"We were told that we (companies) are dealing with multiple regulators, multiple agencies and multiple bosses. That is a very generic complaint. It is a very fair point. "... We (Sebi) have been blamed in the past to be an activist. In fact, they have blamed that Sebi has become a dragon", Sinha said at the 178th Annual General Meeting of Madras Chamber of Commerce. Recently, a senior industry leader said Sebi was becoming like a dragon for the corporate world, while similar comments have been made in the past also including those accusing Sebi of acting like an activist.
"I would like to explain that whether we have acted like an dragon and if so, why?", he said, while adding that times have changed and people (shareholders) who have been remaining quiet in the past are wanting to be heard. "Let us look at the world outside the corporate world for a short while. On matters of public concern, huge protests are being held. Normally, there have been students and unemployed youth doing such protests.
"What are we seeing today? We are seeing today - young professionals, male and female, people who have their own job and feeling bad about some particular subject come out in millions across continents," he said, while referring to various protests in India and abroad in the recent past. "Earlier, if you or somebody has been appointed as Chairman of a company or as a Mayor of a city, you are assured that you will be in that post for five years. Nobody used to challenge that. But today, people are being challenged and are being successfully removed," he said.
"People who were remaining quiet (earlier), are now wanting to be heard. Regimes have changed in completely unexpected manner and across the continents. If that is happening in our social and political life all over the world, how can the corporate world be away from that?" Sinha asked. The Sebi Chairman, a former IAS officer from Bihar cadre, also recalled political events of 1970s in his home state.
"When that is the situation in politics, how can the corporate world be different. Today you have shareholder meetings and people will vote. That is why Sebi has come for electronic voting now to make it easier for shareholders to vote and express their opinion on company matters," Sinha said.