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May 9, 2002 | 0730 IST
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Super-coordinator soon for financial sector

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee & P Vaidyanathan Iyer

The high-level committee on capital markets headed by the Reserve Bank of India Governor Bimal Jalan is set to assume the role of a super-coordinator for the capital markets, insurance and banking sectors.

Top finance ministry officials told Business Standard that the committee is an informal arrangement which meets regularly to thrash out policy issues covering the three sectors.

"With the markets becoming more sophisticated and irregularities cutting across sectors, there is a need to strengthen the committee by formalising it and giving it a broader mandate," said a senior official.

It is important to have a high level body which can read advance warning signals and review the financial sector periodically. With so many scams hitting the Indian markets, the need for an integrated approach has become imperative now. "Nobody is really looking at this aspect," said the official.

The committee, set up after the 1992 scam, comprises the RBI Governor, the Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority chairman, the economic affairs secretary and the joint secretary, capital markets division in the finance ministry. It meets every quarter.

Officials said, in its new avatar, the body is likely to be headed by the RBI governor. It would be empowered to obtain professional inputs and also keep a close watch on the large players which operate in more than one sector and check if they are prone to any systemic risks.

The formal change in the committee's structure would also obviate the need for a super regulator for which former Sebi chairman D R Mehta had made a strong pitch.

However, Jalan was of the opinion that India did not need a super-regulator at present. The North Block too is in agreement with the RBI on this issue.

The joint parliamentary committee probing the stock market scam has also taken the views of the regulators including the RBI and Sebi, and also that of the finance ministry if a super regulator would be effective in preventing irregularities.

Sources in the Joint Parliamentary Committee said that elaborate discussions have been held with a separate session convened to debate the need for a super regulator.

Finance ministry officials said the government would seriously consider the report of the JPC too.

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