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Speakin Expert Talk: Narayana Murthy shares insight on corporate governance in Indian banks

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SpeakIn and Indian Banks Association in partnership with Capgemini on Friday presented a captivating session with Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy on ‘Corporate Governance in Indian Banks’. The 30-minute session, which witnessed the attendance of top banking leadership, was presented as a part of SpeakIn’s new series titled ‘SpeakIn Expert Talk’.

Chief Executive of Indian Banks Association Sunil Mehta, all praises for Narayana Murthy in his opening remarks, expressed, “N.R. Narayana Murthy’s prominence is much echoed and vibrated in not just Indian industry but equally by the International business community. He is a man of distinct vision, a fountain of illuminating ideas, and an idol of knowledge, value system, and an inspiration to all of us.”

Introducing the idea of corporate governance, especially in Indian banks, Rajkiran Rai G., Chairman of Indian Banks Association and MD & CEO of Union Bank of India said, “When you talk of corporate governance, primarily we are referring to the code and conduct of decision-makers of a company. It is about set up systems, processes and principles which ensure that a company is governed in the best interest of all stakeholders. It is about promoting fairness, transparency, and accountability. It is about commitment to values, ethical business conduct, and making a distinction between personal and corporate funds in the management of a company. While these aspects are known to every management and firm, very few have been practising it in letter and spirit.”

He spoke about Covid-19 challenge, “Last year, in particular, a challenge was posed to all good narratives of the corporate world in India with several high and mighty firms and their distinguished management violating the trust of people. Unfortunately, those entrusted to keep a vigilant eye have not covered themselves in glory either. We needed to build a systemic response in terms of legal architecture and regulatory capacities. A lot has been achieved in these years, however, we need to discover the inherent virtues of business that values ethics, honesty, and integrity over any profit and loss.”

Vishal Dixit, Managing Director of Capgemini Financial Services shared his views, “Last 20 years of corporate governance in banking has changed drastically. Some names that come to mind are Lemon brothers, Enron and if you look closer to home then Satyam. This triggered action and various committees were set up to institutionalise corporate governance and transparency framework in various parts of the world. Strong policies on corporate governance of banks are essential and critical because the size and complexity of financial institutions are growing by the day and if these are not checked it can have serious financial instability implications. Even after so many measures, we still have instances in the banking and financial sector which we have recently foreseen. Clearly, people are finding loopholes in the policies. Therefore, there is a need to have continuous discussions and reviews to identify areas of improvement and make immediate amendments to the policy. RBI released the discussion paper in June 2020 on corporate governance banking, the need to empower the board of directors and set the culture of value transparency in the organisation.”

In a conversation with SpeakIn Founder Deepshikha Kumar, Murthy spoke about how organisations can improve corporate governance and the steps they need to follow to raise its bar. He said, “The most important initiative that we all have to take is to change the culture of the country. Unless there is a cultural transformation in India, I don’t think the economic transformation will be easy to implement. I believe that the culture of a nation determines how its public institutions develop, sustain, and operate. It takes years to make the institutions strong. Even in the countries where institutions are strong, one misguided individual, as we saw recently, supported by the silence of the powerful and the elite can weaken these institutions. It will take a long time to rebuild it. Countries like India, who were under the control of foreign invaders for almost 1000 years, lost the sense of commitment to society. This was because Indians thought that the society, or what was public, belonged to somebody who was either in Europe, Uzbekistan, or Afghanistan. Therefore, Indians focused on making their families strong and plundering commons that Indians considered as belonging to these invaders. This mindset developed over 1000 years and will take a long time to change. Therefore, wealth belonging to a corporate or deposits in a bank have been considered as a perfect gain for plundering by the rich and powerful.”

Murthy added, “The problem of poor corporate governance steps from this mindset. The deficits in corporate governance in India stem from the primary problem of increasing agency cost and related transactions that benefit the owner-managers and professional management. This problem translates to using public resources illegally to make oneself richer. This problem will be reduced when there is a cultural transformation in India. When using public money for personal benefits will be punished heavily and when society ostracises such offenders very severely.

Kumar asked how we get an alignment of all stakeholders in building awareness, implementation, and measuring the effectiveness of corporate governance. Moreover, what rules should we deploy to measure corporate governance? To which, he responded, “First of all, the best way to eliminate such deficits or reduce their number is for a board member to ask if such an action would enhance respect for him or her in the eyes of the society. We have to accept that respect is more important than wealth and power. Second, the board members must be made to realise that they serve to enhance the interest of every shareholder and stakeholder. Today, there is a feeling among board members in India that they operate at the pleasure of either the CEO or Chairman. Of course, there is also a feeling among the bureaucrats that serve the boats of public sector banks that they are not accountable to individual stakeholders, even though they may be in minority, and that they are accountable only to their bosses sitting in Delhi or the state capital. Increasing accountability for every shareholder is important. Third, Directors should not be appointed by the government for listed public sector banks but they should be appointed only by shareholders through voting. These directors must be held accountable to every shareholder. Full transparency must be provided to the report of an investigation of any governance problem taken by any outside agency. Fourth, the board should recuse itself and appoint a set of respected and accomplished members of the society when any member of the board or any of the CFOs is accused. Fifth, SEBI may want to mandate the trading of every incoming board member on the basics of business and governance, give them a test, and then certify if they can indeed be admitted to the board. The candidates for chairmanship must undergo additional training and certification. Sixth, boards have to conduct an annual peer survey among the board members on their performance of each member of the board. The chairman generally sits with each member of the board, discusses his or her performance, suggests remedies for weaknesses, and crops him or her if the performance is not improved after two examinations. The Chairman’s performance is handled by the independent director along with two respected and accomplished members of the society who are experts in that particular business field. Seventh, any deficits created by board members must be punished heavily by drawing back the fee received by the board member and an additional fine should be charged. In some cases, the board members may have to face criminal charges. I believe that if we implement these suggestions, there will be a deterrent for board members and CFOs to indulge in creating corporate governance deficits.”

