I overview of the market

India has undertaken significant structural reforms and the result is evident in improved rankings by 14 positions in the World Bank's 2020 ease of doing business index, with salient improvements being seen in starting a business, dealing with construction permits and resolving insolvency (where the improvement was the highest from 108th to 52nd in ranking).2 However, despite this, the Indian economy went through a slowdown in 2019, which was exacerbated by the covid virus, and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has estimated that GDP growth will be negative in 2020 and 2021.3

The covid-induced total lockdown on 24 March 2020, which was extended until 3 May 2020, has had a significant impact on the real estate sector, including:

  1. a significant reduction in demand;
  2. demands for the waiver of rents in office and retail projects;
  3. a freeze in the hospitality sector;
  4. migration leading to shortages of construction workers;
  5. supply chain disruption for construction materials; and
  6. reduced capital availability.

Institutional investment into India's real estate sector declined sharply in the January to March 2020 period, dropping 58 per cent year-on-year, and total investments in FY 2019–20 have been the lowest in four years, declining by 13 per cent to US$4,261 million from the levels seen in the previous year.4 These trends are expected to change slowly in forthcoming quarters.

II Recent Market Activity

Significant reported activity last year included the following:

  1. The first REIT, which was launched earlier in 2019 by the global investment firm Blackstone and realty firm Embassy group, saw its share price shoot up some 34 per cent in its first six months. Blackstone was also proposing its second REIT with developer partner K Raheja Corp.5
  2. Private equity firm Warburg Pincus entered into a joint venture with Mumbai developer Runwal Group, which would have a total corpus of US$1 billion to develop shopping malls.6
  3. Bangalore-based RMZ Corp and Japan's Mitsui Fudosan entered into a US$1 billion joint venture for office spaces.7
  4. Blackstone also acquired office assets from Indiabulls group for approximately US$730 million.8
  5. Most investments have been in the commercial office space, followed by the warehousing, retail and coworking segments.9 Besides existing investors from the US, Europe, the UAE and Singapore, Japanese and South Korean investors also showed interest in the Indian real estate market in 2019 and 2020, with Japan's Mitsui, Marubeni and Sumitomo Corp having also made investments.10

III Real estate entities and platforms

Asset classes in the Indian real estate sector include standalone commercial (comprising business parks, special economic zones, hotels, hospitality, shopping centres, logistics and warehousing etc.) and residential assets or a combination of both in mixed-use projects. Developers have also in the recent past focused on the development of full-fledged townships that cater to a wide variety of investors and customers.

Assets in the Indian real estate market are mostly aggregated at the local level. Development entities either buy from these aggregators or enter into development arrangements with land owners. Large project requirements are also met through government-assisted acquisitions. Land is usually held through multiple special purpose vehicles (SPVs) holding real estate assets.

Multilevel holding structures are typically used for reasons of consolidation, corporatisation, ease of unbundling, ring-fencing project-specific risks, itemised scalability and future potential to list holding companies for fundraising.

Typically, investments are held though corporate entities and SPVs, and in businesses without a foreign investment element through partnership firms and limited liability partnerships driven primarily by tax benefits, low compliance, and ease of setting up and winding up.

IV RAISING FINANCE

Avenues for fundraising in the real estate sector are fairly skewed as a result of regulatory hurdles and lack of confidence in developers given the manner in which the sector has been operated over the years.

i Issues under various modes of financing

Bank debt

Under the domestic banking laws, scheduled commercial banks are restricted from lending for acquisitions of land. Further, a promoter's contribution towards the equity capital of a company needs to be brought in from the promoter's own resources, and the banks are not permitted to grant advances for the acquisition of shares of other companies. With bank funding for land and the acquisition of SPVs ruled out, the permitted end use for banks to deploy their funds is in construction development finance, which is more often than not the second step in a real estate transaction. Such restrictions, however, do not apply to non-banking financial companies or housing finance companies, which had been active in this segment, but have been under severe stress in recent times – the most notable cases being that of IL&FS and DHFL Housing Finance. The financial stress has been further elevated on account of covid. To alleviate some of this stress, the government approved a special liquidity scheme worth three hundred billion rupees for stressed non-banking financial companies and housing finance companies. Separately, the government also set up a two hundred and fifty billion rupees alternative investment fund to provide priority debt financing for completion of stalled housing projects in the affordable and middle-income housing sector.

