An Update for Investors of Sahara's Credit Societies; More on Online Counseling & Our Helplines
This month, as we are halfway through another year spent in the pandemic, we hope that you are staying safe and healthy, especially with the rising number of Covid's Delta variant cases in India. We are deeply grateful to the amazing work put in by our healthcare workers in saving lives and Moneylife Foundation continues to support their efforts in whatever way possible.
Let me begin this month by sharing an update on Sahara's credit co-operative societies and the work that Moneylife Foundation is doing to helpful troubled investors in these societies. As some of you may remember, 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. When we had started in September last year, this setup was successful for a few months with Sahara making payments to 18 investors (a total amount of just Rs39 lakhs) out of the 400 investors in the group at the time. But eventually the payments stopped and Sahara reneged on their promise to pay, forcing our hand to seek alternate solutions.
In December 2020, we wrote a memorandum and made an appeal to the SEBI chairman and Justice BN Agarwal, that an amount of Rs2,253 crore transferred to SEBI by Sahara Credit Cooperative Society Ltd (Sahara Credit), belongs to the investors of this society and as such, they should be allowed to claim it. At the time we had also shared a list of the 240 depositors of Sahara Credit, who had shared complete documentation of their investments, with the SEBI chairman and Justice BN Agarwal, in the hopes that their claims will be considered. The letter did not receive an acknowledgment or a response from SEBI.
With the help of retired Central Information Commissioner, Shailesh Gandhi, we had then filed an RTI application, which was promptly disposed off by passing the responsibility to the ministry of agriculture and farmer's welfare. Only after filing an appeal under the RTI Act, did we receive a response from the public information officer, informing us that our memorandum was referred to Justice Agarwal, who had advised that, since a Supreme Court Order did not mention any refund of money to investors, SEBI cannot issue any such refunds. Thus, the appeal was also disposed off saying that no further action can be taken by SEBI and the matter was closed.
This, however, is not the end of the road. As we will continue our efforts to seek out a legal solution for investors of Sahara's credit societies. Our Telegram group is still active and has over 1000 members at this point. If you are an investor in one of the four credit societies of Sahara, do join the group. Also take the time to read more about this here and watch the video here.
Join Moneylife Foundation
We urge you to encourage people to explore Moneylife Foundation and connect with us through our helplines rather than social media. Our helplines as well as our membership, as you know, is free. Unless we have details of issues, it is not possible for us to understand your case and provide guidance. We also urge you not to share our personal mobile numbers – we work as a team and with the support of dedicated experts who volunteer their time and expertise to counsel you. It is not the job of one person, and calls and messages only end up in wasteful delays in sorting your problem. Social media is also effective to campaign issues but not for guidance and resolution. So do use our Free Helplines and encourage others to write to us. Here is a link to become a member —do share it.
You may also notice that answers to a range of issues that are important to you – succession, filing consumer complaints, grievance redress or housing society related matters are available at www.moneylife.in especially in our 'How to…' series. Please explore those and our YouTube videos at MoneylifeTV, you may find the answers to your queries are already there!
Support for Our Healthcare Workers
We had highlighted the tragic story of Dr Rahul Pawar last month and how his friends and colleagues had started an initiative in an effort to raise funds for his family. I'm glad to report that we are close to achieving the set goal of raising Rs20 lakhs for the family through the crowdfunding platform Ketto. Mankind Pharma has agreed to contribute Rs5 lakhs as part of their campaign supporting families of healthcare workers who have lost their lives to Covid, while Mr Anand Mahindra (Chairman of Mahindra and Mahindra) has agreed to take care of the Rs1.29 lakh loan of Dr Pawar's family from Mahindra Rural Finance. Many others have contributed to the crowd funding campaign, which is still running for a few more days on Ketto. You can still contribute and do your part in supporting our healthcare workers!
Counseling on Helplines & Zoom Meetings
With the lockdown still in effect in Mumbai, our counseling sessions on various issues have continued to remain online through our Legal & Credit Helplines, as well as occasional Zoom counseling meetings. If you have a query on housing society, insurance, banking, credit or any other issue, please do become a member of Moneylife Foundation and take advantage of the knowledge imparted by our experts who guide through our helplines.
Allow me to remind you that you can always catch up on our past financial literacy programmes on our YouTube and Facebook channels, so you can also watch us live.
Do sign up for a free membership to receive information about our activities and initiatives. 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 June
This month we had organised a special session with Rajat Ubhaykar, author of 'Truck De India: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Hindustan'. Enlightening our members and attendees, this sessions helped reveal the difficult lives led by long haul truckers as well as the flaws in our transportation industry. Rajat was joined by veteran journalist and logistics expert, Ramesh Kumar and also activist Sanjay Shirodkar for a fascinating discussion on the present status of India's transportation industry. If you could not attend this session, do take a moment to watch the recorded video on our YouTube Channel. You can also read more about the session here.
Moneylife TV & Helplines
With the outbreak of Covid, our physical events and daily clinics for this month continue to remain 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, 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.