Sanjay Nirupam, Member of Parliament, on Saturday inaugurated the Moneylife Knowledge Centre—a seminar-counselling-and-free reading room— set up by the Moneylife Foundation at Dadar in Mumbai, on Saturday.
Introducing the Congress MP from Mumbai, Moneylife Foundation’s Founder-Trustee Sucheta Dalal said, “Mr Nirupam is among those politicians who empathise with the need for financial literacy initiatives and has always made an effort to understand issues and take them up in Parliament. He has been especially concerned about the lack of understanding among borrowers of concepts such as floating interest rates. With teaser loans being offered by the biggest banks, these issues will come up again. At that time, investors and consumers will need a valuable voice like Mr Nirupam in the Lok Sabha.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Nirupam said, “I congratulate the Moneylife team for taking this wonderful initiative. I am happy that the Moneylife Knowledge Centre is being launched on my birthday. I would like to give my best wishes to Moneylife Foundation’s Knowledge Centre.
Talking about the need for financial literacy among the masses, Mr Nirupam said, “India’s middle-class population is set to reach nearly 80 crore. The entire world is eying to capture this huge market, which has highlighted the need to teach economics to the population, especially the middle-class. There is a deluge of schemes in the market that lure investors into buying them. That is why it is important that the masses are educated about various financial and economic aspects.”
Earlier, Debashis Basu, Founder-Trustee of Moneylife Foundation, said, "The need for Moneylife Foundation and the Moneylife Knowledge Centre arises from the stark reality that the ordinary person with money to spare is staying away from capital markets and is also wary about mutual funds. This is evident from very poor subscriptions to Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and also mutual funds, which is in sharp contrast to the vaulting stock indices, frequent public issues of equity and extensive media coverage of investments. There is also very poor knowledge about basic financial products such as credit and debt cards, insurance, mortgage or housing loans etc, and the precautions required while using electronic transaction systems.”
The Moneylife Knowledge Centre will supplement the efforts of regulators and providers of financial services at spreading financial literacy and redressing grievances. The Centre would aim at creating deeper interest in financial markets, increase financial literacy and protect investors and consumers through information, counselling and grievance redressal.
The Moneylife Knowledge Centre is stocked with a range of books, magazines and financial literature—starting from the basic comic books produced by the Reserve Bank of India (and contributed to ML Foundation)—to reference books for students and market experts. There is also a range of corporate biographies and books on business, economics and finance. Members of the public can access the reading room free of charge.
Moneylife Foundation is registered as a not-for-profit trust and intends to engage in spreading financial literacy through workshops, round-table meetings and awareness campaigns; advocacy to crystallise policy and bring about regulatory changes to protect investor rights and grievance redressal, counselling and research. The Foundation is offering free inaugural membership.
While the initial focus of the Moneylife Foundation will be on Mumbai, it has plans to extend its reach to other cities where investors are deprived of opportunities to access unbiased information about financial products and are unaware of the cares to be exercised while borrowing or investing.
Moneylife Foundation is also looking for experts who are willing to volunteer their time (for a small honorarium) to conduct workshops and to translate this effort into regional languages.