External commercial borrowing

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) consolidated all the erstwhile foreign exchange regulations governing the borrowing and lending in foreign currency or Indian rupees between persons resident in India and outside under the Foreign Exchange Management (Borrowing and Lending) Regulations, 2018. The list of eligible borrowers has been expanded in that all entities that are eligible for receiving foreign direct investment (FDI) are now eligible for availing external commercial borrowing (ECBs). These regulations have further eased the process for accessing overseas funds, however proceeds of ECBs can still not be used for real estate activities. Further, the construction and development of industrial parks, integrated townships, special economic zone, purchase, long-term leasing of industrial land as part of the modernisation of expansion of existing units or any activity under the infrastructure sector are not classified as real estate activity.

Public fundraising

From a public markets point of view, the track record of publicly traded real estate companies is less than good. However, given the positive response to India's first REIT by both institutional as well as retail investors, public fundraising through REIT platforms is likely to gain more momentum.

Funding through bids

Since the introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) the real estate sector has also seen investments being undertaken through a bidding process, with the winning bidder's plan for resolution of the insolvency of the asset receiving judicial sanction. The IBC regime has undergone significant amendments in the past year, in tandem with the growing number of companies being referred to insolvency and issues faced therefrom. Salient changes include providing immunity to corporate debtors and their assets from prosecution for previous offences, clarifying that a resolution plan would also be binding on moneys owed to statutory authorities (including taxes) and asserting the superiority of financial creditors over operational creditors. Provisions regarding the initiation of insolvency proceedings against corporate guarantors and personal guarantors were also notified. Some successful resolution of large-scale real estate companies, notably Jaypee Infratech in March 2020, have aided the growth of the real estate sector. Another notable change is the inclusion of home buyers as financial creditors, which may carry the risk of home buyers triggering insolvency where a construction is delayed. As per the IBC, an insolvency application in relation to a real estate project may only be filed by a minimum of 100 allottees or not less than 10 per cent of the total number of allottees, whichever is lesser.

The legal regime is evolving towards the smoother functioning of the insolvency process and consequently more certainty to investors interested in the resolution process. However, in the near short term, envisaging increasing defaults on account of covid-19, the government has introduced two significant reforms to the IBC. First, the government has increased the minimum threshold of default amount from 100,000 rupees to 10 million rupees for initiating insolvency proceedings. Second, by way of an ordinance, the government has precluded creditors from filing insolvency applications on account of any defaults occurring on and after 25 March 2020 until six months has passed (this is extendable by notification but not exceeding one year from 25 March 2020) (the IBC Suspension Period). The restriction on filing of such applications (for defaults that occur during the IBC Suspension Period) is in perpetuity.

Setting up REITs

The foreign exchange regulations permit non-residents to invest in REITs, including by way of a swap of equity instruments held in an SPV (which holds the assets) for REIT units, thereby clearing a significant hurdle in setting up a REIT with non-resident PE investors. However, the swap of non-convertible debt instruments for REIT units still requires approval of the RBI and could therefore continue to be a hurdle in the case of investments made through debt instruments.

Investment conditions

Under the current regulatory framework, at least 80 per cent of the value of a REIT's assets must be invested in completed rent or income-generating assets. The remaining 20 per cent is permitted to be invested in properties that are under construction or completed, but are not for rent or income-generating purposes. While the general 80:20 classification is in line with the intent of providing more liquidity and ensuring minimal risk in the hands of a unitholder, REITs are also intended to be a means of revitalising the cash-strapped market for real estate assets, especially under-construction properties. Practically as well, in the case of large office parks that are not substantially complete, or in the case of SPVs operating multiple office parks with some being under development, the under-construction component may need to be carved out to comply with the existing norms. The process might involve regulatory hurdles and significant transaction restructuring costs.

Further, in instances where the manager or sponsor of a REIT is foreign-owned or controlled, the REIT would be deemed to be a foreign-owned and controlled entity, and all downstream investments by the REIT would be required to comply with foreign exchange regulations. Given that real estate is a significantly regulated sector, this could restrict the funding and investment options available to the REIT.

