We Are Touched by Your Generous Support; Do Participate in Our Ongoing Efforts
We are deeply touched by your amazing response over the past week to our special 'donation match' campaign. Your support tells us that our work in on the right track and we need to keep up our effort of working towards a fair and equitable system for savers. Some of you may know, an anonymous donor generously offered to match all donations received by us in a 15-day period, with a cap of Rs2,000 per donor. The matching campaign is on for another week – and by doubling your contribution we hope to continue offering our helplines, our counselling and the work at our various advocacy initiatives and memorandums free of cost to members.
Study on Rental Housing in India
We have started work on another important project on an issue that you, or those close to you, would have encountered sometime in life. It is an exhaustive study on rental housing in India and how to make it work for home owners as well as those seeking to rent. This is a crying need for young Indians looking for career opportunities across India. The demand for rental property far exceeds supply – what is worse people prefer to keep homes locked up. We are looking at regulatory policies, and the checks and balances required to make the renting of property safe and viable for home owners as well as those who wish to rent. We are delighted to receive comments and inputs from several readers and members on issues faced by them, including caste and religious biases, issues with housing societies, responsibility for maintenance, upkeep and damages, getting tenants to vacate on time etc. If you have any inputs or suggestions that you would like to make, please do send us an email at [email protected]
Memorandum on Freezing of Accounts Due to KYC
As you might recall, we are collating information on freezing/suspension of bank accounts on account of KYC related issues or beneficial ownership interpretation. We are not against sensible rules for KYC, but unilaterally freezing a bank account on tax-abiding people for trivial matters often amounts to 'financial death'. It is our firm belief that accounts should not be frozen without a serious suspicion of criminal or money laundering activity. Innumerable people have been harassed during the Covid lockdown with mindless rules. You can read more about this here. If you have a bad experience to share on such issues above, please write a detailed email to us at [email protected], so that we may add to our representation to the RBI.
Sahara’s Credit Cooperative Societies
For those of you who have sent us details about your investment in the four Sahara Cooperative Societies, we have a small update. Sahara's Communications persons initially connected with us and promised to pay back every one of those who had posted their complaints on our Telegram group. They even paid back 19 folios of a few families (we do not know the basis of choosing those particular cases) but then reneged on their promise to pay back. We are now exploring the legal route, which was unfortunately delayed due to the promise to pay! We have nearly 900 complainants on our Telegram group. This number is fairly miniscule as compared to Sahara's fund raising, but it is curious that the once high-flying group is unable to pay even these investors. You can read more on this here.
'RTI Advice' App
On the transparency front, as many of you might already know, we had developed and launched a mobile app recently, known as the ‘RTI Advice’ app on Android and iOS platforms. This app has been designed to allow novice or veteran users of the Right to Information Act, direct access to expert advice on their RTI applications or any other query that they might have regarding the RTI Act. One of the biggest advantages of the app is the fact that it is completely language neutral, allowing a user to ask a question in any language, in video or text format and also attach documents for reference. At the moment we have 12 experts on board, who are activists, information commissioners and naturally veteran users of the Act, who readily answer any query posed to them. We firmly believe that the app is of vital importance to all users of the RTI Act, providing them with a database of queries and replies, and ultimately educating and empowering them to seek transparency from the government. Help us spread the word about this essential tool, and do download and use the app yourself, if you haven’t done so already.
As many of you are already aware Moneylife Foundation has been conducting webinars over the past few months on topics that concern us the most in these difficult times. For those who are unable to join on Zoom, our webinars are always live streamed through our YouTube and Facebook channels, so you can also watch us live. A video recording is also uploaded on our YouTube channel a few days after the session.
Please follow our newsletters and social media channels for some exciting discussions and events planned in the coming days, which may be announced at short notice. As always, we look forward to your active feedback on issues that you would like us to discuss, and we will do our best to make it happen. Please do write to us at [email protected]
Programmes in January
The Covid pandemic has made significant changes to our daily lives, forcing a large portion of the population to shift online for many of their regular activities. Many novice users such as senior citizens are now online for the first time and are unfortunately fresh victims for a host of fraudsters. In order to educate our members, we had organised an informative webinar with Advocate (Dr) Prashant Mali to explain How to Stay Safe from Online Phishing Scams. This session was filled to the brim with tips that every user should use be aware of in today's modern world and it is absolutely vital that you watch the video recording of this session, if you missed it live. You can also read about it here.
An informative session was organised with the State Information Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh, Rahul Singh, who spoke on the topic Technology & RTI: How One Can Enhance the Other. In his talk, Mr Singh spoke at length explaining how social media tools like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook can be used effectively to conduct appellate hearings for RTI applications. You can read more about this session here and also watch a video recording on our YouTube channel.
Finally, we organised a session with veteran RTI activist and transparency crusader, Subhash Chandra Agrawal, to learn How to File RTI Applications Effectively & Improve Accountability from Regulatory Bodies. This session was enhanced with numerous examples that Mr Agrawal shared from his experiences of filing RTI applications with the RBI and other regulatory bodies. As always you can watch a video recording of the session on our YouTube channel, if you missed catching it live.
Moneylife TV & Helplines
With the outbreak of Covid-19, our physical events and daily clinics for this month have been suspended for the safety and benefit of all those involved. However, in this lockdown period you can still take advantage of our numerous videos of past seminars and workshops which are always available on our YouTube Channel Moneylife TV and Moneylife News Bites.
Although counselling on various issues from our experts is not possible in-person, you are welcome to email on [email protected] with your details. We shall forward your mail to the expert for guidance and do our best to get your query resolved.
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, Dr KC Chakrabarty, 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.