The good news, dear members, is that you can now join our talks, discussions and seminars from whichever part of the country or the world you are at.
Yes, we took our time starting these talks, as we were immersed in Covid Relief work and ensuring that our hospitals and healthcare workers got the support they needed. But we are now back on the financial literacy and support initiative, which was kicked off by the indefatigable Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner and Right to Information evangelist.
The next two that we have planned are also extremely important. We know that small and medium industries have borne the brunt of the lockdown and will be grappling with legal issues. So who better than Adv Manoj Harit, who specializes in recovery action related issues, to address issues they may face and offer his thoughts on how to deal with them. Advocate Harit is an amazingly frank and public spirited person, do not miss this opportunity to attend the session.
The other discussion is of particular interest to those in Maharashtra who have been agitated over the steep increase in electricity bills. We are delighted that Shantanu Dixit of Prayas, a Pune based NGO that has specialized in electricity issues for almost 30 years will decode the situation. We will also have our trusted counselors and consumer activists Ajit Shenoy and Abhay Datar as resource persons to handle your questions.
Don't miss these sessions and write to us about what you would like discussed in these sessions. Remember, geography is no longer a barrier. We would also like to know what is the best time to host our seminars – there are divergent views and we would go by what the majority wants. So do respond and let us know at [email protected]
While Covid seems more in control in Mumbai and hospitals also have a much better supply of protective gear, the virus has begun to cause havoc in the wider Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) including Kalyan, Thane, Ulhasnagar and Bhiwandi, where new hotspots have emerged forcing these cities into a stricter lockdown.
Moneylife Foundation's relief work took the form of an orderly process managed through a WhatsApp group that included 26 odd hospitals. When the number of cases flared up in the suburbs, the eminent doctors in our group quickly added hospitals from these areas were facing serious shortages. But we soon realized that our own efforts would be insufficient to meet their needs.
So all of us also approached other NGOs for help in order to meet the huge requirements of these hospitals. We were delighted that they reciprocated with speed and generosity. Dr Aparna Hegde, Hon. Associate Professor at Cama & Albless Hospital connected the Rotary group, Dr Vinod Khade of K B Bhabha Hospital, Bandra also helped divert extra supplies received by him; Dr Rekha Bhatkhande connected one of the hospitals to a corporate donor for oxygen machines. Shishir Joshi, CEO of Project Mumbai provided PPE kits to several hospitals and Dr Anjali Chhabria's NGO provided hand sanitizers.
This effort at maintaining a support system through the hospitals group we have created will hopefully continue even when there are no urgent needs. Over the past few months, all of us at Moneylife Foundation have been deeply moved by the hard work and commitment of all the doctors at the hospitals we have connected with; some of them tested positive and came back after recovery; others carried on doggedly despite personal bereavements. Most of these are stories of individual courage and perseverance that do not make it to newspapers. The help and support that was possible was far beyond the mundane task of matching hospital requirements to supplies – in fact, the insights we gleaned helped us take up a lot of issues through our writing and our public and social media campaigns as well.
All this was possible, only because of the incredibly generous support from you, our members, who opened your hearts and purses to help fight the biggest pandemic and most uncertain times that any of us have faced in our lifetimes. Thank you for your support.
Delivering Essentials to MMR Area Hospitals
After collating the massive requirements from just five Hospitals – Thane Civil Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital (Kalyan), Central Hospital (Ulhasnagar), Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Corporation (KDMC) Hospital (Dombivli), and Bhiwandi, we were able to streamline our efforts in procuring other essential items such as face shields, oxygen masks, nitrile gloves, surgical caps, 3-ply masks, Kawach masks and also a few PPEs. In these past three months, since our relief efforts have largely focused on hospitals within Mumbai, delivering to the MMR areas was a Herculean task in itself. In the next few days we hope to deliver body bags and Kawach masks to hospitals as well as several police stations.
Programmes Conducted & Upcoming
With retired Central Information Commissioner, Shailesh Gandhi we conducted our first webinar this month on Filing Effective RTI Applications. This has been our first seminar both online and after a prolonged break during the lockdown. The session was open to participants through Zoom and was also live streamed our YouTube and Facebook channels. A recording of the session has been uploaded to our YouTube channel and can be viewed here.
With the success of our first webinar, we would like to do many more such sessions in the coming months, while keeping the pandemic situation in mind. At the moment we have two such upcoming webinars planned through Zoom.
The pandemic has had a deep impact on the businesses and loans of most MSMEs. As a recent RBI survey has found, MSMEs are one of the five sectors who are struggling to survive and scale during the pandemic. This webinar is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn from Advocate Manoj Harit, who practises at the Bombay High Court and specialises in helping businesses deal with recovery actions.
"Is Your Electricity Bill Really Inflated? How Can You Find Out?" with Shantanu Dixit, Abhay Datar & AV Shenoy
Date: Thursday, 13th August 2020; 5:30pm – 7:30pm
We have seen numerous complaints about inflated electricity bills over this past month. But are they truly inflated? With this webinar, we aim to answer address this issue with the assistance of Mr Shantanu Dixit, Coordinator of Prayas Energy Group (PEG), an energy policy think tank and advocacy group. The session will also have a panel discussion with consumer activists Abhay Datar and AV Shenoy.
If you would like to participate in any of the above Zoom webinars, kindly ensure that you have the Zoom client installed on your smartphone or laptop device. Please do keep the link and meeting details saved. If you would like us to send you a reminder with the details of the session, do let us know on [email protected]
Moneylife TV & Helplines
With the outbreak of covid-19, our 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.
Thank you for your support, stay safe and look forward to your good wishes always.
Founder-Trustee, Moneylife Foundation
Trustees: TS Krishnamurthy, Dr KC Chakrabarty, Walter Vieira, Sucheta Dalal and 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.