The government, which has sent the Companies Bill 2011, to the standing committee for its comments last week, has asked the committee to submit its report within six weeks. The bill had already been referred to the standing committee once before being placed in Parliament last month.
The government, which is battling charges of policy paralysis, is keen to get Parliament approval for the bill and pass it as an act in the forthcoming budget session.
"We have asked the standing committee to examine the bill and submit its comments by the end of the next month so that it can be tabled in Parliament for approval and passage in its next session," a senior government official who did not wish to be identified said.
The decision to refer the bill back to the standing committee has come as a surprise to many especially as the committee had already delved upon it in details. However, the BJP demanded that the Bill should be resent to the committee for its comments as it contained new proposals.
Under the new bill, insider trading by any director or employee of the company would be treated as criminal offence as opposed to civil offence. Besides minority shareholders of up to 10% would have the dissenters' right and can ask the management to buy them out completely. Companies, under the new bill, would be required to earmark a certain amount for corporate social responsibility activities and maintain records on the spending.
The bill has also outlined public companies would be required to appoint women directors on board. That apart, firms would be mandated to rotate auditors to bring in more transparency and accountability.
The legislation that will replace the 55-year old Companies Act 1956, has been in the works for several years and is being touted as a key reform initiative.