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Justice should be timely, affordable and accessible: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

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Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) [India], March 6 (ANI): Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said that justice should be “timely, affordable and accessible”.
“The gratification of the soul derives from justice. Justice remains justified when it comes timely. So attention should be paid in the direction of how to get justice soon. Justice should be timely, affordable and accessible,” said Chouhan while addressing the All India State Judicial Academies Director’s retreat ceremony where President Ram Nath Kovind, Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and other dignitaries were present.
He cited the example of Nirav Modi, saying “London’s court has also acknowledged the esteem of Indian judiciary”.
“The judiciary owns the trust of the common people in the country. A person may have doubt that he will not get justice from the administration or the government but he never doubts the judiciary for obtaining justice. It is a matter of pride that the Indian judiciary is one of the most revered judicial systems in the world,” added the chief minister.
Chouhan further emphasised the need for the implementation of modern technologies in the functioning of the judicial system. (ANI)

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Goa Cong demands State Election Commission to suspend civic polls till SC order

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Panaji (Goa) [India], March 6 (ANI): Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Girish Chodankar on Friday demanded the State Election Commission (SEC) to suspend the municipal election till the Supreme Court decides on the legality of the entire process.
In a letter to Goa State Election Commission, Chodankar said “The Supreme Court has only stayed the directives of the Bombay High Court and not ordered the resumption of the election process.”
He argued that the Supreme Court’s order, which was given on March 4, is applicable only for the Sanguem municipality.
“It is therefore requested of your esteemed office to accord due respect to the process of law and suspend the farcical exercise of election process till the myriad legal points in issue are deliberated and finally decided by the Supreme Court,” the Congress leader said.
“As a Constitutional authority, the State Election Commission is bound to be independent and bound to act fairly. However, with the Law Secretary of Goa having been appointed to hold charge as State Election Commissioner, it is but natural that given the sordid manner in which the announcement of the elections was done, the State Election Commission is not functioning as an independent authority, but behaving like a stooge of the Government,” he stated.
Chodankar said that the civic poll process cannot be halted and then restarted and if stopped, then the entire process has to be initiated all over again.
The elections for 11 municipal councils and the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) will be held on March 20 and counting will be held on March 22. (ANI)

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Sushant’s Case: Rhea’s lawyer terms NCB’s chargesheet as ‘damp squib’

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 6 (ANI): Advocate Satish Maneshinde, the lawyer of Rhea Chakraborty has termed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)’s 12,000-page charge sheet in a drug-related case having links with late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death as ‘damp squib’.
The charge sheet filed by NCB has named names 33 accused including actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik Chakraborty, sources said.
Maneshinde who also represents Showik Chakraborty, in a statement, said the 12,000-page charge sheet was expected.
“All efforts of NCB have been directed towards Rhea Chakraborty to somehow rope her in. The entire amount of “Narcotic Substances” “Recovered” against 33 accused are nothing compared to what even a constable in Mumbai Police or Narcotics Cell or the Airport Customs or other agencies recover from one raid or trap,” he said.
“The entire NCB from top to bottom was engaged in unearthing drug angle in Bollywood… There’s hardly any material against any known faces who were paraded during the investigations, I wonder why? Either the allegations were false or Only God Knows the Truth,” he added.
According to the lawyer, the charge sheet is “a damp squib standing on the foundation of inadmissible evidence and statements recorded under section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.”
“The HC has found no prima facie material at the stage of Bail of alleged “Financing Drugs Trade”. We will have the Last Laugh,” he added.
The NCB filed a case in August 2020 after it received official communication from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in which there were various chats related to drug consumption, procurement, usage, and transportation.
The ED had on July 31, 2020, registered an Enforcement Case Information Report in the late actor’s death case after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed by Rajput’s father KK Singh against Rhea Chakraborty in Bihar on July 28, last year.
Rhea Chakraborty was in a relationship with Rajput at the time of his death on June 14, 2020, when he was found dead in his bedroom. (ANI)

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Delhi HC issues notice to MHA on plea seeking to disband Central IPS Association

