Citizens' Issues
CAG willing to resume audit of RIL’s spending on KG-D6 block

The CAG wanted the discretion for records to be requisitioned to vest with the government or its auditor and wanted the ministry to ensure that RIL provide access to all documents requisitioned

The Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) clarified that it is not planning to do a performance audit of the Reliance but want to examine the ‘propriety’ of the expenses made on the KG-D6 gas block. The clarification follows the suspension of audit of the company’s spending on the prolific gas block on India’s east coast due to differences with RIL over the scope of the audit.

 

“While a performance audit is not envisaged, it is important that the audit of Block KG-DWN-98/3 (KG-D6) covers examination of all records and documents supporting costs, expenditures, expenses, receipts and income as mentioned in the PSC, including propriety of these expenditure, expenses, receipts and income,” the CAG wrote to oil ministry.

 

The CAG wanted the discretion for records to be requisitioned to vest with the government or its auditor (CAG) and wanted the ministry to ensure that RIL provide access to all documents requisitioned.

 

“The purpose of its audit was to ensure that “the Government’s financial interests have been safeguarded,” the CAG wrote on 12th March.

 

This follows oil ministry writing to CAG saying the official auditor was being requested to undertake the audit of KG-D6 for 2008-09 to 2011-12 under Section 20 of the C&AG (DPC) Act, 1971.

 

Stating that such audit should be a financial scrutiny, the ministry told CAG that the scope, extend and manner of the audit will be as spelt out in Article 25.5 and 25.6, read with Appendix C of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) RIL had signed with the government for exploring and producing oil and gas from KG-D6 block.

 

These provisions of PSC provide for a government appointed auditor inspecting and auditing all records and documents supporting costs, expenditures, expenses, receipts and income.

 

It calls for verifying reasonableness of all charges and credits, which constitutes a pure financial audit.

 

CAG said it was in agreement with this scope of audit provided the ministry agreed with it on the issue of requisition of records and access.

 

The auditor said that its six-member audit team were at premises of RIL in Navi Mumbai from 9th January to 31st January during which they issued 40 requisition calling for information and records.

 

“However, as of 31st January, the contractor (RIL) had provided only a few records without formal replies stating that they were holding back replies till such time as the points of disagreement were resolved,” it said.

User

SC bars Italian envoy from leaving India till further orders

The apex court had on 14th March asked the Italian ambassador not to leave the country without its permission, taking exception to his government’s refusal to send back the two marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone

 
The Supreme Court on Monday extended till further orders its direction restraining Italian envoy Daniele Mancini from leaving the country after Italy reneged on its undertaking that the two marines accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala 
 
The apex court had on 14th March asked the Italian ambassador not to leave the country without its permission, taking exception to his government’s refusal to send back the two marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone.
 
“Having heard senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini and the Republic of Italy, we direct to list the matter on 2 April 2013 for further orders.
 
“The interim order passed on 14th March directing Mancini not to leave India without the permission of this court is extended till further orders,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said.
 
The bench, also comprising justices AR Dave and Ranjana Prakash Desai, directed that “all authorities in the country shall take appropriate steps” relating to the order restraining Mancini from leaving India.
 
Before passing the order, the bench said the period of four weeks for which the marines were allowed to go to Italy to cast their vote was yet to be over and still they have time to return.
 
“We respected the undertaking (given by the ambassador) and we allowed them (marines) to go for four weeks which will end on 22nd March. There is still time for them to come. Strictly speaking they have not still violated our order. It is a case where one government is communicating to another government and we have nothing to do,” the bench observed.
 
The two marines were on board an Italian vessel “Enrica Lexie” when they allegedly shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast on 15th February, last year. Attorney general GE Vahanvati brought to the court’s notice the latest note verbale sent to the government by the Italian authorities in which it spoke about the issues concerning diplomatic relations contained in the Vienna Convention of 1961.
 
Vahanvati said it was intriguing that the note verbale mentions that no Indian authority will restrict the freedom of movement of the Italian Ambassador.
 
He said, “The ministry of external affairs is fully mindful of its international obligations.”  
 
