SBI is feeling the need for having more woman directors on its board, and has sought the government’s approval for making some appointments. They have already shortlisted some eligible candidates, and are waiting to get a green signal from the authorities.
“We have initiated the process and have also suggested some names to the government,” said SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, in a statement, according to Business Standard.
The March 31st SEBI deadline to enforce the Companies Act 2013 mandating at least one woman on the board of every company on the National Stock Exchange just went by, and SBI was one of the few companies that weren’t scurrying till the eleventh hour to meet the requirement.
They’ve been compliant ever since 2013, having a woman at their apex- the aforementioned incumbent chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya. So it is safe to assume that SBI is rooting for more gender diversity not under pressure to check a box for SEBI, but because they truly believe in the cause and its veracity.
“Right now, with me, the bank is compliant with the Companies Act, and SEBI norms. But we want some more women directors on board,” she added.
As per the requirements of the reformed Companies Act 2013, the original deadline for companies which hadn’t a single female member on their boards was October 2014, but most of them snubbed the mandate. Following that, SEBI granted an extension to defaulters till March 2015.
But even as we assess the scenario six months down, where 80 percent of the companies have complied- their ratification does not seem to have been pledged in the right spirit. In fact, a mockery was made of the deadline, as some companies failed to make any female appointments, while many others installed under-qualified female relatives on their boards as mere props.
Companies which have flouted the deadline entirely, like ONGC, GAIL and Bharat Petroleum, now stand to face penal action by SEBI and the Corporate Affairs Ministry- including possible suspension from trading, freezing of promoters’ shareholdings or even a fine of up to Rs. 250 million rupees ($4 million).
But as far as the spirit of SBI goes, Arundhati Bhattacharya’s is on the right path to evade the fate Madeline Albright believes all unobliging women are going to meet – “There is a special place in hell for women that don’t help other women!”
Source: Business Standard
Featured Image: Livemint