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on a plea against the running of the Central Indian Police Service Association (CIPSA).
The court has directed the MHA to file an affidavit as to what action has been taken against the functioning of CIPSA.
The court issued the notice while hearing a plea seeking direction to immediately disband the said “illegal association”, freeze their bank accounts, register an FIR against the office bearers and their members as well as initiate departmental inquiries against such officers who are part of the said organization in violation of the Police Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966 as well as All India Service Rules.
The plea stated that the various members of this association are officers of the police forces, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), paramilitary forces, National Investigation Agency and the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, in an order passed on March 3, had sought the response of the MHA along with CBI, CISF, CRPF, ITBP and others and slated the matter for May 20 for further hearing in the matter.
29 petitioners in the matters who knocked the doors are themselves serving and retired officers in various paramilitary forces. Advocate Ankur Chhibber appeared for the petitioner and submitted that they have repeatedly made representations to the MHA to take action against the said association. However, no action has been taken, the petitioner submitted.
The high court noted the reference made in a CIC order dated January 7, 2021 that the MHA has taken a specific position that this association is not a recognised association.
The plea stated that on the representation of one the petitioner, CIC communicated that “MHA has not recognised or approved Central IPS Association (CIPSA), hence, Police-I Division, Ministry of Home Affairs has no comments to offer in the matter.”
The petitioner, through this plea, has prayed for quashing the order dated January 7, 2021.
The petitioner has alleged that the respondents (despite admitting that the MHA has not recognised or approved the Central IPS association) has not taken any action against the erring officers and has simply disposed of the representation by stating that the ministry has no comments to offer in the matter.
The petitioners have prayed for the court’s direction, directing the respondents to immediately disband the said illegal association, freeze their bank accounts, register an FIR against the office bearers and their members as well as initiate departmental inquiries against such officers who are part of the said organization in violation of the Police Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966 as well as All India Service Rules. (ANI)

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Nadda praises Dinesh Trivedi, says now ‘right man in right party’

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): After former Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Dinesh Trivedi joined his party, BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda on Saturday said now the “right man is in the right party” and added that he will actively participate in West Bengal Assembly elections.
Trivedi officially joined BJP at the party’s headquarters in the national capital in presence of Nadda and Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan.
While welcoming Trivedi, Nadda said Trivedi met him two months ago and expressed his desire to serve the nation.
“I am happy to welcome Trivedi to the party. He expressed his desire to work for the country under the leadership of PM Modi. Trivedi has long experience in politics. He has undertaken an ideological journey and fought for ideologies keeping power apart. He is like flowing water and it is only BJP that can amalgamate people of different ideologies,” he added.
The BJP chief said the former TMC MP has always paid the price for principles.
“When I talk about Dinesh Trivedi, I always used to say that he is the right person in the wrong party. Now when we are welcoming him, I am happy to say that now the right person is in the right party. We will be able to use him to serve the country under the leadership of PM Modi. He has always paid the price principles,” he said.
Nadda also announced that Trivedi will serve West Bengal and will actively participate in state Assembly elections.
“He (Dinesh Trivedi) will serve West Bengal. He will also actively participate in West Bengal Assembly polls,” he said.
“Be it as rail minister or member of Trinamool Congress. If we see now, for principles, he left the seat of Rajya Sabha. This is a perfect example of idealism versus opportunism. This also speaks about BJP that gives a forum to nationalist persons,” he said.
“TMC is the epitome of corruption, the murderer of institutions and democracy and this all signifies TMC in Bengal,” the BJP chief added.
After joining the BJP, Trivedi said only thanking Nadda would not suffice his feelings. “It is a golden moment for me and I was waiting for this moment,” he said.
Calling BJP a party where people are family, Trivedi without naming the party took a potshot at the TMC saying that there is a party that serves a family and not people.
He praised the Prime Minister and reposed faith in him for keeping the country safe.
Trivedi also cited examples from his friends who are pilots who told him that foreign nations are taking Indians seriously.
He said Bengal is capable and people used to ask him what is he doing in the TMC. “There is violence, corruption and terror in Bengal. Bengal is a land of culture. Bengal is a pride of us and we imagine Sonar Bangla. Today people of Bengal are happy for a real transformation,” said Trivedi.
Several TMC leaders had earlier joined the BJP in the run-up to Assembly elections.

West Bengal Assembly elections will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and the BJP in the fray. (ANI)

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Delhi Cabinet approves constitution of own school board

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The Delhi Cabinet has given approval for the constitution of its own school education board – the Delhi Board of School Education, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal informed on Saturday.
“In today’s cabinet meet, we have given approval to the constitution of a Delhi Board of School Education. Our education system focuses on rote learning. This has to change. Our focus will no longer be on rote learning but on understanding,” Kejriwal said at a press conference.
In the coming 2021-22 academic session, 20 to 25 schools will be under the new board, the Chief Minister added.
“The Board will have a Governing Body, chaired by the Education Minister. It will also have an Executive Body for day-to-day functions and will be headed by a CEO. Both bodies will have experts – from professional industries, the education sector, principals of government and private schools, and bureaucrats,” he added.
At present, there are about 1,000 government schools and 1,700 private schools in Delhi, nearly all of which are affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
In July last year, the Delhi government had constituted two committees to prepare the scheme and framework for the formation of the state education board and curriculum reforms. (ANI)

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