Is RBI's Portal for Unclaimed Funds Working; Looking For Feedback on Bank Charges & Transmission Travails
Greetings! We have several interesting initiatives lined up this month. One that I am personally looking forward to with a lot of interest is Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for the lay person, by Yazdi Tantra. All of us who are not technical people are confused and intrigued at how AI is expected to improve our lives and how to use it effectively. Do spread the word on this session because it is going to be an important part of our existence (more details below and here).
This centralised portal is just one part of what we are fighting for. But we need your help to find out how well it is working. Remember, it is you and perhaps, your deceased loved ones who have contributed to the humongous corpus of over Rs35,000 crore that is now going to be searchable and open for claims.
Two New Studies: Bank Charges and Transmission Travails
Another issue that has not escaped the notice of discerning depositors is that banks are continuing to rip-off customers with a series of transaction costs and charges. Unlike in the past, when these charges were similar – there is now a wide variation, even for something as simple as a debit card. On one hand, you have banks like IDFC First who have decided to waive charges for 25 services (for those who maintain an average minimum balance of Rs10,000) and at the other extreme, even tiny new banks are charging as much as Rs500 for a debit card that used to be free.
Well, it is time to take a closer look at these charges with the help of two well-known academic institutions. We will share details shortly, but in the meanwhile please do send us your thoughts and which bank charges are reasonable and those that you consider excessive.
We would also like your feedback on a second study. We are looking closely at challenges and difficulties that legal heirs and beneficiaries while claiming financial assets in the form of bank accounts, fixed deposits, credit cards, securities etc. We have repeatedly said that the RBI needs to announce standard operating procedures (SOPs) in all these areas.
We hope that the RBI will act on the Kanungo Committee's recommendations which we hope will fix many sticky issues relating to bank services. You may recall that the deadline for submitting public feedback was July, 2023. While we wait for action, let's prepare a status report on the current state of affairs. If you have any feedback, thoughts or suggestions that would help with our study, please do share them over email to [email protected]
Financial Literacy Through the Artwork of RK Laxman
Earlier this month, we had launched a unique financial literacy campaign entitled 'Brushstrokes of Wealth' along with Laxman Legacy, the charitable trust that carries forward the legacy of the legendary cartoonist RK Laxman. This campaign made use of some of RK Laxman's cartoons to impart valuable financial lessons for the common man and woman. If you missed the campaign, you can still check out the cartoons and the accompanying captions on twitter here - https://twitter.com/moneylifef/status/ 1686701033022521344?s=46&t=84wbUlNH7RyjKjPhNojSVw
A short video compiling all the cartoons and the captions will also be published on our YouTube channel. We hope you all enjoyed the daily cartoons and the opportunity to learn valuable lessons on financial literacy through the captions. Do support our work by spreading the word among your friends and family members – remember, you are helping them to be safe and smart with their money.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Thoughts for the Layman
Wednesday, 6 September 2023; 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Join us for an interesting webinar with Yazdi Tantra, computer consultant, trainer and tech guru, as he explains in layman terms how AI tools can improve your productivity and enhance your workflow.
As you all know, Mr Shirish Shanbhag, provides counseling and guidance on all housing society and property related matters, through one-on-one sessions and also on our onlineLegal Helpline. For the past few months, Moneylife has also published weekly columns that showcase a few select problems from our readers and members, along with the comprehensive and yet concise solutions provided by Mr Shanbhag.
If you are facing a problem within your housing society with respect to parking, maintenance, leakage or need guidance on redevelopment, deemed conveyance or any such matters, do make the time to read the weekly column. But do note, that the solutions provided are based on the facts that a user provides and the knowledge you gain should never be taken for legal advice.
You may find a solution to your problem, or you can post your query on our Helpline where it would be answered by Mr Shanbhag. Here are some that may be of interest,
And yet, it is heartbreaking to come across people falling for template frauds and mis-selling of insurance schemes and toxic investments. Please make it a point to help spread the word about our activities, so that your friends and families also benefit from what we do and are spared from losses. Encourage them to become members – as you know, all the knowledge and help is absolutely Free.
It started as an exercise to do counseling and workshops online during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, but has now become part of our regular routine. For those who have not been keeping up, we have been hosting webinars online on a wide range of topics from right to information, health, financial literacy, broker defaults and investor grievance mechanisms, redevelopment and conveyance, wills and nominations, and more. Video recordings of all our webinars are available on our YouTube channel. Do subscribe, so that you get notified when a new video is available.
If you would like to be notified when our next webinar is scheduled, please become a member of Moneylife Foundation so that you are automatically added to our mailing lists. Do encourage others to join and take advantage as well!
