SEBI Act has stayed static since 2002, chairman Sinha tells PM, FM

Securities & Exchange Board of India chairman U K Sinha today promised to crack down on the kind of Ponzi schemes that have been making headlines in the country.

Speaking in Mumbai on the silver jubilee of the founding of SEBI, Sinha also hinted before an audience that included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister P Chidambaram, and Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, that the market regulator could do with more powers.

He pointed out that the SEBI Act has not been amended since it was first passed in 2002, giving the regulator statutory powers. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then.

"Perhaps, there are realisations now that the Act has to be further strengthened,'' he said. "I am sure government would consider that and will take a favourable decision.''

Among other challenges before SEBI, Sinha pointed to steps required to ensure that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) continue to invest in India; and channelling household savings into the capital market.

Sinha said the government has been supportive to SEBI throughout its journey, and he expected this to continue.

He recalled how SEBI started functioning as an independent regulator in 1988, when its first chairman S A Dave picked up six officers from the Industrial Development Bank of India and actually began functioning from IDBI's office.

These six officers and Dave himself were present today for SEBI's 25-year celebrations. The National Stock Exchange managing director Chitra Ramakrishna was also present.

''In the initial years, the journey of SEBI was quite tumultuous. SEBI had to work as a change agent. These 25 years have been a great journey. Today, we are among one of the best regulators in the world,'' Sinha said.

SEBI was set up by the government in 1988, and vested with statutory powers after the SEBI Act was passed by Parliament in 1992.