with the first CEO Forum Breakfast Meeting of the 5th edition of the CEO Forum series. The new edition of the Breakfast Meetings was inaugurated by Dr. V Venu IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management, Government of Kerala who also delivered the first talk. Dr. Venu, who, in addition to his responsibilities as Revenue Secretary is also the CEO of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative, spoke on the Government’s vision behind the ‘Rebuild Kerala Initiative.’

The next CEO Forum will be held on Monday, 3rd of February 2020, at Taj Gateway, Ernakulam. The Speakers at the session are from PwC, the Chamber’s ‘Knowledge Partner’ who will present a ‘Post Budget Analysis 2020-21’. I trust you will make use of this opportunity and attend the Session.

On 10th of January 2020, I had the privilege of representing the Chamber at the Ascend Kerala 2020 Meeting organized by the State Government. ASCEND Kerala 2020 is a Government of Kerala’s flagship Global Investors Meet to facilitate a platform for Global, National, and State-level investors to understand the investment potential that the State has to offer and to showcase various initiatives undertaken by the Government as part of the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reforms. The Chamber made a presentation at the meeting and also submitted a representation containing our suggestions.

On 23rd January 2020, the Chamber in association with the Bhavan’s Royal Institute of Management conducted an Awareness Session on Cyber Security for the students of the Institution. Mr. Steve Philips, Cyber Security Communications and Awareness, ITV, United Kingdom was the Speaker for the session.The purpose of the session was to create awareness among students regarding cybersecurity, the potential impact a cyber-attack will have and the steps required to reduce the risks and prevent cyber-crime from infiltrating their online workspace.

Starting January 2020, the Chamber will be bringing out the print version of the Chamber Voice, a bimonthly newsletter of the Chamber. The first issue was released by Dr.Venu IAS at the time of the CEO Breakfast Meeting. I am sure that you will have received a copy of the first issue by now. Do share your views/comments on the same with us.

The Chamber is widely active on almost all social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. As we continue to grow, we are constantly exploring ways to connect with our members and provide them with quick information. Hence we have come up with the Cochin Chamber app where you can stay updated with our events and activities. The app is available on Google Play Store and App Store.

As we start the New Year it appears that the Chamber has a very exciting year ahead. We have several activities planned for the coming months and work on the same is on in full swing. Looking forward to your continued support and cooperation…

V Venugopal

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Latest Events

CEO FORUM 2020 - 1st Breakfast Meeting

Inaugural Session on the Rebuild Kerala Initiative | 10.01.2020

The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Fifth Edition of the CEO Forum Breakfast Meetings was inaugurated on the 10th January 2020 at Hotel Taj Gateway, Ernakulam.

Dr. Venu V, I.A.S, Principal Secretary, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management, Government of Kerala, was the Chief Guest on the occasion and  inaugurated the Fifth Edition by lighting the traditional lamp. He also delivered the first talk of the year. Dr. Venu, who, in addition to his responsibilities as Revenue Secretary is also the CEO of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative, spoke on the Government’s vision behind the ‘Rebuild Kerala Initiative.’

Following the Welcome Address by the President, Dr. Venu released the Chamber Voice, a bi-monthly print version of the newsletter which includes information regarding the Chamber events, business news, articles, etc.

The official Cochin Chamber app through which the members can stay updated with the happenings around the Chamber was also released during the event.

The forum discussed the Rebuild Kerala Initiative, which is aimed at building a green and resilient Kerala. Dr. Venu addressed the forum that the focus of Rebuild Kerala Initiative is to increase the State’s institutional and financial capacity to protect the assets and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable groups through an inclusive and participatory approach. He shared his experiences as the Tourism Secretary and expressed his pleasure being part of the growth story of Kerala’s tourism. He pointed out the fact that most of the credit that our State gets for developments in the tourism sector is by virtue of the energy and drive of the private sector. Dr. Venu mentioned the Government’s plans on reopening the Bastian Bungalow and redesigning of the Hill Palace Museum which boasts the cultural heritage of Cochin.

Dr. Venu said that the Rebuild Kerala Initiative is being carried out in a mission mode adopting the latest technologies. Eco-friendly building strategies, learning to live with floods, etc. are the key ingredients of this initiative. The aim is to not restore what was in existence before the flood but to build a new Kerala which will be resilient to any possible natural disasters in the future. The main strength of implementing the rebuilding initiative is the people’s participation. A vibrant civil society that sinks differences and springs into action in times of crisis was a case study across the world, he said. Dr. Venu mentioned about the Chief Minister of Kerala’s initiative of forming a Volunteer Force of around 3.5 lakhs who are well equipped to help with the relief drive when and as the crisis hits.

Dr. Venu said that a total of 3.5 lakhs houses were partially damaged and 19000 houses were fully damaged in the floods of 2018. With the support of Government, industry, NGOs and local sponsors, 15000-16000 houses are either completed or nearing completion. He thanked the efforts of the Government and the generosity of the people who contributed to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund which helped in the recovery.

Dr. Venu requested industry to come forward with ideas and new ways that can contribute to the Rebuild Kerala Initiative. He also expressed his gratitude to the industry players who played a crucial role in placing Kerala on the international tourism map. Dr. Venu, who also served as the Director and Secretary of Kerala Tourism Department, said that the industry stakeholders are to be applauded for building a good partnership model. He then proceeded to explain the relief activities undertaken by the Kerala Government post the 2018 and 2019 floods. He pointed out that the Rebuild Kerala Initiative (RKI) was born out of the vision that floods should be taken as “a challenge and an opportunity to rebuild the State to ensure better standards of living to all sections of the society”. Sustained efforts from various Departments have resulted in funding promises from agencies like World Bank, KfW etc. The Government of Kerala approved the Rebuild Kerala Development Programme (RKDP) after adopting a top down approach where stakeholders were consulted after finalisation of the draft version. Realising the importance of placing stakeholders centre stage of the rebuilding process, the Rebuild Kerala Initiative has adopted a bottom-up approach by launching  the Nammal Nammukayi campaign to crowdsource solutions.

The initiative will undertake extensive consultations online (Portal- http://pcp.rebuild.kerala.gov.in/index.php/Login/index/ ) and offline (events). These inputs will drive the Government’s approach to ‘Build Back Better’ an invigorated Kerala with greater resilience and resistance to future shocks. The Nammal Nammukayi campaign seeks to consult everyone who wish to be consulted. Thus, the Rebuild Kerala Initiative seeks to ensure a participatory module for building an eco-sensitive development framework in Kerala. The Government of Kerala is exploring the possibility of convening a special session of the Kerala Legislative Assembly to discuss and deliberate on the rebuilding process. Dr. Venu also commended and appreciated the briefing that was submitted by the Chamber in October 2019 to supplement the Government’s efforts in rebuilding the State.

Quoting the example of officers in the Irrigation Department, he insisted on the need for coordination between various Departments. Working in silos has resulted in delays and inefficiency in the delivery of public projects. This needs to be addressed, he said. Referring to the flash floods that hit Kochi in October 2019, Dr. Venu highlighted the problem of encroachers endangering the lives of citizens.

