IN a laudable initiative to resolve lingering contractual disputes involving the Government and its undertakings, the Ministry of Finance unveiled the innovative ‘Vivad se Vishwas 2’ scheme. This endeavour has been meticulously designed to curb protracted litigation involving the Government, fostering an ambience conducive to business, and mitigating longstanding bottlenecks that hinder the easeof-doing business. The scheme extends its benefits to disputes until September 30, 2022, presenting a momentous step towards business friendly governance in India.
Deep dive into blueprint
Launched with an ardor to resolve contractual imbroglios, especially those percolating through arbitral awards under legal scrutiny, the scheme proffers voluntary settlement avenues. With a view to expediting settlements and alleviating fiscal strains, this scheme offers graded settlements contingent upon the various stages of dispute pendency.
In terms of applicability, the scheme is a broad canopy covering domestic contractual disputes involving the Government of India or its controlled organisations. It extends to disputes encompassing orders by courts up to April 30, 2023, and arbitral awards issued up to January 31, 2023. However, it notably excludes foreign awards and interim reliefs.
The cogs of this machinery are propelled by the Government e-marketplace (GeM), which acts as the nexus for implementation, facilitating seamless and transparent proceedings. Those embroiled in non-GeM contracts with the Ministry of Railways have the alternative recourse of registering their claims on the IREPS platform.
Settle and Save
With the maxim of ‘Settle and Save’, the scheme offers lucrative settlement percentages. Contractors, in cases involving court awards, can avail up to 85 per cent of the net awarded amount, while arbitral awards offer settlements up to 65 per cent. An additional sweetener is the provision for a simple interest of 9% per annum post award adherence.
The scheme allows contractors to be the arbiters of acceptance or rejection of the offer within thirty days from receipt, thus vesting them with a substantial degree of control in determining the resolution trajectory. This feature manifests the Government’s commitment to fostering mutual consent and cooperation in dispute resolution.
Navigating the process
The process requires the meticulous submission of claims and associated documents via the GeM, subsequent verification, and settlement evaluations by procuring entities. The scheme then steers towards an offer, a waiting period for acceptance or rejection, followed by the culmination into a settlement agreement and the simultaneous withdrawal of pending litigations, all orchestrated within stipulated timelines. This streamlining is pivotal in ensuring that the scheme’s intents fructify into tangible results, upholding its promissory essence.
Impact and consequences
The scheme emerges as a beacon of resolution in the labyrinth of legal confrontations. It alleviates the fiscal haemorrhage induced by prolonged litigations and serves as a solvent for the backlog of pending cases, thus promoting investment and contract enforcement. By addressing the repercussions of aged litigations and introducing a voluntary settlement channel, the initiative paves the way for a comprehensive, businessfriendly environment.
This approach is particularly paramount for sectors like infrastructure, where the tentacles of such disputes have constricted fresh investments and the fluidity of working capital. The scheme offers a semblance of brevity and resolution in such domains, emphasizing the Government’s commitment to bolstering economic arenas through legal refinements.
A vision for the future
As we stand at the crossroads of legal evolution and economic refinement, the ‘Vivad se Vishwas 2’ scheme signals a new dawn of dispute resolution. It epitomises a synergetic blend of legal acumen and economic foresight. The effectiveness of this well-intended venture hinges crucially on meticulous implementation, underlined by unbiased and prompt executions. This would ensure the realisation of its visionary goals, thereby substantiating its role as a catalyst in fortifying India’s economic and legal frameworks.
The scheme is not merely a resolution mechanism; it is a testament to the Government’s acknowledgment of the necessity for a more harmonious and conducive business ecosystem in India. It invites us to reimagine and reinvent the paradigms of legal disputes, fostering a symbiotic environment of cooperation, growth, and mutual respect.