“India is well poised to reap the benefits of its V shaped recovery; today both a vibrant economy and a strong democracy,” says Hardeep Puri, Hon’ble Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs, Civil Aviation and Minister of State for Commerce & Industry
The Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) presented the Corporate Legal Awards through a virtual conference, in presence of Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Hon’ble Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs, Civil Aviation and Minister of State for Commerce & Industry. Addressing the audience, as the chief guest on the occasion, Puri said, “This event is extremely important, as the people who are being honoured today, perform a vital function in the entire legal edifice of the country, which underpins our democracy.”
Besides bringing attention to the extremely critical role of the general counsel; the minister drew parallels between the growth of the segment and the expansion of the economy. After 1991, when India became a nation with an outward oriented posture, globalisation, and with foreign economic entities coming to India to invest, he spoke of how law firms and general counsels acquired both a personality, a gravitas and their roles became critical.
Puri referred to the council of ministers holding long meetings. As their chief executive, the Honorable Prime Minister holds extremely high on his agenda, compliance, both in terms of what this government must do in order to make it easy for people to fill up all manner of forms; how to create a general atmosphere which is benign, generate ease of doing business and in all of this the role counsels play, by framing and addressing such matters on a daily basis.
Commenting on issues such as the economic slowdown and the impact of Covid-19; the minister reflected upon the Commerce and Industry Ministry’s report on the first quarter of this year. In April-June, India’s exports have been the highest ever in our history – $ 95 billion, i.e., Rs 7000 crores plus of exports in one quarter. Comparing this to the first wave of the pandemic, he said, “As India closed the economy in March 2020 and virtually halted economic activity in April, May, followed by a small revival in June, all our detractors and some of them very eminent lawyers, whom you have also encouraged and are now a part of the political opposition said its doomsday. Though the economy has contracted 23.9%, it has to be seen in terms of the context: if the whole economy has closed, how will you not see the same happen.”
Furthermore, Puri said that after a sharp V shaped recovery, today when I say the highest exports in any quarter equivalent to $95 billion, I am comparing it with the highest figure in the previous period, which in this case happens to be 2018-19.
“I am only making this general point to say that all is not hunky dory, but the economy is vibrant, the democracy is very strong. We are the only country in the world which can include and absorb the criticism from within and still retain our strong democratic credentials. Democracy is more than a faith; you can criticize people individually, you can criticize their policies, but nobody does that. But when people start crossing the line and begin criticising the establishment, that is where you lawyers have a role to play. I am so proud that the legal profession has by and large held its own,” said Puri.
Welcoming the guests, Mr Lalit Bhasin, President, Society of Indian Law Firms said, “It is indeed a pleasure to be among so many great minds. Today’s award function is SILF’s way of paying tribute to India’s finest legal minds i.e., the General Counsel and the In-House Counsel. This is culmination of a two-month long research process that began with the nomination of the law firms from the Federation and Legal Era. Everyone is a winner, as they represent the creme de la creme of the General Counsel for their respective corporates. While they have received many awards and accolades in the past, this recognition by the peers will, I am sure, have a special significance for them. I thank the supporting organizations Legal Era and Federation of Indian Corporate Lawyers (FICL). I once again welcome everyone to this unique event, which is being held for the first time.”
SILF works very closely with the General Counsel/In-house counsel employed in the corporate sector. At the award ceremony, SILF honored 25 topmost General Counsel/In-house Counsel of top multinational and domestic companies.