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Companies Bill passed by Parliament

Wrapping up debate, Sachin Pilot termed passage of legislation a ‘historic feat’. (AP)

Parliament today passed the much-awaited Companies Bill which is aimed at protecting the interest of employees and small investors, with the government saying the “historic” measure will give impetus to growth and bring transparency.

The Companies Bill, which will replace the nearly 50-year-old Companies Act, was passed by Rajya Sabha by voice vote.

Lok Sabha had given its assent in December last year.

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Wrapping up the debate, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot termed the passage of the legislation a “historic feat”.

“The passage of the Bill will give impetus to the growth momentum,” Pilot said, wrapping up the debate, adding, “The focus of the bill is to enhance transparency and ensure fewer regulations, self reporting and disclosure…It will outline the positivity in the economy”.

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The new law requires companies that meet certain set of criteria, to spend at least two per cent of their average profits in the last three years towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

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Pilot said the government accepted about 96 per cent of the suggestions of the Standing Committee and will seek views of stakeholders before finalising rules for the legislation, which is compliant with “latest technologies”.

The new law also makes its mandatory for companies that one-third of their board comprises independent directors to ensure transparency. Also, at least one of the board members should be a woman.

It will also encourage companies to undertake social welfare voluntarily instead of imposing the same.

The legislation has provisions for “faster winding up” of firms and has also defined the word ‘fraud’, Pilot said.

… contd.

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