Responding to a query raised by the Chamber President Mr. Venugopal, Dr. Venu said that the Government will consider the Chamber’s request to revisit the Kerala Land Reforms in its 50th anniversary through consultation events.

Mr. Venugopal C Govind, Past President of the Chamber presented a Memento to Dr. Venu.

Mr. K Harikumar, Vice President of the Chamber proposed the Vote of Thanks.

ASCEND Kerala 2020

Presentation on Rebuild Kerala Initiative by the Cochin Chamber | 10.01.2020

The Chamber was represented by the President at the Ascend Kerala 2020 Meet organized by the State Government on the 10th and 11th of January at Ernakulam.

ASCEND Kerala 2020 is Government of Kerala’s flagship “Global Investors Meet” to facilitate a vibrant platform for Global, National and State-level fraternity to understand the investment potential that the State has to offer with a sharp focus on all-round sustainable economic development for an “Industrial Friendly Nava Keralam”.

The Chamber made a presentation at the meet which was widely appreciated by the people present. The Chamber also submitted a representation to the Government containing its suggestions on the subject.

Awareness Session on Cyber Security

Bhavan's Royal Institute of Management | 23.01.2020

The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry conducted an outreach programme at the Bhavan’s Royal Institute of Management (BRIM) Campus, Thiruvankulam, on the 23rd of January 2020. The programme was an Awareness Session on Cyber Security.

Mr. Steve Philips, Cyber Security Communications and Awareness expert, ITV, United Kingdom was the Speaker at the Session.

The aim of the session was to create an awareness among the students regarding cyber security, the potential impact a cyber-attack can have and the steps required to be taken to reduce risks and to prevent cyber-crime from infiltrating their online workspace.

In his presentation Mr. Philips said that a situation where almost everyone ranging from a business organization to an individual could be victimized is by email or SMS phishing. Here, the user is tricked into clicking a malicious link, which can lead to the installation of malware whereby sensitive information can be accessed. Another important aspect that facilitates cyber-attacks is the use of public Wi-Fi without VPN protection. Mr. Philips said that one of the biggest threats with free Wi-Fi is that it doesn’t require authentication to establish a connection and this gives the hacker uninterrupted access to one’s personal information. However, if you have a VPN, even if a hacker manages to get into the system, all your sensitive data will be encrypted, he said.

Mr. Philips explained ‘cyber kill chain’, a series of steps that trace stages of a cyber attack from the early reconnaissance to the exfiltration of data. The kill chain helps to understand and combat ransomware and security breaches. The stages in a cyber kill chain range from reconnaissance to moving laterally throughout the network to get access to more data (weaponization, delivery, exploitation, installation) to getting the data out (exfiltration). Mr. Philips said that each phase of the kill chain is an opportunity to stop a cyber attack in progress, with the right tools to detect and recognize the behaviour of each stage; you’re able to better defend against a data breach.

The Welcome Address at the programme was delivered by the Dean of BRIM Dr. Rajagopala Nair. The Chamber President Mr. V Venugopal also addressed the students present.

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THE PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION BILL, 2019

Priyanka Yavagal, Advocate - Shivadass & Shivadass (Law Chambers)

Introduction:

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (“Bill”) was tabled in the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2019 and is now being reviewed by the Joint Select Committee (“JSC”). The JSC is due to submit its report to the Lok Sabha before the 2020 Budget Session of Parliament, which, although dates have not yet been set, usually runs from February to March. At that point, the Government is likely to table the Bill for discussion in Parliament either in the Budget Session or during the Monsoon session (July and September).

Currently, the usage and transfer of personal data of citizens is regulated by the Information Technology Rules, 2011 (“Rules”), under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“Act”).  The rules iterate that the companies using an individual’s data are liable for compensating such individual, in case of any negligence in maintaining security standards while dealing with said data.

The normative foundation of the Bill is the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“SC”) in Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors. (W.P. (Civil) No. 494 of 2012), upholding the ‘right to privacy’ as a fundamental right under the Constitution of India and the Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 (“draft”) issued by the Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Justice B.N. Srikrishna (Retd.) [“Expert Committee”].

The Expert Committee observed in its report that while the Rules were a novel attempt at data protection at the time they were introduced, the pace of development of digital economy, has shown its shortcomings.

The current Bill therefore, is a significant development in the evolution of general data protection and its legislative frame-work in India. It provides for an individual’s privacy, the manner in which their data can be processed with consent, and the obligations of data processors.

The Bill however retains the core structure of the draft, which closely adheres to the model provided by the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in the European Union. However, some noteworthy changes in this Bill include data localization requirements and provisions carrying criminal penalties. The Bill also includes requirements that did not feature in the draft, such as an enhanced right to erasure, obligations that attach to “anonymous data,” and specific requirements for “social media intermediaries.” A new body for rulemaking in the form of Data Protection Authority (“DPA”), could provide additional opportunities for public consultation.

This article seeks to provide and trace the history and objects of the Bill and its initial implications. The article is a first of a detailed analysis of the Bill, which will follow in subsequent issues.

The evolution of “Right to Privacy” in India is detailed hereinbelow:

Key highlights of the Bill:

A) Section 3 of the Bill lays down several important definitions:

  • Personal Data: Data about or relating to a natural person who is directly or indirectly identifiable, having regard to a feature of identity or a combination of such features (whether virtual or physical) and also includes inferences drawn from such data that for the purpose of profiling;
  • Sensitive Personal Data: Data that reveals, is related to, or constitutes financial data, health data, official identifiers, sex life and sexual orientation, biometric data, genetic data, transgender status, intersex status, and caste or tribe, religious, political belief or affiliation, and any other category as may be notified;
  • Financial Data: Any number or other personal data that is used to identify (i) an account opened by a data fiduciary, or (ii) a card or payment instrument issued by a financial institution. It is also defined to include personal data regarding the relationship between a financial institution and a data principal including financial status and credit status;
  • Data Principal means the natural person to whom the personal data relates and the entity that determines the purpose or means of processing this data is referred to as the Data Fiduciary;
  • Data Processor means any person, including the State, a company, any juristic entity or any individual, who processes personal data on behalf of a Data Fiduciary.
  • A Data Protection Authority will be setup under the Bill to: (i) take steps to protect interests of individuals, (ii) prevent misuse of personal data, and (iii) ensure compliance with the Bill. It will consist of a chairperson and six members, with at least 10 years’ expertise in the field of data protection and information technology. Orders of the Authority can be appealed to an Appellate Tribunal. Appeals from the Tribunal shall lie to the Supreme Court.
  • Under Section 26 of the Bill, certain thresholds in terms of volume of personal data processed, the sensitivity of personal data processed, risk of harm, etc., are specified, upon satisfaction of which, the Data Protection Authority may notify a data fiduciary as a Significant Data Fiduciary.