This month we had the pleasure to host Advocate Ruju Thakker, Bombay High Court, Advocate Trivankumar Karnani, founder of Mumbai North Central District Forum (MNCDF) and Anil Galgali, journalist and civic activist, for an important webinar on civic issues such as potholes and illegal hoardings that plague our cities. The webinar was well attended by members of Moneylife Foundation as well as activists who regularly fight for such causes. If you missed the opportunity to watch this webinar live, you can still watch a video recording on our YouTube channel here
Our Counseling Sessions
It's been a few months since we restarted our in-person one-to-one counseling sessions, and we are glad to report that many of you have taken advantage of this FREE service. Our experts, Mr Shirish Shanbhag for housing society and property related matters, and Mr Abhay Datar for banking, insurance, medi-claim and consumer related issues, have continued to provide workable solutions to your grievances and have helped many in these past few months to resolve issues.
They spend their valuable time to provide guidance through counseling sessions and also through our online helplines, and their efforts continue to help many of those who have sought help. If you have a specific concern or issue related to co-operative housing societies, insurance, mediclaim or consumer related complaints, do call our office - (022) 2444 1058 or (022) 2444 1059 for an appointment if you are in Mumbai. Otherwise use our Free Helplines for guidance.
Consumer Awareness & Financial Literacy
As members of Moneylife Foundation, you have access to various content in the form webinars, recorded videos and articles on matters of consumer awareness and financial literacy that we have published on our websites and YouTube channels. All of our published content is available for free, with no restrictions whatsoever. If you've not taken the time to educate yourself, please do so and spread the word about our work to your friends, colleagues and family so that many others can benefit.
As consumers you need to be vigilant when shopping or transacting online. Deals that seem too good to be true, are most likely scams designed to lure unsuspecting consumers. Thousands of people become victims of holiday scams every year. Scammers can rob you of hard-earned money, personal information, and at the very least, a festive mood. It is important you remain vigilant and aware in an increasingly online world that becomes unsafe for consumers in new ways everyday. Moneylife Foundation has actively made efforts on several fronts in this regard.
We continue to educate our members on the latest frauds, scams and attractive yet fraudulent schemes through series of articles on Moneylife. Our Youtube Channel has a vast repository of videos from past seminars and workshops, as well as short videos on topics of financial literacy which are a great resource to those willing to spend some time learning. Our online helplines are always open for counselling from a panel of experts on issues on banking, insurance, housing and property related matters, consumer and other issues.
Do take the time to read our articles, watch the videos and also share them with others, so that many more can take advantage of the knowledge and remain safe. Please also do encourage your friends, family members and colleagues to become members of Moneylife Foundation.
Take extra precaution when using banking apps, websites or e-commerce sites while shopping, as they have been instances of fake apps and fraudulent websitesmasquerading as authorised ones. Read this article to know what you should do when you are cheated while shopping online and follow this how-to guide when you want to file a consumer complaint.
Do subscribe to our YouTube Channel for regular updates and notifications when a new video is released, and also encourage your friends and family to do so as well. After all, the more number of people that watch and learn from these short videos, the more financially literate we can all be.
We are also happy to send them to you in the language of your choice on WhatsApp and Telegram if you share your numbers at Moneylife Foundation's WhatsApp number (+91 7045156415). This is also a good opportunity for you to join our WhatsApp broadcast list as well as our telegram channel. Join to stay in the loop about Moneylife Foundation's activities.
Do send us your feedback on these and if you have benefitted from our work, please do not forget to pass it forward by introducing our videos, free helplines and membership benefit to others. Do register for a free membership and also encourage your friends and family to join as well.
File your RTI Applications with Expert Guidance
RTI Advice App पर विस्तृत गाइड से विशिष्ट उपयोग के मामलों के लिए आरटीआई आवेदन दाखिल करने का तरीका जानें। हिंदी और मराठी भाषाओं में उपलब्ध।
Many of you are already aware of our 'RTI Advice' app, which was launched for both android and iOS devices a year ago. The app helps you get expert advice on your RTI queries in any language or format (text, audio or video) and access to over 900 queries that are already asked and answered by our 14 highly regarded RTI experts.
Don't worry about how to navigate the app-we now have user guides for you in English, Hindi and Marathi! Download the app or access the guides from our website here.
Also, Moneylife Foundation is now on Telegram and Instagram, so do follow us on these channels to stay updated on our activities and events.
Founder-Trustee, Moneylife Foundation
Trustees: TS Krishnamurthy, Walter Vieira, Sucheta Dalal, Debashis Basu.
Moneylife Foundation is registered with the Charity Commissioner of Mumbai, is an Affiliate member of OECD's International Network on Financial Education, is a Supporter Member of Consumers International, Development Partner of Advocates for International Development (A4ID), and is a winner of the 10th MR Pai Memorial Award.
Donations are eligible for tax benefits under Sec 80G of the Income Tax 1961 (50% tax exemption) and MLF is registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.