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.

DoT may auction BWA spectrum after getting back BSNL airwaves

BSNL had registered a loss of over Rs6,000 crore for 2010-11, mainly due to high staff cost and payments made for acquiring 3G and BWA spectrum. Saddled with losses, BSNL had recently written a letter to the DoT offering to return of BWA spectrum in all 22 circles

New Delhi” The telecom ministry is likely to auction one slot of broadband wireless access (BWA) licence spectrum on pan-India basis after getting back airwaves from the state-run PSU BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam), reports PTI.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has given an in-principle approval to the proposal of BSNL to surrender its BWA licence in nine circles, out of the total 22 service areas for which the telecom operator had paid over Rs8,500 crore last year, reports PTI.

“After taking BWA spectrum from the BSNL, the government will have airwaves on pan-India basis as the department is already having the spectrum in several circles.

So, the government will auction it and whatever the amount they will get, BSNL is likely to get back around 80% to 90% of what it had paid last year, about Rs6,700 crore," sources in the know said.

At present in BWA, 20 Mhz of spectrum is available but not on pan-India basis. The telecom ministry is already in talks with the finance ministry to undertake auction of the airwaves.

According to reports, sale of one block of BWA spectrum could fetch about Rs13,000 crore, a move that would help the government in meeting the fiscal deficit target Rs40,000 crore.

The finance ministry had written twice to the DoT to immediately auction wireless broadband spectrum in order raise funds. Last year, auction of third generation (3G) and BWA spectrum had earned a whopping Rs1.06 lakh crore to the government.

The BWA auction was for two slots of 20 MHz each of pan-India spectrum. The government had raised Rs67,719 crore from 3G spectrum auction while it got Rs39,000 crore through BWA auction.

BSNL had registered a loss of over Rs6,000 crore for 2010-11, mainly due to high staff cost and payments made for acquiring 3G and BWA spectrum.

BSNL was allotted non-standardised band of BWA spectrum for 21 circles. The PSU offers telecom services in all areas of the country, barring Delhi and Mumbai.

Saddled with losses, BSNL had recently written a letter to the DoT offering to return of BWA spectrum in all 22 circles.

The letter had stated BSNL was allotted non-standardised band of BWA and could not be put in use and hence the company wanted to return the spectrum.

Earlier, BSNL had floated a tender to allow franchisees to run services on revenue share basis, which came under DoT scanner due to irregularities found in allotting BSNL’s WiMAX franchisee.

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