Senior finance ministry officials will brief a parliamentary committee later this week on a Bill to ban ponzi schemes. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, which proposes to ban unregulated deposits and has a 10-year jail term provision, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July during Parliament’s Monsoon Session. The Bill was later referred to the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance on the ground that it requires thorough deliberations.
Officials of department of Financial Services will brief the panel on the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, according to a Lok Sabha bulletin. The Bill seeks to put in place a mechanism by which the depositors can be repaid without delay by attaching the assets of the defaulting establishments, as per its statement of objects and reasons.
Non-banking entities are allowed to raise deposits from the public under various laws enacted by the central as well as state governments. It prescribes monetary penalty and jail term, which could be extended up to 10 years, for duping gullible depositors.
The monetary penalty could be as high as Rs 50 crore. The government has proposed these stringent provisions in wake of several ponzi schemes where gullible investors, mostly poor people, were defrauded of amounts running into thousands of crores of rupees.
Generally, ponzi schemes are illegal money pooling activities wherein investors are lured with promises of high returns on investments in a short period. The Bill also proposes setting up of competent authorities by state governments to ensure repayment of deposits in the event of default by a deposit taking establishment.
Companies or institutions running unregulated schemes exploit existing regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings. The Bill is aimed at tackling the menace of illicit deposit taking activities in the country.