The Centre is committed towards passage of the new Companies Bill, which will make business laws more efficient and relevant, in the ongoing winter session of Parliament, Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily said here on Friday

“Our Companies Bill was old and needed reform…we hope to get it (the new Bill) passed during the winter session,” Mr. Moily told journalists on the sidelines of a summit here. Notably, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the Companies Bill, 2011, which has several new provisions such as mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR), class action suits and a fixed term for independent directors.

Referring to the provision of mandatory expenditure of 2 per cent of profits on CSR activities for companies, Mr. Moily said those corporates which could not do it could always come to the government and disclose. “The provisions of the Bill on mandatory CSR are crafted after much consultation and the clause to spend 2 per cent of profits is finally accepted...we have only institutionalised CSR to promote the culture,” he pointed out.

Following Rs.14,000 crore accounting fraud in erstwhile Hyderabad-based Satyam Computers, the government brought in several changes in the Bill.

Besides tightening laws for raising money from the public, the Bill seeks to prohibit any insider trading by company directors or key managerial personnel by treating such activities as a criminal offence.

Meanwhile, Mr. Moily welcomed the opening of the retail sector for foreign investment and said it would help improve supply and tame inflation. “It (FDI in multi-brand retail) will help tame inflation and (promote) growth rate. A good, systematic supply chain will help in bringing down inflation and help farmers,” he noted.