Women directors: over 2,000 cos yet to comply with Sebi norm

Women directors over 2000 cos yet to comply with Sebi normNEW DELHI: As many as 2,015 companies listed on the BSE and 263 on the NSE are yet to comply with market regulator Sebi’s directive to appoint at least one woman director on the board, Lok Sabha was informed today.

Of the 1,624 companies listed on the NSE, 1,361 companies have complied, while 263 companies or 16 per cent have not complied with Sebi’s women director norm, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said during Question Hour.

Of the 5,305 companies listed on BSE, 3,290 companies have complied with and 2,015 companies or 38 per cent have not complied with the norm as on April 16, he added.

The capital markets watchdog Sebi had issued guidelines in February 2014 asking companies to appoint at least one woman director on their boards by October 1, 2014 which was later relaxed to April 1, 2015.

“The government has been vigilant on the matter of appointment of women director… It is in companies’ interest to diversify so that there functioning can improve. There are a large number of companies which are yet to comply… The corporate sector is charged with the issue,” Sinha said.

When asked about the process government will undertake for PSUs to comply with this norm, he said “this is methodical process and we need to ensure that capable people are on the board. We are going through that vetting process. Impeccable vetting process will take some time”.

For private sector companies, Sinha said since it is a market-driven economy, it is up to them to comply. “We can only guide and frame rules. After that it is up to the companies to implement.”
Non-compliant firms will have to pay only the monetary fine and can escape further regulatory action if they comply within next six months, till September 30.

The listed companies complying between April 1 and June 30 will have to pay only Rs 50,000. Those complying between July 1 and September 30 this year would need to pay Rs 50,000 and an additional Rs 1,000 per day till compliance.

The listed companies complying on or after October 1, 2015 will have to pay Rs 1.42 lakh, plus Rs 5,000 per day till the date of compliance.

As all the questions were being asked by male members of the House, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan remarked: “Issue of women director is raised by men. For this reason I will allow one more supplementary question on this issue”.

A BJP (rpt BJP) member then asked whether the government was planning to evolve a national financial institution for women entrepreneurs.

To this, Sinha said “women in leadership role are doing an excellent job. We should have more of them in such roles.

As far as women entrepreneurs are concerned, we will try to ensure adequate help in Sebi and Company Law Board rules to encourage them.”

Sharing rules prevalent in other countries, he said while Germany has norms for 40 per cent, Scandinavian countries have rules for two women directors on board.

However, Australia, America and UK there is a voluntary compliance. “We will have to evolve this concept,” Sinha added.–PTI

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