Multiple SPV structures

The REIT regulations permit up to two-layer SPV structures to be held by the REIT. Therefore, the obligation to comply with this requirement in cases where assets are held through multilevel structures involves significant restructuring of existing holdings.

FDI

While specific types of development-related activities are permitted, generally speaking, FDI is not permitted in real estate business (dealing in immovable property with the intent of earning profits), the construction of farmhouses and trading in transferable development rights. Exceptions to this are investments in construction development projects and the earning of rent or income from projects through the leasing of property (without transfer of the same).

The equity investment regime has come a long way since the sector's liberalisation in 2005. Under the 2005 regime, stringent entry conditions such as a minimum capitalisation (US$10 million for wholly owned subsidiaries and US$5 million for joint ventures) and minimum area requirements (10 hectares for development of serviced housing plots and 50,000 square metres for construction development projects) had made projects below a certain size inaccessible to investors. Exits were available only after the expiry of a lock-in of three years or upon completion of a project, which meant that if a project did not take off for reasons of litigation or lack of consumer interest, the non-resident investor would have to sit out for three years. There was also regulatory ambiguity, with FDI being meant only for greenfield projects and not for brownfield or existing under-construction projects. Exits from projects prior to a period of three years (even through a stake sale between non-residents without repatriation) required the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB),11 which was not very forthcoming given the sensitivities around the sector.

In a significant overhaul in 2014, the government eased the minimum area requirements, and minimum capitalisation conditions were made applicable from the commencement of a project; however, subsequent tranches of investment could only be brought in until the expiry of 10 years from the commencement of the project. The three-year lock-in was done away with, and exits were made possible on completion of trunk infrastructure (roads, water supply, street lighting, drainage and sewage). While the easing of entry conditions did help, the greenfield–brownfield ambiguity continued and exits remained an issue, specifically for stalled or litigation-affected projects. The only way out for projects with no trunk infrastructure was by approval of the FIPB. Transfers between non-residents during the lock-in period were specifically brought into the approval route. As a positive measure, for the first time, investments in the operation and maintenance of completed projects such as shopping centres and business centres were permitted. Thus, the FDI regime in construction development until November 2015 was marred by exit issues.

In November 2015, the government did away with most of the entry conditions for investment into a project. Investment can now be brought in for each phase separately, a dispensation that has significantly aided developers in obtaining phase-wise funding from different investors. Although investments by non-residents continue to be locked in for a period of three years, exits are permitted if trunk infrastructure in a project is completed. Exits are no longer linked to absolute transfer restrictions, but are linked to repatriation of funds outside, which means that non-resident investors are permitted to divest stakes to other non-residents without a repatriation of funds, even during the lock-in period, without the requirement of obtaining any approvals from authorities in India. In addition, for special economic zones and hospitals, where these sectoral conditions relating to FDI do not apply, and industrial parks (where there is a different regime of industrial activity), investments are now permitted in completed projects for the operation and maintenance of townships, shopping centres and complexes and business centres, subject to a lock-in of three years. Investments under the FDI route have to comply with pricing guidelines, which prescribe a fair market value cap (determined based on an internationally accepted pricing methodology) for exits and restrict non-resident investors from agreeing on assured returns on their investments.

In the case of industrial parks, while investments are permitted under the automatic route, 66 per cent of the allocable area in the project is required to be dedicated to industrial activity (a specified set of activities), with the park required to have a minimum of 10 units and no single unit occupying more than 50 per cent of the allocable area. Industrial park investments have to continually undertake compliance analysis and keep only a defined tenant base, which on a practical level is sometimes arduous.

To prevent opportunistic takeovers of Indian companies during the pandemic, vide a notification dated 22 April 2020, the FDI policy was amended, requiring government permission for investments from entities incorporated in countries sharing land borders with India, or having beneficial owners from such countries. There are several ambiguities in the amendment, such as what constitutes beneficial ownership and which countries are sought to be covered, for which clarifications are being sought from the government.

