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Role of Nasscom in Corporate Governance

National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry established in 1988. NASSCOM is a non-profit organization, funded by the industry, its objective is to build a growth led and sustainable technology and business services sector in the country. NASSCOM is the global trade body with over 1200 members, of which over 250 are global companies from the US, UK, EU, Japan and China.

NASSCOM’s member companies are in the business of software development, software services, software products, IT-enabled/BPO services and e-commerce. NASSCOM is the supporter of global free trade in India. It encourages its members to adopt world class management practices, build and uphold highest standards in quality, security and innovation and remain competitive in today’s changing technology. NASSCOM undertakes several activities and initiatives and works with multiple stakeholders within the global IT-BPO eco-system.

NASSCOM collaborates with the Government of India at the centre and states to build a policy framework that is helpful to the growth of the IT-BPO industry in the country. NASSCOM engage with member companies to encourage them to share best practices and services and mentor small organization which are at growing stage.

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It conducts industry research, surveys and studies on emerging IT-BPO trends and sector performance for industry growth opportunities ahead. It organises national and international events to showcase new opportunities, collaborate, build thought leadership and networking.

NASSCOM have different forums which fulfill the need of specific sectors and help them with different future opportunities in their specific segments or programmes. NASSCOM works for global trade development, workforce development and committed in promoting and nurturing small-and-medium companies within the IT-BPO industry. Nasscom has three affiliated organizations focusing on corporate social responsibility, data security and e-Governance. Nasscom foundation Nasscom Foundation (NF) is a charity registered under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 and under Section 12A of Income Tax Act.

Its aim is using information and communication technologies (ICT) for development, knowledge sharing which help in generating employment, reducing poverty and to make technology accessible at a low cost to non-profits and under-served communities and provide them with technical tools and skills to overcome the barriers that hamper their progress . NASSCOM Foundation brings together implementing agencies, industry, government bodies and people for integrated development through the use of ICT.

NASSCOM Foundation has developed various robust programs like NASSCOM Knowledge Network, ConnectIT Poverty Alleviation Programme, BiGTech and BiG Bridge. NASSCOM Foundation facilitate and strengthen Corporate Social Responsibility within the IT-BPO Industry and encourages its members to plan their CSR initiatives, presenting best practices and promoting and assisting their implementation. NASSCOM Foundation encourages its members to engage in capacity building initiatives by transferring technical and other skills to the under privileged to enable long term development.

NF programmes involve an integrated ICT learning framework,hardware and software donation programmes and employee volunteer initiatives through Mykartavya. com to make most use of industry resources. Data Security Council of India Data Security Council of India (DSCI) is a not-for-profit organization set up as an independent Self Regulatory organization by NASSCOM. Its objective is to frame data security and data privacy and encourage the IT-BPO industry to implement the same. DSCI has developed in line with global standards Best Practices for Data Protection.

The goal of DSCI is to raise the level of security and privacy of IT-BPO service providers so that their clients and stakeholders are assured that India is a secure destination for global sourcing. DSCI is comprised of Independent directors , Nasscom nominees and Academics. The Board is chaired by an Independent director. Members from leading IT-BPO companies from India and abroad provides guidance to DSCI. DSCI is engaged with IT-BPO industry,their clients,industry associations, data protection authorities and other government agencies in different countries.

DSCI organizes workshops, seminars, projects and other initiatives for data protection awareness. The Best practices approach to data protection is the key message of these programmes organized by DSCI. National Institute for Smart Government National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) is a not-for-profit organization set up in 2002 under section 25 of companies Act 1956 to promote e-Governance in India on public private partnership with NASSCOM, Government of India and Government of Andhra Pradesh.

The vision Of NISG is to make all government services accessible to the common man in his locality through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man. To transform Government departments and agencies from department-centric mode of working to a citizen-centric way of working. NISG offers the orientation and efficiency of the private sector combined with the accountability of the public sector.

