Citizens' Issues
Chit Funds: Not just new laws; implementation is the key
While there are enough provisions in existing Acts like the PCMCS Act, it has become difficult to curb dubious chit funds and MLM companies so far, thanks to multiple regulation and lack of coordination between authorities
The Standing Committee on Finance chaired by Yashwant Sinha is likely to recommend scrapping the Chit Fund Act, 1982, following the fallout of Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal. If the Act is scrapped, then the government would be able to label all chit fund companies as 'illegal' and may initiate legal proceedings. The question, however, is not about this Act or any other act. What the government needs to do is use the existing Act for taking immediate action and prosecuting the culprits. But can the government show the necessary will at the Centre and the states?
Chit funds are often misused by its promoters and there are many instances of the founders running what is basically a chain-money scheme and absconding with the investors’ money. Almost all promoters of such schemes promise to “double-your-money” within a short period.
According to All Kerala Kuri Foremen's Association, the state has around 5,000 chit fund  companies, with Thrissur district accounting for the maximum of 3,000. These chit companies provide employment to about 35,000 persons directly and an equal number indirectly. Much of this is legitimate business. What is dubious is chain-money schemes that have expanded rapidly in poorer states like West Bengal, Orissa and northeast India. In order to establish themselves as ‘authentic’ and legitimate business, these companies are found to be expanding into several other ventures, mostly real estate and plantation.
While people are demanding scrapping chit funds and MLMs, there are legal hurdles. While the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act or PCMCS Act, 1978, has provisions to control such schemes, it is administered by the Department of Financial Services under the ministry of finance, but is supposed to be implemented by the state governments.
“Section 3 of the PCMCS Act prohibits any entity from promoting, conducting any prize chit or money circulation scheme, enrolling any member of any such chit or scheme, or participating in it otherwise, or from receiving or remitting any money in pursuance of such chit or scheme. This is the provision we used to ban Japan Life, Amway and GoldQuest,” says a police officer.
Many of these MLM companies are not registered under the Companies Act. Even those registered evade regulation. Those booked regroup under different names and continue to cheat the people. There are several laws, central as well as state, which govern these operators. Kerala has its own Kerala Chitties Act 1975, then there is Tamil Nadu Chit Funds Act, 1961, the Chit Funds (Karnataka) Rules, 1983, The Andhra Pradesh Chit Funds Act, 1971, for Delhi, there are two, the Chit Funds Act, 1982 and Delhi Chit Funds Rules, 2007 while Maharashtra has its own Chit Fund Act, 1975.
The major hurdle in curbing the chit fund and MLM menace is multiple regulation and lack of coordination between the Union and state governments. 
The Union government is also looking to revamp through amendments, the PCMCS Act.  Interestingly, the PCMCS Act, 1978, was promulgated only after large-scale loot by these dubious companies and a report by the James Raj Committee (1974) called for a total ban on such schemes arguing that they were prejudicial to public interest. It is clear the Act has failed in the 35 years thereafter, barring sporadic action by exceptional officers like VC Sajjanar, the deputy inspector general (DIG) of Police in Andhra Pradesh.
In India, AP was the first state to enact a law to ban money circulation schemes in 1965. Both the Supreme Court and several high courts have passed landmark judgements against the operation of these schemes as they violate the law of the land and are detrimental to the interests of the public. There are ongoing cases against Speak Asia and Amway, to cite two examples.
The question, therefore, is will the governments show enough will power to stop the menace of chit funds and MLMs by using the existing Act and rules instead of spinning an argument about a new law and new regulator? Even if there is a new law what will ensure that governments actually act as per the law?


Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit indicted for misusing public funds in ads

The notices by Lokayukta justice Manmohan Sarin had been issued in response to a petition filed by SK Saxena seeking action against public functionaries who put up hoardings and posters without taking permission from concerned authorities

The Delhi Lokayukta on Wednesday indicted chief minister Sheila Dikshit for misusing government funds for carrying out an ad campaign. The Lokayukta further recommended recovery of Rs11 crore.


This comes a week after the Lokayukta on 15th May issued show-cause notices to Dikshit, transport minister Ramakant Goswami and six other MLAs. It had objected to putting up of hoardings and banners allegedly in violation of law.


Dikshit and others were given time till 22nd May to submit their replies. The Lokayukta had, however, observed that enforcement agencies were reluctant to act against the “powerful and mighty”.


The notices by Lokayukta justice Manmohan Sarin had been issued in response to a petition filed by SK Saxena seeking action against public functionaries who put up hoardings and posters without taking permission from concerned authorities.


Fourteen current and former municipal councillors were also issued notices by the anti-graft body for erecting posters and banners in violation of the law.




3 years ago


Sensex, Nifty may find short-term support: Wednesday Closing Report

A close above the day's high may bring some relief in the current downtrend. Support is around 6,050 in the Nifty

The market finished marginally down on selling pressure from capital goods, realty and oil & gas sectors, making the third consecutive close in the negative. A close above the day's high may bring some relief in the current downtrend. Support is around 6,050 in the Nifty. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) reported a volume of 56.33 crore shares and advance-decline ratio of 451:956.


The market opened in the positive tracking its Asian peers which were firm in morning trade on reports that the Bank of Japan will implement a bond-buying programme to help achieve a 2% inflation target. US indices closed at new highs overnight as comments from some Federal Reserve officials allayed fears of the closure of the central bank’s bond buying initiative.


The Nifty opened 13 points higher at 6,127 and the Sensex resumed trade at 20,151, a gain of 39 points over its previous close. Buying in IT, banking and metal stocks enabled the indices hit their day’s high in the first half hour itself. The Nifty touched 6,148 and the Sensex rose to 20,220 at their respective highs.


