The problem of inadequate independent directors on company boards is a stumbling block in taking companies to the market, Department of Divestment Secretary Sumit Bose said here on Friday.

Delivering a talk on reforms-led growth to mark the occasion of the annual session and annual general meeting of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Bose said there was now a strong line-up of PSUs which were likely to hit the market and whose disinvestment was now under consideration. The Department of Divestment was seeking suggestions to strengthen the divestment process, he added.

He said many state public sector enterprises could also be listed and the process had been kicked off with the listing of Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam. A government official, however, said the listing of a few state-owned PSEs was being looked at and companies in the mining and power sector, especially hydel power, might be the first to tap the capital market. Indications were that a state-owned mining company might be among the first to do so.

Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra said he was hopeful that the Direct Tax Code would become a law by April 2011 after being passed during the winter session of Parliament. The revised draft was expected to be placed in the coming monsoon session after which it would go to the Select Committee.

Earlier at the session on ‘Coal: energising India's growth', Union Coal Minister said the government had set up an inter-ministerial task force to make a comprehensive review of the existing coal resources and rationalise them with a view to optimising transportation cost given the various technical constraints. He also said the government intended to invest Rs.400 crore in 2010-11 against Rs. 260 crore in 2009-10 for developing transportation infrastructure in coalfields, regional exploration, detailed drilling and for taking measures to protect environment and control subsidence.

Coal India Chairman P. S. Bhattacharyya said that 48 per cent of the coal-bearing forest areas spread over nine coalfields had been declared as no-go area for mining. He saw a real serious problem emerging on the coal-supply front and indigenous coal production could not match demand after meeting the sustainability conditions. The Coal Minister said three meetings had been held with the Prime Minister in a bid to resolve this issue.

More In: Economy | Business