In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 150 of the Companies Act, 2013 read with the Companies (Creation and Maintenance of Databank of Independent Directors) Rules, 2019 and the Companies (Appointment and Qualification of Directors) Fifth Amendment Rules, 2019 the Ministry of Corporate Affairs notified Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) as the Institute, responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Independent Director's Databank. In furtherance, IICA was also entrusted with the duty to conduct an online proficiency self-assessment test of the Independent Directors.
IICA in order to facilitate knowledge resources for the Databank has collaborated with various partner institutions for the continuous professional development of Independent Directors through the channels of advocacy, researches, case studies, capacity building programs, conferences, events, etc. IICA has also signed MoUs with the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) to form a strategic alliance between the institutions to work towards identifying and executing various developmental initiatives.
In order to promote awareness about the Independent Director's Databank and to address the queries of various stakeholders, IICA came together with ICSI to organize a webinar on the “Independent Directors Databank” on Wednesday, 5th February, 2020 at 03.30 p.m. The webinar was addressed by Dr. Niraj Gupta, Head of School of Corporate Governance and Public Policy, IICA and Nodal Officer of Independent Directors Databank, MCA along with CS Ranjeet Pandey, President, ICSI.
At the outset of the webinar, CS Bhanu Dandona, Joint Director ICSI provided a brief introduction about the joint initiative of ICSI and IICA. She also introduced the eminent faculty’s CS Ranjeet Pandeyand Dr. Niraj Gupta. She then handed over the charge to CS Ranjeet Pandey to take the webinar forward.
CS Ranjeet Pandey, President, ICSI welcomed all the participants to the second webinar on “Independent Director's Databank”. The first such webinar was organised organized by ICSI on 27th January, 2020 at 3:30 pm on the subject “CS enabling Independent Directors Competence, Compatibility, and Responsibility”. The first webinar focused on Company Secretaries undertaking the role of Independent Directors and apprising Independent Directors of their duties and responsibilities. During the completion of the first webinar, certain queries about the Independent Director's Databank were unaddressed as they required inputs from an eminent faculty of IICA. Therefore, Dr. Niraj Gupta Head of School of Corporate Governance and Public Policy, IICA, and the Nodal officer of Independent Director's Databank, MCA was invited to take up a second webinar to resolve the parked issued.
During the current webinar in his opening remarks, Dr. Niraj Gupta complimented the company secretaries as a catalyst for good corporate governance and referred to them as an important link between the shareholders and the Board of directors. Dr. Gupta also discussed the need and role of Independent Directors in enhancing better corporate governance and in ensuring responsible business conduct. Therefore, the need was felt to strengthen the Institution of Independent Directors by laying down an ecosystem for professionally trained Independent Directors through the Databank. Dr. Gupta highlighted “Independent Directorship” as an evolving profession in India. Further, Dr. Gupta also emphasized on the objective of the Databank, i.e., to empower and build capacities of the existing Independent Directors and professionals aspiring to be Independent Directors. He also stated that through the Databank the companies can also elect professionals with the right skills and attitude to become Independent Directors on corporate boards. In his final remarks, Dr. Gupta suggested Independent Director’s Databank as a game-changing exercise, for the corporate governance regime.
Amongst other things, the eminent faculty from IICA and ICSI tried to resolve the various queries of the participants to the webinar relating to the registration process of the Independent Director's Databank, exemption criteria, number of attempts available to clear the online self-proficiency test, mechanism of the online self-proficiency test and the mock test, eligibility of a professional for being registered with the Databank as an Independent Director, etc.
Towards the end of the webinar, Dr. Gupta in his concluding remarks stated that “The Role of Independent Directors is large, the Initiative of the Independent Director's Databank is larger and the goal post/aim of the Initiative is still further." Dr. Gupta urged all existing and aspiring Independent Directors to come and register in large numbers to raise the standards of corporate governance through the great success of the Independent Director's Databank.
The webinar was concluded with a vote of thanks given by CS Bhanu Dandona to CS Ranjeet Pandey and Dr. Niraj Gupta for their valuable time to attend the webinar and to provide their valuable inputs on the subject.
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