Profit booking amid choppy trade resulted in the benchmarks paring part of their early gains and head lower in subsequent trade. The indices were range-bound in the remaining part of the morning session.


The benchmarks entered the negative zone at around 2.00pm on selling pressure from capital goods, realty and oil &gas sectors. Negative opening of the key European markets ahead of US Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments on the outlook for the US economy also weighed on domestic investors. The decline led the market to its low in post-noon trade. At this point the Nifty fell to 6,074 and the Sensex retracted back to 20,001.


Meanwhile Infrastructure conglomerate Larsen & Toubro today reported 6.90% decline in standalone net profit at Rs1,787.94 crore for the fourth quarter ended March, 2013, due to a sharp rise in interest outgo. The company had reported a net profit of Rs 1,920.41 crore for the corresponding quarter of 2011-12. Net sales of the company were up nearly 10% at Rs 20,293.83 crore during the quarter vis-a-vis Rs 18,460.90 crore of the Q4 of FY12.


The market managed to pull itself from the lows and close with a minor loss, but was down for the third straight day. The Nifty fell 20 points (0.32%) to 6,095 and the Sensex closed the session at 20,062, down 49 points (0.25%).


The broader indices underperformed the Sensex today, as the BSE Mid-cap index declined 0.83% and the BSE Small-cap index dropped 0.82%.


The sectoral gainers were BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.83%); BSE Healthcare (up 0.41%); BSE TECk (up 0.22%) and BSE IT (up 0.13%). The main losers were BSE Capital Goods (down 3.67%); BSE Realty (down 3.47%); BSE Oil & Gas (down 0.98%); BSE Power (down 0.69%) and BSE Metal (down 0.57%).


Out of the 30 stocks on the Sensex, 14 settled higher. The key gainers were Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 2.90%); Bharti Airtel (up 2.25%); Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (up 1.84%); NTPC (up 1.48%) and ITC (up 1.28%). The key losers were Larsen & Toubro (down 5.57%); Tata Power (down 2.16%); Hero MotoCorp (down 2.04%); GAIL India (down 1.34%) and Sterlite Industries (down 1.25%).


The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Berger Paints (up .34%) and Castrol India (up 3.80%).

The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Adani Power (down 7.01%) and DLF (down 5.63%).


The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Kaveri Telecom Products (up .90%) and Best & Crompton (up 19.84%).

The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Krypton Industries (down 18.82%) and Filatex Fashions (down 18.51%).


Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 20 ended in the in the green. The main gainers were Sun Pharma (up 2.88%); Bharti Airtel (up 2.48%); NTPC (up 1.97%); Dr Reddy’s (up 1.68%) and ITC (up 1.62%). The major losers were L&T (down 6.05%); DLF (down 5.92%); Jaiprakash Associates (down 4.23%); BPCL (down 3.32%) and Bank of Baroda (down 3.28%).


The Asian pack, with the exception of the Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng, closed higher after the Bank of Japan asserted that it would continue to support the economy. The Chinese bench settled lower as the government proposed a ban on coal imports while the Hong Kong market was down as a storm shut the financial markets earlier this morning.


The Jakarta Composite gained 0.37%; the KLSE Composite rose 0.38%; the Nikkei 225 surged 1.60%; the Straits Times advanced 0.30%; the Seoul Composite climbed 0.64% and the Taiwan Weighted settled 0.19% higher. Among the losers, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.12% and the Hang Seng declined 0.45%.


At the time of writing, the main European indices were down between 0.11% and 0.19% while the US stock futures were marginally higher.  


Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks totalling Rs679.44 crore on Monday while domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities amounting to Rs866.69 crore.


FMCG major Emami has received two international awards for packaging from Worldstar 2013. The awards saw participation from 33 countries with 316 entries at the Auspack PLUS 2013 in Sydney, Australia. The two awards received were for Himani Navratna Cool Talc in the health and beauty Category and Menthoplus Balmin the Pharmaceutical & Medical category. The stock surged 3.33% to close at Rs753.10 on the NSE.


JSW Ispat Steel’s board on 21st May has approved the company’s plan to buy Heidelberg Cement’s grinding unit in Maharashtra, at Dolvi in Raigad district of Maharashtra, adjacent to the company’s steel plant, for an unnamed sum. The acquisition is proposed by way of a ‘slump sale’ and would be subject to obtaining necessary approvals and completion of due diligence. JSW Ispat Steel declined 2.14% to close at Rs9.15 on the NSE.


Tata Teleservices has entered into a partnership with GMR Airports to offer Wi-Fi services at Delhi and the Hyderabad international airports. The agreement would enable passengers transiting through the Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3 in Delhi and Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport, Hyderabad, access free Wi-Fi services for a specified time. The stock dropped 8.91% to close at Rs9.20 on the NSE.



Naresh Nayak

3 years ago

Pick up the last 10 years financials and apart from the usual sales and pat, watch for a rise in cash from operations in the cash flow statement, the cash return on investment of at least the past 3 years (>15% is excellent), the stock price graph, then if the management has no bad flakes on it, you could pick up a first small tranche. Their dividends if increasing are all the more better. The business model should be difficult to replicate and their strengths are difficult to replicate and they have built it over time. Other companies which have strong brands in tobacco and liquor in regional markets do really well. Then consumer goods companies like regional biscuit manufacturers with strong regional brands and expanding are good.


3 years ago

Most of the shares have gone up and it is becoming very difficult to pick up. If results are not as per expectation ( though good) are being punished badly recent examples of Infy ,Divis lab & L&T show that. Under these circumstances those shares which are giving constant returns to share holders and creating wealth and are media shy and hence are not observed by many investors are good bets.


shanti Patel

In Reply to snehakamath 3 years ago


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