B) The Bill applies to the processing of personal data that has been collected, disclosed, shared or otherwise processed in India, or to the processing by the State or State bodies, Indian corporate entities and Indian citizens. The Bill also applies to the processing of any personal data by entities located outside India, if the personal data is processed with respect to any business or activity that involves offering goods or services to individuals located in India or the profiling of data principals within India. The Bill however does not apply to the processing of anonymised data; It is important to note that anonymised data is defined as means data which has undergone the process of anonymisation (irreversible process of transforming or converting personal data to a form in which a data principal cannot be identified, which meets the standards of irreversibility specified by the Authority).

C) The Bill categorises organisations as Data Fiduciaries and Significant Data Fiduciaries and imposes obligations such as appointment of Data Protection Officers,  Data Protection Assessments, record keeping, contractual requirement with data processors, privacy by design, maintenance of transparency and accountability, timely notifications of personal data breaches, data audits, provide mechanisms for grievance redressal and proof of consent, etc.;

D) Section 26 of the Bill defines Social Media Intermediaries as a new and separate category of Data Fiduciaries. These are entities which primarily or solely connect users enabling them to create, modify, upload, share, disseminate or access information. Search engines, e-commerce entities, internet service providers, email and storage services, and online encyclopaedias are expressly excluded from this definition. Social Media Intermediaries which have more than a specified number of users, and whose actions are likely to impact electoral democracy, security of the state, public order, sovereignty or integrity of India will be notified by the Central Government as SDF.

E) Grounds for processing sensitive personal data include explicit consent, functions of state, compliance with law or order of court/tribunal, for prompt action in case of emergencies for passwords, health data, financial data, official identifies, genetic data and biometric data.

F) Age verification and parental consent are required for processing personal and sensitive personal information of children. Any organisation processing the personal data of children may need to include age as a parameter and for it to further identify minor cases.

G) Data localisation, introduced vide this Bill mandates that a copy of the personal data be stored in servers/data centres in India. Certain categories of data (to be notified by the Central Government/DPAI) shall be termed as “Critical Personal Data” and shall only be processed in server or data centre located in India.

H) The Bill intends to confer control of power in the hands of data principal vis-à-vis – personal data, and hence provides them with the right to access and correction, the right to data portability and right to be forgotten. It attempts to provide its citizens with comprehensive data protection rights and create a trust-based relationship between the data principal and data fiduciary.

I) Processing of personal data is exempt from the provisions of the Bill in certain cases. For example, the Central Government can exempt any of its agencies in the interest of security of State, Public Order, Sovereignty and Integrity of India, and friendly relations with Foreign States. Processing of personal data is also exempted from provisions of the Bill for certain other purposes such as prevention, investigation, or prosecution of any offence, or research and journalistic purposes.  Further, personal data of individuals can be processed without their consent in certain circumstances such as: (i) if required by the State for providing benefits to the individual, (ii) legal proceedings, (iii) to respond to a medical emergency.

J) The Bill imposes heavy penalties on individuals/organisations found to be non-complaint with the rules made under the Bill. Following is a summary of the violations and its corresponding penalty attracted under the Bill:

Conclusion:

The Bill is a two-sided sword. While it protects the personal data of Citizens by empowering them with data principal rights, on the other hand, it grants the central government certain exemptions which are against the principles of processing personal data. Though the Bill is ambiguous and far from being perfect, it is a step in the right direction. The successful implementation of the Bill is likely to lay a foundation for data privacy in India and drive a cultural shift as to processing of personal data and protection of data principals.

 

 

 

 

 

The contents and comments of this document do not necessarily reflect the views/position of Shivadass and Shivadass (Law Chambers) but remain solely of the author(s). For any further queries or follow up, please contact admin@sdlaw.co.in.

Tax and Regulatory Updates from PricewaterhouseCoopers

Direct Tax

Tribunal upholds allowance of depreciation on goodwill acquired and non-compete fee paid on purchase of business

The Chennai bench of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (Tribunal) upheld a claim for depreciation on goodwill on the acquisition of two businesses through a slump sale agreement and the non-compete fee paid thereunder. The Tribunal upheld the difference between the consideration paid and the net value of assets representing goodwill, which was eligible for depreciation. The Tribunal, relying on the decision of the Madras High Court, upheld the allowance of depreciation on the non-compete fees paid on the acquisition of these businesses

PwC comments: The Tribunal held that intangibles in the form of goodwill acquired and non-compete fee paid under a BTA are eligible for claim of deprecation.

Global Mobility

Validity of OCI Card under miscellaneous services guidelines

The Consulate General of India at New York, USA on 19 November 2019 has issued a press release giving a travel advisory on validity of Overseas Citizenship of India Card (OCI card) for persons of Indian origin travelling to India. This advisory was released after the consular office received information that some of the OCI card holders faced issues with the airline authorities who refrained persons to travel to India as the passport number in OCI card was not matching with that of the passport.

As per the press release, the Consulate General of India has reiterated the following points:

  • For every OCI cardholder who is 20 years of age or younger, the OCI card must be renewed each time a new passport is issued.
  • The OCI card is not required to be renewed for those between 21 and 49 years of age.
  • For an OCI cardholder who attains the age of 50 years or more, the OCI card must be renewed only once after the issuance of a new passport.
  • If the OCI card is issued for the first time after the age of 50 years, it is not mandatory to update the OCI card in case a new passport is obtained.

As per the advisory, travelers (except indicated in point 1 above), will be permitted to enter into India/ exit from India on the strength of OCI card even if it contains the old passport number of the card holder. However, it is recommended that the travelers carry their old passport along with the new one to ensure they are not stopped from traveling.

PwC comments: The above rules forming a part of the ‘OCI Miscellaneous Services guidelines’ issued by the Bureau of Immigration governing the validity of the OCI card have been in existence for a long time. However, recent vigilance for implementing these rules has been higher, especially for travelers to India on various airlines from United States, Singapore and New Zealand.

Visa on Arrival in India facility extended to UAE nationals

The Government of India, with effect from 16 November 2019, has extended the Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) facility to nationals of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) travelling to India.

This facility is currently available at six designated international airports, namely, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

Below are the key highlights of the extension of VOA facility to UAE nationals:

  • VOA would be valid for a period of 60 days or for two visits to India within a 60-day period upon getting a double entry VOA.
  • VOA facility can be availed if UAE nationals are travelling to India for business, tourism, attending conference and for medical purposes.
  • Only those UAE nationals who have previously obtained either an Indian e-visa or a regular visa to travel to India are eligible to avail the VOA facility. UAE nationals who are visiting India for the first time are required to apply for either an e-visa or a regular visa.
  • UAE nationals who are of Pakistani origin will not be eligible for the VOA facility.
  • There is no restriction on the number of times that a UAE national can avail this VOA facility.

A traveller is required to submit the requisite form at the Indian airport along with the disembarkation form and pay a fee of INR 2,000 to obtain the VOA.

PwC comments: UAE becomes the third country (after Japan and South Korea) to whom India has made the VOA facility available.

