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Thursday, Dec 26, 2002

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SEBI allows 500 more cos to file documents electronically

K.R. Srivats

NEW DELHI, Dec. 25

BILLED as a Christmas gift for corporate India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has come up with the names of 500 more listed companies that would have to electronically file certain documents and statements under the capital market regulator's Electronic Data Information Filing and Retrieval (EDIFAR) System.

EDIFAR, set up by SEBI in association with National Informatics Centre (NIC), is an automated system for filing, retrieval and dissemination of time sensitive corporate information, which were being filed physically by the listed companies with the stock exchanges in India

The electronic filing would be applicable for these 500 companies, which have been selected on the basis of market capitalisation and turnover, with effect from the quarter ending December 2002, a circular issued by SEBI said.

The latest move of SEBI to bring in another 500 companies under EDIFAR comes at a time when the Joint Parliament Committee (JPC) that probed the stock market scam of 2001 had come down heavily on the capital market regulator for its weak surveillance mechanisms.

At present, some 200 companies are required to file information at the EDIFAR, in addition to physical filing with the various stock exchanges. The latest set of 500 companies would file the same type of statements and documents that the 200 companies, brought under the EDIFAR fold in July 2002, are currently required to file under the system.

The SEBI Chairman, Mr G.N. Bajpai, had a few months back announced the regulator's intention to bring in at least 1,700 companies under the fold of EDIFAR by April 1, 2003.

He had also made known to public the intention of the capital market regulator to dispense with the system of physical filing of information with the stock exchanges from April 1, 2003.

The 200 companies currently under EDIFAR were required to file, with effect from July 15, a full version of annual report including the balance sheet, profit and loss account, director's report and auditor's report, cash flow statements, half yearly financial statements and quarterly financial statements.

They were also asked to file their corporate governance reports, shareholding pattern statement and also the statement of action taken against the company by any regulatory agency. The companies had to appoint compliance officer who would be responsible for filing the required information in the EDIFAR system.

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