Greetings! October has been a busy month for Moneylife Foundation, but more by way of preparing for several big initiatives. So first the big news. Please block your calendar to be with us on 13th January (Saturday, 4pm) for Moneylife Foundation's 8th Anniversary Celebration. Our Chief Guest and Speaker this time is none other than Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. The Railways are Mumbai's lifeline and it is a terrific opportunity to hear, first hand, on the transformation that has been set in motion after a horrible tragedy at the Elphinstone Railway Station. We will soon send you details of the programme.
Now here is what we have been doing in October on your behalf.
1) We took up the issue of soiled currency notes that had begun to trouble the non-ATM folks, especially in smaller towns and districts of India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), we discovered, had not been removing soiled notes that had been pumped into the system during demonetisation (12 billion pieces of currency) or the notes that had got soiled over the past 12 months. Consequently, nearly 25 billion pieces of soiled currency was making life difficult for people across India. Read more here
Based on the data gathered through multiple sources, including social media, we took up the issue with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). To his credit, RBI Governor Dr Urjit Patel responded immediately and we had an opportunity to present the data to senior officials. We were delighted to receive an immediate assurance of quick action.
2) Another major breakthrough has been the RBI's acknowledgement that banks have been fleecing home loan borrowers. Its own called the Internal Study Group to Review the Working of Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR) System has laid bare how borrowers have been fleeced. The report confirms every one of our arguments about how banks cheat customers, fudge rates, and extort conversion charges. Read: Banks use ad hoc and arbitrary methods to keep lending rates inflated: RBI Study Group
We have now sent a memorandum to the RBI governor to direct banks to calculate the excess interest they have charged (through arbitrary and ad hoc calculations of base rate or MCLR) and refund the money to borrowers, especially retail borrowers and SMEs. We have requested him to ask banks to set up special helplines to handle complaints from borrowers, whom banks have overcharged over the years. We also request the Reserve Bank to immediately issue circular/master directions asking banks and financial institutions to allow existing borrowers to migrate to MCLR or any new system without any conversion fee or any other charges for the switchover. (Check here –Excess interest RBI Letter)
For a small fee of Rs100+tax you can use our online tool to check how much more you end up paying over the tenure of your loan - it is a big rip off! Click Here
Get Empowered with RTI: Our RTI Centre is now up and running. Please make use of this opportunity to learn the nuances of the Act and file your first RTI. Or understand how to file appeals effectively.
Here is what we are able to offer. If you are a college, social group, Lions, Rotary, NGO, connect with us and we will do an RTI session for you. This will be FREE to you in Mumbai or Pune by someone in our panel of very eminent RTI activists. This could be in English, Hindi or Marathi. All you need is a minimum of 30-35 people (non-negotiable and serious commitment) and a venue – ideally with the possibility of a power point presentation. Call or Write to us at [email protected] or WhatsApp on +91-7045156415 (Please give your Name. email ID & Contact number). Our team will connect with you to work out details.
27th October 2017: Dr Subramanian Swamy on 'Black Money and Tax Havens'
As always, a talk by Dr Swamy attracts a huge audience. It was no different this time. Nearly 600 people attended the launch of 'Black Money and Tax Havens', a book authored by Prof R Vaidyanathan at the magnificent, international convention centre of the Bombay Stock Exchange. Speaking at the event, Dr Swamy called for abolition of income tax and levy only one tax, the goods and service tax (GST) at 8% after bringing black money stashed abroad. Read report on the event: Abolish Income Tax, Levy 8% GST after bringing black money from abroad, says Dr Swamy or Watch the video.
The Moneylife TV has crossed 1.8 million views with more than 16,500 active subscribers. This obviously means that you can now watch our videos from almost any part of the globe and enrich yourself though Moneylife activities. Also, if you don't want to miss on any of our videos then do subscribe to the Moneylife channel on YouTube here
Even better, become a Member of Moneylife Foundation and join 61,100+ others so that you receive updates to our events, their coverage as well as access to our extremely valuable Tax Helpline, Credit Helpline and Legal Resource Centre absolutely free. To join now, click here
Legal Resource Centre: We have handled 1,483 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 2,577 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 2,650 queries. Our grateful thanks to CAs Mr Ameet Patel, Nikhil Vadia, Subodh V Shah, Ameya Kunte 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). There are all free of charge, but please do reciprocate by introducing our work to at least 10 people and getting them to become members. You may also like to donate to the foundation, which takes up issues that affect people like you and me.
Thank you for your support and look forward to your good wishes always. Do write to me with your ideas and feedback.
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.