Seminar on UNIDROIT Projects in New Delhi, India

On 3 July 2023, in the context of India’s Presidency of the UNIDROIT General Assembly, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs organised a seminar in New Delhi dedicated to the work of UNIDROIT. The seminar was opened by Ms Uma Sekhar, Additional Secretary at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, and UNIDROIT Secretary-General Prof Ignacio Tirado. This was followed by an Inaugural Address by Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi, Honourable Minister of State for External Affairs, who underlined the relevance of the strong collaboration between UNIDROIT and India, especially in the areas of access to credit, law & agriculture, digital assets, and bank insolvency.

The seminar consisted of five sessions:

Session I: Access to Credit

This session was moderated by Prof V.G. Hegde (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and Mr Sundeep Mohindru (M1xchange). It included presentations by Prof Ignacio Tirado (UNIDROIT Secretary-General) and Prof Anna Veneziano (UNIDROIT Deputy Secretary-General) on the Cape Town Convention and its Protocols, including the MAC Protocol and the Rail Protocol. Prof Louise Gullifer (University of Cambridge) presented the UNIDROIT Model Law on Factoring, noting its importance for enabling access to credit for MSMEs.

Session II: Agricultural Development Projects

Under the chairmanship of Prof V.G. Hegde (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Prof Dora Neo (National University of Singapore) presented UNIDROIT’s draft Model Law on Warehouse Receipts and Prof Veneziano discussed UNIDROIT’s instruments in the field of private law and agriculture: the UNIDROIT-FAO-IFAD Legal Guide on Contract Farming and the UNIDROIT-IFAD Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts. She also touched upon UNIDROIT’s ongoing project on the Legal Structure of Agricultural Enterprises.

Session III: Best Practices for Effective Enforcement

During this session, moderated by Dr Risham Garg (National Law University Delhi), Prof Veneziano presented UNIDROIT’s project on Best Practices for Effective Enforcement. She discussed the origin, aim and scope of the project, and explained that the future instrument will also cover the enforcement on digital assets.

Session IV: Digital Assets and Private Law

Session IV was introduced and chaired by Mr Bramhanand Jha (Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology), who gave introductory remarks on important developments in the digital field in India.  Prof Tirado presented the recently adopted UNIDROIT Principles on Digital Assets and Private Law, explaining the scope of the instrument and the most important provisions, including on the transfer of digital assets. Ms Myrte Thijssen (UNIDROIT Legal Officer) focused in particular on situations of insolvency. Session IV was concluded with a presentation by Mr Praveen Anand (Anand and Anand) on the challenges and opportunities of digital developments in India.

Session V: Bank Insolvency

The last session was moderated by Mr Pratik Datta (Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas). Prof Tirado and Ms Thijssen gave a presentation on UNIDROIT’s project on Bank Insolvency, to which the Reserve Bank of India participates as an observer. Dr G.V. Rao (Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India) elaborated on insolvency practices pursuant to India’s domestic law.

The five sessions benefited from interactive discussions with participants to the seminar, consisting of Indian policymakers, lawyers, and industry experts.

Ms Uma Sekhar (Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs) closed the seminar, thanking all the participants for the fruitful exchange and emphasising the need to continue the dialogue between UNIDROIT and Indian stakeholders.




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