PNB decides national anthem will be sung at every Annual General Meeting

After being ravaged by the Nirav Modi scam earlier this year, public sector lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) has decided that the national anthem will be sung in its Annual General Meetings (AGM) and Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM), which are held for discussing and approving key decisions by shareholders.

Other than discussing equity shares, the idea of singing national anthem was first shared by a shareholder in the bank's last AGM held on September 18, 2018, which was backed by PNB's Non-Executive Chairman Sunil Mehta, The Indian Express reported.

According to Reserve Bank of India and Securities and Exchange Board of India rules, it is not mandatory for shareholders to sing the national anthem at AGMs and EGMs.

The last AGM was held to adopt the audited balance sheet and profit and loss account of the bank for the year ended March 31, 2018. Apart from the decision on singing the national anthem, the other two decisions taken by the AGM were to allot up to 100 million equity shares to employees under the Employee Stock Purchase Scheme, and to issue shares to the government on a preferential basis to raise equity of Rs 28.16 billion.

According to Founder Chairman of PRIME Database Prithvi Haldea, "It is not very common but many firms sing the national anthem at the start of important events. "Why should anyone have a problem with playing the national anthem in the corporate sector?” The Indian Express quoted him as saying.

“I don’t think any other company in India plays the National Anthem at AGMs and EGMs. It is strange to impose the anthem on shareholders,” said Shriram Subramanian, Founder and MD, InGovern Research Services, a corporate governance advisory firm.

Since the Nirav Modi scam at PNB, the public sector unit has embarked on the recovery of bad loans, sale of non-core assets and fundraising from the government to put things back in order. The bank suffered net losses of Rs 134.16 billion in January-March quarter in FY18, Rs 9.4 billion in April-June and another Rs 45.32 billion loss in July-September of the current fiscal year.

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