NISG is helping the Government of India and State Governments realize the national e-governance vision. Over the years, NISG has grown as a reliable advisory body for Central and State Governments as well as public sector undertakings. NISG services include advising the Government of India on issues of strategic importance such as architectures, standards, localization etc. NISG also help government to improve the delivery of government services, design IT systems to improve internal efficiencies and develop leadership capability and skill sets within the Government.

NISG also build up nation wide capacities for capacity building through institutional partnerships with government as well as private partners. Some of NISG projects are Banglore One –Integrated Citizen, Bhu Bharti – Integrated Land Information System, Commercial Taxes – Mission Mode Program, Delhi Online:Jeevan, Passport Seva – A Mission Mode Project. NASSCOM is playing a key role in corporate governance within the Indian IT-BPO sector. NASSCOM has set high benchmarks for the industry in corporate governance.

When Satyam fraud episode came into existence questions were raised on the high standards of ethics and corporate governance. Satyam scandal was the failure of corporate governance. NASSCOM treated it as an isolated case and made a point that it is not the reflection of Indian IT industry. After the failure NASSCOM constituted a committee and reviewed further for strengthening the corporate governance practices in India. In years 2009, After Satyam scandal, NASSCOM constituted a committee headed by Infosys founder, non-executive chairman and ‘chief mentor’ Mr.

N. R. Narayana Murthy , issued its recommendations and with the help of introduction of the amended Clause 49 by the government strengthen corporate governance practices in India. Beside report focuses on company structure, the independence of non-executive directors, audit committee and disclosures to shareholders substantially, NASSCOM recommends a distinctive feature to focus heavily on the protection of stakeholders in a company such as customers, employees, other partners and competitors.

NASSCOM recommends to detail the role of the board of directors where they move from traditional advisory to strategic oversight of company affairs. The Report says that confidentiality of information, protecting company assets and adherence to company policies and processes would enable the company and its employees to align to common goals. The recommendations emphasizes the need of providing a congenial and safe work environment, equal opportunity to all, appropriate grievance handling and enabling processes for promoting learning and fair practices

To help customers, it promotes ethical practices for contracts, clear accountability, compliance with legal issues, data security, privacy as well as thrust on customer satisfaction. On competition, it stresses the need of sharing of best practices, respecting intellectual property and ethical hiring . To build a framework for ethical practices with vendor partners fair and transparent procurement processes and clear guidelines on related party transactions and gifts / donations should be practiced.

Creating awareness across various levels of management and encourage formulating and strengthening of whistle blower policy . NASSCOM enhance its focus on ‘e-Governance’. E-Governance is the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for delivering government services, exchange of information communication transactions, integration various stand-one systems and services between Government-to-Citizens, Government-to-Business,Government-to-Government as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government frame work.

It has made a detailed report:-“eGovernance & IT Services Procurement – Issues, Challenges, Recommendations – a NASSCOM Study”. It identify key issues and challenges, faced during various stages of an eGovernance project lifecycle, from Conceptualization through Bid process, Contracting to Execution and Post Go-Live phases. NASSCOM recommendations are only voluntary in nature and companies can adopt them by way of good practices.

Here when we talk about voluntary recommendations, question arises that if these are good practices then why they are not to be mandated or regulated ? The answer to this is that even with the best intentions regulators may not have all the information available to design efficient rules. Another issue is that there is a fear that by legally mandating several aspects of corporate governance, the regulators might unintentionally encourage the practice of companies ticking checklists, instead of focusing on the spirit of good governance.

The other concern relates to fear of excessive interference. There is an fear that over-regulation of corporate governance could disrupt the functioning and quality of boards without resulting in any substantial improvement in the standards of corporate governance. This arises a question that how to draw a line that divides voluntary from mandatory. In ideal situation where there is an efficient capital markets, market can recognize which companies are well governed and which are not and reward and punish them accordingly.

But the fact is that these markets are only in theory and in real world markets are careless or negligent and leave policies and regulation much on desire. Thus, what is needed a small collection of legally mandated rules; strengthen by a much larger body of self-regulation and voluntary compliance. To make its suggestions and recommendations more applicable, NASSCOM has to facilitate a series of interactions with the organizations and share their practical and implementable insights.

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