Investment through non-convertible debentures

In the financial year 2019 to 20, the corporate bond market has raised about 6.747 billion rupees across 1,787 issues through the private placement of non-convertible debentures (NCDs).12 Under the Indian foreign exchange regulations, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) registered with SEBI are permitted to invest in listed or unlisted NCDs (subject to a minimum residual maturity of one year, exposure (of an FPI and its related entities) to not more than 50 per cent of a single issue). There are end-use restrictions for unlisted NCD issuances, specifically for real estate business, capital markets and the purchase of land. In January 2020, further relaxations were offered: FPI investment limit of having only 20 per cent of total investments in short-term corporate bonds (i.e., minimum residual maturity of less than one year) was increased to 30 per cent; and some exemptions were offered to investment in debt instruments issued by asset reconstruction companies or under a resolution plan approved pursuant to the IBC. FPI as an investment route is separate from the FDI regime, and consequently, sectoral caps and conditions, pricing and restrictions on assured returns as applicable to FDI are not applicable to such investments.

In March 2019, the RBI introduced a separate channel called the Voluntary Retention Route (VRR) for FPIs to invest in debt markets. Broadly, investments through the route benefit from relaxations of certain regulatory norms (including the minimum maturity period, a limit of 50 per cent exposure to a single FPI by a corporate debtor), subject to FPIs retaining a minimum percentage of their investments for a period. FPIs can choose to participate under the VRR, for which limits are made available through tap or auction.

Further, on 23 September 2019, SEBI issued revised FPI regulations (SEBI (FPI) Regulations, 2019), which eased the registration process, removed redundant regulatory conditions, reduced the compliance requirements and permitted investment in REIT units. News reports suggest that SEBI has been asking for more detailed information on beneficial ownership of FPIs based in China and Hong Kong, and certain other jurisdictions.13

In summary, with traditional debt funding through scheduled commercial banks and external commercial borrowings being in short supply, sentiment for publicly traded real estate companies being weak and REITs still in their infancy, investments (both equity and debt) in the real estate sector continue to be dominated by private equity investors and non-banking financial companies.

ii Impact of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 (RERDA) was introduced in 2016 to protect home owners' interests, ensure efficiency in property transactions, improve the accountability of developers and boost transparency in the sector. RERDA prescribes registration of all real estate projects, be they residential or commercial, proposed to be conveyed by way of sale, including disclosures in relation thereto, and imposes restrictions on promoters, being both landowners and developers, inter alia, from changing building plans or misusing the funds collected from allottees. RERDA registration is valid for the period required for project completion as stated in the promoter's application seeking registration. In view of the covid pandemic, the central government has issued an advisory to all states and unions to automatically extend this period by six months and up to a further three months, if required, with a view to granting some relief to the real estate industry. Some states have already issued notifications in this regard, with more states expected to follow.

While the RERDA is intended to provide investors with much-required developer accountability and transparency, from the perspective of real estate companies, the regulatory burden and compliance costs have significantly increased, with certain conditions, such as the depositing of 70 per cent of project receivables in designated accounts, posing practical challenges. More importantly, as the implementation of RERDA is left to the discretion of the states, clear disparities have emerged between states, with the regulatory authorities set up in Maharashtra and Haryana setting the benchmark in the industry and role modelling with their judicious and proactive approach while there continue to remain some states who are yet to frame rules and set up the relevant state authority.

V Transactions – Structuring concerns

i Equity structures

Traditionally, the real estate sector has been highly regulated for foreign investment. Discouraging speculative activities on land have been a major theme of the regulators. Therefore, foreign debt was highly restrictive, and equity also came with conditions related to, inter alia, development milestones and lock-ins.

With FDI conditionalities now significantly liberalised, transactions in the construction development space have more or less become automatic in the truer sense of the word. A lot of acquisition activity is now seen in the acquisition of completed commercial assets. Management of commercial assets as a separate business skill has been gaining ground, amply supported by technology and best global practices. India's FDI policy now specifically recognises foreign equity investment for the purposes of operation and maintenance of completed assets. The country has also seen significant restructuring activity in the sector from the point of view of making real estate spaces more marketable commodities: consolidating assets, segregating marketable assets, restructuring for raising finance, tax structuring, court-based mergers, demergers, conversion of LLPs into companies, restructuring partnership interests to permit investments and capital reduction, inter alia, have been used to achieve this end.

To circumvent the requirement of having to adhere to FDI conditionalities, investors have also been routing investments through alternative investment funds that, however, must comply with SEBI regulations and have its sponsor and manager as Indian-owned and controlled.