Regulatory

Bill proposed to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment Bill), 2019 (Bill) has been introduced in the Parliament. The amendments in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 introduced in the Parliament is aimed at removing certain difficulties faced during insolvency resolution process to achieve the objectives of the code and ease doing of business. The key provisions of the proposed amendments are as follows:

Threshold for filing the insolvency petition

  • In case of real estate companies, where a home buyer/ allottee makes the insolvency petition in a real estate project, the application has to be filed jointly by not less than 100 allottees of the same real estate project or 10% of the total allottees under that project, whichever is lower.
  • Similarly, in other cases, with bondholders, etc., intending to file the insolvency petition, such petition has to be filed jointly by not less than 100 such creditors in the same class of 10% of the total number of such creditors in the same class, whichever being less.
  • These thresholds would help in controlling the floodgates of insolvency, which could have otherwise been opened by a petition filed by even a single such creditor. It would also provide some reprieve, especially to real estate companies that have long been demanding that the default threshold amount of INR 100,000 should be increased. By introducing a minimum threshold for filing the insolvency application, the Government has tried to cater to this demand.

Existing licenses, permits, etc.

  • A non-obstante clause has been introduced by the Bill, prescribing that a licence, permit, registration, quota, concession, clearances or a similar grant or right given by the central, state or local authority, sectoral regulator or any other authority, shall not be suspended, terminated on the grounds of insolvency, subject to the condition that there is no default in dues arising for the use or continuation of the said licence, permits, etc., during the moratorium period.
  • The amendment prescribes that the company shall continue to enjoy the benefits of existing licences, registrations, rights, etc., unless the dues for such rights, licences, permits, etc., are duly paid without any default during the insolvency period.

Liability for prior offences, etc.

  • Another non-obstante clause has been introduced by the Bill, whereby blanket immunity is provided to the insolvent company and all its properties for all the past offences, if pursuant to the approval of the resolution plan, the insolvent company has been acquired by new promoters/ management.
  • This amendment further proposes that the insolvent company and its assets are free from any proceedings, attachment, seizure, confiscation, etc.; however, the promoters of such companies shall continue to be liable to be prosecuted under applicable laws and the property of any such person shall also be subject to applicable proceedings.

PwC Comments: The proposed amendment to the Code aims to streamline the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP). The thresholds introduced for certain financial creditors would prevent frivolous triggering of CIRP. The Bill also ensures that the substratum of the business of corporate debtor is not lost, and it can continue as a going concern by clarifying that the licenses, permits, concessions, clearances, etc., cannot be terminated or suspended or not renewed during the moratorium period. Most importantly, the proposal to ring fence the corporate debtor and its assets ensure that successful bidders hold a clean and assured title on the assets bought under CIRP and the liability for prior offences rests with erstwhile promoters, management, etc.

Indirect Tax

E-Invoice for taxpayers with turnover above 1bn in B2B segment and QR code for taxpayers with turnover above 5bn in B2C segment (respectively) made mandatory from 1 April 2020

The Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs has issued several notifications to bring into effect provisions governing e-invoicing and Quick Response (QR) code generation from 1 April 2020. The key features of the aforesaid provisions are summarized below:

B2B supplies

  • A registered person whose aggregate turnover in a financial year (FY) exceeds INR 1bn will be required to prepare an “e-invoice” after obtaining a unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN) from the specified GST portal. For this purpose, Form GST INV- 01 containing various particulars will need to be uploaded to generate the IRN needed for invoices on supply(ies) of goods and/ or services to a registered person.
  • Invoices issued without an IRN generated will be treated as invalid.
  • This process now eliminates the requirement to issue duplicate/ triplicate invoice copies.
  • A list of 10 websites that can be accessed for the generation of the IRN (collectively called the “Common Goods and Service Tax Electronic Portal”) has been provided.

B2C supplies

  • An invoice issued by a registered person whose aggregate turnover in a FY exceeds INR 5bn for the supply of goods and services to an unregistered person is required to have a QR Code.
  • Where such registered person is paid via the application of a Dynamic QR Code made available to the recipient through a digital display, such invoice containing cross reference of the payment via the Dynamic QR code shall be deemed to meet the criteria.

PwC comments: The Government has continued in its stated endeavor to achieve digitization of the economy and tax compliance by making e-invoices compulsory for B2B transactions for taxpayers having a yearly turnover exceeding INR 1bn. This will need an investment in readying systems and personnel due to the short runway of three months which has been prescribed. The Government has also surprised businesses by making QR codes compulsory for taxpayers with a yearly turnover exceeding INR 5bn for B2C transactions. Potentially, this will impact the organised retail sector, food and beverage chains and residential real estate, merchants on e-commerce platforms in addition to businesses that concurrently serve B2B and B2C categories such as hospitality, airlines, courier and online travel agents. Various operational and experiential aspects of this system are expected to be further clarified by the Government in the near future

Additional amendment in SEZ Rules – notified

As part of promoting growth in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in India, the Ministry of Commerce has come out with additional amendments in the form of Special Economic Zones (Third Amendment) Rules, 2019 (SEZ Rules). The highlights of the amendments are summarized below.

Relating to establishment of SEZ

  • All the existing SEZs that are notified shall be deemed to be “multi-sector SEZs.” Hence, an SEZ can house more than one sector where units may be set-up for manufacture of goods or services of different sectors in any combination thereof, including trading and warehousing. In other words, the sectoral concept of SEZs has been dispensed with.
  • The minimum area requirement for most SEZs will be contiguous area of 50 hectares with certain exceptions. For example, for North East states, it is 25 hectares.
  • No minimum land area requirement for setting up an SEZ for Information Technology or Information Technology enabled Services (IT or ITeS), Biotech or Health (other than hospital) services. However, a minimum built up processing area requirement for different category of cities/ locations shall apply.
  • The minimum processing area in an SEZ has to be at least 50%.
  • Under the category of IT or ITeS, broad banding with other services such as financial services, consultancy services, design services, architect services, commercial training or coaching services will be permissible subject to letter issued by the Approval Committee for services.
  • The SEZ Rules require a developer to undertake minimum construction/ stipulated development of zone within a period of 10 years from being notified. However, based on merits/ exigencies of the developer, the Board of Approval may consider an annual extension of this time period with a cap of 10 such extensions.

PwC comments: The proposed amendments seems to be in line with the overall objective of trade facilitation. These amendments will further enable optimal utilization of vacant land in SEZs and flexibility of operating in SEZs without any significant sectoral restrictions. 

E-Invoicing System – GSTN releases API Specs and FAQs

Proposed e-invoicing system – Key documents released by GSTN

The Government had recently issued notifications notifying 1 April 2020 as the date of implementation of e-invoicing system for B2B transactions for businesses with aggregate turnover exceeding INR 1bn.

  • Considering that the voluntary system would commence from 1 January 2020, the GSTN has also released the following documents in public domain.
  • Presentations made by GSTN team in various workshops across India.
  • Additional and updated FAQs on the e-invoice concept, flow and schema.
  • List of application program interfaces (APIs) and the proposed methodology of interaction with the Invoice Registration Portal (IRP).
  • General JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) sample of e-invoice payload sent to IRP.
  • JSON schema for e-invoice.

