The government has finally set a timeline for the proposed integrated portal that will make getting unclaimed shares and dividends easier. Set to launch in February, 2024, the portal is set to cut down the presently tedious, lengthy process of receiving unclaimed dividends and shares from the investor education and protection fund (IEPF).
Under Indian laws, every company has to transfer the underlying shares and all unpaid dividends on it to the IEPF account within 30 days, if these dividends have stayed consequentially unclaimed for 7 years. Also, you will earn no interest on your dividends/debentures while they lie in this IEPF account.
Says Mr. Ankit Garg, Founder Garg Law Chambers, “the investor community has been waiting in hope for the earliest launch of the portal so that they can claim their old unclaimed shares and dividends from the IEPF with minimum hassle as currently the process is pretty cumbersome and susceptible to long delays. Many people who go to the government’s website do not find complete details of their shares and outstanding dividends thereby ending up losing out on substantial investments and money”.
Rising balances, growing compliances
As per reports, the portal requires 20+ documents to verify the claimant’s application. Consequently, the average processing time has been pushed to over 150 days, as against a target of 60 days. The delay also means that balances in the IEPF fund are rising year-on year. Here are some documents you might need, in case you plan to claim your dividends/shares back:
Few relaxations, but challenges remain
Presently, the documents are manually verified at multiple levels to assess the veracity of claims. Significant human involvement in the process not only notches up processing time, but also considerably brings down the approval rate. According to data, transfer of unclaimed shares and dividends find their way back to the rightful claimants less than 50% of times.
Much like this proposed portal, the government has endeavored to make the application and approval process more seamless. Some of these measures include:
The new portal will provide a dashboard of information to investors, along with the facility of submitting claim forms and getting verified online.
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