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India Inc faces uphill task in meeting Sebi norms on women directors

At least 51% of NSE companies are delinquent; 25 appointments needed daily to meet Sebi deadline

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

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Ahead of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi)’s October 1 deadline for all listed companies to have at least one woman on their boardof directors, more than half the National Stock Exchange (NSE)-listed firms are yet to comply.

Currently, of 1,469 companies listed on NSE, 755 are yet to appoint a woman on their boards.

According to PRIME Database, 51 per cent of the companies didn’t have a as of August 31; this means to meet the deadline, 25 appointments a day is needed through the next month. operates indianboards.com, a joint initiative with NSE.

Pranav Haldea, managing director of PRIME Database, said, “In a six and a half months since the board meeting on February 13, when this stipulation was announced, till August 31, 264 women have been appointed to 274 directorship positions in 264 companies. Of these companies, 20 already had women on their boards before the guideline was announced, implying since then, 244 companies have complied with the requirement.”

At these 244 companies, 242 women have been appointed to 251 directorship positions, of which at least 45 (about a fifth) have been filled by appointing women from promoter groups. “These women shall have the same voice as the promoter, defeating the very purpose of genuine (independent) gender diversity. Further, another 69 of the 251 positions are non-independent, leaving only 137 positions independent,” said Haldea.

According to indianboards.com, even after the recent appointments of women directors, there are only 696 women occupying 830 directorship positions across the 1,469 NSE-listed companies. Of these, while 428 hold 463 non-independent directorship positions, only 290 account for 367 independent directorships. If boards were required to have independent women directors, as many as 1,121 companies (or 76 per cent) wouldn’t have met the norm.

Among women directors, Renu Sud Karnad has the most board positions---eight, of which five are as independent director. Karnad is followed by Ireena Gopal Vittal and Ramni Nirula (both six board positions). Apollo Hospitals Enterprise has the highest number of women directors, though none of them are independent ones.

A FEW GOOD WOMEN

  • At least one for every board by October 1, says Sebi
  • 244 companies have complied since Sebi direction in February
  • A few others already have woman directors
  • But more than 50 per cent yet to appoint one
  • At least 25 appointments a day, if deadline is to be met

First Published: Tue, September 02 2014. 21:55 IST
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