Key highlights

Below are the key highlights of the documents shared by the GSTN:

  • API Specs released: National Informatics Centre (NIC) has stated that there would be 6 different APIs. It has currently released specs for critical APIs (such as Generation). These are relevant to understand technically what all information will be required to be shared with IRP as well as the response expected to be received from IRP. Basis the review, it appears that there is further refinement in the mandatory fields required to be sent to IRP for generation of Invoice Reference Number (IRN).
  • IRN Requirement: In addition to the tax invoice, IRN required for credit note, debit note, exports, Input Service Distributor (ISD) invoice, ISD credit note. This appears in contradiction to the notification recently issued, where IRN requirement was prescribed only for tax invoice.
  • Document type for which IRN is not required: Documents which don’t have tax component i.e. Bill of Supply and Delivery Challan.
  • IRN for B2C transactions: Not required – It has been provided that this may be allowed in long run. Hence, it appears that such option may not be available to start with. Even the API specs don’t currently include B2C transactions as transaction type, but they do include B2G (Business to Government transaction). Earlier, it was stated that generation of IRN for B2C would be optional but that doesn’t seem to be the case now.
  • Printing of IRN on invoice: There are contradictory comments on whether IRN or the QR code generated by IRP is required to be printed on the invoice. This is a critical issue and currently on reading the notification it appears that IRN needs to be printed on the invoice. It is important that this aspect is explicitly clarified as it could have an impact on the IT related changes which the companies may have to undertake.
  • Printing of invoice: Its being evaluated whether printing of invoice has been done away with even for the purpose of movement of goods.
  • Signing of invoice by supplier: Present status remains.
  • Generation of IRN: Only by IRP. There would be multiple IRPs from April 2020. Earlier the concept note provided that even a seller could generate an IRN.
  • Length of IRN and parameters: It needs to be a 64 digits string based on SHA256 algorithm. It needs to be generated basis the document type (which was earlier not included), document number, seller GSTIN and financial year.
  • Number of line items allowed on an invoice: An increase to 10,000 per invoice from earlier proposed 250 lines.
  • Checks to be undertaken by IRP: It will undertake GSTIN validity check of seller and buyer as well as de-duplication check of invoice. Earlier only duplication check was provided.
  • Email of JSON by IRP: IRP will not email any JSON e-invoice to seller or buyer directly. Earlier this was only proposed.
  • Integration with IRP: In addition to GSP route, GSTN would provide an option to taxpayers to directly integrate with IRP subject to certain conditions
  • Provision for e-commerce platform: Government could consider allowing e-commerce platform to undertake the e-invoice compliance on behalf of the vendors supplying goods from their platform. This could go a long way in facilitating compliances for small vendors undertaking business through such platforms.

PwC comments: The documents shared were the need of the hour especially the API specs as these are the basic documents required for undertaking any IT development to prepare for e-invoicing system. Also, FAQs do provide clarification on quite a few aspects. There have been changes since the clarification, basis the industry feedback. All the stakeholders including the Government, GSTN, NIC are working on a tight deadline, hence things would continue to evolve as we move along. It is imperative for businesses to analyze such FAQs and undertake an impact analysis on how such e-invoicing system would impact transactions, IT systems as well as processes. Another key decision which needs to be taken is the manner of integration/ changes required in ERP systems for such change. This development reiterates the Government’s endeavor to introduce mandatory e-invoicing system from 1 April 2020 onwards. Being a major business change, industry should start preparing on immediate basis to be ready in-time to meet the 1 April 2020 deadline.

Supreme Court upholds sales tax on Time Charter arrangement

Issue

The issue involved whether a Time Charter agreement (agreement) entered with a port trust authority would attract sales tax under the provisions of the Karnataka Sales Tax Act, 1957 (the KST Act).

  • This case pertained to an agreement entered into between a shipping company and a port trust. As per the agreement, the services of a towing vessel (tug) was made exclusively available to the port trust for defined purposes along with the ship master and operating personnel for 6 months.
  • The appellant repudiated the claim of the tax office demanding imposition of sales tax on this transaction, on the basis that there was no transfer of right to use of the tug provided to the port trust, as the possession and custody of the tug always remained with it. It also contended that the KST Act does not extend to territorial waters of India situated adjacent to the landmass of the State of Karnataka. Upon commencement of proceedings under the KST Act, the appellant filed a writ before the High Court, which ruled in favour of the tax office.
  • Aggrieved by the High Court’s decision, the appellant approached the Supreme Court with a prayer to quash the High Court’s order of rejection.

Supreme Court’s decision

The Supreme Court examined a plethora of domestic and international commentaries and judgements, mainly on:

  • The concepts and features of various categories of charters such as time and voyage charters, and the distinguishing characteristics which result in an arrangement to be treated as a Time Charter.
  • The judicial analysis of the criteria for a transaction to result in transfer of right to use which creates an interest in the underlying goods, as compared to the right to use goods which is a license.
  • The Supreme Court’s earlier decisions on the subject in the cases of BSNL v. Union of India and Twentieth Century Finance Corporation Limited v. State of Maharashtra were relied on and revalidated.

Based on its analysis, the Supreme Court decided against the appellant on account of the following reasons:

  • On reading the terms of the agreement, it was seen that the effective control and possession for the entire contract period had been given to the charterers.
  • To constitute a transaction of transfer of right to use goods, it is essential that goods must be available for delivery. In the instant case, the vessel was made available and subsequently delivered. Also, during the contract period, the contractor had no right to give the vessel for use to anyone else.
  • Applying the substance of the contract and the nominal nature test, the vessel was found to be available when the agreement was executed. The continued operation of the vessel by the captain and staff of the charteree was of limited implication as they remained under the control and instruction of the charterer.
  • For the realisation of tax imposed under Article 366(29A)(d) of the Constitution of India, 1949, it was not material where the goods are passed, but the situs of the agreement which is determinative. It was the passing of the property within the State that was material for the purpose of determining whether the sale was “inside” or “outside” the State. On this basis, it held that the State of Karnataka enjoyed sufficient jurisdiction to tax this transaction.

PwC Comments: While upholding the levy of sales tax on a Time Charter agreement, the Supreme Court has placed substantial reliance on a detailed review of the terms and conditions of the contract, and effectively held that mere use of common terms or conditions does not decipher the true character of the agreement for the purpose of tax laws. In doing so, it has held that there is no general or automatic rule that an agreement shall be treated as service (or otherwise) based on commercial parlance. This ruling potentially alters certain historical practices on Time Charter agreements, mainly that such an arrangement qualified as a service and appropriately attracted service tax. Also, the “assumption” that there is no transfer of possession and control of the vessel should not now be treated to be absolute. It may be prudent to examine whether this ruling has implications on the GST treatment of similar transactions, since certain rate categories are dependent on qualifying as a transfer of right to use or right in goods.

From the Research Wing....

