Supporting Our Health Care Workers & Success On Our KYC Memorandum
As the second wave of Covid shows signs of subsiding, our Covid Warriors and health care workers continue the battle to save lives. Moneylife Foundation undertook Covid Relief operations for a limited time with special permission. But we have continued to work and support our doctors and hospitals in non-monetary ways to help mitigate various issues that crop up from time to time.
This month, I want to bring to your attention the tragic story of Dr Rahul Pawar, an amazing 25-year old, who had overcome impossible odds and abject poverty to complete his medical education before he succumbed to Covid and Mucormycosis infection on 26 May 2021. The elder son from a family of sugarcane cutters with seasonal income, he was their pride and hope for a brighter future. Instead, the family has been left devasted with the additional burden of debts and education loans. Even more stunning is the fact that there is no insurance or compensation for the families of doctors who lose their life to Covid in the line of duty. The promise of Rs50 lakh by the government was just that – an empty promise.
Success on the Memorandum for Arbitrary Freezing of Bank Accounts
Earlier this month, our efforts to draw attention to the issue of banks arbitrarily freezing genuine customers' bank accounts was met with some success. RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, made an impromptu announcement directing banks and other regulated financial entities not to impose any punitive restriction on customers, for failure to update KYC till 31 December 2021. Additionally, RBI has also decided to extend the scope of video KYC or V-CIP (video-based customer identification process) for new categories of customers such as proprietorship firms, authorised signatories and beneficial owners of legal entities.
This success is the direct result of our comprehensive memorandum which was sent to the RBI on 12th April and also the change.org petition, which had gathered around 11,224 signatures at the time when the announcement was made. While the governor's directive is most welcome as it addresses the immediate concerns of depositors whose accounts were being indiscriminately frozen, many larger issues are yet to be answered.
Some of them such as, absolutely risk-free accounts being subjected to repeated KYC updation, banks having the right to freeze any saver's money held in trust when there is no financial misdemeanour or crime, the draconian power to inflict financial death being delegated to branch managers without any oversight, have only been acknowledged by the RBI and we hope that some form of response is to be expected for the same soon. To date, the RBI is also yet to issue standard operating procedures (SOPs) to banks for when, if at all, it can block access to a depositor's money.
Unfortunately, the announcements also do not have any answers for the hardship faced by the economically underprivileged due to freezing of Jan-Dhan accounts.
You can read more about the impact Moneylife Foundation's efforts have had here. Suffice it to say, we will be continuing our efforts to find answers to the other pending issues raised in our memorandum.
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 May
This month we had organised a small session to honour the courage of Mayur Shelke, the amazing Central Railway pointsman, who had sprinted in front of a speeding train to rescue a blind mother's 6 year old child that had fallen on the tracks. In a session that was attended by many activists, well wishers and members of Moneylife Foundation, we learned more about Mr Shelke's bravery and felicitated him with the funds that were raised on the crowdfunding platform Our Democracy. You can read more about the event here and also watch a video recording of the session on our YouTube channel.
Moneylife TV & Helplines
With the outbreak of covid-19, 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.