Significant structuring continues to be adopted around promote structures and profit-sharing arrangements to incentivise developers. It is not uncommon in commercial projects to have asset or property management and development management arrangements with affiliates aimed as cash-outs to developers. Indemnity or holdbacks, escrow structures, representations and warranties, and tax considerations (typically around capital gains and withholding taxes), inter alia, are sector-agnostic, and would apply to real estate investments and exits as well.

Owing to limited fund life and other constitutional concerns, PE funds are reluctant to give standard representations at the time of exit. While warranty insurance is slowly gaining traction in India, it comes with its own problems of high premium costs and wide exclusions (including all information known to investors, taking away from them the traditional knowledge exclusion despite their diligence).

ii Debt and structured debt

Investors are now looking at debt investments to gain an upside for their businesses by structuring returns based on business performance or project-based conditions. Being debt, there is downside protection of the principal. Given the fundamental jurisprudence of debt being an absolute obligation to repay, absorbing downside risks remains tricky. Structures with PE investors investing in nominal equity along with private debt were common; however, these have not been very prevalent due to the 50 per cent cap on FPI investment in each issue of debentures (which cap does not apply under the VRR route described earlier). These structures permitted investors to exercise control through affirmative voting rights, obtaining board seats equity holders and receiving an assured return on their investments as creditors. This not only helps bridge the gap in a company's capital structure; it is also commercially viable for investors, as it occupies a place between senior debt and equity in terms of security, returns and influence. There are instances where investments are purely into debt but where veto matters are shaped as negative consent rights, which are standard in the lending arena.

NCDs usually earn mid to high yields through various combinations of a cash coupon coupled with a redemption premium, cash flow or profit-linked coupons, market-linked returns obtained through exposure on exchange-traded derivatives, or equity-like components such as warrants or convertibles.

The slowdown in the real estate market, lack of funding for land acquisitions, defaulting developers and the downgrading of their ratings have led to the sector being highly leveraged. Consequently, developers are now relying on private debt either as fresh debt or by way of refinancing an existing debt. With a high-risk appetite, PE players have shown interest and have invested in the NCDs of such companies. However, owing to the risks involved in such investments, such as delays in the completion of projects, projects under litigation and a general slackening of market demand for real estate, interest rates are substantially higher than those found in other sectors. To insulate themselves from the risk associated with such investments, private debt investors typically collateralise their investment by security cover depending on the developer's credit rating, and personal and corporate guarantees. Securing collateral for non-residential or FPI investors is subject to the regulatory restrictions. The trend in securing a high return and easy exit is evidenced by way of redemption premium.

iii International taxation

In recent years, India has actively accelerated changes in the international taxation regime to accord compliance with the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plans. Accordingly, India has undertaken the introduction of several anti-avoidance measures in its domestic tax regime as well as in its bilateral double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAAs) with other nations.

In 2016, India entered into various protocols with the governments of Mauritius,14 Singapore15 and Cyprus16 to revise its DTAAs with these countries to provide for source-based taxation of capital gains arising from an alienation of shares instead of a residence-based taxation with a view to preventing double non-taxation, curbing revenue loss and checking the menace of black money through an automatic exchange of information. However, investments made prior to 1 April 2017 (i.e., shares acquired before 1 April 2017, including preference shares acquired before 1 April 2017, which may convert later) would continue to be taxed based on the principle of residence-based taxation (this is subject to a limitation of benefits clause in the India–Mauritius and India–Singapore DTAAs). Recently, India has notified the Multilateral Instrument to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS (MLI), which would apply and modify DTAAs that have been notified by both the countries being parties to the tax treaty as a covered tax agreement (CTA). The MLI, inter alia, seeks to introduce an anti-avoidance provision in the CTAs, which provides that if one of the main purposes of a transaction arrangement is to obtain a tax benefit, then the benefit of the tax treaty may be denied.

Significant other changes have been brought into Indian domestic tax legislation, such as the Income Tax Act, 1961. Subsequent to the introduction of the concept of a place of effective management (POEM) for the determination of the residential status of a company, the government has issued final guiding principles for the determination of a POEM. Thus, foreign companies having a POEM in India could be regarded as Indian tax residents, and shall be liable to pay taxes in India on their global income, and may not be entitled to any DTAA benefits. Given the same, PE funds should ensure that the POEM is outside India and for this purpose, all major decisions relating to the investment and divestment of Indian securities should be taken outside India, and their fund managers should be located outside India.

