The Companies Bill 2009, which seeks to replace half-a-century-old Act, will “encourage responsible corporate behaviour”, the government said today.

Speaking about corporate governance initiatives taken during the UPA regime, the government in its ‘Report to the People’ said, “The bill (Companies Bill 2009) incorporates a number of investor protection measures and it will encourage responsible corporate behaviour through innovative provisions of law.”

Tabled in the backdrop of the Rs 14,000-crore Satyam fraud, the new Companies Bill promises greater shareholder democracy and stricter corporate governance norms and mandatory CSR disclosure.

The Bill proposes to introduce the concept of class action suits for the first time in India, which would empower investors to sue a company for “oppression and mismanagement” and claim damages.

Among other things, it also proposes to tighten the laws for raising money from the public and seeks to prohibit insider trading by company directors or key managerial personnel by treating such activities as a criminal offence.

Further, the UPA report said that voluntary guidelines on corporate social responsibility were released to promote socially and environmentally responsible business practices in the Indian corporate sector.

“Over 300 investor awareness camps were organised with the help of professional bodies, NGOs and multi-media, multi -lingual advertisement campaigns were undertaken to reach out to the common investors to help them understand their rights and responsibilities.”

During the year, the first-ever India Corporate Week 2009 was also organised by the government which brought together trade and industry chambers, professionals, business entities and other stakeholders in 124 events throughout the country.

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March 2024