After Rohatgi said he was appearing for Republic of Italy and the ambassador, the bench told him, “We are concerned with Daniele Mancini. What is your intention about Mr Daniele Mancini?  
 
“We are concerned with the intention. Are you going to comply with this order? We are not concerned with anything else,” the bench said.
 
After the order extending the 14th March direction was passed, Rohatgi again raised the issue of diplomatic immunity enjoyed by the Italian ambassador.
 
His submission anguished the bench which said, “We don’t go by anything. He has given the undertaking. We are not so naive.
 
“He has no immunity. What do you think of our judicial system,” the bench said and added that so many things are being written about the incident.
 
“You went to Italy after giving an undertaking. We never expected and we never believed that the Italian ambassador will renege like this,” the bench observed.
 
As Rohatgi pressed on the issue of immunity, the bench reminded him once again about the undertaking given by the Italian envoy.
 
“We don't accept his statement. We don't believe his statement. He has lost trust,” it said.
 
The court said, “The person who has come to this court as petitioner, we don’t think he has any immunity.”
 

User

Finance ministry withdraws its controversial diktat to levy processing fees on payment of credit card dues by cheque or cash

Moneylife Impact: The finance ministry’s strange and controversial diktat to public sector banks to emulate HDFC Bank and levy processing charges on payment of credit card dues by cash or cheque was exposed and followed by Moneylife alone. The rest of the media, including the business press is still silent on this issue

In a letter dated 12th March, the finance ministry has quietly withdrawn its ‘fatwa’ to “consider charging a processing fee from customers paying credit card dues either in cash or through cheque”.  In fact, this letter too is written by the same DD Maheshwari, Under Secretary at the Department of Financial Services, who sent out a fatwa marked “most immediate” to all chief executives of public sector banks on 25 October 2012. This time he writes that the letter “stands withdrawn with immediate effect. This has the approval of the Secretary (FS)”.(see letter here)


The finance ministry’s decision to withdraw the letter is a very positive development from the customer’s point of view. It not only means that banks will not be charging this absurd processing fee, but also reveals that the finance ministry is sensitive to public opinion. Our report (Read: Now, penalty for paying credit card dues by cheque! ) had created a furore among depositors and has been the most read, most shared and most commented article on www.moneylife.in for the past fortnight. So what was the anger about?
 

Well, the finance ministry had not only asked for such a processing fee to be levied, but held HDFC Bank as the example to emulate. It specifically mentioned how HDFC Bank had doubled its charges for cash transactions from Rs50 to Rs100 per transaction. It had also asked banks CEOs to report their action taken to the ministry.
 

What was particularly outrageous about the finance ministry’s micro-management of fees charged by banks was that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is the banking regulator, is in the process of ‘considering’ the comments to a similar report that it had issued on “dis-incentivising cheque transactions” by levying a slew of fees and charges on everybody who issues or deposits a cheque. Please read RBI Must Scrap No Cheque Idea, which is the most commented article in Moneylife since then.
 

Moneylife Foundation, our sister entity which has over 21,500 members, had sent a strong memorandum to the RBI asking it to scrap the report in toto. (Moneylife Foundation demands scrapping of the move to penalise usage of cheques ). We have since learnt from another activist that the RBI has received at least 300 representations against this plan. In fact, leading NGOs in Mumbai are scheduled to meet on 21st March to discuss a joint plan to oppose such a move. Those who are attending the meeting include the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, All India Bank Depositors Association, Consumer Guidance Society of India, Moneylife Foundation, Council for Fair Business Practices, Consumer Complaints Cell and Save Our Lands. The All India Bank Employees Association is also participating in the discussion.
 

Moneylife columnist Gurpur, a senior banker, had also pointed out how a country like the United Kingdom had bowed to public pressure given up the idea of abolishing cheque usage. See UK govt bows to public pressure—rejects abolition of cheque system. Will RBI follow suit?  And even superpowers like the US, who are way ahead of India in terms of adoption of information technology, continue to use cheques.

User

COMMENTS

Amit Bhargava

5 years ago

After the Money Life exposed the "fatwa" from the Finance Ministry, the same under secretary Most Immediately issues another letter, but "Chupke Se".

