"The increase in equity AUM could be attributed to net inflow of funds from new as well as existing investors and also as a result of mark-to-market gains. Thus, it cannot be conclusively said that there has been a shift of investors from debt funds to equity funds," Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The country's 45 fund houses together have an average assets under management (AUM) of Rs 12.02 lakh crore at February-end this year as against Rs 8.25 lakh crore as on March 31, 2014, registering a gain of 45.69 per cent.

In the equity schemes, there have been a net inflows of Rs 64,000 crore during the current financial year 2014-15 (April-February) as compared to an outflow of Rs 6,000 crore during the preceding fiscal.

The sharp surge in the mutual fund industry asset base is mainly on account of strong participation of retail investors and inflow in equity schemes.

Besides, the debt category witnessed an inflow of Rs 1.43 lakh crore during the period under review as compared to an inflow of Rs 63,000 crore during the entire 2013-14.

This strong inflow has helped in increasing mutual fund equity assets base to Rs 3.53 lakh crore in February from Rs 1.95 lakh crore a year ago.

Further, the total number of equity folios rose to 4.20 crore from 4.05 crore at the end of past financial year, driven by addition in equity fund folios. The equity category folios climbed to 3.14 crore investors from 2.94 crore.

Folios are numbers designated to individual investor accounts, though one investor can have multiple folios.

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