Maharashtra Labour Department vide Notification dated October 1, 2019 has notified the Maharashtra Factories (Amendment) Rules, 2019 by addition of two clauses in Rule 45 of the Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963, mandating employers to maintain adequate quantity of sanitary napkins in the women’s toilets for their use. The used napkins should be collected in disposable bins with lids and their disposal should be per the procedure approved by the Inspector of Factories.
The Karnataka Government vide Gazette Notification dated September 5, 2019, notified the Karnataka State Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2019 framed under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, by repealing the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) (Karnataka) Rules, 2003. Inter-alia, every establishment like a company or a firm is mandated to publish equal opportunity policy for persons with disabilities and to display the equal opportunity policy on their website or at a conspicuous place in their premises. Further, any private establishment employing twenty or more persons should act upon a complaint of discrimination on the ground of disability received from an aggrieved person and should inform the person in writing as to how the act/omission is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate claim.
Source: http://gazette.kar.nic.in/5-9-2019/Part-4A-(Page-2503-2554).pdf (Page 31-52)
Ministry of Commerce and Industry vide Gazette Notification No.G.S.R. 645(E) dated September 12, 2019, notified the draft Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) (Amendment) Rules, 2019, inviting objections from public. Inter-alia, the amendment proposes to shorten the procedure of applying for registration of geographical indication by omitting certain clauses. The proposed draft amendment is summarized in the below table:
|Rule||Present Position||Proposed Amendment|
|56(1)||Application for registration as an authorized user was to be made in Form GI-3 jointly by the producer and the registered proprietor.||Rule is proposed to be substituted to remove joint application by the registered proprietor, and mandating the producer to only forward a copy of the application to the registered proprietor and intimate the Registrar of the due service of the same.|
|59(1)||Registration Certificate in Form GI-3 was to be issued by the Registrar upon receipt of a request with prescribed fee.||Rule is proposed to be substituted to remove references of Form GI-3, receipt of request and payment of prescribed fees.|
|59(2)||Registrar has to specify all particulars required under Section 6(1) in the register for authorized user.||Requirement for the Registrar to specify priority date and appropriate office of Registry is proposed to be omitted.|
|59(3)||Any request for duplicate or further copies of registration was to be made in Form GI-7 along with an un-mounted representation of the geographical indication as shown in form of application for registration.||Proposed to omit accompaniment of un-mounted representation of the geographical indication as shown in form of application for registration.|
|Sch. I||Fees of 500 is payable for application/renewal of registration of an authorized user of a geographical indication||Proposed to remove payment of fees.|
|Sch. II||Request for issuance of registration certificate is to be made in Form-GI-3.||Proposed to omit the procedure of requesting for issuance of certificate by deletion of entry in Schedule-II and renaming entry 3C as 3B.|
|GI-3||Form consists of three entries A for application, B for request for certificate issuance, and C for renewal||Proposed form consists of only two i.e. entries A for application and B for renewal.|
Ministry of Commerce and Industry vide Gazette Notification No.G.S.R. 663(E) dated September 17, 2019, notified the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2019, effective from the date of notification in the gazette. Inter-alia, the amendment abolishes the requirement of filing original documents after submitting scanned copies and includes a start-up and a female person to the list of eligible persons for requesting for expedited examination.
Following is the summary of the changes:
|Rule||Earlier Position||Amended Position|
|6(1A)||Patent agent to submit documents by electronic means and in addition to submit original documents within 15 (fifteen) days.||Rule 6 (1A) is substituted to remove the mandatory filing of original documents by the patent agent. Now patent agent to submit original document only if asked by the Department.|
|7(1)||Small entity was to file Form-28 with every document for which fee is prescribed.||Second proviso to the rule is amended to include a ‘start-up’ to file Form-28.|
|24C(1)||Small entity could file a request for expedited examination of application in Form-18A.||New sub-clauses are added for filing of Form-18A for expedited examination, which include:
|Sch.I||Entry number 48 provides the transmittal fee payable for international application.||A new entry 48A is inserted whereby no fee is payable for transmittal fee for international application through e-PCT filing.|
|Sch.I||Entry number 49 provides the fee payable for preparation of certified copy of priority document and transmission of the same to the International Bureau of World Intellectual Property Organization.||A new entry 49A is inserted whereby no fee is payable for preparation of certified copy of priority document and e-transmission through WIPO DAS.|
|Sch. II||Form-18A which provides for request for expedited examination of application for patent||The form is amended to substitute paragraph 3 with additional grounds for request for examination and addition of paragraph 4 mentioning documents to be mandatorily submitted as evidence of eligibility for availing expedited examination.|
Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship vide Gazette Notification No.G.S.R.686 (E) dated September 25, 2019, notified the Apprenticeship (Amendment) Rules, 2019 with, inter-alia, below changes:
- 7 (seven) definition clauses are inserted, which includes ‘degree apprentice’, and ‘fresher apprentice’
- The period of apprenticeship is increased from maximum 2 (two) years to maximum 3 (three) years
- A new rule is added to exempt applicability of any labour laws to an apprentice and to consider an apprentice as a trainee and not a worker
- Every establishment employing 30 (thirty) or more number of workers shall compulsorily engage apprentice [earlier it was not obligatory to engage apprentices for an establishment with 40 (forty) or more workers]
- Ratio of apprentices to workers in a financial year is increased from 10% to 15% and a minimum of 5% is to be reserved for fresher apprentices and skill certificate holders
- Minimum rates of stipend payable to apprentices are increased from INR 4984 per month to INR 9,000 per month for graduate apprentices or degree apprentices
- Prohibition of engaging trade apprentices between 10 pm to 6 am is removed for apprentices above the age of eighteen. For those below eighteen, working hours to be between 8 am to 6 pm only.
