Tuesday , September 21 2021

Vice President suggests corporates to encourage whistle-blowing mechanism

The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu today suggested all corporates to consciously encourage whistle-blowing mechanism and provide adequate safeguards for the protection of whistleblowers.

Delivering the Convocation Address at the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, the Vice President stressed that it was important to ensure transparency and accountability in all matters of corporate governance to enhance the confidence of all the stakeholders, including the shareholders.

Stressing the need to protect public money, Naidu said that system has to be foolproof to reduce the scope for any irregularity. Highlighting that the actions of a few have brought bad name to Indian business, the Vice President urged the young Company Secretaries to ensure ethics and accountability in corporate governance through their guidance and handholding. “This profession should be taken as a mission”, he told them.

Expressing the hope that economy would rebound in the coming months, he urged India Inc to take the lead in making it robust.

Stating that India has fared reasonably better than many other nations, including the developed ones, in the fight against the novel coronavirus and in taking steps to revive the economy, he referred to the recent remarks of IMF Chief, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, who had said that India took very decisive steps to deal with the pandemic and its economic consequences.

Calling for concerted efforts by all the stakeholders in making the economy robust again, Naidu said that institutions like ICSI would be playing a key role in putting the economy back on rails with a focus on good corporate governance.

Stating that strong principles of corporate governance must be the driving force of any company, he said that transparency, integrity and honesty must be upheld at all times and must be reflected in every business activity.

Reminding the students about India’s glorious past, the Vice President said that there was no dearth of talent in the country. The need of the hour is to identify and promote talent. He said that India, the world’s largest parliamentary democracy of over 130 crore people, has the potential to become a self-reliant nation.

Observing that professionals like Company Secretaries will be playing a key role in reviving the economy as India moves ahead in its journey of becoming Atmanirbhar in various sectors, the Vice President urged them to always remain committed to upholding high moral values and ethics. “You should never swerve from the path of righteousness”, he added.

Describing Company Secretaries as the conscience- keepers of the corporate, he said it was imperative for them to be upright and not succumb to any pressure from the management.

Naidu said that professional bodies like ICSI must ensure that corporate entities were not only professionally competent but law-abiding too.

Observing that Company Secretaries hold a distinguished place in the Indian economic scenario, the Vice President advised them to ensure good corporate governance by adopting the best professional practices.

Noting that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has opened up a new era in economic reforms, the Vice President said it was heartening that company secretaries are playing a pivotal role in the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process.

The Vice President stressed that Center, States and local bodies, all should work as Team India for the development of the nation. He said while the laws are made by the Parliament, their implementation depends on local administration and that decides the efficacy of these laws or policies. Therefore, we need to take good governance to the grassroots level, he said. He expressed happiness that ICSI’s Model Codes of Governance of Gram Panchayat and Charity Governance have been translated into 12 regional languages and called it a testament to the Institute’s commitment towards strengthening governance frameworks at the village or gram level.

Observing that no nation can move forward by forgetting its past, the Vice President urged the younger generation to be aware of our rich history and great civilizational values.

Pointing out that climate change has emerged as a major concern and needs to be addressed,  Naidu urged every corporate entity to accord highest priority to environmental protection while making an investment decision.

Mohammed Mahmood Ali, Telangana Home Minister, Ashish Garg, President ICSI, Asish Mohan, Secretary ICSI and Ankur Yadav, Joint Secretary, ICSI were among those present on the occasion.

 

Following is the full text of the speech –

“It gives me immense pleasure to be amongst the members of one of the most prestigious professional bodies of the country, the Institute of Company Secretaries of India at this first-ever national Convocation Ceremony for awarding certificates to its Associate and Fellow members.

The journey from being a student to becoming a full-fledged professional Company Secretary must have been most challenging but also quite satisfying. Convocation Ceremonies like these are befitting to mark the beginning of a new and novel phase of your life. My best wishes to each one of you!

I must convey my appreciation to the Institute of Company Secretaries of India for its commitment towards ensuring good governance across the Indian corporate sector and for the nation’s growth, development and self-reliance. Completing 52 years in your journey as a pioneer institution is a notable achievement.

As we all are aware, Company Secretaries hold a distinguished place in the Indian economic scenario. They play a major role in ensuring India’s Inc’s compliance with rules and regulations.

