Citizens' Issues
Court considers complaint against Smriti Irani
A court here on Wednesday took cognizance of a complaint against Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani for allegedly misrepresenting facts in her election affidavits.
 
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain considered the private complaint against Irani and fixed August 28 for recording pre-summoning evidence in the case. 
 
The court on June 1 reserved its order on consideration of the complaint filed by Ahmer Khan. 
 
Khan in his complaint in April sought action against the minister for allegedly lying on oath about her educational qualification.
 
Khan's lawyer K.K. Manan told the court that Irani declared herself to be a 1996 batch B.A. graduate from Delhi University in her affidavit filed for the 2004 Lok Sabha election. But in her 2014 Lok Sabha election affidavit, she stated she had done B.Com Part 1 in 1994 from Delhi University.
 
"It is evident from the contents of the affidavits filed by Irani that at best, only one of the depositions by her on oath in respect of her educational qualifications is correct," said the petitioner's counsel.
 
The petition claimed that Irani also lied on oath about her assets and it sought action against her for offences under the Representation of the People Act.

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Cement carrier sinks in Arabian Sea, 14 rescued
Fourteen crew members were rescued from a cement carrier which sank in the Arabian Sea off Gujarat on Wednesday in stormy weather, an official said here.
 
M.V. Coastal Pride sent out a distress signal after its engines failed around 25 km west of Dahanu in Maharashtra on Tuesday evening.
 
The Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard had directed the ship to anchor even as towing arrangements were being made.
 
But around 8.40 a.m. on Wednesday, the ship sank in the Daman coast, around 75 nautical miles north of Mumbai.
 
The Indian Navy mounted a rescue operation with ships INS Shikra, INS Colaba and a Seaking helicopter along with the Coast Guard's two Chetak helicopters and rescued all the 14 crewmen safely.
 
Two days ago, the Maritime Rescue Cooridation Centre Mumbai handled a distress call from a newly constructed vessel whose towline broke while it was being towed from Shanghai to Abu Dhabi.
 
In another emergency, 25 containers fell off from two ships, including 20 from M.V. MOL Cosmos and five from TCI Arjun.
 
On Monday, braving the rough sea, heavy rains and poor visibility, the navy and Coast Guard had rescued 20 crew members from a stranded ship M.V. Jindal Kamakshi off Palghar in northern Maharashtra.

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Stocks or Equity Mutual Funds?
A Moneylife Foundation event discussed the better route for investing
 
Investors have an option to invest in stocks of good companies directly or they can get exposure to stocks through equity mutual funds. Which route should they choose? Our research shows that investors familiar with financial terms who can spend some time and resources to research stocks could generate higher returns from stocks. One of the reasons is costs. 
Debashis Basu, trustee of Moneylife Foundation, explained how stocks score over equity funds in terms of costs with several examples. If one has a huge corpus to invest, over a long period, equity schemes turn out to be more costly compared to stocks. The reason is that for mutual fund investment you pay a fee—expense ratio—which is a percentage of the market value of the corpus. In the case of stocks, you need to pay fixed annual maintenance charges and one-time transaction charges, which work out to be a tiny percentage of the amount over the long term.
 
“Costs eat into returns. In equity schemes, the fees charged can range between 1.25% and 3% per year. In percentage terms, it may seem small, but as your corpus grows, you are paying higher fees in percentage terms,” explained 
Mr Basu.
 
Many people tend to avoid stocks as they are considered riskier than equity funds. “There is no difference in risks between buying stocks and holding funds,” Mr Basu explained. Both are volatile and can fall sharply leading to a loss of capital. In terms of returns, however, a diversified portfolio of quality stocks will be expected to outperform most equity schemes over the long term, he added.
 
He emphasised repeatedly that equity funds are wonderful instruments and those who have no time and interest to analyse individual stocks or those who have a low investment corpus should go for equity schemes. Equity schemes would be ideal for those who are just beginning to invest and are looking to invest small amounts. However, when they gain confidence and have larger corpus, they need to look at stocks because of higher costs of staying invested in funds.
 
In terms of stock selection, too, most equity schemes are not very efficient, Mr Basu said, the funds stick to the same basket of stocks and are heavily weighted to their benchmark stocks. To win at stock-picking, Mr Basu said that one should select stocks with high return on capital and hold them for the long term. The packed seminar ended with a lively interaction. 

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