Cards: ICICI Bank Launches Contact-less Credit & Debit Cards

ICICI Bank announced the launch of the country’s first ‘contact-less’ debit and credit cards, enabling its customers to make electronic payments by just waving the card near the merchant terminal in lieu of dipping or swiping it. These cards are based on the near field communication (NFC) technology which provides customers the improved convenience of speed, as these cards require significantly less time compared with traditional cards to complete a transaction. They also provide enhanced security as they remain in control of the customer.


Retirement: Reliance Mutual Fund Gets Tax Department Nod for Pension Scheme

Reliance Capital Asset Management Company has received government approval for the first-ever equity-oriented pension scheme giving tax benefits to investors. The government has notified Reliance Retirement Fund as a ‘Pension Fund’ under a relevant Section of the Income-Tax Act offering tax deductions to individuals for investments up to Rs1.5 lakh in a financial year. This is the first pension fund that offers an equity-oriented option, thereby enabling investors to earn competitive returns that can help beat inflation.


How To Collect Refund!
This is one thing which I would like to bring to Moneylifers’ notice. It is about an incident which our house help had with
After seeing an ad on TV, she ordered a small sewing machine which was promptly delivered to her house in three days with COD (cash-on-delivery) payment option. She paid around Rs2,500 for that.
To her shock, she found that the machine was not working, as promised in the TV ad. She didn’t know what to do. So she approached my wife for help. Since the machine was not working, my wife thought that we should be able to return it and get her money back. She tried to contact customer care of NaapTol with a request to return the machine.
Every time, she got the answer that somebody would call her back for return-related query; but no one called back. After repeatedly calling four-five times a day for a week, they said that someone would come to pick up the machine, but no one turned up. They also said that, in return, they will give a gift card and you need to use it for buying something else through their website. We continued to follow it up with their customer care, for a couple of weeks. 
One fine day, they gave us the name of some courier company that we had to contact for pick-up. My wife followed them for a week or so; no one turned up. 
Meanwhile, our house help’s husband got an idea; he ordered one mobile from after seeing their TV ad which was worth more than the price of the sewing machine. After two-three days, when the person came to deliver the mobile, he took delivery of that mobile and said he would like to pay for this in the form of return of the sewing machine. The delivery person was puzzled and refused. But, by then, the house help’s husband had taken the parcel and kept it in his home. After this incident, immediately, somebody from NaapTol called and agreed to take back the sewing machine with cash refund. On the very next day, they refunded the money, took back both the sewing machine as well as the mobile. 
With this incident, I just want to highlight the cheap tactics of some of these online retail sites where they are selling cheap stuff (items which will not work even once). And they are not able to replace or refund, if the product is not working. Now, they are luring via TV as well. I think, they are targeting a different section of people who do not have access to Internet.
In this case, the house help’s husband got this brilliant idea and managed to get his money back.
Vinayak Shrivastava, by email 

Numbers Can’t Bluff

This is with regard to “Wealth Creators” (Moneylife, 8 January 2015). It is only Moneylife that talks about shares like Symphony or Mayur Uniquoters which have given investors incredible returns. This is because numbers can’t bluff us. Business papers, today, are full of Infosys’ results, even though these were not spectacular. Yet, how they manage to make it appear so good! Symphony, after its results, may get a five-line mention, although it seems a far better atock to invest in today.

Mohan Sivanand, online comment


Improvements Needed In Education and Health

This is with regard to “Reforms & Governance under Modi” by Sucheta Dalal. The article is just a good sample of acts of good governance that are getting delayed for want of pragmatic action. The country is young. Education reforms are crucial. Vice-chancellors are appointed on the basis of caste and region and not merit. Teachers, likewise, are appointed on the basis of reservations that continue after 65 years of independence. Reservations, like subsidies, need reform if governance in education and health sectors has to improve significantly.

B Yerram Raju, online comment


Cash-Strapped Government?

This is with regard to “MOIL: An Exceptional PSU?” MOIL has a huge cash balance on its books. Investors in MOIL should not assume that the cash is theirs. For a cash-strapped government, it can be used to fund the government’s PSU divestment programme. Why invest in PSUs when our ‘Dear Leader’ is pro-private business?

Ralph Rau, online comment


Information Needed

This is with regard to “4 Reasons To Sell a Stock” by R Balakrishnan. How does one dig up the 20-year trading band? Where is such information on PE available? I haven’t found any financial portal that gives this information. Can someone help with pointers to such information?

Kiran Bhagwat, online comment


R Balakrishnan replies:

Bloomberg, Capitaline and ACE are some of the services; all of them are paid services. Often, some of the ratios have to be derived. So, something like ACE is a good database to use.


Is Solvency Ratio A Worry?

This is with regard to “Life Insurance: Review of Edelweiss Tokio online term plan MyLife+” by Raj Pradhan. What about solvency ratio and claim settlement ratio for Edelweiss Tokio?

Shashank S, online comment


Raj Pradhan replies:       

Good question. Solvency ratio should not be a major worry, due to regulations. Claims settlement ratio can be a concern. For new insurers, it can be low due to high early death claims. We will look at the new IRDA annual report 2013-14, which was released on 8 January 2015, to check how insurers fared.


Bottom-Up Approach

This is with regard to “NITI Aayog: A Stronger & More Powerful Body” by Sucheta Dalal. Media analysis, so far, has not gone deep into the rationale for revamping the Planning Commission which has come about as part of the reform process. But for the change in name and the announcement in Narendra Modi’s maiden Independence Day speech, perhaps the changes would not have been criticised by the mainstream media or Opposition parties. The previous regime has damaged the system silently, like the withdrawal of pension scheme. After Nehru, planning has remained an arithmetical exercise factoring in whatever was happening in the economy without much involvement of, or concern for, those affected by planning.


The new dispensation, which claims to be a ‘bottom up’ approach, hopefully, will allow greater participation of stakeholders at and ensure distributive justice. So far, higher share of resources have been cornered by more developed geographical areas; the development needs of states which did not have a ‘hold’ at the Centre were neglected. By and large, the change takes care to retain the essential role played by the erstwhile Planning Commission while bringing focus on decentralisation and wider role for states.


A responsible Opposition, instead of ‘crying foul’, should do more homework and suggest corrections where they feel the revamp goes against the broad interests of the country and the people.

MG Warrier, online comment


Too Short a Period

This is with regard to “Best & Worst Equity Schemes of 2014.” One year is too short a period to judge the performance of equity schemes.

Atul Naik, online comment


Suggestions On Pension Plan

This is with regard to “Pension Plan: Review of LIC’s Varishtha Bima Pension Yojana” by Raj Pradhan. Varishta Bima Pension Yojana (VBPY) has a drawback; its income is fully taxable. The pension has a limit of Rs5,000/- per month which is not sufficient to lead a decent life.


Government should increase the monthly pension amount to Rs10,000/- and there should be no tax deduction at source because this amount, on an annual basis, is not taxable for a senior citizen.


Loan should be available from the deposit amount, immediately from day one, and not after three years’ waiting period. After five years’ lock-in period, a senior citizen should be able to withdraw the amount from this scheme.

For ‘most senior citizens’ (who complete 80 years of age), this lock-in period should be reduced to three years.


Also, the monthly pension amount should be increased to Rs15,000/- for those belonging to the 80+year age group.

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag


Good News

This is with regard to “Moneylife Foundation felicitates Constable Azim Shaikh for preventing a railway catastrophe.”

Thank God. Good news to read, at last!

Janakiraman Rajalakshmi


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