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Govt to observe annual 'India Corporate Week'

By BS Reporter in New Delhi
November 17, 2009 15:07 IST
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Beginning this December, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs will observe the third week of the month every year as "India Corporate Week".

During the period, the ministry will join hands with national and state-level industry associations to propagate the importance of being "corporate", including the onus on companies to fulfill their societal obligations and further inclusive growth.

The trigger for this exercise is the accounting fraud at Satyam scandal in January this year when promoter Ramalinga Raju confessed to widespread fraud.

On December 16 last year, Satyam Computers, which has been rebranded Mahindra Satyam, held a board meeting at which it proposed to pump just under Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) properties and Maytas Infra, controlled by the same promoter group as Satyam, in exchange for controlling equity. The proposal stirred a hornets' nest leading to Raju's confession of overstating profits that unleashed arguably the biggest corporate scandal in the country.

"There were some clouds of doubts (about the government's attitude) emerging last year. We have handled that and the road ahead is to showcase our image as a facilitator," Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said.

Already, the ministry is on a drive to shed its stern image and acquire a gentler, corporate-friendly face. The new mantra is to be a facilitator of corporate growth, not a mere regulator. It's not surprising, therefore, that the events during the India Corporate Week will be in tune with the ministry's motto: "To promote the corporate sector with enlightened regulations".

The ministry's partners in the event will be the three national industry associations - Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Assocham) - and all professional management and accountancy bodies and their local chapters.

Announcing the plans in New Delhi, Khurshid said the theme for this year's India Corporate Week will be "corporate sector and inclusive growth", which the ministry expects to be reaffirmed by India Inc.

The annual "roadshow" of the ministry, as Khurshid puts it, will prompt hundreds of unlisted companies to go public and encourage the flow of public savings into the stock market, an antidote to volatility.

Khurshid said the observing the week was important as smaller companies would crop up across the country following the enactment of the Limited Liability Partnership Act.

The roles of CII, Ficci and Assocham have already been demarcated. CII's events during the week will focus on best practices in corporate governance, Ficci's on corporate social responsibility, and Assocham's on small and medium enterprises.

These events, while celebrating the success of the Indian corporate sector, will seek to demystify the functioning of companies. Institutions like Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Company Secretaries of India, Institute of Costs and Works Accountants of India and Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs and various small and medium enterprises and young entrepreneurs across the country are expected to assist the ministry.

The week-long events at major locations in the country will culminate in a national crowning event in New Delhi on December 21 or 22, depending on the availability of the prime minister.

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BS Reporter in New Delhi
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