Citizens' Issues
Railways to create safety fund worth over Rs.1 lakh crore
The central government on Wednesday informed parliament that Indian Railways is in the process of creating a massive fund worth over Rs.1 lakh crore to improve its safety standards.
According to Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, the Railway Board has constituted a committee for putting up the consolidated proposals for creation of a ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh' (RRSK).
"Ministry of Railways has constituted a committee for creation of a RRSK amounting to Rs.110,237 crore," Sinha said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
The minister elaborated that the committee has Railway Board executive director, civil engineering (planning), as convener.
In addition, the committee has as its members the executive directors of finance expenditure-I, signal (development), electrical energy management, mechanical engineering (project), directorates.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.


Why are PSUs being spared from penalties?
Public sector companies are flouting SEBI regulations with impunity. Why should SEBI discriminate between PSUs and private sector companies on levying penalties for non-compliance?
The official website of the British Monarchy states that although civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against the Sovereign as a person under UK law, The Queen, the present Monarch, is careful to ensure that all her activities in her personal capacity are carried out in strict accordance with the law. 
In fact, Queen’s daughter, Princess Ann faced court charges in March 2001, when she pleaded guilty to speeding while on her way to Hartpury College in Gloucestershire. She was fined ‎£400 by the Cheltenham Magistrate’s Court and had five points added to her driving licence. 
As per the reports, the following year, she became the first senior member of the Royal Family to have been convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act, 1991. She pleaded guilty to the charge that her dog, Dotty, attached two children while she and her husband were walking the dog in Windsor Great Park. The Princess was fined ‎£500 by Berkshire Magistrate’s Court and ordered to give Dotty more training. 
Such is the level of compliance of law in United Kingdom. But in India, though we no longer have monarchy, it appears that the Government is above the law.
Women Directors on the Boards of Public Companies:
Last week, Finance Minister said that 1,707 listed companies, including public sector undertakings, do not have women directors.  In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, he said that prosecution has been launched against 121 defaulting companies, other than public sector units (PSUs). 
Market regulator Securities And Exchange Board Of India (SEBI) had prescribed fines on listed companies, other than PSUs, between Rs50,000 and Rs1.42 lakh depending on the period of default from 1st April to 30 September 2015. A daily fine of Rs5,000 is being imposed for continued violation after 1 October 2015. 
It is not made clear as to why PSUs have not been imposed with the fine for non- compliance. On the contrary, SEBI had requested the government to advice the concerned administrative Ministries to take appropriate steps for ensuring compliance by defaulting listed PSUs, the Finance Minister said. 
Why this discrimination between public and private sector companies in so far as compliance of legal requirements is not explained by SEBI, nor have they been exempted from compliance by SEBI so far.  
1 in 4 listed PSUs do not have independent directors:
As many as 25% of the listed public sector companies have no independent directors on the board, according to the India Board Report 2015-16 published by Hunt Partners in association with AZB and Partners and PWC. 
As per clause 49 of the listing agreement with stock exchanges, for a company with an Executive Chairman, at least 50% of the board members should comprise of independent directors. In the case of a company with a non-executive Chairman, at least one third should be independent directors. 
These regulations are the result of SEBI’s decision to improve corporate governance in listed companies for protecting interest of minority shareholders. This is applicable for all listed companies but surprisingly a large number of public sector companies are yet to comply with these requirements.
SEBI should act without fear or favour:
It is a sad state of affairs. Instead of leading by example, public sector companies are at  the forefront of non-compliance. This reflects badly on the Central Government who hold majority ownership of these companies. 
Enforcing compliance of securities regulations is the primary job of SEBI and hence the responsibility for ensuring compliance lies squarely on the market regulator, who should have pulled up all those companies, who fail to comply with its own regulations without any fear or favour.  
If Reserve Bank of India (RBI) can impose penalties on both private and public sector banks who fail to comply with banking regulations, there is no reason why SEBI should discriminate between public and private sector companies in so far as levying of penalties for non-compliance of securities regulations. 
Can we expect the Central Government to hold all those responsible for non-compliance of its own rules and regulations in its own backyard first, before launching prosecution against the private sector companies for non-compliance?
(The author is a financial analyst, writing for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’.)



Meenal Mamdani

10 months ago

A very valid criticism. It seems that SEBI is derelict in its duties in various spheres, not just this one, as seen from several articles in MoneyLife.

Is this because the regulator is not autonomous, as it should be, but is under pressure from the govt of the day? Or is it because it does not have enough qualified (wo)manpower to investigate and pursue the wrong-doers? Or is it because the mindset of SEBI officials is pro-govt as often these regulators are former govt officials?

Whatever the cause may be, it must be addressed to restore confidence of investors in companies, whether public or private.

HC asks govt to ensure treatment to rail mishap victims in private hospitals

Rail accident victims must be provided prompt medical treatment in private hospitals within first hour of the mishap, without waiting for the police formalities, the Bombay HC said in a landmark order


In an important and landmark order, especially for daily train commuters, the Bombay High Court has asked Maharashtra Government to ensure that rail accident victims are provided prompt medical treatment in private hospitals without waiting for the police formalities.
Advocate Jamshed Mistry, who is amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case filed by railway activist Samir Zaveri, said, "It's a historic order. For the first time a victim of an accident will actually receive treatment within the Golden Hour."
A Division Bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Revati Dere, also asked the Railways to set up a research team for finding a solution to reduce overcrowding in trains and prevent track deaths. 
Zaveri, who has filed the petition, has highlighted the plights of rail accident victims and told the Court how these people are deprived treatment during the first hour from mishap (golden hour) citing procedural delay, rules and regulations.
Advocate Mistry also informed the Bench about how rail accident victims are carried to government hospitals miles away instead of admitting and providing medical treatment in nearby private hospital. The Bench said, "The state has to look into the issue and ensure that all private hospitals give prompt medical aid to the injured and treat them without waiting for police formalities to be completed."
The HC also directed the Railways to ensure safety measures for commuters and also availability of emergency first aid kits and ambulances at all stations across the Mumbai Suburban Rail System (MSRS). 
Referring to statistics about deaths on railway tracks, the HC Bench also asked the Railways to increase number and frequencies of services, modify seating arrangements and introduce double-decker trains. 
"Technology and modern trains can go a long way in solving the problem of citizens losing their precious lives on the suburban railway lines," Adv Mistry said.
Earlier in July, Moneylife Foundation's Safe Rail Travel Group has conducted a Social Audit of 30 stations across the Mumbai Suburban Network. The Social Audit also recommended having double decker trains. "Double-Decker trains could be a good idea considering the large volume of people that the MSRS transports daily. Despite having a much lower number of people, all Australian trains are of this configuration," the report prepared by Australian students, Hong Leanne Truong and Ricky Vella from University of Western Sydney has said.


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