Furthermore, the provisions of General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) became effective from financial year 2017 to 2018 onwards. By virtue of GAAR, Indian tax authorities have been empowered to declare any arrangement or transaction to be an impermissible arrangement or transaction if they are of the view that the main purpose of carrying out the said arrangement or transaction is, inter alia, for the purposes of availing a tax benefit. Considering the wide ambit of GAAR, a number of legitimate business transactions could come within its purview unless a taxpayer is able to establish its commercial substance before the Indian tax authorities. The threshold limit for the invocation of GAAR is 30 million rupees.

Another significant expansion of the scope of business connection, in line with BEPS Action Plan 7, has also been introduced in India. Previously, a non-resident was said to have a business connection in India if there was a person in India acting on behalf of the non-resident, who, among other attributes, had the authority to conclude contracts in India. However, as per the expanded scope, habitual conclusion of contracts or playing a principal role leading to the conclusion of such contract would also result in the non-resident having a business connection in India.

iv Goods and services tax

Generally, developers prefer joint development agreements as it supports their capital-light business strategy. Under the goods and services tax (GST) regime, while the government has exempted transfers of development rights for residential projects, such transactions in commercial real estate attract GST at the rate of 18 per cent payable by the developer. Developers are increasingly structuring their rights for tax optimisation.

v Taxation of REITs

Under the Income Tax Act 1961, REITs are accorded a pass-through status for interest income and dividend income received by the REITs from an SPV and also for rental income earned by the REITs. However, a REIT is required to withhold tax at appropriate rates from the distributions made to unitholders, whose credit can be claimed by the unitholders against their final tax liability payable on the income earned from the REIT.

Earlier, where the assets in a REIT were held by an SPV, dividend distribution tax (DDT) of approximately 20 per cent was applicable to distributions made to the REIT, making the structure tax-inefficient. However, no DDT was required to be paid for distributions made by SPVs that are 100 per cent REIT-owned (or co-owned with a minimum mandated holding by the co-owner under law), and such dividend received by the REIT and its unitholders was also exempt in their hands. The Finance Act, 2020 has amended the Income Tax Act, 1961 to provide that the dividends distributed by an SPV would not be subject to DDT in the hands of the SPV, and the same would also be exempt in the hands of the REIT, provided the REIT holds a controlling interest in the SPV. Further, the dividend distributed by the REIT shall also be exempt in the hands of the unitholders, provided the SPV has not exercised the option to pay corporate tax under the 22 percent corporate tax regime available in terms of, and subject to, compliance with Section 115BAA of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Thus, post the enactment of Finance Act, 2020 dividend income received from the SPV would not be subject to tax either in the hands of the REIT or the unitholder, provided the SPV has not opted for the 22 per cent corporate tax regime.

vi Conclusion

The real estate sector has been dealt a severe blow by the covid pandemic. While the short-term effect is apparent, it will be interesting to wait and see if the lifestyle changes wrought by the virus, such as reduced business travel, changing consumer behaviour and work-from-home adoption, will continue in the long term and how that will affect commercial real estate requirements in India.

In the short term, the moratorium on initiating insolvency proceedings during the IBC Suspension Period will give some succour to developers. However, it is anticipated that private restructurings and distressed sales to meet outstanding debts could be opportunities for potential investors. Investors will also have attractive opportunities in opportunistic and stressed assets and the divestment of non-core assets by promoters.


Footnotes

1 Cyril Shroff is managing partner and Reeba Chacko and Nagavalli G are partners at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Tax inputs from S R Patnaik and Mekhla Anand, and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 input from Lakshmi Prakash. They were assisted by Trayosha Darapuneni and Harish S, principal associates in the corporate practice.

3 Address by RBI Governor, Shaktikanta Das, on 22 May 2020.

11 The FIPB has since been abolished .

14 Protocol amending the Agreement between the Government of Republic of India and the Government of Republic of Mauritius for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital gains and for the encouragement of mutual trade and investment, signed on 10 May 2016.

15 Third Protocol amending the Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Republic of Singapore for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, signed on 30 December 2016.

16 A revised Agreement between the Government of Republic of India and Government of Republic of Cyprus for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income, along with its Protocol, was signed on 18 November 2016.