Regulations
SEBI Gags Staff: No Speaking to Media
Fear and distrust of the media now extends to regulators as well. One of the first actions after Mr Ajay Tyagi has taken over as chairman of the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), is a circular that effectively gags SEBI officers and bars them from talking to the media without prior permission. On 10th March, shortly after office hours, an email went to all SEBI officers from Mr Jayanta Jash, Chief General Manager in charge of Human Resources. It said: 
 
“Attention of staff members is drawn to regulation 53 of SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE BOARD OF INDIA (EMPLOYEES' SERVICE) REGULATIONS, 2001).
 
Contributions to the press
53. (1) No employee may contribute to the press without the prior sanction of the Competent Authority or without such sanction make public or publish any document, paper or information which may come in his possession in his official capacity.
(2) No employee shall except with the previous sanction of the (2) competent authority publish or cause to be published any book or any similar printed matter of which he is the author or not or deliver talk or lecture in any public meeting or otherwise.
Provided that no such sanction is required, if such broadcast or contribution or publication is of a purely literary, artistic, scientific, professional, cultural, educational, religious or social character.
 
Further, it is advised that staff members shall not meet or talk with media except with explicit permission of competent authorities. Violation of the above would be viewed seriously and may result in disciplinary action.”
 
A simple reading of Section 53 shows that it pertains to SEBI officers writing or publishing articles in the media or books. It does not and should not bar officers from speaking to the media. Is the new SEBI chairman extending the scope and application of the employee service regulations without proper clearances? There are two other issues here. First, it goes against the spirit of transparency that the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised. But worse, a regulatory body is only as good or effective as its ability to gather market intelligence and remain a jump ahead of scamsters and market manipulators. 
 
Over the years, every SEBI chairman who has lodged itself in the imposing SEBI Bhavan, has systematically worked at cutting off all contact with various stakeholders. SEBI officials rarely meet investors, and now, its officials are barred from meeting the media without prior permission. Interestingly, in the days when the prime minister himself and his entire cabinet including various ministries interact directly with the public, India’s financial regulators wish to remain in a cocoon. The insurance regulator can’t be seen in social media while the Reserve Bank of India and SEBI merely push out information but do not engage. It remains to be seen how SEBI intends to engage with the media over the next three years, under a new chairman. 
 
Moneylife wrote to SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi for his response and even followed up with his communications head, but we have received no response. 
 

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COMMENTS

Silloo Marker

1 week ago

The new Chairman seems to have been given specific instructions about curtailing contacts with the media by some undisclosed authority above him. Lack of transparency is dangerous as it undermines the basic principles of democracy.

S.S.A.Zaidi

1 week ago

let us not give it a saffron color. Saffron is as good as any other color. The point raised I'd that of control and transparency .with so much control being exercised the transparency will b the victim and this is what this article nightlights if I have understood correctly. Pls don't bring in such factors in our comments that deflect and obscure the main issues
Thanks

Navneet

1 week ago

Dear Roy Aranha, if this is "Saffron" surge, then, what would you prefer, Islamization ? Or, perhaps, Westernization (as in, a lost generation) ?
Let me share this with you, I filed an RTI for nationality details of Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi, all I got a response from the then UPA/Congress Govt. in Center was - it is a matter of national security, hence, cannot be revealed !
So, is this the kind of transparency and democracy you want for all of us ?
I guess, all you need is a real hands-on experience of Dictatorship, please be my guest at my family's rented residence in Saudi Arabia, where, you will live under the fear of death at any moment. Or, visit my cousin brother, who lives in China, and then, you will come to know that, even you web usage is being monitored.
In-case you feel like being my guest, just give me a call and arrange for your tickets to Riyadh, the rest you can be assured of will be an excellent experience of life for you!

