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Govt to set up expert panel on Companies Act: Jaitley

Govt to set up expert panel on Companies Act: Jaitley
After just making a slew of amendments to the ‘complicated’ Companies Act, government will constitute an expert committee next week to suggest further changes to make it easier to do business.

“There were about 50 odd provisions (in the Companies Act, 2013) which were very hurting...I will be constituting a committee...may be in the course of next week,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told PTI in an interview.

He said the government might go in for “another round” of amendments depending on the suggestions received from the committee, which will interact with stakeholders on further easing of rules. The Companies Act, 2013 has more than 450 clauses and several of them had complicated doing of business, he said, adding “you are feeling the pinch after its being implemented.” 

The government earlier this week effected 16 amendments in the Companies Act with a view to streamline procedures and remove some of the provisions with regard to denial of bail for violations of those provisions.

He said that there was one provision in this Act, which had similar conditions for bail in a corporate crime as in the now-defunct Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).

Under POTA, bail was virtually impossible unless the public prosecutor concedes that there is no case or the judge comes to the conclusion that there is no case made, he said.

While POTA was replaced by Unlawful Activities Prevention Act with harsh bail provision dropped, the same was brought in the Companies Act, he said.

Bail provision “considered too harsh for an anti-terrorism law, word for word, full-stop for full-stop was brought into the Companies Act,” he said, adding he got the provision removed from the Act through the recent amendments.

Jaitley said, the worst offence in a corporate setup could be extreme fraud like the Satyam scam. There are several other offences where you pay penalty and get out, but you have “a bail provision in which you will never get bail”. 

Expedite single demat account, uniform KYC norms: Jaitley
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that action on single demat account and uniform know your customer (KYC) norms should be expedited and suitable regulation framework in this regard should be put in place. Addressing the 12th Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council in New Delhi on Friday, he said, the common account aggregation facility is envisaged to allow people to get details of their financial assets such as bank accounts, stocks, insurance policies, mutual funds and other financial instruments at one place. During the meeting, the council was apprised about progress made by the task forces set-up for creation of the resolution corporation, public debt management agency, financial data management centre and financial sector appellate tribunal. 

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