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The Code empowers the IBBI to specify, by regulations, the categories of professionals or persons possessing such qualifications and experience in the field of finance, law, management, insolvency or such other field, as it deems fit, for registration as IPs. The Code further vests with the IBBI, the power to hold examinations and to specify the minimum curriculum for examination of the IPs for their enrolment. In exercise of its powers, the IBBI framed Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Professionals) Regulations, 2016 (hereinafter, “IP Regulations”) to provide, inter alia, for eligibility for registration as an IP, keeping in view the standards of competence, expertise, integrity and professionalism required for the proper functioning of the insolvency regime. Regulation 4 of the IP Regulations provides for the eligibility of an individual to be registered an IP.

To meet the immediate need in 2016, the IBBI allowed registration of chartered accountants, company secretaries, cost accountants, and advocates in practice for 15 years as IPs. The window for such registration was open for one month (till December 31, 2016) and such registrations had a validity of six months. The IP Regulations were amended effective from January 1, 2017 to allow registration of chartered accountants, company secretaries, cost accountants and advocates with 10 years of post-membership experience (practice or employment) or graduates with 15 years of post- qualification managerial experience as IPs on passing the Limited Insolvency Examination.

Regulation 5 of the IP Regulations was amended on April 1, 2018 to provide that an individual shall also be eligible for registration if he has successfully completed Graduate Insolvency Programme as may be approved by the IBBI and if he satisfies other specified criteria. Taking the above into consideration, the IBBI envisaged commencing a Graduate Insolvency Programme (hereinafter, “GIP”), with the aim of producing a cadre of IPs of highest quality and standards.

The IBBI, by an Office Order dated May 15, 2018 (Annexure 1), constituted this Working Group (hereinafter, “WG”) to recommend the structure, content, and delivery mechanism for the GIP under the provisions of IP Regulations. The composition of the WG is provided in the said Office Order

Preparatory work for the WG was done by a sub- committee. This sub-committee comprising of Dr. M.S. Sahoo, Chariperson, IBBI, Dr. Sameer Sharma, Director General, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, and Sumant Batra, President, SIPI, put together some preliminary ideas for consideration of the WG. Since no other country in the world has such kind of programme, the sub-committee considered GIP to be a model for the world that other countries may like to replicate. Sub- committee laid down the ground, consolidated ideas and defined agenda for the working of WG. The WG had three meetings over the period from June, 2018 to October, 2018. The WG met with a team from the World Bank Group to understand the insolvency programme outside India, to learn from the experiences of other countries for development of the insolvency profession in India in general and developing the skill of the profession in particular through a professional programme like GIP. It also had an interactive session with the stakeholders and other eminent thought leaders for advice, inputs, and guidance for conceptualising the programme. The WG interacted with the special invitees and sought their views in the matters under consideration. Some of the special invitees were representatives from from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Department of Legal Affairs, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, IPAs, leading insolvency experts, IPs, etc. They made a closer scrutiny of the inputs and ideas related to the structure, content and delivery mechanism for the GIP.

The WG noted that the GIP is not aimed at isolating the existing about 1800 IPs who are already providing insolvency services. The new professionals produced by the GIP would cater to the vacuum that is likely to be created owing to the increased market demand for quality IPs in the coming years, especially once the provisions relating to individual insolvency and bankruptcy are also rolled out in phases. There may be other incidental opportunities as well, for the new professionals, in the related and ancillary fields and companies would be in a position to accommodate professionally qualified persons coming successfully after completing the GIP.

Detailed deliberations and discussions with key stakeholders and experts of the WG are continuing. The recommendations of the WG are expected soon.

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