Co secretaries urged to set high standards, Business Line, Dec 13, 2001.

COMPANY secretaries have been urged to set high standards of business practices and compliance of existing laws if they want a less regulated corporate environment.

At their three-day national convention which opened here on Thursday, Mr Jerry Rao, Chairman & CEO, MphasiS BFL Ltd, said when company secretaries ensure responsible behaviour of their company boards, it would set the stage for a more trusting and deregulated legal crime.

Heavy taxation and numerous laws are Indian corporate bane. It is time to have a legal system that induces wealth generation as in Korea rather than continue with laws that stifle economic growth. In the process,``Let us not suggest too many laws and changes that may become a problem later'' having a bare minimum of laws.On the convention theme - `Developments in cyber and corporate laws' - Mr Rao observed that often existing laws such as the Contract Act are good enough for electronic transactions that will be the order of the day.

Citing from his experience with testifying before the US Congress, Mr Rao said law makers there asked for industry inputs to laws that do not hold the economy back.

As in the US, the Centre and the States should refrain from taxing Net transactions as this will transfer tax havens and physical frauds such as evasion on to the cyber world, he added.

Post-September 11, Mr Rao said the role of company secretaries had increased in ensuring record keeping, disaster recovery and maintaining uninterrupted business.

Mr. Michael Bastian, ED, Vijaya Bank, said good corporate governance should protect investor interest. As the economy gets increasingly digitalised, the laws should also change accordingly, he added.

Dr P.V.S. Jaganmohan Rao, the President of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, which has organised the meet, released the first Secretarial Standard on board meetings.