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PM hopes house to approve new Companies Bill

Manesar (Haryana): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed the hope that the new Companies Bill, which seeks to update corporate law and promote CSR, will be passed by Parliament shortly. "The Companies Bill presently under consideration of Parliament seeks to to provide a further fillip to the cause of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate governance and investor protection. I expect the Bill to be passed shortly," he said at a function of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) here.

The new Companies Bill, which will replace the Companies Act 1956, is being scrutinised by the Standing Committee of Finance. It was referred for the second time to committee in January after main opposition party BJP pointed out that the Bill taken up for consideration and passage by Parliament was significantly different from the original one.

The Standing Committee, headed by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, is likely to finalise its report on the Companies Bill on April 20. Besides other things, the Bill will make it mandatory for firms to maintain their documents in electronic format. It also introduces the concept of e-governance, makes provision for encouraging ethical corporate behaviour and rewards employees for their integrity.

Singh also said that the "government stands committed to providing an environment which is conducive to enterprise and growth of entrepreneurship, an environment which will facilitate rapid economic growth and higher living standards." The government, he added, would also try to update the regulatory and policy environment to unleash the creative energies of people.

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