This refers to Tania Kishore Jaleel’s article “E-voting will make life easier for investors” (July 4). Electronic voting, or e-voting, is no guarantee for more investor participation. First, it will require all investors to own a computer — more importantly, they should be computer literate. Second, they should have an internet connection. All investors – most of who are in their 70s – may not own a computer or have access to the internet.
Then there is the issue of regulation. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) must ensure that corporations don’t create fake login ids and passwords to get more votes registered when there is a favourable proposal for the company (like a waiver on environmental requirements, approval of high CEO salaries and so on). We have the Election Commission as a watchdog of political parties; in the context of corporations, Sebi should assume the role of the Election Commissioner.
There is another way to increase shareholder participation: mobile voting, or m-voting. This is less onerous than e-voting because all investors would have a mobile. A simple text message with a yes or no would do. This is less cumbersome and investors would be glad to participate in the management of a company in this way.
M-voting can also be prone to manipulations but regulating it won’t be very different from regulating e-voting. Yet, for the same effort, we will get a bigger pool of active investors with mobile voting
Raghu Seshadri Chennai
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