SECTION 54. ISSUE OF SWEAT EQUITY SHARES
[Effective from 1st April, 2014]
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 53, a company may issue sweat equity shares of a class of shares already issued, if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:—
(a) the issue is authorised by a special resolution passed by the company;
(b) the resolution specifies the number of shares, the current market price, consideration, if any, and the class or classes of directors or employees to whom such equity shares are to be issued;
In case of a Specified IFSC private company Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) shall not apply vide Notification no. G.S.R. 9(E).dated 04th January, 2017.
In case of a Specified IFSC public company Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) shall not apply vide Notification no. G.S.R. 08(E).dated 04th January, 2017.
(d) where the equity shares of the company are listed on a recognised stock exchange, the sweat equity shares are issued in accordance with the regulations made by the Securities and Exchange Board in this behalf and if they are not so listed, the sweat equity shares are issued in accordance with such rules as may be prescribed.
(2) The rights, limitations, restrictions and provisions as are for the time being applicable to equity shares shall be applicable to the sweat equity shares issued under this section and the holders of such shares shall rank pari passu with other equity shareholders.
Companies (Share Capital and Debentures) Rules, 2014
[Effective from 1st April, 2014]
Rule 8. Issue of sweat equity shares.- (1) A company other than a listed company, which is not required to comply with the Securities and Exchange Board of India Regulations on sweat equity, shall not issue sweat equity shares to its directors or employees at a discount or for consideration other than cash, for their providing know-how or making available rights in the nature of intellectual property rights or value additions, by whatever name called, unless the issue is authorised by a special resolution passed by the company in general meeting.
Explanation.- For the purposes of this rule-
(i) the expressions ‘‘Employee’’ means-
(a) a permanent employee of the company who has been working in India or outside India,  [***]; or
(b) a director of the company, whether a whole time director or not; or
(c) an employee or a director as defined in sub-clauses (a) or (b) above of a subsidiary, in India or outside India, or of a holding company of the company;
(ii) the expression ‘Value additions’ means actual or anticipated economic benefits derived or to be derived by the company from an expert or a professional for providing know-how or making available rights in the nature of intellectual property rights, by such person to whom sweat equity is being issued for which the consideration is not paid or included in the normal remuneration payable under the contract of employment, in the case of an employee.
(2) The explanatory statement to be annexed to the notice of the general meeting pursuant to section 102 shall contain the following particulars, namely:—
(a) the date of the Board meeting at which the proposal for issue of sweat equity shares was approved;
(b) the reasons or justification for the issue;
(c) the class of shares under which sweat equity shares are intended to be issued;
(d) the total number of shares to be issued as sweat equity;
(e) the class or classes of directors or employees to whom such equity shares are to be issued;
(f) the principal terms and conditions on which sweat equity shares are to be issued, including basis of valuation;
(g) the time period of association of such person with the company;
(h) the names of the directors or employees to whom the sweat equity shares will be issued and their relationship with the promoter or/and Key Managerial Personnel;
(i) the price at which the sweat equity shares are proposed to be issued;
(j) the consideration including consideration other than cash, if any to be received for the sweat equity;
(k) the ceiling on managerial remuneration, if any, be breached by issuance of such sweat equity and how it is proposed to be dealt with;
(l) a statement to the effect that the company shall conform to the applicable accounting standards; and
(m) diluted Earning Per Share pursuant to the issue of sweat equity shares, calculated in accordance with the applicable accounting standards.
(3) The special resolution authorising the issue of sweat equity shares shall be valid for making the allotment within a period of not more than twelve months from the date of passing of the special resolution.
(4) The company shall not issue sweat equity shares for more than fifteen percent of the existing paid up equity share capital in a year or shares of the issue value of rupees five crores, whichever is higher:
Provided that the issuance of sweat equity shares in the Company shall not exceed twenty five percent, of the paid up equity capital of the Company at any time.