Roy Aranha

1 week ago

well orchestrated plan of controls from the top of the saffron surge , dictatorship slowly the country is undergoing a quiet emergency , transparency is coloured only in words and public announcements

REPLY

Navneet

In Reply to Roy Aranha 1 week ago

Dear Roy Aranha, if this is "Saffron" surge, then, what would you prefer, Islamization ? Or, perhaps, Westernization (as in, a lost generation) ?
Let me share this with you, I filed an RTI for nationality details of Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi, all I got a response from the then UPA/Congress Govt. in Center was - it is a matter of national security, hence, cannot be revealed !
So, is this the kind of transparency and democracy you want for all of us ?
I guess, all you need is a real hands-on experience of Dictatorship, please be my guest at my family's rented residence in Saudi Arabia, where, you will live under the fear of death at any moment. Or, visit my cousin brother, who lives in China, and then, you will come to know that, even you web usage is being monitored.
In-case you feel like being my guest, just give me a call and arrange for your tickets to Riyadh, the rest you can be assured of will be an excellent experience of life for you!

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Nifty, Sensex to head higher – Thursday closing report
We had mentioned in Wednesday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex remained firm. The major indices of the Indian stock markets were range-bound on Thursday and closed with small gains over Wednesday’s close. The trends of the major indices in the course of Thursday’s trading are given in the table below:
 
 
Positive global cues, a strong rupee and healthy buying in metals, capital goods and consumer durables stocks, brought a cheer to the Indian equity markets on Thursday. The key indices closed with gains of more half a per cent each, well absorbing the 25 basis points (bps) rate hike by the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday for the second time in three months.  
 
The Indian economy is strong enough to absorb the impact of the US Federal Reserve's interest rate hike, the government said on Thursday. "Indian markets well placed to absorb US Fed rate hike. Gradual approach in future increases augurs well for emerging markets," India's Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said in a tweet, a day after the US Fed hiked lending rates for the third time since the 2008 global financial crisis, with the American job market strengthening and the control of inflation rising toward its target. The US Fed on Wednesday raised its key interest rate by 25 basis points (bps), making its third rate hike since the financial crisis and the second time in three months. In December 2016, the US Fed increased its benchmark rate by 25 bps in the first rate hike in 2016 and just the second in a decade. The first was in December 2015. "In view of realised and expected labour market conditions and inflation, the central bank decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 0.75%-1.0%," the US Fed's policy-making committee said in a statement released after its two-day meeting in Washington. The committee did not indicate any plans to accelerate the pace of monetary tightening. Further rate increases would only be "gradual", it said. Indian equity markets reacted positively and the key indices opened higher on Thursday.  
 
Commenting on the development, State Bank of India's Chief Economic Adviser Soumya Kanti Ghosh said its impact on India "will be muted partly because the results of UP elections have altered the view of country risk for India beyond 2019."  "Though the currency can appreciate in the short term, rupee is expected to settle at Rs 66.5-67.5 per dollar at the end of 2017. However, this view is subjected to position taken by other central banks in response to the US Fed rate hike."  "The fallout of present rate hike is already divergent with Bank of Japan maintaining a status quo and Peoples Bank of China indicating a tightening stance," Ghosh said in a report.  Based on the analysis, currency markets are expected to be stable and foreign institutional investors are not likely to either flood the Indian market with investments or withdraw in a hurry.
 
India's exports revived for the sixth straight month, as the country's merchandise shipments overseas reported a double-digit growth during February, official data showed on Wednesday. According to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the exports grew by 17.48% to $24.49 billion from $20.84 billion worth of merchandise shipped out during February 2016. However, the country's imports during the month under review increased by 21.76% to $33.38 billion from $27.41 billion worth of merchandise which were shipped out in during the corresponding month of last year. Consequently, the trade deficit during February reduced to $8.89 billion from $9.84 billion reported for the month before. On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the trade deficit stood at $6.57 billion during same month of 2016. "The growth in exports is positive for USA (5.61%), EU (1.68%) and Japan (10.87%) but China has exhibited negative growth of (-6.20%) for December 2016 over the corresponding period of previous year as per latest WTO statistics," said a Commerce Ministry release. Cumulatively for the April-February period, exports rose marginally by 2.52% in dollar terms at $245.4 billion, as against exports of $239.3 billion over the same period last year. "Non-petroleum and non-Gems and Jewellery exports in February 2017 were valued at $18.01 billion against $14.99 billion in February 2016, an increase of 20.15%," a statement here said. With the Indian economy doing well, the stock markets are expected to be bullish.
 
Macro-economic factors are gaining importance in our stock markets and hence fund managers of mutual funds and foreign institutional investors are likely to be the decision makers on large scale investments.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
 
The closing values of the major Asian indices are given in the table below:
 

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