Author Archives: Rajendra

European Organisations – Council of Europe, EIB, EBRD, EU, Eurozone, Schengen Area, CFSP

Council of Europe

Headquarters: Strasbourg, France.

The Council of Europe is a 47 member international organisation that aims to uphold democracy, human rights and rule of law in Europe and promote European culture. It was founded by the Treaty of London in 1949. No country has ever joined the European Union without first belonging to the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe promotes political dialogue, humanitarian work and treaties on matters such as anti-trafficking, hate speech and human rights. It does not have binding powers of its own.

The European Court of Human Rights, an international court established by the European Convention on Human Rights, is the best known body of the Council of Europe.

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Corruption in India – laws, organisations, and measures to improve accountability and enhance anti-corruption efforts – PCA, RTI, Lokpal, CVC

Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Excessive and complex regulations, opaque bureaucracy and discretionary powers with inadequate accountability provide ripe environment for corruption.

Several international reports and surveys indicate high degree of corruption in India – in government as well as in the private sector. The Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International, ranks India at 78th position among 180 countries with a score of 41/100 (2018 data). The index published annually ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys. Denmark and New Zealand are perceived as the least corrupt countries in the world. The Global Corruption Barometer is another such exercise undertaken by Transparency International and is the largest survey tracking public opinion on corruption across the world.

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Corporate Governance in India- regulatory framework, Companies Act, SEBI, NFRA, Kotak Committee, Independent Directors, CSR

Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices and processes by which companies are directed and controlled. Corporate governance essentially involves balancing the interests of a company’s many stakeholders, such as shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government and the community.

Why corporate governance?

  • to balance and protect stakeholders’ interests.
  • to enhance investor confidence so that funding can be mobilised for businesses.
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National Financial Reporting Authority – NFRA

National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) is the newly created, all powerful, independent regulator for the auditing profession. It is independent in the sense that unlike ICAI or ICSI, it is not composed of those it seeks to regulate.

Why created? In the wake of accounting scams globally, a need was felt to establish independent regulators – independent from those it regulates – to enhance public confidence in institutions. Considering this, the Companies Act 2013 provides for the NFRA to replace the weak and advisory body of NACAS – National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards – that was set up under Companies act 1956.

Responsibilities and powers: NFRA will set accounting and auditing standards, monitor and enforce compliance with standards, and oversee accounting profession’s record of ensuring compliance. It will take away significant regulatory powers from ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India). It will undertake auditing of CAs and their firms.

Jurisdiction: NFRA’s jurisdiction covers listed companies, large unlisted public companies, banks, insurers, and those body corporates referred to it by the Centre. ICAI’s regulatory role will continue with respect to private limited companies, and public unlisted companies below a threshold limit. It will also perform advisory function for NFRA.

“The Centre has notified the much-awaited National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) rules, taking away the CA Institute‚Äôs monitoring and disciplinary powers over auditors of listed entities and large unlisted companies besides banks and insurance companies.”

The Hindu Business Line. November 15, 2018.

UN Convention Against Torture – non-ratification by India hurdles criminal extradition from other countries to India

UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) – The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) is an international human rights treaty that requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is a reason to believe that they will be tortured. It also requires the parties to train and educate their law enforcement personnels and public officials involved in custody, interrogation and imprisonment regarding interrogation rules and practices in order to prevent all acts of torture.

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Civil Services of India – composition, hierarchy, norms, history, and reforms.

Civil Services are the backbone of the administrative machinery of India. They implement the decisions of the political executive elected through the parliamentary polity.

History

The foundation of civil service in India was laid by Warren Hastings, the first de-facto Governor- General of India from 1773 to 1785. His successor, Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793), reformed, modernised and rationalised the civil service. For this reason, Lord Cornwallis is known as the Father of Civil Service in India.

Please note that while Lord Cornwallis is known as the Father of Civil Service in India, it is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who is known as the Father of All India Services. It was Sardar Patel’s vision that the All India Services should strengthen cohesion and national unity. In his address to the Probationers of Administrative Services Officers on 21st April 1947, he referred to civil servants as “steel frame of India”. To commemorate his address, every year the Government of India celebrates the Civil Services Day. As parts of the celebration, Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration are presented to Districts/Implementing units for ‘implementation of priority programme’ and ‘innovation’ categories.

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