  1. The Chamber submitted a representation to the Finance Minister, Government of Kerala on the changes required in the GST regime.
  2. The Chamber was invited to a Panel Discussion on the Rebuild Kerala Initiative Session at ASCEND Kerala, 2020, Global Investors Summit organised by the Kerala Government. The thrust of the Chamber’s presentation was on the need for policy incorporating best practices for effective implementation of the Nammal Nammukayi campaign initiated by the Rebuild Kerala Initiative.
  3. The Chamber’s Research Team has prepared Budget Memorandum that will be submitted to the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Government of Kerala.
  4. The Chamber submitted representations to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour suggesting changes in the Draft Industrial Relations Code, 2019 and the Draft Social Security Code 2019.

POLICY DEVELOPMENTS CORNER

  1. The Union Budget 2020-21 will be presented on Saturday, February 1, 2020. Hon’ble Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will start the India Budget 2020 speech at 11 AM on February 1 in the Parliament. Budget documents will be available at https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/ on 1st February 2020.
  2. The Kerala Budget 2020-21 will be presented on February 7, 2020 by Finance Minister Dr. Thomas Isaac. Budget documents will be available at http://www.finance.kerala.gov.in/index.jsp and http://www.niyamasabha.org on 7th February.
  3. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 has invited comments. Kindly submit your inputs to  jpc-datalaw@sansad.nic.in  or mrs.mlekhi@sansad.nic.in before 12th February 2020.
  4. Contributory Pension Review Committee Kerala invites comments on Contributory Pension Policy. Submit inputs to crpckerala@gmail.com by 7th March.

The Pre-Budget Memorandum the Chamber had put together to be submitted to the Finance Minister of Kerala, is now available for purchase.

Publications of the Chamber!!

Chamber’s Souvenir commemorating 162 years of its Journey

1st Edition of the Chamber Voice – Print Version of the Newsletter

Exclusive EXIM Statistics

Representation on Rebuild Kerala

Pre-Budget Memorandum submitted to the Union Finance Minster

Pre-Budget Memorandum submitted to the Kerala State Finance Minster

Contact the Chamber Secretariat to purchase any of these publications.

0484-2668650; 2668349

cochinchamber@bsnl.in; events@cochinchamber.org

Forthcoming Events

CEO FORUM 2020 - 2nd Breakfast Meeting

Post Budget Analysis 2020-2021| 03.02.2020

The Second Breakfast Meeting of the 5th Edition of the CEO FORUM will be held on MONDAY the 3RD  of FEBRUARY, 2020 at Taj Gateway Hotel, Marine Drive, Ernakulam from 8.00 a.m to 10.00 a.m. The meeting will be followed by a Networking Breakfast.

The session will be a “Post Budget Analysis 2020-2021”. The Speakers at the session are from PwC, India, the Chamber’s Knowledge Partner.

Click Here to register

Annual Post Budget Analysis - 2020-21

06.02.2020

The Cochin Chamber will be organising its Annual Post Budget Analysis Session on the 6th of February, 2020 at Hotel Avenue Center, Panampilly Nagar, Ernakulam.

Mr. Homi P. Ranina, eminent Lawyer and Tax Consultant from Mumbai will be the Speaker on that day.

Click Here to register

The Last Mile (TLM 2020)

ELIGIBILITY & BEYOND | 14th & 15th of February, 2020

The Last Mile (TLM) is a Certificate Programme meant exclusively for students who are on the threshold of a career. Conceptualised by the Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry the first edition of the event was held in February 2019 and was attended by 100 students representing 24 institutions.  This programme is aimed at preparing students for the work place and the challenges that they are bound to face there. We hope to enable students from all streams hone their skills to work towards becoming exemplary employees, consider entrepreneurship opportunities etc. In short, we wish to offer the participants at TLM 2020 a chance to dream big and work towards achieving that dream! We are undertaking this endeavour to ensure that the Chamber contributes to the effort addressing the needs of our youngsters and industry and to bridge the skill gap that exists today.

TLM 2020 is designed to be an entirely different experience. TLM 2020 and will focus primarily on inspiring students to do what they love to do and also to help them find, develop, nurture and become successful with their inherent talents. TLM 2020 will showcase people who are success stories today because they believed in themselves.

The goal of this Workshop is to enlighten the students as to how the corporate world actually works and to give them an understanding of what is expected of them.

The Mentoring Sessions at the Workshop will be led by a team from Mr. Mark Sequeira, CEO, Maestro Human Resources Private Limited, Bangalore. and his team of trainers.

We will also have some young achievers in their respective fields to address, encourage, inspire and motivate the participants.

Registration Fee ₹ 1200 per participant (A  group of 10 or more students from the same institution can avail a discount of 10% on the participation fee)

The fee includes all taxes, food & refreshments on both days.

Last date to register for this Workshop will be the 10th of February, 2020

Certificates will be issued only to the students who participate on both days.

Click Here to register

Article

India’s Foreign Trade: December 2019

Source : PIB, GoI

India’s overall exports (Merchandise and Services combined) in April-December2019-20* are estimated to be USD 397.48 billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 0.93 per cent over the same period last year. Overall imports in April-December 2019-20* are estimated to be USD 455.14 billion, exhibiting a negative growth of (-)5.82 per cent over the same period last year.

*Note: The latest data for services sector released by RBI is for November 2019. The data for December 2019 is an estimation, which will be revised based on RBI’s subsequent release.

EXPORTS (including re-exports)

Exports in December 2019 were USD27.36 billion, as compared to USD27.86 billion in December 2018, exhibiting a negative growth of (-)1.80 per cent. In Rupee terms, exports were Rs. 1,94,764.74 crore in December 2019, as compared to Rs. 1,97,044.76 crore in December 2018, registering a negative growth of (-)1.16 per cent.

In December 2019, major commodity groups of export showing positive growth over the corresponding month of last year are:

Cumulative value of exports for the period April-December 2019-20 was USD239.29 billion (Rs.16,84,558.61 crore) as against USD244.08 billion (Rs.17,02,261.31 crore) during the period April-December 2018-19, registering a negative growth of (-) 1.96 per cent in Dollar terms (negative growth of (-)1.04 per cent in Rupee terms).

Non-petroleum and Non Gems and Jewellery exports in December 2019 were USD21.05 billion, as compared to USD21.16 billion in December 2018, exhibiting a negative growth of (-)0.54 per cent. Non-petroleum and Non Gems and Jewellery exports in April-December 2019-20 were USD177.81 billion, as compared to USD177.65 billion for the corresponding period in 2018-19, an increase of 0.09 per cent.

IMPORTS

Imports in December 2019 were USD38.61 billion (Rs.2,74,883.64 crore), which was 8.83 per cent lower in Dollar terms and 8.24 per cent lower in Rupee terms over imports of USD42.35 billion (Rs.2,99,553.40 crore) in December 2018. Cumulative value of imports for the period April-December 2019-20 was USD357.39 billion (Rs.25,14,783.82 crore), as against USD392.31 billion (Rs.27,37,092.01 crore) during the period April-December 2018-19, registering a negative growth of (-)8.90 per cent in Dollar terms (negative growth of (-)8.12 per cent in Rupee terms).

