Submissions and Representations
Committee of Experts on Non-Personal Data Governance: Feedback on the Draft Report
On 12 September 2020, NASSCOM submitted the industry’s feedback on the Draft Report of the Committee of Experts on Non-Personal Data Governance (NPD Committee), after holding extensive industry consultations. Some of the key recommendations extend to re-defining the scope of non-personal data (NPD) considered for regulation; limiting the scope of mandatory NPD sharing to certain categories of NPD included in a ‘whitelist’ on account of their high social, economic and public value identified on the basis of well-established use-cases; excluding certain categories of NPD such as foreign data, and data processors’ data; addressing overlaps between the draft Report’s recommendations and the framework set forth in the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019; clearly defining thresholds for qualification of an entity as a “data business”; streamlining meta-data sharing obligations; and placing a greater emphasis on voluntary Business-to-Business (B2B), Government-to-Business (G2B) and Business-to-Government (B2G) sharing of NPD (read more).
RBI: Feedback on Draft framework for recognition of a Self-Regulatory Organisation for Payment System Operators
On 18 August 2020, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released Draft framework for recognition of a Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) for Payment System Operators (PSOs). The SRO will cover operators in all segments of payment systems and observe best practices on security, customer protection and competitiveness. It shall serve as a two-way communication channel between the PSOs and the Reserve Bank. Based on member inputs, NASSCOM made a detailed submission to the RBI. We have sought clarity on SRO’s role as an advisor to RBI on payment related matters and guidelines on the eligibility requirements needed to be recognised as an SRO, among other inputs (read more).
National Health Authority: Feedback on National Health Data Policy
On 26 August 2020, the National Health Authority (NHA), published the draft National Health Data Management Policy for public comments. The draft policy envisions the creation of a seamless nationwide Digital Health System and sets forth a framework to ensure privacy by design in the implementation of the National Digital Health Ecosystem. In this regard, NASSCOM organised a roundtable on 17 September 2020 to discuss the proposal with healthcare entities, including hospitals and medical device manufacturers. Based on the inputs received from members, NASSCOM submitted its feedback to NHA. In our submission, we highlighted the need for greater harmonisation with the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 that is currently under consideration by the Parliament. Further, we made suggestions on specific areas where the NHA could advise the proposed Data Protection Authority (DPA) on framing industry codes of practices relating to mechanisms being adopted in the draft policy (read more).
Representation on Regulatory Issues Related to Export of SCOMET Items, including Global Authorisation for GAICT scheme
On 21 September 2020, NASSCOM submitted a representation to Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), to communicate the feedback which NASSCOM has received from the industry on the Global Authorisation for Intra-Company Transfer (GAICT) scheme as well as certain other regulatory issues related to export of SCOMET items. The submission highlights the need for DGFT to intervene for many issues, for example, providing for a licence exception in certain cases for the export of foreign owned technology which is imported on ‘Work for Hire’ basis by an Indian company, and amending the GAICT scheme to cover re-exports of third-party entities in India where such re-exports form part of an approved supply chain under a GAICT authorisation (read more).
Department of Revenue and GST Council: Recommendations on key GST issues faced by IT-BPM, e-commerce Industry
Based on inputs from members, NASSCOM submitted a detailed note to officials of Department of Revenue and GST Council highlighting suggestions to address GST related issues faced by IT- BPM and e-commerce industry. Implementing these measures would significantly improve ease of doing business and provide certainty to the industry with respect to the treatment under the GST (read more).
MCA: Companies permitted to conduct virtual board meetings till 31 December 2020
In a step to enable health safety and business continuity, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has permitted companies to conduct virtual Board meetings for approval of annual financial statements, Board reports etc. This relaxation has been extended till 31 December 2020. Given the ongoing circumstance of surging COVID-19 infections, many countries around the world still have in place travel/visa restrictions and are taking continued taking steps to curtail international travel of people. In this regard, NASSCOM made a representation to MCA last week requesting them to provide further relaxation in provisions relating to conduct of physical board meeting by companies. Our representation to MCA is available here. This relaxation will provide much-needed relief to companies, while safeguarding health of individuals and ensuring compliance with statutory provisions (read more).
DoT: Representation on experimental and technology trial license
On 23 September 2020, NASSCOM made a representation to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) highlighting concerns of R&D companies in obtaining experimental and technology trial license under non-radiating category. In our representation, we stressed on the need to make the licensing process simpler and cost effective to promote R&D in India and gave recommendations around easing the restriction on use of frequency bands for R&D purpose, reduction in timelines for issuance of licenses etc.
GST: Seeking extension of timelines for various GST compliances for Financial Year 2019-20 and extension of timeline for filing annual returns
On 21 September 2020, NASSCOM made a representation to GST Policy Wing requesting the government to extend the due dates for credit availment, issuance of credit notes and rectification of invoices/debit notes for FY 2019-20. This has come in light of the unprecedented situation prevailing in the country due to COVID-19 where a majority of companies are operating on a Work from Home (WFH) model, and thus find it difficult to undertake timely reconciliation of output and input data (read more).