I am happy to note that ICSI’s focus is expanding from corporate governance to national governance. The fact that your Model Codes of Governance of Gram Panchayat and Charity Governance have been translated into 12 regional languages is a testament to the Institute’s commitment towards strengthening governance frameworks at the village or gram level.

For a nation that has always been agrarian with a major chunk of the population residing in the rural areas, it indeed is an indisputable fact that the roots of good governance must begin from the smallest rungs of governing bodies.

Dear sisters and brothers,

Our ancient scriptures have always served as a guiding light for our actions. I am glad to know that a publication on ancient scriptures has also been released by the Institute.

The modern-day Company Secretary is a true guide of the corporates, handholding the Board, protecting the interests of all stakeholders, and more importantly, ensuring adherence to the laws of the land in letter and spirit.

With each of you beginning your new journey as a Company Secretary and Governance Professional, do bear in mind that your main responsibility will be to ensure good corporate governance by adopting the best professional practices

As India moves ahead in its journey of becoming Atmanirbhar in various sectors, it is professionals like you who will be playing a key role in reviving the economy and strengthening the foundations of corporate governance. You are an important link between the Board and the rest of the stakeholders. You must always remain committed to upholding high moral values and ethics. You should never swerve from the path of righteousness.

Company Secretaries are the conscience- keepers of the corporates. It is imperative that they should be upright and must not succumb to any pressure.

Please remember that a company is not only about profits and turnovers. Its image is equally important. Strong principles of corporate governance must be the driving force of any company. The principles of transparency, integrity and honesty must be upheld at all times and must be reflected in every business activity.

Professional bodies like yours must ensure that corporate entities are not only professionally competent but law-abiding too.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We are all still grappling with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy and livelihoods. However, it has to be noted that India has fared reasonably better than many other nations, including the developed ones, in the fight against the novel corona virus and in taking steps to revive the economy.

Only the other day, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has appreciated India’s efforts. The IMF Chief, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva has said that India took very decisive steps to deal with the pandemic and its economic consequences.

While the economy is expected to rebound in the coming months, it is important to sustain the momentum. Hence, there has to be a concerted effort by all the stakeholders in making the economy robust again and I urge India inc. to take the lead in this regard. Institutions like yours will be playing a key role in putting the economy back on the rails with a focus on good corporate governance.

I am happy to note that your organization’s vision is to become a global leader in promoting good corporate governance. Undoubtedly, it is a wonderful objective and every effort must be made by professionals like the company secretaries to make India a role model for other countries in good corporate governance.

I am happy to note that the Institute has expanded its footprint to other countries through its Overseas Centres at Dubai, USA, UK and most recently in Singapore.

I would also like to congratulate President and Past Presidents of ICSI for having gained significant appointments in the Corporate Secretaries International Association which is known to be the global voice of Corporate Secretaries and governance professionals.

I must also commend the Institute for the initiatives taken on the academic front by signing MoUs with IIMs and Universities across India, including Jammu & Kashmir and the North East. This is a fine example of how institutions should pursue an all-inclusive approach towards the development of the youth of the country.

I am also pleased to know that the Institute has put technology to maximum use in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued with online teaching by displaying unwavering commitment and true professionalism.

Before concluding, let me once again underscore the important role company secretaries will have to play in ensuring good corporate governance. With the Government of India focused on promoting ease of doing business and making India fully self-reliant– an Atmanirbhar Bharat, it is time for India Inc., to shoulder greater responsibility in ensuring complete transparency and adherence to the laws of the land.

You will be the friend, philosopher and guide in steering the corporate entities on the righteous path.

Dear sisters and brothers,

Climate change has emerged as a major concern and needs to be addressed by all of us. We cannot afford to ignore it any longer. Every corporate entity must accord highest priority to environmental protection while making an investment decision.

It is also important to ensure transparency and accountability in all matters of corporate governance to enhance the confidence of all the stakeholders including the shareholders. I would like to suggest to all Corporates to consciously encourage whistle blowing mechanism and provide adequate safeguards for the protection of whistle blowers.

It should be noted that the insolvency and bankruptcy code has opened up a new era in economic reforms. It has also provided an opportunity to Company secretaries to act as Insolvency professionals. It is heartening to note that company secretaries are playing a pivotal role in Corporate Insolvency Resolution process.

With these words, I once again congratulate all the members of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India and convey my best wishes to each one of you at the beginning of a new phase in your life. I hope all of you will uphold the legacy of this Institute and take the profession to greater heights.

Jai hind!”

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