As many as eight woman directors have been appointed to the boards of public sector banks (PSBs) in the last six months, as the government looks to adhere to regulations that mandate companies to have at least one woman director.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) issued the directive in February 2014, asking all listed companies to adhere to the rule by October 1, 2014. The deadline was, however, extended by six months to March 31, 2015.
Despite the extended deadline, several state-owned lenders failed to comply.
At present, there are 11 women directors on boards of state-owned banks, who are either nominees of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or the government, according to Prime Database. Of them, in the last six months, the finance ministry directly appointed three directors as its own nominees — Sindhu Pillai (UCO Bank), Vandana Jena (Syndicate Bank) and Mudita Mishra (Indian Bank).
“Public sector banks have huge responsibilities and it may take time to follow this rule, but the government has started appointing women officials its own nominees as and where it can,” an official source who did not wish to be identified told HT.
State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) already have women chiefs — Arundhati Bhattacharya and Usha Ananthasubramanian, respectively.
Bhattacharya is, however, slated to retire in September.
The SBI chairman is on the boards of four banks, including SBI, and three of its subsidiaries.
Finance and corporate affairs minister Arun Jaitley has said that the government will take strict action against companies that do not adhere to the Sebi directive.
The markets regulator, on its part, announced a minimum fine of `50,000 for companies that fail to adhere to the guidelines. It also said it may take further action against promoters or directors of companies in case of non-compliance.
As of March 31, 2016, out of 5,451 companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), 1,375 have failed to appoint woman directors on their respective boards.