Salman Khursheed has taken charge as the country’s Corporate Affairs Minister in the backdrop of the Satyam Computer Services scandal that has triggered calls for better regulation and corporate governance to protect investors. He spoke to
on reforming the way India Inc is governed.
The Satyam episode has so far remained an isolated case. But how would you ensure that in future a scandal of this magnitude does not recur?
It is extremely important to ensure that there are no more Satyam-like cases here. We are planning to put in place an early warning system to be able to detect any early sign. We have already said that this will be priority for us.
Routine surveys take place by auditors and if there are complaints from investors but we need to look beyond that. Early warning system will be aimed at picking signs at a nascent stages. We
have to chalk out the finer points of this system.
Several questions have also been raised on the role of independent directors. Is the current system flawed?
We have very strong guidelines but now we have to strengthen and tighten them further and take them to the next level. Accountability is key and we will see how this can be further enhanced and naturally the role of independent directors would be crucial.
The new Companies Bill which we intend to introduce in Parliament at the earliest has already dealt with several of these issues.
How do you plan to protect the small investor?
Protection of small investor is our focus. The small investor needs to be given some special rights. We need to demystify corporate governance for the aam admi (common man) It is important to speak a language which does not sound like a mystery.
When do you plan to take up the new Companies Bill?
It is a priority, but in view of the Satyam case, do we need to review the bill? That is something we need to see.