SEBI should have greater accountability, especially in dealing with cases related to ponzi schemes and giving money back to small investors who are duped
A member in the Lok Sabha from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday pitched for greater accountability of regulators like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in dealing with cases related to ponzi schemes and said small investors who are duped should get back their money.
Resuming the discussion on Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill, Kirit Somaiya wanted to know as to how many people have been punished for running such schemes.
The BJP member cautioned that ponzi companies will find new ways to bypass the new law. He said multi-state credit cooperative societies are now being floated to "loot" investors.
He said while there is provision of investor protection education fund, not much has been utilised over the years.
Somaiya claimed that several such companies invite MPs and MLAs to their programmes and use their name to lure potential investors.
He said over Rs1 lakh crore is "trapped" in such schemes.
Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) said the authorities vested with powers to protect the interests of investors are not serious in their job.
He claimed only a handful of people have received refund of their investments.
He said the law should not create "another CBI" which could be used to further the political interests of the ruling party.
Referring to the functioning of tribunals, he said much needs to be done and their judgements should be swift.
He also demanded appointing people with clean image to head regulators and tribunals.
The government offers subsidy for using solar power but, at the moment, the investment costs are high and these deter owners in residential areas from taking the risk
A workshop on "Energy Secure Outlook for India” organised by both the Planning Commission and the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) was held recently. According to Rajnath Ram, joint adviser, Planning Commission, who attended this workshop, and met the
press on the sidelines, mentioned about the basic details of the plans to set up solar parks.
The proposal is to set up 25 solar parks, estimated to cost Rs4,000 crore, in a span of five years which may be able to produce 20,000 MW of solar power. At the present moment, only 1,760 MW is produced in the country in this manner.
Initially, these solar parks will be set up in Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir and will be spread over in a total area of 90,000 acres. The energy thus generated would be fed to a central power grid, according to Rajnath Ram. Full details of the number of such solar parks in each of the above mentioned states are expected to be announced soon.
The CSTEP study indicates that, if India were to attain the theoretical solar power capacity of 500,000 MW, accounting for 21% of the total electricity generated, no less than one million hectares of land would be needed. This is as per a recently launched web based tool - India Energy Security Scenario (IESS) developed by the Planning Commission with CSTEP and other organisations.
There is the lurking fear that if the current trends in the energy consumption and the corresponding emissions continue in a "business as usual" scenario, then India would have to import 60% of its energy by 2047, and will be emitting 8,705 tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) by this time, according to IESS.
While we must appreciate the efforts of the MNRE (Ministry of New & Renewable Energy), we must also reiterate that the selected states must now actively take interest in organising exclusive industrial exhibitions in their states where in the benefits of installing solar power panels in individual homes should be explained in depth. Workshops and symposiums should be held where qualified contractors with proven track record in the state should be able to present offers to "electrify" individual homes with these solar panels that would take care of their household needs.
Home owners need to be presented a simple proposal, where the cost of such installation is met by bankers, who should be able to give competitive rates (low interest charges). These rates when compared with the actual costs of electricity bills paid by the owner are not very high. Effectively, the owners should be able to break even on their investments in a few years' time, so as to make the proposal viable. The government offers subsidy for using solar power but, at the moment, the investment costs are high and this deters the owner from taking the risk.
Hence, this issue needs to be tackled by the MNRE to make it within the reach of the house owners, and if the state governments want to make it popular, they should select some housing colonies (of small villas/houses etc) and make it a prototype solar power colony. Once successful, this could be extended to other areas in the selected city.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
Out of the 43 lakh claims settled by EPFO since April, more than 68% were settled in less than 10 days
The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has settled over 11 lakh claims, including transfer and withdrawal of provident fund, during July.
"EPFO has settled more than 11 lakh claims during July 2014. This has taken the cumulative total during this financial year to 43 lakh claims," the retirement fund body said a statement.
Of the 43 lakh claims, more than 68% were settled in less than 10 days.
Besides, the EPFO also updated 92% of the annual accounts due for the year 2013-14. "This achievement is unprecedented and has happened for the first time in the last 30 years," EPFO added.
EPFO has recently issued Universal PF Account Numbers for 4.17 crore contributing members. They have been made available to the employers who in turn have to seed the numbers with KYC details such as bank account, PAN and Aadhaar.
As per latest progress review, more than 30 lakh (KYC) data has been seeded so far. EPFO has set 15th September as deadline for completing this task. These 4.17 crore UANs are expected to be operational by 15th October.
The UAN will be portable throughout the working career of the members and can be used anywhere in India. Thus, they will not need to apply for transfer of PF account on changing jobs.
With a view to making inspections of establishments more transparent, objective and to bring in greater accountability on the part of inspecting staff, a new scheme has been introduced by EPFO.
The new system envisages both mandatory and optional inspection of establishments. While mandatory inspections would be applicable in respect of new coverages (companies), establishments registered on ECR portal but not complying and those establishments reported for closure.
The optional inspection would be resorted to in such cases where there is a drop in remittance or membership. It is also been decided shall be uploaded on the EPFO's website and thereby placing the same in the public domain for scrutiny.
It was also stated that social security agreements have been notified with respect to two more countries -- Finland and Sweden. The agreements are operationalised from 1st August.
Under the agreement, employees who are deputed for short term assignments are exempted from making social security contributions in the country in which they are deputed provided they carry Certificate of Coverage (CoC).
Facilities also exist for totalisation and portability of social security benefits.