Greetings! Let me first thank over 500+ Moneylifers who made our 10th Anniversary Celebrations memorable. Your sustained applause and standing ovation to Dr Prakash and Dr Mandakini Amte clearly showed how touched and inspired we were with this amazing couple. Many of you made it a point to tell us how happy you were with our choice of speakers, to inspire us and guide us into the next decade of our activities.
For those of you who missed, Drs Prakash and Mandakini Amte's talk "An Odyssey of Community Service - A Personal Reflection" – here is a video of the proceedings.
You can also read more about our programme and their talks here
Allow me to share with you the presentation I made that day on our 10 year journey. You can also watch it on our YouTube Channel.
A Decade of Moneylife Foundation
Let me begin by thanking all of you of the extremely valued donations to keep Moneylife Foundation (MLF), strong, independent and unbiased. This is key to an organization whose advocacy and grievance redress efforts invariably rile policy makers, regulators and recalcitrant companies.
The past 10 years have had many highs, a few lows, plenty of learning and the realization that we have a long way to go before we are able to reach a meaningful number of individuals. Even though our membership has gone past 1,19,000 – it is still a drop in the ocean.
Our biggest strength over the decade has been the support of amazingly selfless individuals, who have contributed valuable time and expertise to help people. They have been our speakers and all the domain expert-activists who offer guidance and counseling at our Free Daily Clinics and our Free Helplines.
Helplines & Daily Clinics
As you know our free Credit Helpline and Legal Helpline, with a panel of experts answers your queries on a regular basis.
To date, our Legal Helpline has handled 2,164 queries since inception, thanks to the generous help and guidance by senior activists. Every Monday, Mumbai-based "Free Press Journal" is publishing a column "Your Housing Problems & Solutions" based on queries answered by our Experts at the LRC. So far, we have provided answers to more than 327 queries from readers of the newspaper.
Our FREE Credit Helpline has answered over 3,916 cases. Spread the word, so that those with a low score can get help from us. Remember, you can benefit from our work from all over the globe through our videos and helplines (Credit Helpline and Legal Helpline).
Since 2016, our Daily Clinics with a series of experts have answered the need of face-to-face meetings to provide specific guidance and hand-holding. Each day of the week is earmarked for a particular issue. We are hugely indebted to our experts who have helped us, week after week over the past four years.
If you would like to consult any of our experts for either housing/property related matters, RTI, consumer issues, insurance, banking or credit related issues, please call our landline (022) 4920 5000 to check for the availability of the expert and book an appointment for a convenient date.
Our RTI Centre, backed by the Thakur Foundation, set up by the world famous Ranbaxy whistleblower, Mr Dinesh Thakur has conducted over 68 seminars in and around Mumbai as well as Pune for various organisations including colleges and municipal corporations. Retired CIC Shailesh Gandhi has led this effort with generous support of India's best-known RTI activists Vinita Deshmukh, Vijay Kumbhar, Anil Galgali, Bhaskar Prabhu, to name a few.
We will soon launch the 'RTI Advice' app, which will allow users across India put across questions on RTI to our experts either in text or video format. The app will be available on both Android and iOS app stores.
A highpoint of the RTI Centre's activities are the Annual RTI lecture. We have had two inspiring talks - the first in March 2018 by Justice AP Shah who spoke about RTI, accountability, freedom of speech. The second, in September 2019 by Justice Santosh Hegde who spoke about issues of today - good governance, citizen's rights and Raj dharma.
In February 2019, our detailed study on Reverse Mortgage in India was released. It shows why this important source of revenue for senior citizens has not worked. This year we are doing a detailed report on the Real Estate Regulation Act. All our studies are different, because they are from the consumer perspective, with the objective of getting policy makers to understand what ordinary citizens want.
One of our biggest campaigns in recent years, was against exorbitant charges extorted by banks. We ran an online petition, took up the issue with the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Finance members and even organised a tweet morcha. A few of our demands were met, but a lot more needs to be done.
We also filed a public interest litigation, in the Supreme Court over bank's refusing to transmit reduction in interest rates to existing borrowers. As some of you would already know, RBI was asked by the SC to respond to us. Things changed slowly, but we are happy to say that banks are now forced to link their interest rates to an external benchmark.
In September 2004, Moneylife Foundation received the 10th MR Pai Memorial Award instituted in memory of MR Pai, a well-known crusader for consumers rights, especially in banking and telecom, by PMC Bank. The selection of the awardees is done by the All India Bank Depositors' Association (AIBDA) and Forum of Free Enterprise (FFE).
Our 3 member jury comprises R Balakrishnan, who has wide corporate experience across credit rating, fund management, research and investment analysis; Prof J P Singh, who has taught at IIM Ahmedabad and our Deputy Editor Yogesh Sapkale. You can also send nominations to [email protected] The evaluation began in January 2020 and the first award will be handed out in 2021.
Since we began our foray into Facebook live streaming and video recording our sessions for the benefit of our distant members who perhaps cannot attend all of our events, our subscribers and beneficiaries on YouTube have grown exponentially.
Our Channel, Moneylife TV has reached over 34.43 lakh views with over 36,547 active subscribers. You can watch our videos from almost any part of the globe and enrich yourself. If you do not want to miss out on any of our videos then do subscribe to the Channel here.
Over the decade, our members have also increased exponentially. So if you are not a member of Moneylife Foundation yet, join 1,19,000+ others so that you receive updates to our events, their coverage as well as access to our extremely valuable Credit and Legal Helplines absolutely free. To join now, click here
Thank you for your support over these years and look forward to your good wishes always.
Founder-Trustee, Moneylife Foundation
Trustees: TS Krishnamurthy, Dr KC Chakrabarty, Walter Vieira, Sucheta Dalal, Debashis Basu and Dr Anupam Saraph.
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.