India’s Top CEOs and Board of Directors Lack Religious Diversity:


Human rights have become essential to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) governance factors for companies operating in India. India’s primary trading partner is the United States, now India’s largest commercial partner. According to Quartz India, in an article; titled Move over, China: US is now India’s biggest trading partner.

Main Point Are:

  • Bilateral trade between the United States and India reached $119.42 billion in the financial year ended in March 2022, up from $80.51 billion during the previous year, according to the Indian commerce ministry.
Top CEOs and Board of Directors Lack Religious Diversity
Top CEOs and Board of Directors Lack Religious Diversity

As India’s deepening trade ties with the United States rise, many CEOs and Chairs are worried about potential human rights violations against Muslims and Christians. In addition, violations against minorities have caused concern among social campaigners, who believe that the Indian government is not doing enough to safeguard the rights of its Muslim and Christian people.

The USA and European Allies are hedging further relationships with India, China, and Russia.


According to the CATO Institute & Human Fraser Institutes 2021 Freedom Index. India has been falling ranks, currently rated at 119 out of 165 jurisdictions. In 2020 it was organized on the 111 spots. The Human Freedom Index ranks nations on a wide scale, including personal, civil, and economic freedoms. Individual freedom, as we know it, is a social concept that recognizes the inherent worth of individuals and denotes their capacity to be free from harmful constraints.

On April 11, 2022, an article by U.S. News titled;  U.S. Monitoring Rise in Rights Abuses in India. Blinken Says

Paraphrased main points below

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was monitoring what he called a “sharp increase” in human rights abuses by certain Indian officials, in a rare direct criticism from Washington of India’s human rights record.

Hindu nationalists have launched assaults on minorities since Narendra Modi’s election, claiming that minorities are attempting to stifle religious conversions. As a result, several Indian states have passed or are considering anti-conversion laws threatening the constitutionally protected freedom of belief.

In 2019, the government implemented a citizenship scheme condemned for undermining India’s secular constitution by excluding Muslim immigrants from neighboring countries. The bill allowed Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Parsi, and Sikh refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan to obtain Indian citizenship.


India has required at least one woman director on all publicly listed companies since 2015, A requirement of the Indian Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). India Inc is slowly but surely embracing corporate governance reforms focusing on board diversity.


HBR researchers published in an article Feb 2021,  What Happened When India Mandated Gender Diversity on Boards 

In developing nations with less corporate transparency, weak institutions, and more gender-discriminatory societal views, the prospect of board appointments that include symbolic acts is incredibly appealing.

  • Female directors appointed to all-male boards in India are more likely to be independent but less likely to be assigned to crucial board committees.
  • Female directors who are not appointed from within the company are less likely to serve on important committees than male directors.
  • Firms that appoint women on merit from outside the organization still relegate them to less consequential committees.

GBAC has researched the top brands in India. The research found that many of these brands lack religious diversity.

Nasdaq proposed to amend its listing standards to encourage greater board diversity.

India wants to be a superpower and implements international best practices to improve its emerging market status and global political weight. 

U.S. companies are hiring Indian I.T. workers in their supply chains. In addition, U.S. and European Allies are shifting more towards India as a hedge against China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

GBAC wanted to research how much diversity is promoted in India’s Top Brands. Board and Senior management from minority, under-presented religious diversity groups. Following NASDAQ’S lead in promoting diversity. 

How many minority group candidates have promoted diverse candidates to Board of Director and Senior Management roles in India’s top brands? 

GBAC reviewed annual reports and websites of the Top 10 holdings of BlackRock and MSCI India’s funds and discovered the majority of boards hired from one primary faith, Hindus. 

  • Unfortunately, as you can see, most seats are held by one majority group, one faith-based religion; Hindus. 
  • Fewer minorities, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and Jews, serve in senior roles and board positions. At the top brands of India, this is a concern for U.S. and European prominent CEOs and boards of directors because the lack of diversity in supply chains is putting them in the middle of the Hindutva Movement by Prime Minister Modi.

BlackRock India Fund A2 USD                                                                                                  

MSCI India Index (INR)

GBAC Research: Data below was accessed from company Websites and Annual Reports on June 4, 2022. 

Why India’s Top CEOs and Board of Directors Lack Religious Diversity – GBAC Research

Hindutva movement India

Hindutva is a Hindu nationalist, right-wing, paramilitary volunteer group. This movement is committed to making India a “Hindu Rashtra,” which means an India ruled by Hindu law.

Narendra Modi, the current Indian Prime Minister and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is the flag-bearer for Hindutva in India.

In an article in The Economists, May 14, 2022, Narendra Modi is remaking India into a Hindu state. The prime minister and his party are changing the laws to make their religion the only one against the vision of Gandhi.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is the largest volunteer group linked to Hindutva. It was established in 1925 by K. B. Hedgewar, a doctor from Nagpur, as the Hindu nationalist, right-wing, paramilitary volunteer group it is today. The RSS is a Hindu nationalist.

The Hindutva movement’s human rights violations against Muslims and Christians in India have become common. In 2002, the Gujarat riots resulted in the death of over 2000 Muslims. In 2008, the anti-Christian violence in Orissa led to the end of over 100 Christians. The Hindutva movement promotes Hindus for India and no one else, against the doctrine of the secular Indian constitution.

Indian supply chains – TECH TALENT lack of diversity

The scarcity of cultural variety in India’s supply chains is a significant issue that must be addressed at the top levels of business. With India’s huge population, there is tremendous potential for a skilled and underprivileged workforce educated by underserved groups.

However, many companies are yet to put forth sufficient efforts to promote diversity in their organizations. One reason is that ESG rating and standard-setting bodies consider “human rights” to be a significant component of their assessments.

U.S and Multinationals trying to cut their carbon emissions depend significantly on talent overseas for tech talent. Indian consulting firms, from the data presented above from the research, are not promoting religious minority groups in senior roles and the board of directors’ vacancies.

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