Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday favoured building a climate that attracts investments and establishes fair and effective regulatory institutions and legal processes.
Addressing a Conference on Economic Growth in Asia and Changes of Corporate Environment, he said the government is bracing to meet international standards in corporate laws and will soon bring before Parliament the new Companies Bill.
“We must build a climate that attracts investment and encourages and rewards innovation, and establish fair and effective regulatory institutions and also legal processes.
Above all, we have the responsibility to ensure probity, transparency and accountability in processes of governance,” he said at the conference.
In response to transformational changes of this century, the Prime Minister said government was examining many of the commercial and corporate laws to make them relevant to the challenges that lie ahead, particularly for ensuring distributive equities and empowerment of the marginalised sections of our society.
“Increasing use of this word inclusive is indication of this new emphasis on equity in economic and social processes.”
He said new laws in areas such as regulation of securities market, competition and limited liability partnerships have been put in place.
“We will soon bring before Parliament the new Companies Bill that has been in the making for quite some time now,” the Prime Minister told the audience that included delegates from Korea, Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, CJI designate Altamas Kabir, Law Minister Salman Khurshid.
As Asian governments, the Prime Minister said, India has the responsibility to ensure that corporate laws match up to international standards, that the regulation of stock exchanges comes up to the expectations of global investors and that banking and financial sectors are exemplars of both efficiency and stability.
“The evolving economic space has to be addressed by all organs of the government: the executive, legislature and the judiciary,” he said, adding, “Separation of powers has been the classical guarantee of constitutional government and the rule of law.”
The balance between the three organs may appear to get unsettled at times but ultimately it has stood the test of time, Dr. Singh said.
He said whilst Parliament has endeavoured to give expression to the aspirations of the people, the higher judiciary in India has made the most remarkable innovations through judicial review, Public Interest or Social Action Litigation to amplify the Constitution’s philosophy in a meaningful manner.
Dr. Singh praised the Indian judiciary for delivering some judgements having international ramifications and assured that government was ready to adopt the transnational changes in corporate and economic laws.
“Judicial decisions may at times have transnational impact since the global financial and trade systems are also becoming closely integrated. Therefore, Judges of the 21 century therefore have to be social scientists, economists, political thinkers and philosophers. We in India can justifiably feel proud that we are blessed with some of the finest judicial minds of the world,” he said.
He also emphasised the role of corporate social responsibility which is intrinsically linked with the concept of sustainable development. “Corporate governance including responsible conduct towards all the stakeholders, within the corporation as well as outside is also seen as good economics besides desired moral behaviour.
“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is therefore increasingly being seen as a fundamental dimension of the Social Contract between human beings and therefore sought to be subject to public disclosure and scrutiny. The contours and foot print of CSR are widely debated but there is today a growing consensus that it is intrinsically linked with the concept of sustainable development,” he said.