[Provided further that a startup company, as defined in notification number [G.S.R. 127(E), dated the 19th February, 2019 issued by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade], Ministry of Commerce and Industry’ Government of India, may issue sweat equity shares not exceeding fifty percent of its paid up capital upto [ten] years from the date of its incorporation or registration.]
(5) The sweat equity shares issued to directors or employees shall be locked in/non transferable for a period of three years from the date of allotment and the fact that the share certificates are under lock-in and the period of expiry of lock in shall be stamped in bold or mentioned in any other prominent manner on the share certificate.
(6) The sweat equity shares to be issued shall be valued at a price determined by a registered valuer as the fair price giving justification for such valuation.
(7) The valuation of intellectual property rights or of know how or value additions for which sweat equity shares are to be issued, shall be carried out by a registered valuer, who shall provide a proper report addressed to the Board of directors with justification for such valuation.
(8) A copy of gist along with critical elements of the valuation report obtained under clause (6) and clause (7) shall be sent to the shareholders with the notice of the general meeting.
(9) Where sweat equity shares are issued for a non-cash consideration on the basis of a valuation report in respect thereof obtained from the registered valuer, such non-cash consideration shall be treated in the following manner in the books of account of the company—
(a) where the non-cash consideration takes the form of a depreciable or amortizable asset, it shall be carried to the balance sheet of the company in accordance with the accounting standards; or
(b) where clause (a) is not applicable, it shall be expensed as provided in the accounting standards.
(10) The amount of sweat equity shares issued shall be treated as part of managerial remuneration for the purposes of sections 197 and 198 of the Act, if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely.—
(a) the sweat equity shares are issued to any director or manager; and
(b) they are issued for consideration other than cash, which does not take the form of an asset which can be carried to the balance sheet of the company in accordance with the applicable accounting standards.
(11) In respect of sweat equity shares issued during an accounting period, the accounting value of sweat equity shares shall be treated as a form of compensation to the employee or the director in the financial statements of the company, if the sweat equity shares are not issued pursuant to acquisition of an asset.
(12) If the shares are issued pursuant to acquisition of an asset, the value of the asset, as determined by the valuation report, shall be carried in the balance sheet as per the Accounting Standards and such amount of the accounting value of the sweat equity shares that is in excess of the value of the asset acquired, as per the valuation report, shall be treated as a form of compensation to the employee or the director in the financial statements of the company.
Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-rule, it is hereby clarified that the Accounting value shall be the fair value of the sweat equity shares as determined by a registered valuer under sub-rule (6).
(13) The Board of Directors shall, inter alia, disclose in the Directors’ Report for the year in which such shares are issued, the following details of issue of sweat equity shares namely:—
(a) the class of director or employee to whom sweat equity shares were issued;
(b) the class of shares issued as Sweat Equity Shares;
(c) the number of sweat equity shares issued to the directors, key managerial personnel or other employees showing separately the number of such shares issued to them, if any, for consideration other than cash and the individual names of allottees holding one percent or more of the issued share capital;
(d) the reasons or justification for the issue;
(e) the principal terms and conditions for issue of sweat equity shares, including pricing formula;
(f) the total number of shares arising as a result of issue of sweat equity shares;
(g) the percentage of the sweat equity shares of the total post issued and paid up share capital;
(h) the consideration (including consideration other than cash) received or benefit accrued to the company from the issue of sweat equity shares;
(i) the diluted Earnings Per Share (EPS) pursuant to issuance of sweat equity shares.
(14)(a) The company shall maintain a Register of Sweat Equity Shares in Form No. SH.3 and shall forthwith enter therein the particulars of Sweat Equity Shares issued under section 54.
(b) The Register of Sweat Equity Shares shall be maintained at the registered office of the company or such other place as the Board may decide.
(c) The entries in the register shall be authenticated by the Company Secretary of the company or by any other person authorized by the Board for the purpose.
