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Delhi is soon to become a centre for international commercial arbitration along with the ones in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and Geneva. According to media reports, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will make a formal announcement to this effect in August. This initiative has come about through the joint efforts of the central government and the Supreme Court.

Amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 have been set out in the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015. Arbitration is an alternate dispute resolution mechanism that is less formal than the court process. It is the preferred mode for dispute settlement by multinational companies, but is perceived as expensive.

The Act is being amended in order to make arbitration in India more time-bound, in addition to other improvements that will make arbitration a less cumbersome process. Having an arbitration centre on the lines of other international centres will make the process more affordable.

Having an international arbitration centre in Delhi will give economic ventures in India a boost while also providing world-class arbitration mechanism within India itself. Many arbitration cases have been moved out of India due to lack of such facilities.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court Arbitration Centre (now renamed the Delhi International Arbitration Centre) was set up to achieve speed with cost-effectiveness. It also has a panel of arbitrators.

However, the new international arbitration centre will be under the aegis of the Supreme Court. It shall be a much-needed addition to the increased demand for arbitration facilities in the global economic scenario.

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