How can I protect myself against financial fraud?

Ministries are taking steps to clamp down on ponzi apps

By NRI Problems/H. P. Ranina

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Published: Tue 30 May 2023, 4:59 PM

Last updated: Tue 30 May 2023, 5:00 PM

Recently I have been subjected to a fraud by people offering investment schemes. Some of my friends in India have also had similar experiences. Can something be done to prevent gullible investors from being duped?

What you are saying is right because the Indian finance minister has recently cautioned investors against financial influencers and warned citizens that several apps which are offering financial schemes are ‘ponzi scams’. The Finance Ministry as well as the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology are making every effort to clamp down on these ponzi apps. The Reserve Bank of India has taken serious notice of frauds being committed on innocent investors. The Securities & Exchange Board of India has also taken steps to regulate social media influencers. Countries like Australia and the United Kingdom have taken measures to crack down on those who advertise financial products on social media. The Indian government has advised investors to be careful and not invest in ponzi schemes which offer unrealistically high returns on investments.

The bankruptcy law has been in force in India for the past several years. However, financial creditors are not able to recover their dues within the stipulated time. Are measures being taken to expedite the process?

During the financial year 2017-18, 54 per cent of the admitted claims were recovered by creditors including banks. This figure dropped during the Covid period when the courts were functioning intermittently but now realisations are on the rise. According to the data furnished by the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India, 38 per cent of the cases were withdrawn as the company which faced insolvency opted for settlement with the creditors. Therefore, the bankruptcy legislation has had the desired effect of creditors recovering a substantial part of their dues and promoters of companies settling claims to save their company from liquidation. According to the regulator, the entire ecosystem is being technologically upgraded. This is being done through an integrated platform which would improve the success of the insolvency process by minimising delays, higher participation of resolution applications and facilitation in effective decision making. As part of the e-courts mechanism, a virtual data room is being created for the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Artificial intelligence and predictive coding platforms are proposed to be used to cull out relevant case laws, which would shorten the period of litigation.

H.P. Ranina is a practising lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India. — KT file
H.P. Ranina is a practising lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India. — KT file

Many developed countries are concerned about the adverse fallout from platforms like ChatGPT. Are any steps being considered to ringfence such concerns?

The Indian government is taking the view that the regulatory framework should be set up based on consensus with other countries. The G7 countries are considering setting up a standardised regulatory framework, which will cover not only ChatGPT but other areas, including copyrights. Any law or regulation in India will be framed on the basis of the regulations to be made by other like-minded countries. The Indian government is also conscious of the fact that artificial intelligence platforms like ChatGPT have millions of users all over the world and they have a useful role to play. Well-known companies like Google and Microsoft are developing their own platforms, which combine the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of large language models. Information is drawn from the web to provide high quality responses. While acknowledging the usefulness of these artificial intelligence platforms, governments around the world are concerned in respect of the acceptance and use of these technologies which have the possibility to mislead people, spread false and fake news, violate copyright laws and reduce a large number of jobs in future. Hence, a regulatory framework will necessarily have to be globally uniform.

H. P. Ranina is a practising lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.

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