“Start Up India”
Notification No.G.S.R. 180(E) of Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) dated 17th Feb. 2016
The Government of India has announced ‘Startup India’ initiative for creating a conducive environment for startups in India. The various Ministries of the Government of India have initiated a number of activities for the purpose. To bring uniformity in the identified enterprises, an entity shall be considered as a ‘startup’-
- a) Up to five years from the date of its incorporation/registration,
- b) If its turnover for any of the financial years has not exceeded Rupees 25 crore, and
- c) It is working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialization of new products, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual property;
Provided that any such entity formed by splitting up or reconstruction of a business already in existence shall not be considered a ‘startup’;
Provided further that in order to obtain tax benefits a startup so identified under the above definition shall be required to obtain a certificate of an eligible business from the lnter-Ministerial Board of Certification consisting of:
- a) Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion,
- b) Representative of Department of Science and Technology, and
- c) Representative of Department of Biotechnology.
- An entity shall cease to be a startup on completion of five years from the date of its incorporation/registration or if its turnover for any previous year exceeds Rupees 25 crore.
- Entity means a private limited company (as defined in the Companies Act, 2013), or a registered partnership firm (registered under section 59 of the Partnership Act, 1932) or a limited liability partnership (under the Limited Liability Partnership Act,2002).
- Turnover is as defined under the Companies Act, 2013.
- An entity is considered to be working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialization of new products, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual property if it aims to develop and commercialize:
- A new product or service or process, or
- A significantly improved existing product or service or process, that will create or add value for customers or workflow.
Provided that the mere act of developing:
- products or services or processes which do not have potential for commercialization, or
- undifferentiated products or services or processes, or
- products or services or processes with no or limited incremental value for customers or workflow
would not be covered under this definition.
- The process of recognition as a ‘startup’ shall be through mobile app/portal of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. Startups will be required to submit a simple application with any of following documents:
- a) a recommendation (with regard to innovative nature of business), in a format specified by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, from any Incubator established in a postgraduate college in India; or
- b) a letter of support by any incubator which is funded (in relation to the project) from Government of India or any State Government as part of any specified scheme to promote innovation; or
- c) a recommendation (with regard to innovative nature of business), in a format specified by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, from any Incubator recognized by Government of India; or
- d) a letter of funding of not less than 20 per cent in equity by any Incubation Fund,/Angel Fund/Private Equity Fund/Accelerator/Angel Network duly registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India that endorses innovative nature of the business. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion may include any such firnd in a negative list for such reasons as it may deem fit; or
- e) a letter of funding by Government of India or any State Government as part of any specified scheme to promote innovation; or
- f) a patent filed and published in the Journal by the Indian Patent Office in areas affiliated with the nature of business being promoted.
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion may, until such mobile app/portal is launched make alternative arrangement of recognizing a ‘startup’. Once such application with relevant document is uploaded a real-time recognition number will be issued to the startup. If on subsequent verification, such recognition is found to be obtained without uploading the document or uploading any other document or a forged document, the concerned applicant shall be liable to a fine which shall be fifty per cent of paid up capital of the startup but shall not be less than Rupees 25,000.
 Inserted by the Companies (Share Capital and Debentures) Third Amendment Rules, 2016 vide Notification no. F. No. 01/04/2013 CL-V(part- II) dated 19th July 2016.
 Omitted by the Companies (Amendment) Act 2017 vide Notification No. S.O. 1833(E) dated 7th May, 2018.Prior to omission it read as under:
“(c) not less than one year has, at the date of such issue, elapsed since the date on which the company had commenced business; and”
 Omitted words “for at least last one year” by the companies (share capital and Debentures) second Amendment Rures, 2018 vide Notification No. F. No. 01/04/2013- CL-V-Part -III dated 7th May, 2018.
 Substituted by the Companies (Share Capital and Debentures) Amendment Rules, 2020 vide Notification No. G.S.R. 372(E) dated 5th June, 2020.