Government, BJP reach agreement on Companies, Pension Bills

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today held a meeting with senior BJP leaders to discuss these two legislations. Since the Left parties are opposed to them, the BJP’s support is crucial. The government is reported to have agreed to the BJP’s demand for ensuring ‘guaranteed returns’ in PFRDA

New Delhi: The government and the BJP today reached a broad agreement on the Companies Bill and the Pensions Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill paving the way for their passage in this session of Parliament, reports PTI.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today held a meeting with senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Yashwant Sinha to discuss these two legislations. Since the Left parties are opposed to them, the BJP’s support is crucial.

Sources said government agreed to the BJP demand for ensuring ‘guaranteed returns’ in PFRDA. The Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Mr Sinha, had made this recommendation.

It is not clear if the government has also conceded to BJP’s demand for defining the quantum of foreign direct investment (FDI) in PFRDA in the Bill itself instead of bringing it through an executive decision. Earlier, the BJP was adamant that if this provision is not included, it would oppose the Bill. However, it had later mellowed down its stand.

On the Companies Bill, which is listed in today’s revised list of business in the Lok Sabha, BJP wanted that the proposed law give a nod to Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). This has been agreed to by the government, according to sources.

Both the government and the BJP leaders denied that Lokpal Bill was also discussed in this meeting. They maintained that the confabulations were related only to these two Bills which the government is keen on getting passed in this session.

Corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily is scheduled to move the Companies Bill in the Lok Sabha today.

TMC, which is a part of the ruling UPA coalition, has certain reservations about these two Bills but has said it will not do anything which would topple the government.

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Govt mulls new corporate governance guidelines

Voluntary Guidelines for good corporate governance have been issued by the ministry of corporate affairs in 2009 to encourage the use of better practices for voluntary adoption. “These guidelines are old. We are considering issuing new ones that may include good practices like tax compliance,” corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily said

New Delhi: The government is considering issuing new corporate governance guidelines by including good practices like tax compliance, to companies for voluntary adoption, reports PTI quoting corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily.

He said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha that the Voluntary Guidelines for good corporate governance were old as they were issued in 2009 and did not include tax compliance.

“These guidelines are old. We are considering issuing new ones that may include all these,” he said.

Mr Moily said the government, however, does not propose to introduce a corporate governance index as these are done by credit rating agencies like Crisil and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).

“All over the world, no country, no government as such” has a corporate governance index, he said adding the present system of index being prepared by ICSI and others was working satisfactorily.

“It is not necessary for the government, ministry to step in,” he said.

"The legal framework of the Companies Act in this country, as in many others, requires compliance of good governance practices by the corporates in accordance with provisions laid down in the respective legislations,” he said.

Globally, no such index has been prescribed under law, he said adding Voluntary Guidelines for good corporate governance have been issued by the ministry of corporate affairs in 2009 to encourage the use of better practices for voluntary adoption.

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Indians pay $700 million every year for land administration services

Study recommends e-governance as an effective measure

According to a working paper published by Transparency International (TI) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Indians pay some $700 million every year for land administration services. Bangladeshis, according to the study, are among the worst sufferers in this respect. “Findings from a national household survey show that land administration ranks among the top three institutions in Bangladesh with the worst rates of bribery (71.2%), based on people who have had contact with the service. This figure has risen by nearly 20% since the last survey was done in 2007. The cost of bribes paid to land services is also the highest,” the study titled ‘Corruption in the Land Sector’ says.

It says that corruption can comprise small bribes that need to be paid to register property, change or forge titles, acquire land information, process cadastral surveys, and generate favourable land use plans. Corruption in land sector, the paper says, creates a disincentive to register property transactions, and increases the insecurity of land tenure. This undermines national land reforms. The study has said that corruption was one of the main reasons which caused Spain’s housing market crash in 2009—when almost 40% of construction in Europe was taking place in Spain.

“Among the 69 countries surveyed in the study, more than one out of every 10 people who contacted a land authority reported paying a bribe. This figure exceeds reported rates of bribery for schools, health services, tax authorities and public utilities,” says the paper. FAO and TI say that lack of knowledge of available services and applicable fees; along with complicated processes aid in corruption.

FAO and TI observe that poor land governance is strongly linked to public sector corruption. “Recent findings by TI show that there is a very strong correlation between levels of corruption in the land sector and overall public sector corruption. This result suggests that countries confronting pervasive public sector corruption are also suffering from a corrupt land sector—a finding which has broad and important implications for ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of initiatives related to natural resource management, including climate mitigation projects and agricultural output initiative,” the working paper says.

It claims empirical findings from more than 63 countries show that where corruption in land is less prevalent, it correlates to better development indicators, higher levels of foreign direct investment and increased crop yields.

For combating corruption in land sector, it is important for governments to revise policies and have strong vigilance bodies; provide legal recognition to tenure rights that are considered legitimate but are not correctly protected by law and to promote more transparent and effective land certification and registration systems, the paper concludes.

About the third option, it says that adopting simple and affordable measures like e-governance will have a considerable impact.

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COMMENTS

Java

5 years ago

Computerisation of land records has meant random inputting of data by some cheap labour agency, which does not bother about accuracy. Private organisations insist on verification and payment based on accuracy. Not so in govt, where the records are garbage that has been paid for heavily by public money and will be paid for again by individuals desperately trying to set their records right.

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