Committees Current Affairs

Recommendations of Uday Kotak Committee on Corporate Governance

21-member Committee on corporate governance headed by banker Uday Kotak has submitted its report to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The panel was constituted by SEBI in June 2017. It was given four months to submit its recommendations. In its suggestions it has recommended major overhaul of corporate governance norms for listed firms.

Recommendations of Committee

Separation of the roles: Roles of chairman and managing director at listed firms should be separated and chairmanship should be limited to only non-executive directors. Listed firms with more than 40% public shareholding should have separate roles of chairperson and MD/CEO with effect from April 1, 2020. After 2020, SEBI may examine extending requirement to all listed entities with effect from 2022.

Minimum board strength: It should be increased to 6 members and at least one woman should be appointed as independent director. At least five board meeting for listed firms should be held in year up from current practice of four meetings. Firms’ board should at least once a year discuss succession planning and risk management.

Independent Directors: At least half of board members to be independent directors at listed companies, while all directors must attend at least half of board meets. Public shareholders’ nod must be mandatory for non-executive directors over 75 years of age.

Shareholder meeting and cash flow statement: Top 100 firms by market capitalisation should webcast shareholder meeting and all listed firms should have cash flow statement every six months. It should be mandatory disclosure of quarterly consolidated earnings by listed firms.

Credit ratings: Updated list of all credit ratings obtained by the listed entity must be made available at one place, which would be very helpful for investors and other stakeholders.

Minimum remuneration: Independent directors must get minimum remuneration of Rs 5 lakh per annum and sitting fee of Rs 20,000-50,000 for each board meet. It should be mandatory for firms to seek public shareholders’ approval for annual remuneration of executive directors from promoter family if amount is above Rs 5 crore or 2.5% of firm’s net profit.

In case of more than one such director, same condition should apply for aggregate annual remuneration exceeding 5% of the net profit. The approval of shareholders must be required every year in which  annual remuneration payable to single non-executive director exceeds 50% of total annual remuneration payable to all non-executive directors.

Risk management and IT committee: Top-500 listed companies should have risk management committee of boards for cyber security. In addition, listed entities must constitute an information technology committee that will focus on digital and technological aspects.

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Government constitutes high-level committee for water management in northeast

The Government has constituted a high-level committee for proper management of water resources in North Eastern Region (NER) under Chairmanship of Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog.

The Committee is tasked to facilitate optimising benefits of appropriate water management in form of agriculture, bio-diversity conservation, hydro-electric power, reduced flood damage erosion, inland water transport, forestry, fishery and eco-tourism.

Composition of Committee

It will include secretaries from the ministries of DoNER, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, power, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), departments of border management and space and chief secretaries of all eight north eastern states.

Terms of reference of Committee

It will appraise existing institutional arrangements (or mechanisms) for management of water resources of NER. It will also identify of gaps in existing institutional arrangements for optimal management of water resources of NER. It will suggest policy interventions required for optimally harnessing water resources for accelerating development in NER.

It will also spell out of actionable measures required for optimizing management of water resources in NER. It will  chalk out a Plan of Action for dovetailing of schemes and programmes of concerned Union Ministries as well as schemes of respective North-Eastern State Governments.

It will submit its report, including Plan of Action, by June, 2018. Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will serve as coordinating point.

Background

The Brahmaputra (flows through Assam, Arunachal Pradesh) and Barak river (flows through Assam, Manipur and Mizoram) systems in NER which account for one-third of India’s run off are highly prone to floods.  Brahmaputra is one of largest river systems in world and causes considerable distress and costs on NER through frequent flooding and erosion.

During review of flood situation with Chief Ministers of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced constitution of High-Level Committee for holistic management of water resources in NER. The meeting noted thatoptimum management of water resources is cross-cutting task which requires multi-sectoral interventions and concerted strategy, including management of catchment areas in upper reaches involving concerned Central Ministries and State Governments.

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