Good job Money Life !

nagesh kini

5 years ago

Pray can the Hon. FM clarify as to who is the Regulator?
The RBI at Mint Road, Mumbai or a babu sitting at Parliament Street New Delhi? How much does this guy who must have just come to the MOF after some remote posting know of banking to pass such hare brained fatwas quoting just one bank as the role model?
The so-called dis-incentivization for cheques is another crazy move that needs to be scrapped lock, stock and barrel as it does not suit Indian conditions.

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

5 years ago

Really, money life is doing great to the society, hope the best for future also.

rashida

5 years ago

Great,keep it up!

Sankara Narayan

5 years ago

Congrats , Money life for the excellent work. It once again proves that these babus dont have any touch with social reality. Even many educated have become tecnophobes! , not wanting to use internet even for email communications . The various types of net scams make them more unsure . Such being the reality , Thuglaks are in their own world issuing such'fatwas' !

REPLY

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to Sankara Narayan 5 years ago

Agree, because all work I feel is done with some preconceived notions in mind.

hasmukh

5 years ago

It was a Tughlakhi idea and was bound to be withdrawn. Hope, the Babus spend their time to bring out some really meaningful and sensible ideas.
They must have spent lot of time in drafting same. Also Moneylife etc. had to waste their valuable time & energy in opposing such meaningless dictats.

Hystaspes F Engineer

5 years ago

"HEART CONGRATS" to the while ML team for launching the timely campaign and achieving a rather quick success. Keep-up to your good work. Now, the fight for the 'cheque abolition system' need to be ably pursued. These are short sighted immature moves of the govt. m/c which need to be nipped in the bud spontaneously. "ALL THE BEST".

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

5 years ago

It is really good, MONEY LIFE TEAM has shown what it can do for the benefit of consumers.

Ramesh Iyer

5 years ago

Congratulations to MoneyLife team for having highlighted this matter incessantly, building huge public opinion against this impractical decision by the govt's earlier note. While I would agree with RBI & MoF on encouraging people to adopt tech-based facilities on which Banks have invested millions, they can't ignore the fact that there are plenty more who don't have access to such facilities in the first place. In fact, even in urban areas, where ALL Banks have setup much of their IT-enabled infrastructure, like ATMs, it is not uncommon to find many of them even right outside the Branch not functioning. Hence, while people would love to embrace facilities which makes it convenient for them, penalizing for Banking the traditional way is too harsh and impractical, considering how few customers are IT-savvy (of the large customer-base).

jaideep shirali

5 years ago

Congrats to the Moneylife team for getting consumers the right they deserve. Certainly the RBI does not know what it is doing, because just recently, they insisted on a new format of cheques. So we would have banks sitting with an inventory of pre-printed chequebooks and customers who do not wish to use them, because of the charges.

REPLY

MOHAN SIROYA

In Reply to jaideep shirali 5 years ago

Mr Shirali

As per our knowledge and directives of RBI , at least all savings bank holders are supposed to get the new CTS cheque books without paying any charge. Have you paid or is your bank is asking? In fact we have cases, where even Current account holders got replaced the non-CTS CQ folios without paying any charge.
Perhaps the Consumer Complaints Cell may help you if U send the details to them on cccell@hotmail.com or to me
MOhan Siroya

Vinita Deshmukh

5 years ago

Absolutely brilliant Sucheta and Debashis. v v proud of both of you. The best example of pro-active, pro-citizen financial journalism! Kudos.

MOHAN SIROYA

5 years ago

Kudos and Hearty Compliments to you Sucheta and our "MOney life" for taking up this issue vigorously. Perhaps, it was 'Fait accomply" for the Govt./RBI as the repurcussions of this 'Regressive and Repressive' step would have waned away a large chunk of voters to the UPA parties, especially the Congress .
"Money Life" should Keep up to take cudegels against such high public importance causes.

Mohan Siroya

Vaibhav Dhoka

5 years ago

congratulations and good impact for united action.

Nihar Mody

5 years ago

If RBI insists on non usage of cheques, It shold also take full resposibilty for online frauds. Are they ready for it?

Suiketu Shah

5 years ago

Excellent work Ms Dalal,Mr Basu and all at ml:)
Suektu

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine)