On our 10th anniversary, I am delighted to share that the Moneylife family has rapidly grown to over 1,17,000 members. And yet, all of us as financial consumers and the largest stakeholders of the financial system, continue to struggle for fair treatment, safe investment products and proper grievance redress and compensation.
There is a lot to do and a long and tough fight ahead. Let us renew our mission and get ready for the new decade by listening to and learning from an exceptional couple that succeeded spectacularly in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
Please treat this as my personal invitation to be motivated and inspired by Dr Prakash and Dr Mandakini Amte, chief guests at our 10th anniversary celebration at the Bombay Stock Exchange on Saturday, 29th February. I look forward to seeing all of you.
Let me also start our next decade of our work by requesting each of you to send me your thoughts and suggestions at [email protected] on issues that you would like us to focus on in the coming year, within the ambit of financial literacy, consumer issues and citizens' rights.
Before we go any further, it is with great sadness that I inform you of the demise of Adv Mohana Nair, who passed away on 2nd Feb, 2020 after a brave fight with Cancer. She was associated with many public causes and a great supporter of Moneylife Foundation, speaker and counselor on legal issues.
Jeevan Saral Issue Many of you are aware of our efforts to bring justice to those who have been affected by the mis-selling of LIC's Jeevan Saral policy as an investment-and-insurance scheme. While we have been exploring legal options, an easier solution presented itself, when we became aware of well-known consumer activist Jehangir Gai's success through the consumer courts. He succeeded in helping a policyholder receive the entire maturity value as mentioned on the policy with a loyalty bonus and 9% interest - a total amount of Rs26.67 lakhs. (Jeevan Saral: LIC Pays Up Rs26.67 Lakh After Chairman is Summoned by Consumer Commission).
Those who want to seek Mr Gai's help on a professional basis can write to us - [email protected] and ask for his contact details. Please approach Mr Gai only after you evaluate your policy on the basis of an online calculator and study the terms listed on the policy document.
We are less than a month away for our 10th Anniversary programme to be held on 29th February at the BSE International Convention Hall with Dr Prakash and Dr Mandakini Amte as our chief guests. Please do register, if you have not already done so, as this is a programme you would not want to miss!
In the coming months, we will be conducting financial literacy seminars on a regular basis to update our members on the ways to stay financially safe and smart in the years to come. We are also looking to conduct various talks on Mumbai's urban infrastructure. If you are on our mailing lists or whatsapp broadcast lists, you will surely receive a notification when we conduct our next programme. If you are not sure whether you are on our present in our mailing list, send us a small mail to [email protected]
Programmes in January
Our first programme with K L Narayanan on Maintaining Brain Health in an innovative manner through song, dance, music and meditation was a super hit. We had to stop taking registrations due to a restriction on the available space in our Knowledge Centre which can seat 50 people. Realising the importance of the topic and the increasing demand, we had organised a second session with Mr Narayanan and his very talented family in the premises, of ICICI Prudential Life, Prabhadevi. This second programme was also a huge success as we had over 100 people in attendance. You can visit our website to have a look at the gallery of photos from the event and can also watch the video on our YouTube Channel.
With every passing year, there are new financial traps to watch out for, even as people continue to be tripped and fleeced by the same old Ponzi and pyramid schemes. I put together whole new presentation on Money Traps that Decimate Savings & the Revised Financial Sector Development & Resolution (FSDR) Bill, earlier this month. Ever since the PMC Bank folded up, people have been confused about who to trust and how to keep their hard-earned savings safe. As I had mentioned in my talk, the key to this is to completely avoid a vast array of financial products that are hard-sold to us by financial intermediaries. I also analysed the draft FSDR bill its implications. You can read more about the talk here and you can also watch a video recording on our YouTube Channel.
Under the RTI Centre, this month we organised a special session - RTI bachao, aur RTI user ko bhi bachao - to discuss the physical abuse faced by RTI applicants. This session was organised as a follow up to the meeting that retired CIC Shailesh Gandhi, activist Anil Galgali, Dolphy D'souza and I had with Mumbai's Commissioner of Police. The background to the meeting was the physical assault that activist Yashwant Shinde faced from deputy commissioner of police (DCP) in response to a RTI application that he had filed. Our follow up meeting in the Knowledge Centre with several concerned citizens and activists such as Anil Galgali, Dolphy D'souza, Bhaskar Prabhu, DS Ranga Rao, discussed further actions that RTI users can take to dispel rumours and change the perception on RTI.
We also had something good to celebrate about in this meeting. Railway activist Samir Zaveri was felicitated for his efforts in successfully ensuring Sec (13)(a) for the Bombay High Court RTI rules (revised 2009) was deleted. This particular section in the High Court's rules defines the exceptions under which the appellate authority or information officer can refuse to divulge the information requested. You can read more about this session here and you can also watch the video on our YouTube channel.
Under the guidance of retired CIC Shailesh Gandhi we conducted two RTI workshops for students this month. One of these workshops was held at Shankarrao Chavan Law College in Pune, as part of their activities during 'Human Rights Week'. The session saw an attendance of over 80 students from the college and as usual a video recording of the session can be found on our YouTube Channel.
The other workshop was held for management students of SIES College of Management at Nerul. A video recording of this sessions is also available on our Channel.
If you are not located in Mumbai, you can still take advantage of our sessions by watching them live on Facebook and of course on our YouTube Channel where a video recording is published a few days after the event.
The Moneylife TV has reached over 33.88 lakh views with almost 35,995 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 Moneylife channel on YouTube here.
In an attempt to help citizens across the country get access to our sessions, we also live-stream them on our Facebook page live as they happen. Do like our Facebook Page so that you get constant updates of events. During events, you can also pose your questions and get it resolved from our experts.
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Legal Helpline: We have handled 2,153 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 311 queries from readers of the newspaper.
Our FREE Credit Helpline has answered almost 3900 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). They are all offered free of charge, but please do reciprocate by introducing our work to at least 10 people and getting them to become members. Also, if you have benefited from our work and would like to show your support, you can donate.
Thank you for your support 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.