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SEBI officials get ready for Chidambaram's visit — `Black Monday' to top agenda

Veena Venugopal

Mumbai , May 31

FIRST floor occupants of Mittal Court B Wing at Nariman Point are a busy lot this week, preparing for the new Finance Minister's visit on Thursday. Top on Mr Chidambaram's agenda in Mumbai is the meeting with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on June 3.

SEBI sources said that data, status reports and presentations are being prepared across all areas of the regulator's domain.

"Chairman, whole time members and executive directors are all busy with the impending visit of the FM. No new appointments are being given out for this week and preparations on a pretty extensive scale are currently on.

The Chairman has had discussions with various departments and committees and briefed them on what they should be ready with," said a source.

This will also be the second official meeting between the Finance Minister and Mr G.N. Bajpai, Chairman, SEBI.

"The first meeting that I had with Mr Chidambaram in New Delhi was an introductory one and it was not a discussion of issues," said Mr Bajpai.

Even though Mr Bajpai refused to confirm the exact agenda of the meeting this week, it is clear that trading details of `Black Monday' would be discussed.

The meeting is also expected to detail out the UPA Government's plan to strengthen the regulator.

The Common Minimum Programme published by the new Government elucidates that the UPA Government was committed to the orderly development and functioning of capital markets that reflect the true fundamentals of the economy.

"SEBI will be further strengthened. Strictest action will be taken against market manipulators and those who try to deliberately engineer market panic," the programme states.

The Finance Minister is also expected to meet Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs). These meetings will seek to assure FIIs and other investors that the reform process would continue, a source said.

"Barring a few specific exceptions, the UPA government's reforms strategy would be one of continuation and maintaining the momentum that has been generated; and this would be a key message that the Finance Minister would put through to these investors," he said.

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