RBI: Representation to defer and review the implementation of Circular on ‘Enhancing Security of Card Transactions’
NASSCOM has made a representation to the RBI requesting them to extend the date of implementation of the circular on ‘Enhancing Security of Card Transactions’ (Circular) dated 15 January 2020 by six months, until the time the industry stabilizes from the impact of COVID-19. As of now, the Circular will come into force from September 30, 2020. Based on industry feedback, we have submitted that while the intent is appropriate, these norms are likely to result in slowing of payments digitization and leading to customer inconvenience. Accordingly, we have made suggestions to address the perceived challenges (read more).
IT-ITeS Export Competitiveness: Discussion with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Post the interaction with Shri. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, NASSCOM had detailed discussion with Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce and other officials of the ministry on various policy suggestions made by NASSCOM to boost export competitiveness of the Indian IT-ITeS industry. Enabling long term remote working, addressing GST related concerns, relaxing restrictions on telecom connectivity, nurturing ER&D industry and improving ease of doing business are the key themes that were discussed. Based on this discussion and further inputs from the industry, a revised note has been submitted to the ministry. Further discussion with the Minister of Commerce and Industry is being planned in October.
Dialogue and Discussion
NASSCOM-DSCI Policy Roundtable Series on the Draft Report of the Committee of Experts on NPD Governance
Between 3 September 2020 and 11 September 2020, NASSCOM and DSCI conducted a series of Online Policy Roundtables to discuss the feedback received from the industry on the draft Report of the NPD Committee. The first Online Policy Roundtable saw participation from over 50 industry members across various industry segments including GCC, IT-BPM, FinTech and e-Commerce. A separate online policy roundtable was conducted for Start-ups and MSMEs on 7 September 2020, given the draft Report’s emphasis on the role of Start-ups in the framework envisaged. The feedback received was incorporated into NASSCOM’s final feedback on the draft recommendations of the NPD Committee, submitted on 12 September 2020 (read more).
Meeting with GSTN and GST Policy Wing: Issues relating to E-commerce operators
On 3 September 2020, NASSCOM organised a meeting to discuss e-invoicing for e-commerce operators with Shri Yogendra Garg, Principal Commissioner, GST Policy and representatives from Goods & Services Tax Network (GSTN) and National Informatics Centre (NIC). During the meeting, NASSCOM highlighted issues relating to the process flow for generation of e-invoicing by e-commerce operators. In this regard, GSTN clarified that e-commerce operators can raise e-invoices on behalf of their sellers using their TCS GSTIN and no authorization is mandated from sellers. However, GSTN recommended to have an authorization in writing for raising e-invoices on behalf of sellers (read more).
Karnataka Grievance Redressal Committee for GST issues: Discussion on key industry concerns
On 15 September 2020, NASSCOM participated in the 2nd meeting of Karnataka Grievance Redressal Committee for GST issues. The Committee was formulated in the State of Karnataka comprising of officials from GSTN, Office of Principal Chief Commissioner of Central Tax along with various industry associations including NASSCOM. During the meeting, NASSCOM discussed key issues highlighted by members, such as, issues relating to reporting of negative values in GSTR-3B, availability of option to download consolidated GSTR1 and GSTR2A report for entire financial year, extension of date for filing annual returns and audit and option to tag multiple original invoice number for single credit note. NASSCOM has also submitted a detailed note highlighting policy issues faced by the industry (read more).
Interaction with the Chief Minister of Haryana: Haryana Enterprises and Employment Policy
The Govt of Haryana released the draft Haryana Enterprises and Employment Policy, 2020 for discussion. In this regard, a discussion was organised on 26 September 2020 under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Shri Manohar Lal Khattar. Industry leaders across sectors and representatives of various industry associations, including NASSCOM, participated in the discussion. NASSCOM made specific suggestions to attract data centers to the State and requested that the concession on land rates that has been proposed for the manufacturing sector be extended to the service sector, including IT-ITeS industry (read more).
New and Upcoming
Bullet Seeking inputs: SEBI’s Consultation Paper on proposed amendments to SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has recently released a paper to solicit public comments on proposed amendments to the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015. The objective of the amendment is to strengthen corporate governance practices and disclosure requirements, ease compliance burden on listed entities, harmonize with the Companies Act, 2013 and maintain consistency within the LODR Regulations. Inputs may be sent before 5 October 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org (read more).
Seeking Inputs and Policy Roundtable: Draft Discussion Paper on Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture released by NITI Aayog
NITI Aayog has released a draft Discussion Paper on the Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA). DEPA aims at empowering individuals with control over their data and enables people to seamlessly and securely access their data and share it with third party institutions through consent managers. Inputs on the draft Discussion Paper may be sent before 6 November 2020 to email@example.com (read more). Additionally, NASSCOM is organizing an online policy roundtable to discuss the draft Discussion Paper on DEPA on 16 October 2020, with the industry. Confirm your participation by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com.
