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Sebi circular on procedural guidelines for proxy advisors

Author: Finapolis Network/Wednesday, August 5, 2020/Categories: Exclusive

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Sebi circular on procedural guidelines for proxy advisors

Mumbai: The market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has issued a circular with a set of procedural guidelines for proxy advisory firms, which advise shareholders on corporate governance-related issues and give recommendations regarding voting on resolutions. The new guidelines will come into effect from September 1, 2020. As mentioned in the circular, proxy advisors shall formulate the voting recommendation policies and disclose the updated voting recommendation policies to its clients.

Sebi in the circular said: “Proxy advisors shall ensure that the policies should be reviewed at least once annually. The voting recommendation policies shall also disclose the circumstances when not to provide a voting recommendation.”

Proxy advisory firms will also have to disclose the methodologies and processes followed in the development of their research and corresponding recommendations to its clients, as per the guidelines. The advisors shall alert their clients within 24 hours of receipt of information about any factual errors or material revisions to the report. As per the Sebi circular, it’s mandatory for the proxy advisors to share their report with their clients and the company at the same time.

“This sharing policy should be disclosed by proxy advisors on their website. The timeline to receive comments from the company may be defined by proxy advisors and all comments/clarifications received from the company, within the timeline, shall be included as an addendum to the report,” said Sebi.

If the company has a different viewpoint on the recommendations stated in the report of the proxy advisors, then the advisors, after taking into account the said viewpoint, may either revise the recommendation in the addendum report or issue an addendum to the report with its remarks, as considered appropriate.

Among other requirements, the circular said: “Proxy advisors shall disclose conflict of interest on every specific document where they are giving their advice. Further, the disclosures should especially address the possible areas of potential conflict and the safeguards that have been put in place to mitigate possible conflicts of interest.”

NITI Aayog seeks Dak Bank

New Delhi: With an objective of spreading financial inclusion across India, the NITI Aayog has suggested the Centre to set up a Dak Bank (postal bank). It further elaborated that Dak Bank can be created by merging the regional rural banks. The think tank has submitted its list of recommendations to the central government.

NITI Aayog in its presentation to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Union Finance Ministry, has suggested that over 1.5 lakh post offices in India should be made outlets for the proposed Dak Bank. Further, it also suggested easier norms for granting bank licenses.

A senior official said that as part of its major recommendations, NITI Aayog has suggested privatisation of three banks, Punjab & Sind Bank, UCO Bank and the Bank of Maharashtra. The suggestion comes at a time when a new disinvestment policy is in the works and the government is already considering bringing the banking and insurance sector under its ambit. The likelihood of the government going for privatisation of public sector banks has also drawn criticism and protests for bank workers’ unions.

In the banking space, with the latest merger of public-sector banks (PSBs) coming into effect in April 2020. India currently has 12 public-sector banks, down from 27 in 2017.

During the announcement of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ economic package in May, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the Centre will come up with a new Public-sector Enterprise Policy, and open up all the sectors to the private sector.

GST collection dips 14% to Rs 87,422 cr in July

New Delhi: The Covid-induced shrinking of economic activity for the past few months continued to have its impact on government’s tax collections with revenue under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) falling far below the psychological level of Rs 1 lakh crore to Rs 87,422 crore in July.

The July collections, which is 84 per cent of last year’s numbers, is however, a recovery from the months of April and May when Covid-19-induced lockdowns and severe disruptions in economic activities resulting in GST collections nosediving to all time low levels.

The GST collections for the month of April was Rs 32,294 crore, which was mere 28 per cent of the revenue collected during the same month last year and the GST collections for the month of May was Rs 62,009 crore which was 62 per cent of the revenue collected during the same month last year. Only in June, GST collections recovered to touch Rs 90,917 crore.

“The revenues for the last month (June) were higher than the current month. However, it is important to note that during the previous month, a large number of taxpayers also paid taxes pertaining to February, March and April 2020 on account of the relief provided due to Covid-19. It may also be noted that the taxpayers with turnover less than Rs5 crore continue to enjoy relaxation in filing of returns till September 2020,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

Out of the total GST collection of Rs 87,422 crore for July, CGST was Rs 16,147 crore, SGST was Rs 21,418 crore, the official statement said.

IGST collections stood at Rs 42,592 crore (including Rs 20,324 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess collected was Rs 7,265 crore (including Rs 807crore collected on import of goods).

The government has settled Rs 23,320 crore to CGST and Rs 18,838 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement.

The total revenue earned by central government and the state governments after regular settlement in the month of July, 2020 is Rs 39,467 crore for CGST and Rs 40,256 crore for the SGST.

During July, the revenues from import of goods were 84 per cent and the revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) were 96 per cent of the revenues from these sources during the same month last year.

The revenues during the financial year has been impacted due to COVID-19, firstly due to the economic impact of the pandemic and secondly due to the relaxations given by the Government in filing of returns and payment of taxes due to the pandemic. However, figures of past four months show recovery in GST revenues.

Among the states, July collections have declined most in Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal. Only states of Rajasthan, Nagaland, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have shown growth of GST revenue or have maintained same levels as last year in July.

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