ONE OF THE biggest reforms the BJP -led government had sought to come up with was an insolvency law which would make winding up companies easier, and hence ensure lenders, who had large amounts of funds locked into these non-performing companies, were able to recover a significant portion of their money. And so, when the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) came into force in 2016, there was justifiable cheer all around, with the corporate sector, financial markets, and even foreign investors lauding the government’s move and resolve to push through what was seen as one of the more thorny pieces of the economic reforms roadmap. Cut to 2018, and the picture looks vastly different. While the IBC has been able to bring several cases to the negotiating and bidding table, the experience over the past several months has been one of confusion, protracted legal wrangles, decisions being challenged in the courts, and a woeful lack of clarity on when the cases would actually be resolved. In our cover story in this issue, we deconstruct the challenges facing the insolvency process and find out what’s going wrong and whether there are solutions in sight to ensure that a law born out of good intentions does not fall prey to shoddy implementation. Opinion is divided even among the players key to the process. While Aditya Mittal of ArcelorMittal agrees that the code does provide a transparent process for disposal of distressed assets and Puneet Dalmia of Dalmia Bharat calls it “the biggest reform story in India’s capitalist history”, others like J. Sagar Associates partner Divyanshu Pandey say promoters are also seeking to maximise gains by finding loopholes in the code. The government, then, will need to act quickly to plug the gaps in the code which some see as a hurried and inadequately-drafted law which may not end up serving its purpose. That needs to happen fast. Elsewhere in this issue, we bring you the Fortune list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
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