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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hints at changes in corporate laws

A day after he said that the government would take more reforms measures to pull the country out of a 1991-type economic abyss, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the Centre was examining commercial and corporate laws to ensure inclusive growth and to make them relevant to future challenges.

Addressing the criticism that the new decisions by his government could marginalize the poor and widen richpoor divide, Singh said the proposed changes in corporate and commercial laws would ensure "distributive equities and empowerment of the marginalized sections of society" , adding that the government has already put in regulations for securities market, competition and limited liability partnerships.

The PM was speaking at the Conference on Economic Growth in Asia and Changes of Corporate Environment. The occasion also saw Chief Justice of India (CJI) S H Kapadia and CJI-designate Altamas Kabir agreeing with the PM's Friday night speech on the need for hard economic decisions to put the country's economy on the rails of growth, though the two also engaged in some plain speaking about the flip side of such a harsh decision-driven reform process.

Justice Kapadia said every decision on FDI must be coupled with the test of employment generation. "Whether it is domestic or foreign direct investment, if it generates employment, I will prefer it," he said. "But, it should not be that only 300 million Indians prosper because of the reforms and 700 million suffer. That is why inclusive growth and economic democracy is so essential ," he said.

Justice Kabir said the flip side of the reform was that while certain sectors get the boost, others were ignored. "We must strike a balance. We must look into the problems of other sectors. It is those who stay in the extremes who do not feel the pinch, but those in between do."

Singh said, "We will soon bring before Parliament the new Companies Bill that has been in the making for quite some time now." He said that an examination of commercial and corporate laws was required because of transformational changes in this century.

In a veiled appeal to the higher judiciary to view the importance of the reforms process from a national as well as a global economic point of view, the PM said, "Judicial decisions may at times have transnational impact since the global financial and trade systems are also becoming closely integrated."

The PM's speech, however , was interrupted for 30 minutes. Just when he was about to start, a lawyer in the audience stood up on his table and shouted "PM go back! Roll back diesel price hike" thrice, stunning the audience and the security personnel. The PM then resumed after security personnel took the protester out of the hall.

Soucre:- Economic Times