An Update for Investors of Sahara's Credit Societies; Success Stories from Our Counselling Clinics
Greetings! Thirteen years have flown by since the inception of Moneylife Foundation and what a journey it has been! As we reflect on these past years of fighting for causes that affect you the most, we are proud of the impact that we have made and are ever grateful for your continued support. Thank you for being part of our journey, but there is a lot more to be done and we hope to have your unwavering support in the years to come!
This month, we have a few important updates to share on important matters that we had taken up on behalf of our members over the past year. We also have a few enlightening stories of success, where valuable guidance from our expert counsellors was critical in solving complicated grievance cases. Please do read, share and encourage others to become members of Moneylife Foundation, so that many more can benefit!
Sahara's Credit Cooperative Societies
As members would recall, Moneylife has been highlighting the plight of investors in Sahara's credit societies and has been tracking the issue of non-payment of their deposits over the years. We had initially taken up the task to help such investors recover their money by setting up a Telegram group and by coordinating with Sahara for payments. Eventually when all efforts to recover their investments were exhausted, we had filed interim petitions in the Supreme Court, with the assistance on a pro bono basis from senior counsel Shyam Divan.
In our plea, we have asked the apex court to direct SEBI to refund the amounts due to the investors of cooperative societies belonging to the Sahara group after due verification of their claims. The money rightfully belongs to these individuals who are small-time investors, who were methodically persuaded to part with their hard-earned money to contribute to various schemes under the Sahara group.
The case had recently come up for hearing and the Supreme Court has directed both SEBI and Sahara to respond to our interim applications, and a subsequent hearing has been scheduled for April this year. Progress has been slow, but we are finally inching forward towards some possible solution. You can read more about the case here.
Public Liability Insurance Report
Our comprehensive research report on Public Liability Insurance (PLI) in India has recently been completed under the guidance of Uttara Vaid, a veteran of the liability insurance industry and her team at Uttara Vaid Advisory. While we are planning an event for the launch of this report, the importance of its findings require a wide discussion with all stakeholders involved. Hence, we are in the process of seeking feedback and support from key segments of the government and the insurance industry. We hope that the significant findings and key suggestions made by our report, serve as an impetus for our eventual goal of mandating PLI for all public places in India.
Do register and become a member of Moneylife Foundation if you would like to be notified when we announce the launch date for the report and also to access a copy of it from our website.
Success of Our Counseling Sessions
As many of you know, we have restarted our in-person one-to-one counseling sessions after a long hiatus brought about by the pandemic. We are glad to report that many of you who had sought assistance from our experts have not only found workable solutions to your grievances, but have managed to have them resolved in a matter a few weeks if not days. Our experts 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.
Mr Shirish Shanbhag advises on matters related to housing societies and Mr Abhay Datar on banking, insurance and mediclaim related issues. If you have a specific concern or issue related to right to information, 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.
Proposed Amendments to the RTI Act
The Right to Information Act has been an important empowering tool for promoting transparency and demanding accountability from the government. There have been attempts over the years to dilute the efficacy of this act with unnecessary amendments and one such amendment is presently being considered indirectly through the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDP).
Former Central Information Commissioner, Shailesh Gandhi and many other activists have voiced their concerns, that the proposed amendment to section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, at section 30(2) of the DPDP bill, will essentially leave the RTI Act toothless. In order to brainstorm a collective approach in defense of the RTI Act, a closed meeting was recently organised by Moneylife Foundation and Mr Gandhi, in the Mumbai Press Club.
The meeting was attended by many renowned RTI activists, experts from the legal side as well as former Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha, senior journalist Kumar Ketkar and other senior members of the Aam Admi Party. While many important suggestions were discussed, a unanimous decision was made to initiate action with a change.org petition addressed to the Prime Minister. This is an important matter that all of us as citizens should be deeply concerned about and we urge you to read and sign the petition put forward by Mr Gandhi and other renowned activists such as Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Sunil Ahya and others.
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 websites masquerading 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.
This month, we were once again delighted to host retired Central Information Commissioner, Mr Shailesh Gandhi for a webinar on the important aspects of the Right to Information Act and to learn how to file effective RTI applications and appeals. The session was specifically conducted in Hindi and if you missed watching it live, you can still see the video recording on our YouTube channel here. Do register to become a member to be on our mailing lists, so that you are informed about the schedule of our future webinars in advance!
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.