Major commodity groups of import showing negative growth in December 2019 over the corresponding month of last year are:

CRUDE OIL AND NON-OIL IMPORTS

Oil imports in December 2019 were USD10.69 billion (Rs. 76,136.69 crore), which was 0.83 percent lower in Dollar terms (0.18 percent lower in Rupee terms), compared to USD10.78 billion (Rs. 76,275.54 crore) in December2018. Oil imports in April-December 2019-20 were USD95.69 billion (Rs. 6,73,447.56 crore) which was 11.78 per cent lower in Dollar terms (11.13 percent lower in Rupee terms) compared to USD108.47 billion (Rs. 7,57,772.55crore), over the same period last year.

In this connection it is mentioned that the global Brent price ($/bbl) has increased by 16.63% in December 2019 vis-à-vis December 2018 as per data available from World Bank.

Non-oil imports in December 2019 were estimated at USD27.92billion (Rs. 1,98,746.95 crore) which was 11.56 per cent lower in Dollar terms (10.99 percent lower in Rupee terms), compared to USD31.57billion (Rs. 2,23,277.86 crore) in December 2018. Non-oil imports in April-December 2019-20 were USD261.70 billion (Rs. 18,41,336.26 crore) which was 7.80 per cent lower in Dollar terms (6.97 percent lower in Rupee terms), compared to USD283.84 billion (Rs. 19,79,319.46 crore) in April-December2018-19.

Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports wereUSD25.45 billion in December 2019, recording a negative growth of (-)12.24 per cent, as compared to Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports of USD 29.00 billion in December 2018. Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports wereUSD238.64 billion in April-December 2019-20, recording a negative growth of (-)7.90 per cent, as compared to Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports USD 259.11 billion in April-December 2018-19.

Highlights & Updates

Kerala Legislature

Highlights of the address by Mr. Arif Khan, Governor of Kerala on 29.01.2020

1) Semi High Speed Rail Corridor Project named Silverline will be launched to reduce the travel time from the present 12-14 hours to less than 4 hours. Envisaged as a 100% green project, the project cost is estimated to be Rs 56,442 crores and will be completed in 5 years.

2) To start work in the 2nd corridor (Pink Line) of Kochi Metro beginning from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium,Kaloor to Kakkanad this year. This will be connected eventually to the Silverline for a seamless transfer of passengers.

3) For facilitating Ease of Doing Business in the State, transactions for document registration during holidays will be facilitated in selected Sub Registry Offices.

4) Kerala Startup Mission to institutionalise a Startup Infrastructure Augmentation Fund to enhance the availability of furnished space to the startup sector.

5) Start-up entrepreneurs will be assisted through a comprehensive innovation acceleration scheme.

6) My Government plans to provide 24 x 7 water supply in Kochi city and adjoining area and selected areas in Thiruvananthapuram city, with the financial assistance of Asian Development Bank. The project will start by 2020 and will be completed by 2029.

7) Construction of flyovers at Sreekariyam, Ulloor and Pattom will be taken up along with the Light Metro Rail Project this year. The Alappuzha Bypass will be completed by April 2020. Similarly the Vytilla and Kundannur flyovers will also be completed in 2020.

8) My Government has taken action for acquisition of an extent of 1351 Acres of land for the development of Integrated Manufacturing Cluster (IMC) at Palakkad /Thrissur node under the Kochi extension of the Industrial Corridor Project. Master planning activity of the project will start soon.

9) The construction of “Kochi City Police Complex” will be initiated to bring all police offices working in Kochi City to a single complex for administrative convenience.

10) My Government has implemented several reforms to improve the ranking onEase of Doing Business to one of the top 5 in the next 1 year. It is proposed to launch a 24/7 toll free number for investors to seek information and clarifications on all matters of industrial investments. The District Board in all the districts will have Investment Facilitation Centres and at the State level KSIDC will create a similar Investment Facilitation Centre to handle all the inquiries and to facilitate investments.

11) To allow production of wine and low alcohol liquor from fruits such as cashew, mango, jackfruit and banana.

12) New Kerala Housing Policy this year where the role of Government will be redefined as a facilitator rather than developer.

13) Online Continuous Emission Monitoring System, for strengthening the monitoring and compliance of industry through self regulatory mechanism will be instituted by the Kerala State Pollution Control

14) With an objective to attract high exhibitions into Kerala, KINFRA will form a Joint Venture Company with India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) to construct a world-class exhibition cum convention center in 15 acres of land in Kakkanad. This facility will provide space for manufacturers in Kerala to reach the world market.

15) Block Chain Technology will be integrated for document registration services to achieve the concept of “Smart Contracts” based on model forms for various deeds. For service quality assurances, Sub Registry Offices will be enabled to attain ISO standards.

16) Electric Vehicle station in the State has been set up in Government Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram in 2019. KSEB will establish one eV charging station each in all the 6 Municipal Corporations and in more than 60 locations in the pilot districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode.

17) The government will focus on developing the Inland waterways as smartways by the end of 2025 in three stages.

18) certain unhealthy trends in labour relations in certain unorganised sectors which will be severely discouraged.

19) MSMEs, especially those in micro sector face a shortage of funds to set up units. Hence a new Scheme, “Margin Money Grant to Nano Units‟ covering both manufacturing as well as service sector will be launched shortly.

20) Integrated Local Government Management System will be introduced in all Grampanchayats as a single electronic platform for all services pertaining to 47Gramapanchayats as envisaged in Kerala Panchayat Raj Act and allied Rules

21) As part of the Capital City Development Project, a project called the “Outer Area Growth Corridor” has been launched, which will benefit major projects in the capital.

22) My Government plans to introduce India’s first Solar Electric RO-RO Service and Kerala’s first amphibious type water bus during the year. Utilizing the potential of National Waterways, barge service for cargo movement will be started. The department also plans to renovate five Station Offices and dockyard at Thevara, Ernakulam.

23) Additional Skill Acquisition Programme will run a series of hackathons to solve the problems identified by Government Departments and corporates, coordinate industry driven electives and start community colleges for the dropouts and returned emigrants.

24) A Youth Leadership Academy will be established with corporate participation.

25) 961 crore Chief Minister‟s Local Road Rebuild Project for rebuilding rural roads.

26) Local SelfGovernments will be encouraged to compete in a healthy way to create 5 jobs for every 1000 persons.

27) Reorganisation of agriculture units into 23 Agro Ecological Units so that all agricultural schemes will be implemented in a focused, crop-specific and area-specific manner with the goal of productive utilization of funds.

28) “Royalty for Ecosystem Service” will be provided for all paddy land owners of the State.

29) To establish “Krishisree” Centres as a single window delivery system for skilled labour, custom hiring of agricultural machinery and repair and maintenance of equipment and machinery in the State.

