Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has identified nearly 85 districts for possible ‘adoption’ by fund houses as these districts have high bank deposits but limited investment opportunities. SEBI shared information about these districts with AMFI (Association of Mutual Funds of India) and mutual funds have been asked to open branches in these areas. This is another harebrained move of SEBI to force mutual funds to dip into savers’ pockets when too many rules, lacklustre performance and dearth of credible intermediaries have inflicted losses on mutual fund investors.
The Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low-Income Households, headed by Nachiket Mor has said that there should be a banking point for withdrawals, payments and deposits within a 15-minute walk, by 2016. This can be done if banks open a bank account for the 250 million Aadhaar number-holders.
The Union ministry of corporate affairs organised 306 investor awareness programmes across the country in November last and 1,107 such programmes in the first eight months of FY13-14, through Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
Ironically, members of these organisations have contributed to poor corporate governance—one of the main reasons for investors turning away from stocks. Last year, 1,986 investor awareness programmes were organised, which cost Rs5 crore, money that was largely a waste.