The Minister of State for Corporate Affairs was speaking at a webinar on the completion of five years of the Investor Education & Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA), which was set up in September 2016 under the companies law.
You have successfully cast your vote
The corporate affairs ministry is also taking measures to further strengthen the IEPFA, which comes under it.
The IEPFA has settled about 18,000 claims, refunding back dividends, amounts and underlying shares of around Rs 1,000 crore to the claimants.
Singh said that IEPFA has taken a holistic approach to sensitise stakeholders and that efforts are also being made to involve gram panchayats in investor awareness programmes.
“I would urge that increasingly educational institutions, industry bodies and other stakeholders, think tanks, research institutions etc. should come forward to shoulder the responsibility of increasing financial literacy through appropriate awareness campaigns…,” the minister said.
He also emphasised that it is essential to focus on schools and colleges to provide basic financial education at the early stages.
Corporate Affairs Secretary Rajesh Verma urged the IEPFA to undertake initiatives to enhance financial literacy, especially in small towns and rural areas.
In small towns and rural areas, there are some unscrupulous elements that still operate and try to take advantage of illiteracy, lack of awareness of the general public, he said, adding that many Ponzi schemes have been floated and many have fallen prey.
“In the eastern part of the country, Ponzi schemes (have been) floated and we have seen people really suffering… the operators take advantage of the naiveness, simplicity and lack of awareness of people. Investor education and awareness is a very important subject…,” he noted.
Further, Verma said the ministry is strengthening the IEPFA and more posts have been sanctioned so that speedier relief is provided to investors whose claims are pending.
They were speaking at the webinar on ‘Empowering Investors: IEPFA, Journey of 5 years and Way Forward’.
According to the IEPFA newsletter, which was released on Tuesday, the authority has settled about 18,000 claims, refunding dividends, amounts and underlying shares of about Rs 1,000 crore to the claimants.
“About 1.25 crore shares transferred to IEPFA by various companies have been refunded back to the rightful claimants. The endeavour of IEPFA is to settle claims as expeditious as possible within the framework of rules and satisfaction of the stakeholders,” it added.
The IEPFA has the mandate to promote investors’ education, awareness and protection apart from making refunds of matured deposits, debentures, unclaimed dividends and underlying shares to the investors.