New Delhi, December 16th 2003
ICSI National Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance for the year 2003 presented by Deputy Prime Minister at New Delhi
Corporate Governance- The latest buzzword in the global corporate environment, as a framework embraces law, ethics and management practices for wealth creation, management and sharing. Corporate governance is not only the key to corporate excellence but it is basic to social and national excellence because compliance of law, ethics and best management practices lead to upliftment of all segments of society.
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), in continuance of its commitment to good corporate governance, bestows the ICSI National Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance every year to the Best-Governed Companies in India. For the third consecutive year, ICSI presented these Awards to the recognized companies from the Indian Corporate Scenario on Monday, December 15, 2003 at 4.30 p.m. at Vigyan Bhawan, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi.
The function commenced with a Panel Discussion on Corporate Governance- Key to Corporate Excellence. The dignitaries on panel included:
The Invocation, "Saraswati Vandana" and lighting of the lamp was followed by a welcome address by the President, ICSI, Mr. Pavan Kumar Vijay. Shri G N Bajpai, Chairman SEBI, Shri MMK Sardana, Secretary, DCA, Honble Justice Shri M N Venkatachaliah, Chairman, Jury & Former Chief Justice of India and Shri S Gangopadhyay, Council Member and Chairman, Corporate Governance Award Committee conferred their knowledge and expertise on the dais.
Shri G N Bajpai, Chairman, SEBI called on the corporate sector to adopt good corporate governance standards, stating that such an approach would make business sense. He stated that standards of ethical behaviour could be prescribed by regulators even while admitting that ethics could not be legislated. He said that corporates should practise good governance in substance, and not in form alone.
Shri MMK Sardana, Secretary, DCA remarked ICSI as the youngest Institute to create a niche for its Company Secretaries. He also praised for instituting Corporate Governance Awards and for bringing it to the limelight, thus receiving appreciation from the corporate world. He said that a Company Secretary can add substance and glitz to a company's working. He also added that a Company Secretary will certainly play a much more important role in service industry in years to come.
Shri L.K. Advani, Honble Deputy Prime Minister of India, then presented the "ICSI National Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance for the Year 2003" to the two Best-Governed Companies in the Private Sector and a Best-Governed Company in the Public Sector.
Of the 4785 eligible companies, 25 companies from different spheres were shortlisted. HDFC and Reliance Industries Limited were conferred with the honour of Best Governed Companies in the Private Sector. Mr. Deepak S. Parekh, Chairman, HDFC and Mr. Anil D Ambani, Vice-Chairman and MD, Reliance Industries Ltd; received the Awards.
Mr. Deepak S. Parekh, in his acceptance speech praised the ICSI for its commitment to corporate law and for its sincere effort in encouraging ethical corporate practices. "I am privileged to accept this award on behalf of each and every employee of HDFC and this award reinforces HDFCs commitment to work in an ethical manner" said the honoured Chairman.
Mr. Anil Ambani paid tributes to his late father and Chairman, Reliance Industries Limited on conferment of the Award. "Of all the awards Reliance Industries has received till date, this award will be closest to my fathers heart." He paid his gratitude to all the employees, shareholders and Reliance family of 80,000 for confiding in Reliance with their trust and money.
"Corporate Governance is a function of your state of mind and of your heart. If your emotions, feelings and attitudes are not true, no action will be ethical." The suave MD of RIL wrapped his acceptance to the award with maxim to the corporate world "If you can dream it, you can do it."
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited was conferred with the honour of Best Governed Company in the Public Sector which was duly received by Mr. Subir Raha, CMD. Mr. Raha was in a triumphant mood, "This is the third award for ONGC in as many months and I wish we carry on the same way." He credited fellow directors, his Company Secretaries and their team and the 40,000 shareholders for the superior results shown by ONGC throughout the year. "We are proud to join the top Oil and Gas companies in the world in terms of production, distribution and governance. We have struggled hard since our inception and are enjoying the recognition its enjoying today."
The Company Secretaries of the awardee companies, Mr. Susir Kumar M. (HDFC), Mr. K Sethuraman, Vice President (Corporate & Secretarial) (RIL) & Mr. H C Shah (ONGC) were also honoured for their precious contributions.
The ICSI Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on the eminent corporate personality, Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman, Tata Group, for Translating Excellence in Corporate Governance into Reality. Mr. R.K. Krishna Kumar- Director, Tata Group accepted the award on his behalf as Mr. Ratan Tata was chairing a shareholders meeting in Mumbai.
A Book on Corporate Governance was also released on the occasion. The Book on Corporate Governance contains Modules for best practices relating to disclosure of various items of compliances in the light of revised clause 49 of the listing agreement and is a friendly treatise on Corporate Governance for Corporates and Professionals.
Shri. L.K. Advani, opined that "Governance is just not a buzzword in the corporate world, but is relevant in the political scenario too". Though we got self governance in 1947, we were not able to translate it to good governance" He also called for good governance in the political scenario in India.
Deliberating on the achievements of Indian companies in the global environment, Shri Advani added, "India has a vision of stars and the 21st century belongs to India. The company secretaries have a vital role to play, as it is he who has to be the creator of wealth but with ethics, truthfulness, transparency and accountability." He appreciated the efforts of the Institute in encouraging ethics and honesty in the corporate environment today and thanked them for the privilege of making him the Chief Guest for the function.
After the address by the Honble Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. N.K. Jain, Secretary, ICSI delivered the vote of thanks with the ode to the nation, the National Anthem signed off the gala evening at Vigyan Bhawan.
DR. AMITA AHUJA
(Public Relations & Corporate Communications)