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The Ministry of Corporate Affairs in association with Dun & Bradstreet has released an e-learning programme for Corporate Governance Voluntary Guidelines 2009. While the guidelines are not mandatory, the Government hopes that they will serve as a benchmark for the highest standards in the corporate sector.

The programme is a quick guide on the role played by the board of directors, their responsibilities, the audit committee of the board and the mechanism on whistle blowing, among other things. At the end of each chapter in the programme is a quiz that can be taken to test one’s knowledge and understanding of the chapter.

Talking about the guidelines, Mr Salman Khurshid, Minister, Independent Charge, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, said, “People can and must be trusted, which is why these are voluntary guidelines. We hope this small but significant beginning will be able to become a part of a big story of good governance.”

“We do not want to hamper the growth of the corporate sector by being unnecessarily harsh on them, but we hope they will follow the guidelines in their best interests,” said Mr R. Bandopadhyay, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Based largely on the Naresh Chandra committee, the Ministry formed the guidelines and put them on the Web site for six-seven weeks during which time they received comments and feedback. The Institute of Company Secretaries of India, among others, offered recommendations based on which the framework for the guidelines was evolved.

“As compared to some years ago, a lot of the red tape has been cut away and a lot of the pain has been taken away. Now, it is up to us, the corporate sector, to reciprocate by complying with these guidelines,” said Mr Kaushal Sampat, Dun & Bradstreet. Moreover, investors the world over will invest in a company with an eye on its corporate governance and so, they can no longer be taken for granted, said Mr Prabal Banerji, Group President Finance and Group CFO, Hinduja.

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