- Schedule-I Group 35 is amended to include computer hardware and network technician
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is major driver of growth and development of the economy of the country. With this intent, the Government of India has time and again come up with investor friendly reforms under FDI regulations to have more liberalized reforms across various sectors.
To boost up FDI, the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 28 August 2019, has approved the proposal for reviewing of the FDI policy on various sectors. They have considered relaxing foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in several sectors, including coal mining, manufacturing, single-brand retail and digital media, to attract overseas players.
The key highlights of the proposed changes are as follows:
The present FDI policy allows 100% FDI under automatic route for captive coal mining only. The captive coal mining deals with coal & lignite mining for captive consumption by power projects, iron & steel and cement units and other eligible activities. Along with the captive coal mining, 100% FDI under automatic route is also allowed for setting up coal processing plants like washeries. However, the companies are prohibited to sell washed coal or sized coal from its coal processing plants in the open market and supply the washed or sized coal to those parties who are supplying raw coal to coal processing plants for washing or sizing.
This proposal aims at allowing 100% FDI under automatic route for “Associated Processing Infrastructure”. Associated Processing Infrastructure includes coal washery, crushing, coal handling, and separation (magnetic and non-magnetic). This proposal has opened 100% FDI for selling coal subject to provisions of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
- 100% FDI under automatic route is allowed for Associated Processing Infrastructure.
- 100% FDI under automatic route is allowed for sale of coals.
Contract manufacturing in international markets is used in situations when one company arranges for another company in a different country to manufacture its products. This concept is not captured in Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident Outside India) Regulations, 2017 and therefore there is no clear laws and rules regulating FDI in contract manufacturing in India. Therefore, the Government through this proposal has allowed to include contract manufacturing under the manufacturing sector and has allowed 100% FDI under automatic route. Manufacturing activities may be conducted either by the investee entity or through contract manufacturing in India under a legally tenable contract, whether on Principal to Principal or Principal to Agent basis.
- Contract manufacturing included as an activity under the manufacturing sector.
- 100% FDI under automatic route is allowed for contract manufacturing.
Single Brand Retail Trade (SBRT)
The present FDI policy provides that 30% of the value of goods has to be procured from India if SBRT entity has FDI more than 51% and the same can be met as an average during the first 5 years, and thereafter annually towards its India operations. As regards local sourcing requirement, the Government has decided to count procurements made from India by the SBRT entity for that single brand as local sourcing, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported. Also, the Government would relax the cap of 5 years by removing it. The approvals allow ‘sourcing of goods from India for global operations’ can be done directly by the entity undertaking SBRT or its group companies (resident or non-resident}, or indirectly by them through a third party under a legally tenable agreement.
The present policy limits the global sourcing by stating that only that part of the global sourcing shall be counted towards local sourcing requirement which is over and above the previous year’s value. The Government is trying to relax this restriction by considering sourcing from India for global operations shall be considered towards local sourcing requirement.
The present FDI policy states that if any SBRT wants to trade through e-commerce, they would be required to operate through brick and mortar stores before trading through e-commerce. The Government by approving this proposal is relaxing the said condition by allowing SBRT to operate through e-commerce subject to the opening of brick and mortar stores within 2 years of starting to trade online.
- Goods procured are sold in India or exported to be considered as local sourcing.
- The 5 years cap removed.
- No incremental value for calculating local sourcing requirement.
- SBRT can trade through e-commerce prior to having a brick and mortar store.
The present FDI policy is silent on the fast-growing digital media segment. In the print media sector, 26 percent FDI is allowed through government approval route. Similarly, 49 percent FDI is permitted in broadcasting content services through government approval route. With this proposal, it has been decided by the Government to permit 26% FDI under government route for uploading/ streaming of News & Current Affairs through Digital Media, on the lines of print media.
- Introduction of the concept of digital media
- 26% FDI under governmental route is allowed for uploading/ streaming of News & Current Affairs through Digital Media.
The proposed change reflects that the Government is keen on promoting FDI in various sectors. These amendments are meant to liberalize and simplify the FDI policy to provide ease of doing business in the country. These changes will lead to benefits of increased investments, employment and growth.
Government of Telangana vide Government Order (G.O.) No.24 dated July 25, 2019, extended the permissions to all Shops and Establishments to keep open on all days of the year for a period of three (3) years till June 15, 2022 subject to fulfilment of the conditions in the extension G.O.
Further, vide G.O. No. 25 dated July 25, 2019, the Telangana Government also extended the exemption issued to all Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITES) establishments in Telangana with regard to the below provisions for a period of five (5) years till May 29, 2023:
- Section 15: Prohibition on keeping open of establishments before/after the fixed hours
- Section 16: Daily work of eight (8) hours and weekly work of 48 hours
- Section 21: Prohibition on employment of young persons between the age of 14 to 18 years after 7 pm and before 6 am
- Section 23: Prohibition on employment of women after 8:30 pm and before 6 am
- Section 31: Mandatory five (5) holidays on Republic Day, May Day, Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanthi and Telangana formation day
Earlier the exemption was in effect for five (5) years from May 30, 2013 in the combined State of Andhra Pradesh, while this G.O. 25 is applicable only for the State of Telangana.