NASSCOM to submit feedback on Discussion Paper on the Framework of an Indian AI stack
On 2 September 2020, the AI Standardisation Committee under DoT released a Discussion Paper on the Framework of an Indian AI stack. The proposed AI stack, among other benefits, intends to provide easy interface with end user application, ensure data protection, enable easy consent management and provide legitimacy of backend services. The paper proposes five horizontal layers – the infrastructure layer; the storage layer; the Compute layer; the Application layer and the Data/Information exchange layer and one vertical layer–the Security and governance layer (read more).
NASSCOM Discussion Paper: Amendments to the Information Technology Act, 2000
In furtherance of the ongoing review of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to address the regulatory challenges posed by emerging technologies, NASSCOM will be releasing a discussion paper on potential amendments to the IT Act. The paper inter alia considers themes of intermediary liability, content moderation, data protection, cyber security and regulation of emerging technologies in light of other developments such as the introduction of the PDP Bill in the Parliament of India. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASSCOM Policy Roundtable: Future of Encryption in India
NASSCOM will be organising an Online Policy Roundtable to discuss the various questions raised for discussion in the NASSCOM-DSCI Joint Discussion Paper on the Road Ahead for Encryption in India. Further details will be communicated to members shortly. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
TRAI recommendations on Regulatory Framework for OTT Communication Services
On 14 September 2020, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) submitted its recommendation to the Department of Telecommunications on regulatory framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) communication services, ruling out the need to bring any additional regulations to government OTT services. The recommendations are in line with the NASSCOM submission made to TRAI (read more).
TRAI recommendations on Cloud Services
On 14 September 2020, (TRAI) submitted its recommendations on Cloud Services to DoT suggesting to regulate cloud service providers (CSPs) through a light touch regulatory regime and to set-up a not for profit- industry-led body/bodies in conjunction with DoT/TRAI (read more).
SEEPZ (Maharashtra): Movement of IT Assets are allowed till 31 December 2020
We are pleased to share that based on NASSCOM’s recommendation, SEEPZ authority in Maharashtra has extended the current relaxations related to movement of IT assets outside of SEZs till 31 December 2020 for the use of employees that are working from home. Earlier many members had approached NASSCOM highlighting the need for relaxations to enable long term work from home to ensure health and safety of employees given the public health situation in Maharashtra (read more).
New Labour Codes passed by the Parliament
On 19 September 2020, the Central Government introduced three labour codes viz. Industrial Relations (IR) Code Bill, 2020; Code on Social Security Bill, 2020; and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020 in the parliament, as part of labour reforms. The codes received approval from both houses in the monsoon session which concluded on 23 September 2020. The codes will now need the President’s assent and be published in the Gazette before coming into effect. The passage of these bills is in furtherance of the Government’s objective to simplify and rationalize labour laws in line with the changing work environment and to provide an effective and transparent system to meet the requirements of workers and industries (read more).
GST: Release of modified API version
GSTN has released a modified API version notifying changes in e-invoicing. These changes include cancellation of IRN within 24 hours of generation, round-off value, ‘bill to’ and ‘ship to’ code in case of supplies to Special Economic Zones (SEZs), enabling e-commerce operator to register and test APIs on the sandbox system etc. Some of these changes are in line with issues highlighted by NASSCOM during a webinar organised on 21 August 2020. Pursuant to the webinar, NASSCOM had also made a submission to GST Policy Wing and GSTN requesting for clarity on specific queries raised by member companies (read more).
Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020: Salient features
The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha recently passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (CAB) that seeks to decriminalise certain offences under the Companies Act, 2013 (Companies Act), in case of defaults but not involving frauds. CAB proposes to remove penalty and imprisonment for certain offences along with reduction in the amount of penalty. CAB has also proposed to empower central government to allow certain classes of public companies to list classes of securities in foreign jurisdictions and have also prescribed lesser penalties for start-up companies (read more).
Taxation Amendment Bill, 2020: Key amendments
The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxations and Amendments of certain Provisions) Bill 2020 (Taxation Bill 2020) passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seeks to replace the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance 2020 (the Ordinance) promulgated on 31 March 2020 and to further amend the Income-tax Act, 1961, Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, Finance Act, 2019, the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020 and the Finance Act, 2020. The Taxation Bill majorly proposes to ratify extensions and reliefs provided through the Ordinance and Notifications and introduce scheme to enable faceless assessment proceedings (read more).
Parliamentary Committee: Measures for financing the Startup Ecosystem
On 9 September 2020, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (PSC) presented its report on ‘Financing the Startup Ecosystem’. The Committee recommendations include abolishing Long Term Capital Gains Tax for all investments in startups made through Collective Investment Vehicles for at least next two years, mobilising domestic institutional funds such as the SIDBI fund-of-funds to invest in startups, expanding the sectors eligible for investment through the Foreign Venture Capital Investor route etc. (read more).
DGFT: Extension of export authorization for SCOMET items involving technology transfer
On 31 August 2020, the DGFT issued Trade Notice 26/ 2020-21 in a response to the industry’s requests seeking re-validation to export authorizations for SCOMET items by introducing a 6-month extension for all SCOMET export authorizations involving technology transfer expiring by 30 September 2020 (read more).