Greetings. Moneylife Foundation has had a super busy July. The monsoon has been kind enough not to disrupt any of our activities, especially our financial literacy sessions with the support of the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund of the Reserve Bank of India.
Wake up to Digital fraud
Unfortunately, most people do not want to make the effort to understand how and why they are duped in financial transactions. Every morning, we open the paper to large reports about individuals losing chunks of money from their credit cards or bank accounts. Read carefully and you would notice that they did fall for phishing calls and shared their account details. Isn’t it tragic that investing two hours of your time, that too without paying a fee, could make all the difference between losing tens of thousand rupees or more and innumerable days and months in a futile chase to recover it? We urge Moneylifers to do their bit for society by persuading your organisations, friends and social groups (Rotarians, Lions etc.) to make time for this. Most people don't read newspapers anymore, but RBI officials have been quietly admitting that digital fraud and theft has shot up exponentially.
Loss in DS Kulkarni Developers
Another issue with low financial awareness is being trapped by image building exercises. In the past couple of weeks, we have met several people who had invested in the DS Kulkarni group of Pune. Debashis Basu and I had the privilege of attending an RTI Katta that is run by activist Vijay Kumbhar (at 9.30am every Sunday at the beautiful Chittaranjan Vatika, Pune).
The main discussion was about how to recover money invested in DS Kulkarni Developers, who had been paying high returns on fixed deposits for over two decades and now they seem to have gone bust.
The previous week and later on Thursday, we had more investors from DSK seeking help. Mr Kumbhar’s meticulous investigation has unearthed many chilling facts and possible fraud. Depositors are also discovering, for the first time, that their post-dated cheques are not from the listed entity, but a host of private firms of the promoter, which may not even be authorised to raise funds.
We will be following this closely, especially Mr Kumbhar’s work (do read his blog), but here again, those of you who have attended our financial literacy seminars would have been warned by the fact that this company was paying 19% returns at its peak and 12% until recently, when bank fixed deposits returns have sunk below 8%. This should have run warning bells, especially when brokers were offering pass-backs on commission. Again, a little time invested in financial literacy would make a huge difference.
Working on RTI with activists and PIOs
The main discussion was about how to recover money invested in DS. Moneylife Foundation would like to work closely with RTI activists on reaching the benefits of the Act to more people, especially outside the metros. Do write to us if you have thoughts on what we can do together.
We also want to work closely with Public Information Officers (PIOs). Former Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi recently conducted a session for the Maharashtra Police at the instance of Pradnya Sarvade, Additional Director General, Maharashtra Police.
We would invite PIOs to write to us at [email protected] for more sessions. We understand that most PIOs do not receive any training for a job that imposes significant accountability. Experts like Mr Gandhi have many tips and suggestions that allow them to deal with difficult situations as well as applicants and clarify how to do their job efficiently, without stonewalling applicants or giving unnecessary information. We believe that citizens and government are not adversaries and can work together for the benefit of the nation.
Financial Literacy Special Session
Our next Special Financial Literacy Workshop on 19th August is for persons with disabilities. This special Workshop on 'Understanding Money Traps, Saving Safely and Ensuring Digital Security' will be held on Saturday, 19 August 2017 at ADAPT- Rights Group, KC Marg, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (W) Mumbai - 400 050.
This Workshop is for members of Nina Foundation, Able Disabled All People Together (ADAPT), Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI) and other NGOs working with Persons with Disabilities. We invite all NGOs working with PWDs to join the workshop. Here is the link to register for this Special Workshop http://www.moneylife.in/event/169.html
8 July 2017: Productivity Apps for the Workplace by Yazdi Tantra Most people use Google and its services, but do not know how to get the best out of it. This also applies for applications (apps) that we use either on the desktop or laptop and on mobile phones. Mr Tantra, a chartered accountant by training, computer consultant by profession and trainer in his leisure time, shared several tips on the use of apps for better productivity, at a special workshop organised by Moneylife Foundation, in Mumbai. (Read: Moneylife seminar on apps and how to use them to increase productivity )
21 July 2017: Special Workshop on RTI for PIOs of Maharashtra Police by Shailesh Gandhi Mr Gandhi conducted a special workshop for public information officers (PIOs) and first appellate authorities (FAAs) at the Maharashtra Police Headquarters. He shared a detailed interpretation of various sections of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Anup Kumar Singh (IPS), Special Inspector General of Police (Establishment) also guided the PIOs and FAAs on handling and providing appropriate replies on queries under the RTI Act. Vijay M Kharat, Superintendent of Police (SP) at the State Police Control Room, and Mr Dalvi, Dy AIG, Maharashtra Police were also present during the entire session. Do check the video of this Roundtable on YouTube. Here is the link
22 July 2017: “Guard against Money Traps and Fake Rumours, Save Safely and Understand Digital Security“ : Mumbai This Workshop was conducted by Ms Sucheta Dalal, Founder Trustee, Moneylife Foundation, Mr Debashis Basu, Editor and Publisher of Moneylife and Yogesh Sapkale, Director-Projects, Moneylife Foundation. This Workshop was supported by the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund of RBI. Do check the videos of presentations by Ms Dalal, Mr Basu and Mr Sapkale on YouTube.
27 July 2017: Roundtable on effectiveness of Tarang Sanchar portal We organised a round-table meeting to understand effectiveness of Tarang Sanchar portal. Mr Prakash Munshi, activist on mobile radiation, presented his findings on the Tarang Sanchar website launched by the Dept of Telecom to check mobile tower radiation in any area. This was followed by a discussion. Do check the video of this Roundtable on YouTube. Here is the link
5 August 2017: Financial Health and Digital Literacy Workshop: Pune This Workshop was conducted by Ms Sucheta Dalal, Founder Trustee, Moneylife Foundation, Mr Debashis Basu, Editor and Publisher of Moneylife and Yogesh Sapkale, Director-Projects, Moneylife Foundation. This Workshop was supported by the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund of RBI.
Another update is about the Moneylife channel on YouTube, which has crossed 1.5 million views. This means, you do not need to be a Mumbaikar to benefit from our activities. You can either subscribe to the Moneylife channel on YouTube, or better still become a Member of Moneylife Foundation, so that you get updates on all our events, their coverage as well as access to our extremely valuable Tax Helpline, Credit Helpline and Legal Resource Centre.
Legal Resource Centre: We have handled 1,393 queries since inception. We are really proud of what we are able to do at the LRC with the help of senior activists and that people from Mumbra to Malabar Hill walk in for guidance and get it.
Our FREE Credit Helpline has answered over 2,281 cases. We are delighted at the support from Experian Credit Information Company to keep this effort going. Spread the word, so that those with a low score can get help from us.
Our Tax Helpline is going great guns. It has already answered 2,160 queries and our grateful thanks to Mr Ameet Patel, Nikhil Vadia, Subodh V Shah and others for their invaluable help to members. This comes to you FREE because of the support from Capital First.
Remember, you can benefit from our work from all over the globe through our videos and helplines (Tax Helpline, Credit Helpline and Legal Resource Centre). These are all free of charge, but please do reciprocate by introducing our work to at least 10 people and getting them to become members.
Thank you for your support and look forward to your good wishes always. Do write to me with your ideas and feedback.
Thank you and best regards,
Founder-Trustee, Moneylife Foundation
Trustees: TS Krishnamurthy, Dr KC Chakrabarty, Walter Vieira, Sucheta Dalal, Debashis Basu and Dr Anupam Saraph. Special Invitee: Adv Jamshed Mistry
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, 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.