SEBI is also concerned about companies mostly preferring the media for making public some of their key business developments while the stock exchanges are intimated about these matters only later and, in some cases, not at all
New Delhi: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) may tighten norms related to mandatory disclosure of price-sensitive information by listed companies, amid an emerging trend of key business developments being announced outside the regulatory framework, especially to the media, reports PTI.
Besides expanding the existing list of “price sensitive information”, SEBI would also look at making its guidelines more specific in this regard, a senior official said.
The existing guidelines provide mostly a generic set of disclosures required to be made by the listing companies and are contained in the “Listing Agreement” they sign with the stock exchanges.
Besides information on financial results and shareholding patterns, Clause 36 of the agreement lists six categories of “price-sensitive information” required to be disclosed by the companies, while there is an additional category of “any other information” having bearing on operations and share prices.
Some of the key business events like announcements of periodic sales figures and other performance metrics by the companies, mostly in consumer-focused industries like auto, cement, real estate and aviation, are not covered specifically under the existing guidelines, although many companies disclose them on the stock exchanges.
SEBI is also concerned about companies mostly preferring the media for making public some of their key business developments while the stock exchanges are intimated about these matters only later and, in some cases, not at all, the official said.
The market regulator noted, however, that the companies might not be held responsible for this practice as the agreement does not specifically mandate the use of stock exchange platform for making public quite a number of price-sensitive developments.
The regulator would look at removing this anomaly, while expanding the list of mandatory disclosures.
In the past few months, the stock exchanges have stepped up issuing notices and seeking clarifications from the listed companies with regard to the media reports on them, as also after irregular movements in their share price, or volumes.
Since the beginning of this year, about 15 companies have been issued notices about some key developments appearing in the media but not being reported to stock exchanges, while a similar number of clarifications have been sought for sudden changes in stock prices and/or trading volumes.
During 2011, bourses had sought similar clarifications from over 200 companies. While stock exchanges seek these clarifications as per their role of front-line regulators, they are forwarded to SEBI for necessary actions, wherever required.
SEBI has noticed that companies generally tend to reply that they have complied with all the clauses of the agreement and any “price-sensitive information” required as per the guidelines, have been duly shared by them.
The information considered to be “price-sensitive” as per the current guidelines include, any change in general nature of business, disruptions due to natural calamity, commencement of commercial operations, developments arising out of change in regulatory framework, litigation or disputes having a material impact and revision in credit ratings.
Besides, “other information” considered to be sensitive for price include issue of securities, asset sale, merger, acquisition or restructuring activities, share split, delisting plans, forfeiture of shares and details regarding bonus shares and dividend payments.
Teachers must be humane midwives who deliver the best out of the children in school. They should stop the banking system of education where textbooks, like rupee notes, are printed in the government mint. Instead the teacher should deliver the best from the child’s brain bank
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”— Thomas A Edison
Wars, they say, are fought to bring about peace! Similarly education, they say, is to transform a human being into a just, skilful and magnanimous individual. Both are laudable motives. What is the ground reality today? Wars are mostly fought for oil and education is sold to make big money. A fifteen year old student commits a premeditated murder of his teacher; Uma Maheshwari aged 39 years, meticulously executed with Agnipath precision in a Chennai school! A couple of more students commit suicide because they feared that they will not score 100% in the examination. These are just fresh in our minds. While we have all love and facilities provided for criminals, the fate of the bereaved family of two small children deprived of their mother and the husband and the parents of that dead teacher are all but forgotten in the confusion! Let us try and introspect as a society to find out where we are headed. Teachers’ jobs are going a-begging in the UK for the fear of being physically assaulted by students; the latter seems to be the norm in that country. High school students bringing their parent’s guns to school to shoot to kill their enemies and also kill at random to show their prowess used to be common in the US lately.
Education has become a very lucrative business in India today without the hassles of other industries. Raw material comes to your doorsteps, labour problems do not exist, the finished produce needs no selling, teaching labour is cheap and available in plenty, the owner gets respectability in society, in addition in this business. It is also an ideal area to invest one’s black money and make it white! We have Cambridge schools, Presidency schools, Oxford schools, Harvard schools but no Indian schools. Come to think of it, we have no Indians in India today. We have Tamilians, Malayalis, Bengalis, Punjabis, Kannadigas, and what have you but, no Indians! This is our curse. While we used to live in our villages as large happy communities, today we live in apartment complexes which keep us apart from one another! We are building wider highways but have narrower minds; all these thanks to the present kind of education that we impart to our children who are born as pure, simple, loving, and lovable geniuses. Our schools today, according to Nobel laureate Dr Alexis Carrel, convert them into idiots!
Right from the time of the Roman Empire changing Socrates’ educere (educe=draw forth or deliver), to educate (to develop faculties and powers by teaching, instruction, or schooling), we have been relentlessly trying to formulate our own curricula to suit our political needs on to the children. The present scenario in India is really frightening, what with the central government wanting to have supremacy over the states even to formulate the syllabus. Every new government will have its agenda and the poor kids will be the guinea pigs in their experiments. I have no reason to question Dr Alexis Carrel in our present set up. It was an old teacher in Austria, Mr Pestalozzi, who taught the cruel emperor of Russia, Czar Nicholas Alexander II that any country which does not give its young minds correct education will eventually perish. Even that cruel Czar had tears in his eyes when the old man defied his orders to convert all schools in Austria into military barracks after he defeated the Austrian army. Good schools in Europe today are called Pestalozzi’s. I am worried about our future. James Babington Macaulay would be very happy in his grave to know that what he intended to do with Indian education way back in 1835 is being implemented in India today by Indians.
According to Macaulay’s speech in the House of Commons in 1835 India had a hoary educational system that made Indians proud of their heritage and made them truthful, honest and humane. There were no cheats, no thieves, and no criminals those days, Macaulay said. It is the reverse of what we have today. What has changed in the interim period is our basic educational system of survival of the fittest with children and their parents running after the marks and ranks mirage. Even Charles Darwin has been proved wrong in his evolution theory which he based on survival of the fittest. Lamarck earlier had shown elegantly that it is the environment that makes us survive in this world and evolution is more by co-operation rather than competition.
Lamarckism has been proven right by latest cell biological studies which have pushed our genes, of which we only have as much as a rat has (25,000 in all) to the background. Epi-genetics tells us that the genes need the environment to even show their prowess. It is the proteins produced by the genes that have the power to effect changes but the protein production by the genes is controlled more by the environment. The latter is basically the human mind (consciousness) in tune with the universal consciousness.
It is this competition for ranks and marks in the educational set up that makes us totally greedy in later life. Greed is at the root of all human ills in society today. Look at our country which has a very, very low rank in corruption in this world. Newspapers are full of details of the powers that be, who are in a queue to go to jail for corruption. I wonder if any of them can cross her/his heart to say that s/he is honest! They might get relief from law courts, but they will never get a clean chit in any ethical court. What is legal need not be ethical but what is ethical is always legal! Most of our problems today are the result of greed, mostly corporate and political greed.
Illnesses, which are sold as going up exponentially, also start with the new grudgitis. Happy mind is the best medical insurance for a happy body. Mind is body and body is mind as physics realises now. Matter is not made out of matter; it is made out of energy, instead. It is not the business of medical insurance that keeps you healthy but keeps the sickness industry healthy. The former would only make you a patient in the first place since any person who goes to see a doctor becomes a patient, and s/he is not supposed to become a normal person thereafter. One would do well to read this wonderful book, The Last Well Person, by a famous professor of medicine in the US—Dr Norton Hadler.
Education must follow the Lamarckian model of co-operation where the child competes with itself for excellence and not try to compete with its peers. The latter is mediocrity. Ongoing evaluation is the healthy alternative for these marks, ranks, end-year killer examination systems in schools, at least up to the tender impressionable age of fifteen. Let children have normal childhood which, if they miss, they will never ever get it back in this life. Let the child learn at the feet of the parents and grandparents, at least up to the healthy school going age of six. One is not the child of his/her parental genes. One is the product of her/his environment of which the home is more influential compared to the school. Let our homes be filled with human love, compassion, camaraderie and co-operation for the child to develop normally to make her/him a useful citizen of this world. After all, this whole world is but one large family—vasudaievakutumbakam. Take me to that world, my Lord, where human beings live and love one another as one family.
We could certainly achieve that if we get the best out of our God like children in school. They need to be polished to get the best out of them. Teachers must be humane midwives who deliver the best out of the children in school. They should stop the banking system of education where textbooks, like rupee notes, are printed in the government mint, to be deposited in the child’s brain bank! Instead the teacher delivers the best from the child’s brain bank. Of course, to do that we must first try and get rid of universal malnutrition in our society. Malnutrition is just not confined only to the poorer sections as we think. The poor child has calorie sub-nutrition but today the children from rich households have real malnutrition, thanks to the fashionable junk food industrial efforts. All in all, children are malnourished and such children cannot be properly educated in the first place. God help mankind.
“To leave the world a bit better ...to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded”— Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society’s Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former vice-chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])
An alternative view of mining, development, environment and the aspirations of people on the ground
An inescapable truth of mining globally is the back-roads through jungles and forests. That’s how it starts. Often, the first contact people in remote areas with newly discovered or exploited mineral wealth have with the debatable wonders of ‘civilisation’ is when the truckers land up seeking everything from right of way to local support, and provide something in lieu. The days when they could grab by force or by trickery are not exactly over, but things are not so easy anymore either and we can thank good communications as one reason for this.
To the city-dwellers as well as many others, this is first and foremost an issue pertaining to that magic word which fits all occasions—environment, We have to protect the environment, restore the habitat to its true inheritors, never mind that tigers roamed the jungles that are now Pali Hill in Bandra/Vandre till a century or so ago. There is one view that this line of thought, save the forest from the big bad mining usurpers, is fine as long as it is not in my back-yard.
That view is very correct if you are a green from the big city. But what about those who aren’t?
Very often, it takes going slightly off the beaten track, preferably by road, to get another perspective, no matter how personally distasteful or disagreeable with one’s own line of thinking. If it has to be true reportage, then it has to be done, and so be it. Things cannot be only about environment if development is one of the aims, too. But too much stress on any one of these two, and matters then reach a point where a sort of “no hope” position is reached.
Truth remains—there is so much amazing hope and confidence in a shining future in so many parts of India that at times one feels responsible in some ways for the mess that those of us who live in cities and claim to build perceptions on facts that may be at variance from the truth, churn out with such regular frequencies. Certainly, there are also parts of India, huge and vast stretches, where despair shares the horizon with tragedy. But in a way it is like those multi-coloured plastic ‘matkaas’ being carried on the roofs of jeeps heading into the next town for a refill—how terrible to see this happen but at the same time, what colours?
Different colours, then, is what one can see when trying to go right into looking at matters mining. Especially in “advanced/developed” states.
People who talk about Karnataka as an “advanced/developed” state, whatever that means, should drive on NH4A from Anmod to Khanapur. It matches and even beats some of the worst roads I have ever driven on globally. One reason is the heavy volume of single-axle over-loaded dumper trucks roaring up and down loaded to the top with bauxite or iron-ore. Oh yes, illegal mining has been banned in Karnataka. And the cow jumped over the moon with a bellyful of plastic waste.
But then, on a stretch of desolate road between the small signpost towns of ‘Watre’ and ‘Gunji Road’, I came across, once again, the Great Indian Hope. It is well past sunset, the shadows have been replaced by dim lights from trucks roaring past whipping up mountains of ore and dust, and when I stop to share time with nature—the jungle is full of those noises that animals seem to make before settling down for the night.
Here, literally out of the grey, a fleet of young girls returning from school. All ages, but mostly what appears to be secondary school level, in smart white skirts and shirts, white stockings and white or black shoes. Some on cycle riding in a single file; some walking; and further up some simply waiting for a bus.
And this is the interesting part—there is nobody else around for miles. From possible attack, human or animal, they appear confident of not being in risk of. Like young girls anywhere.
I stop to talk to a few of them at the bus stop, thinking that I shall brush up on my Marathi and Konkani and Kannada, and get replies in English—with that, who do you think you are, Mister, kind of look. In the few minutes that I am there I learn that
I could have gone on talking and getting responses, but it is getting darker, their bus can be seen coming, and the mosquitoes have suddenly arrived en masse. A few minutes later, I am driving through the grimy town of Khanapur, more famous for the biggest counterfeit stamp paper scam in India, and more.
The point I am making is this—on one side, “strange new people” (read city folk or people from elsewhere) are coming into the jungle and enlarging on what has always been done there. The MNC mining companies are perceived as being the real villains. The local mining barons are seen as being part of the fabric.
And hope as well as future comes from putting all this aside, not going on and on about the negatives, but moving ahead using education as the main weapon. Once that is in position, they shall come back and fix things, is what I also see in India on the roads. But if you don’t have mining, then how does the much-in-demand development come from, or is it not for the people who live in the jungle?
Single anecdotes do not make for conclusive proof. But viewed alongside all the other scenes flashing past when driving slowly through the back-roads, the truth is inescapable—development is not something just for those of us who want to live in the cities and expect that the people who live upcountry will not aspire to the same.
It just has to be done in an equitable way. And if that means that we have to make provisions for the dreams and aspirations of those who are living in and around the jungles, the true native Indians, then so be it.
In the bargain, if that means mining has to pay the bills, then that also.
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved actively in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)