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India Inc faces uphill task of adding 10 women directors a day

July 07, 2014 18:54 IST
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India Inc will have to add 10 women directors a day to their boards to comply with market regulator's new requirement.  

Securities and Exchange Board of  India's (Sebi) requirement for all listed companies to have at least one woman director is due on October 1, 2014.  

As many as 904, or 62 per cent, out of a total 1,462 NSE-listed companies are yet to appoint a woman director, analysis done by shows.  

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The website, which maintains a database on board members of listed companies, says only 91 women directors have been appointed to 97 directorship positions in 94 companies since Sebi board announced this norm on February 13, 2014.  

“Of these 94 companies, 16 companies already had a woman on the board before the Sebi guideline was announced (and appointed a second woman director on their board), implying that only 78 companies have since complied with the requirement,” says Pranav Haldea, managing director, Prime Database.  

The database tracking firm has also raised concerns over appointment of women directors within the promoter group.  

“Nearly one-fourth (directorship positions) have been filled by appointing women belonging to the promoter group.

These women shall have the same voice as the promoter, defeating the very purpose of genuine (independent) gender diversity,” says Haldea.  

On an overall basis, there are a total of 8,987 persons occupying a total of 11,527 directorships in NSE-listed companies. Of these, only 673 positions are held by women, just 5.8 per cent, as per Indian Boards database.

Among the companies which have filled the vacancies by naming women belonging to the promoter group included Reliance Industries' appointing Nita Ambani, wife of Mukesh Ambani, on the company's board.  

While Asian Paints has brought Amrita Amar Vakil on board, Godfrey Phillips India has signed on Bina Modi.  

While Kirloskar Oil Engines has hired Gauri Kirloskar, Raymond has appointed Nawaz Gautam Singhania.     

It is also interesting to note that 59 of the 74 women (appointed in these 78 companies) are first time appointees to the board of a listed company.  

"However, of these 59 women, 15 women (holding 17 directorship positions) are from the promoter group and a further 18 women (holding 18 directorship positions) are non-independent, thus leaving only 26 women (holding 28 directorship positions) who are apparently independent," the report said. (With inputs from PTI)  

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