Citizens' Issues
Alarmed by rising road accidents, Modi wants cashless treatment
Shocked over one fatality every four minutes in road accidents in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government will soon implement a road safety policy and cashless treatment for accident victims.
 
In his monthly 'Maan Ki Baat' radio programme, Modi said: "The statistics on road accidents in our country are shocking. There is an accident every minute. And... there is a death every four minutes."
 
In view of this, the government would soon introduce a Road Transport and Safety Bill in parliament and work to implement the National Road Safety Policy and a Road Safety Action Plan, he said.
 
The prime minister said there would soon be a nationwide toll free number 1033 to provide information on accidents across the country.
 
Official statistics show 15 to 16 people in road accidents in the country every hour or nearly 380 every day. The daily toll includes 16 children.
 
A total of 137,000 people became road accident victims in 2013. 
 
The prime minister also said that development of the country's northeast was not possible with officials sitting in Delhi. He vowed to depute officials to the region to find solutions to problems faced by the people.
 
"Is it possible to develop the northeast while sitting in Delhi? No. Officials will visit and see how it is to be done.
 
"The DoNER (Development of Northeastern Region) ministry has taken a significant decision to send teams of central government officials to the northeast and hold week-long camps there," he said.
 
The ministry is responsible for planning, executing and monitoring the central government's development schemes in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim and Meghalaya.
 
"These teams will hold camps in districts and villages, meet local officials, people's representatives and citizens. They will listen to their problems and help the government to find their solutions."
 
In his talk, Modi praised efforts made towards keeping India clean.
 
He congratulated government officials from Harda district in Madhya Pradesh for their 'Malyudh' (a sanitation programme).
 
"They have given a new meaning to 'Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan'. A brother gifting his sister a toilet on 'Raksha Bandhan', and the one who does so becoming 'brother number one' has given a new direction to the (cleanliness) mission," he said.
 
Speaking on issues like electricity, Modi said his government was committed to providing power to all villages.
 
"Whatever facilities are provided in cities, similar facilities are required for people in villages too if we have to develop our nation," he said.
 
Modi also expressed concern that fewer students were taking up science at the higher education level.
 
"Out of 100 only one or two students take up science. It's a cause of concern," the prime minister said, adding that students must be encouraged to study the subject.
 
To mark Kargil Day on July 26, Modi paid tributes to soldiers killed in the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan.
 
"Each and every Indian soldier fought bravely. I pay my respects to the soldiers who ... fought for the country," he said Baat" radio programme.
 
"The Kargil battle was not just fought on the borders... Every village, city and town made a contribution."

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Centre reviving sick fertiliser plants
The government is working to revive sick fertiliser units and a financial revival package has been prepared for Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) and Madras Fertilizers Ltd.
 
"A proposal for seeking approval of the cabinet for financial revival package of FACT has been prepared. It is yet to be placed before the cabinet," Minister of State for Chemical and Fertilizer Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
 
Regarding Madras Fertilizers, declared sick in 2009, the minister said that "to make the net-worth of the company positive a proposal for the financial restructuring of MFL has been prepared".
 
In May, the union cabinet had approved financial restructuring of the Brahampurtra Valley Fertilizers Corp in Namrup, Assam "that will help the company in making its net-worth positive and also setting up of a new Brownfield ammonia-urea complex within the existing premises", Ahir said.
 
In reply to another question, Ahir said the government had decided to revive the Fertilizer Corporation of India's closed units at Talcher (Odisha), Ramagundam (Telangana), Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Sindri (Jharkhand) and Hindustan Fertilizer Corp's Barauni unit in Bihar.
 
"Revival of Talcher and Ramagundam are already in progress and likely to be completed by the end of the year 2018," Ahir said.
 
"Talcher and Ramagundam units are being revived 'on nomination basis' while rest of the units are to be revived 'on bidding route'," he added.

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3 Ways Citibank Misled US Consumers
Citibank's shady credit card practices leads to $700 million in customer refunds
 
Documenting misdeeds that go back to 2000, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced last Tuesday that Citibank, N.A. and its subsidiaries must compensate more than eight million consumer accounts to the tune of $700 million for illegal practices related to credit card add-on products and services. In addition, because Citibank was so darn naughty, it is also required to pay $35 million in civil penalties to the CFPB and an additional $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for a grand total of $770 million. 
 
As told by the CFPB in its 57-page Consent Order, Citibank marketed a variety of credit card add-on products to consumers nationwide, including debt protection, credit monitoring, credit report retrieval services, and a wallet-protection service. With these services, Citibank engaged in lies, deception and misstatements, according to the bureau. Below are the three main ways that Citibank screwed consumers for more than a decade:
 
1. Deceptive marketing – Citibank’s misleading marketing practices affected about 4.8 million consumer accounts and included misrepresenting costs and fees for coverage, misrepresenting product benefits and eligibility for coverage. The bank also engaged in illegal practices in the enrollment process.
 
2. Unfair billing practices – From at least 2000 through 2013, Citibank improperly billed two million consumer accounts for product fees while not providing the full product services.
 
3. Deceptive collection practices – Citibank also misled close to two million consumers when collecting payments on delinquent retailer-affiliated credit card accounts by charging — but not disclosing– a $14.95 fee for expedited payment. Citibank encouraged consumers to use this expedited payment method even though it was rarely in consumers’ best interest.
 
Consumers who are eligible for a refund do not have to take any action. The bank has already reimbursed consumers who were victims of the unfair billing practices related to the credit-monitoring products and it is required to identify and reimburse other eligible consumers.
 
So look for a credit on your account, or a check in the mail from Citibank. And ask for all the fine print relating to additional credit card services a bank is trying to sell you.
 
For more on banks that have gotten in hot water over credit card practices, click here
 

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COMMENTS

Sudheer M

2 years ago

In India also, they are not far behind in handling responses. My wife got a credit limit increase, which she accepted. They told they never received such mail. We raised a complaint and got a complaint number, they say that they can't trace that complaint number. Not sure what policy of data handling and mail handling they have.

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