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Ministry, SEBI vying to educate investors

Richa Mishra
Nithya Subramanian

New Delhi , July 4

THE capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the policymaker, Ministry of Company Affairs, now seem to be competing with each other to win investor confidence.

The two entities that are more often than not embroiled in a turf war, have recently unleashed multi-media advertising campaigns to educate the gullible small investor.

Seen across TV channels including on Government-owned Doordarshan, the ads talk about what to look for before investing in a company. The Ministry is believed to have invested close to Rs 2 crore in the awareness programme. Both the Ministry and SEBI had come in for strong criticism by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the stock market scam for not taking adequate measures to educate investors.

The current TV spots explain to the investor his rights, in general, as well as under various statutes. The JPC had, in fact, said that a coordinated and organised effort is required to educate investors about their rights and responsibilities and impart awareness about common pitfalls and mistakes that lead to investor losses. It had said that SEBI should be vested with this responsibility. This suggestion of JPC seems to have raised another storm in the teacup.

One consumer organisation has urged the Finance Ministry to consider transferring the Investor Education & Protection Fund (IE&PF) to SEBI from the Consumer Affairs Ministry. Brushing aside the suggestion, Ministry sources told Business Line that, "both can co-exist as each has a separate role to play. The role of the Ministry of Company Affairs goes beyond listed companies."

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