The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has established the Investor Education and Protection Fund under Section 205C of the Companies Act, 1956 to undertake various activities for creating awareness amongst the investors. The Ministry invites credible voluntary organizations or associations which are engaged in the activities related to the investor awareness, education and protection including research activities to get registered under the IEPF. The details regarding the process of registration and seeking financial assistance under the IEPF may be seen at www.iepf.gov.in. The organizations which are already registered or have applied for registration need not apply again.
REGISTRATION WITH AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM IEPF
Who can register with IEPF?
Any voluntary organization or association engaged in the activities relating to investors awareness, education and protection and proposing investors programmes, organizing seminars; symposia and undertaking projects for investor protection including research activities can register itself under IEPF (Form 3).
Criteria/guidelines for financial assistance from IEPF
· Any organization which is engaged in the activities relating to investors awareness, education and protection and proposing for investors programmes, organizing seminars; symposia and undertake projects for investor protection including research activities can apply for financial assistance from IEPF subject to the following criteria/guidelines:
· Any entity that has a viable project proposal on investor education and protection shall be eligible for assistance.
· The limit for each entity for assistance from IEPF shall be subject to 5% of the budget of IEPF during that financial year and not exceeding 80% of the amount to be spent on the proposed programme/activity.
· The entities already engaged in activities relating to investor awareness, education and protection and proposing to take up investors programmes, organizing seminars, symposia etc. shall undertake projects for investor protection including research activities.
· The entities shall be registered under the Societies Registration Act or formed as Trusts or incorporated companies. Entities shall, unless specific exemption has been made in this regard by the IEPF Committee, be in existence for a minimum period of 2 years prior to its date of application for registration.
· Entities shall have a minimum of 20 members and a proven record of at least 2 years.
· Entities shall have rules, regulations and/ or by-laws for its governance and management. These rules, regulations and or by-laws shall be in conformity with the conditions of registration.
· The entity shall be managed by a governing board/management committee.
· No profit-making entity shall be eligible for registration for the purposes of financial assistance from the fund. Notwithstanding the above, the IEPF Committee can give a project to any organization.
· The amount of grant assistance given from IEPF shall be subject to an audit by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to ensure its proper utilization.
· While considering proposals, the IEPF Committee shall take into account the audited accounts and the annual reports of the last three years of the entity seeking assistance from IEPF.
Guidelines for funding of research proposals
The registered organizations can submit research proposals to IEPF. This should be accompanied by:
· A 2000-word outline of the research program that is being proposed indicating therein also a rationale of why the same fits in with the goals of IEPF.
· Detailed resume of all the researchers who shall be associated with the project
· Three best recent published/unpublished papers of the researchers.
· Letters of commitment by researchers promising that they will put in at least 50% of their time for the proposed project from the stated starting date to the stated ending date.
· Two specific paper proposals of 1000 words each, out of the larger research program. (The guidelines of the NSE Research Initiative for writing paper proposals should be rigidly used (see NSE web site).
Procedure for financial assistance
· Such entities that fulfill the criteria/guidelines for the purpose of financial assistance from IEPF may apply to the IEPF for such assistance in Form 4.
· The feasibility of the project, quantum of financial assistance, genuineness of the organization, etc. is then evaluated by the Sub Committee of IEPF in its meetings held in regular intervals.
· After the Sub -Committee approves the proposal, IEPF issues the financial sanction with the approval of Internal Finance Wing of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
· The amount is then released to the organization, but only after it submits a pre-defined Bond and a pre-receipt to IEPF.
· After the project is completed, the organization is required to submit the funds utilization certificate and copies of the bills etc. to IEPF for scrutiny.