30) To bring the products produced by the co-operatives in the State under a single brand and quality mark called Co-op Mark. To promote “Digital Democracy‟, the concept of “Platform Co-operatives” will be introduced for helping co-operatives to participate in the digital economy.

31) To formulate Local Action Plan on Climate Change (LAPCC) in all LSGs especially in climate vulnerable hotspot districts.

32) The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) of the State for an outlay of Rs.280/-crores will commence in April 2020

33) The restoration and renovation of Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes will be taken up under Swiss challenge mode.

34) Will bring out a policy to control sound pollution.

35) Web Application will be developed with facilities for the common people to register complaints.

36) A State level de-addiction center with rehabilitation facilities will be started at Kinalur in Kozhikode District.

37) Council for Food Research and Development will start chilled storage and dehydration plants to store seasonal fruits and vegetables for ensuring their off season availability.

38) To establish a Tiger Rehabilitation Center for immediate treatment of injured tigers and where required, for their permanent rehabilitation.

39) To establish a Wildlife Safari Park at Kannavam, Kannur, to be a center of excellence in nature conservation along with sustainable tourism.

40) River Training Works, a new scheme is proposed for various estuaries to remain open throughout the year, to avoid flooding of upstream side.

41) A project will be taken up in selected fishing harbours to disintegrate ocean waste and produce diesel which can be sold to the fishermen who bring the waste from sea, on subsidy basis.

42) Amma Manassu Programmefor the mental health of pregnant ladies, State Level Suicide Prevention Programme, Mental Health Programme for Tribal Areas and Coastal Areas also would be started this year.

43) A Liver Transplantation Centre will be started at Medical College, Kottayam.

44) Food Hygiene Rating and Branding System will be introduced in order to encourage Food Businesses to improve hygiene standards and rate them.

45) Universities will facilitate enhanced employability of students through industry driven elective courses and take steps to encourage more foreign students on campus, to improve their ranking.

46) Will launch the Open University of Kerala, this year, incorporating the Distance Education Centres of all Universities.

47) A Centre for Big Data Analysis and innovative courses in areas of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics etc. will be started in accredited colleges, under Kerala Technical University.

48) Bill which will be brought before the Legislative Assembly to ensure the democratic rights of students to form their associations and get an early training in democratic decision making.

49) To ramp up the activities of Trivandrum Engineering Science & Technology (TrEST) Research Parkby setting up an EV testing lab with the support from Industry and a 36research partnership with Central PSUs in Engineering domain.

50) Integrated Digital Traffic Enforcement System, will be enforced which will help in tracking and identifying all types of traffic offenses/offenders across Kerala, by using contemporary camera technology.

51) Kerala Climate Responsive Housing Design Promotion Programme to popularise climate responsive housing technology which is disaster resistant, environment friendly, energy efficient and cost effective, by providing financial support to various stakeholders in housing industry.

52) Will implement a new scheme named “Handloom Family Welfare Scheme” to safeguard the health and well-being of women working in the handloom sector.

53) Shall roll out a state-wide Information Service Network. Each District will be provided with an Information Hub, connected to a central hub in the capital city. These Info Hubs, equipped with high-speed data connectivity, library and kiosks would provide the public with a wide range of information pertaining to the welfare and developmental activities of the Government and keep them up-to-date with information useful in day-to-day life.

54) To transform IIITM-K as University of Digital Sciences, Innovation and Technology with a view to develop abundant human resources in the Industry 4.0 technologies.

55) A Local Self-Government Disaster Management Plan (DMP) will be prepared focusing on preparedness and mitigation.

56) Similar packages will be prepared for Wayanad and Idukki.

57) Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council (K-DISC) proposes to organise annually, Kerala Innovation Day, to showcase innovations in government and a Multi Stakeholder Platform Programme for supply, procurement, packaging and delivery of contaminant free food products with complete traceability.

58) ANERT has entered into an agreement with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) under Government of India to utilise the UrjaMithra Centreswhich are one in each Legislative Assembly constituency, for distribution of energy efficient devices. People of Kerala will thus be able to avail the benefit of bulk procurement by EESL

59) The Institute of Land and Disaster Management (ILDM) being the state disaster management training institute, is setting up a new center on post Disaster Trauma Counseling to provide trauma counselling for disaster victims and to educate officials to interact with disaster victims with unconditional positive regard.

60) My Government proposes to implement Saphalam Project which will bear all financial expenditure for the eligible transgender students who wish to go for their higher education irrespective of the cost involved.

61) Under the Muziris Project, the Phase II works have started and will be completed this year.

62) it is proposed to register 25000 Responsible Tourism Mission units and it is estimated that at least 1 lakh local community members will be linked with the tourism industry directly or indirectly to generate income..

63) Government proposes to introduce the “Golden Hour Medical Treatment’, a scheme to cover the medical expenses not exceeding Rs.50000, of accident victims within the jurisdiction of Kerala, in the first 48 hours of the accident.

64) The State will form River Basin Conservation and Management Authority and reorganize the Irrigation Department based on river basin platforms.

Key Highlights of Economic Survey 2019-20

31 JAN 2020

  1. Wealth Creation: The Invisible Hand Supported by the Hand of Trust
  2. Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation at the Grassroots
  3. Pro-business versus Pro-markets
  4. Undermining Markets: When Government Intervention Hurts More Than It Helps
  5. Creating Jobs and Growth by Specializing in Network Products
  6. Targeting Ease of Doing Business in India
  7. Golden jubilee of bank nationalisation: Taking stock
  8. Financial Fragility in the NBFC Sector
  9. Privatization and Wealth Creation
  10. Is India’s GDP Growth Overstated? No!
  11. Thalinomics: The Economics of a Plate of Food in India
  12. India’s Economic Performance in 2019-20
  13. Fiscal Developments
  14. External Sector.
  15. Monetary Management and Financial Intermediation
  16. Prices and Inflation
  17. Sustainable Development and Climate Change
  18. Agriculture and Food Management
  19. Industry and Infrastructure
  20. Services Sector
  21. Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development

Click Here to view in full

Exclusive EXIM Statistics

Statistical Reports on Exports and Imports through the Cochin Port.

The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry publishes statistical reports on Exports and Imports through the Cochin Port on a monthly basis followed by a Consolidated Annual Report at the end of each calendar year. The reports on exports are classified as commodity wise and pertain to the following commodities:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Spices
  • Cashews
  • Cotton Goods
  • Seafood and
  • Coir and coir products

Details on all other commodities that do not fall under the above-mentioned heads are carried as the ‘Miscellaneous Report’. Customized reports will also be available according to customers requirement.

We have several members in the export/import fraternity subscribing to these reports on a monthly basis and from the feedback received they are immensely benefited by the same.

We are confident that our reports will be of help to your Company in staying one step ahead of your competitors in business. A sample of the report is attached herewith for your reference. Also attached is the ‘Subscription Form’ to enable you to subscribe to the report should you want to do so.

Should you have any queries please feel free to contact Ms. Archana (7025738447).

For more details, visit Export-Import Statistics

Sample Reports