Depositors Apathy

I would like to say a big thank you to the Moneylife team for the most useful “Survey on bank charges" (Moneylife, 5 September 2013). I would like to put our relevant comments as under:


1. As far as a large number of depositors not being aware, or keeping track, of their right to know the bank service charges is concerned, it is unfortunate. This is a part of the larger consumer malaise. In spite of NGOs and activists’ exhortations, supported by the government campaign Jago Grahak Jago, consumers, in almost all segments, do suffer from lack of awareness. It is high time consumers develop this awareness, instead of blaming the government authorities or such defaulting service-providers.


2. From our own experience, we do not agree with the defensive statements of the BCSBI (Banking Codes and Standards Board of India) or the chairman AC Mahajan—that they are unable to act for lack of ‘authority’. In fact, in 2007, BCSBI was vested with powers (by the regulator Reserve Bank of India—RBI) to be the ‘monitoring authority’ to vouch for the ‘reasonableness of service charges’. BCSBI has completely abdicated its responsibility and duty on one pretext or the other. On a specific complaint to decide/ monitor the ‘reasonableness’ of a specific service charge of a bank, the then senior vice president of BCSBI obfuscated with a wrong or irrelevant answer, despite the fact that BCSBI was the designated monitoring authority for ensuring reasonableness. Later, IBA (Indian Banks Association) was entrusted with the task of considering a cap/ ceiling on some basic banking services in 2010. What we asked was just to decide if the charge was reasonable.


We again wrote to RBI asking if BCSBI was divested of this ‘monitoring authority’. RBI replied in October 2011, “These instructions/ authority of monitoring have not been cancelled/ modified so far.” Who is speaking the truth was thus a mystery for us.

So we again wrote to BCSBI president, in November 2011, asking them to do the necessary task of just “monitoring, as to the reasonableness of the charge”, but the BCSBI did not reply.


In our reminder to RBI, we asked why the ‘empowered authority’ BCSBI was not responding to our ‘monitoring’ request. RBI finally closed the issue by simply reiterating what it wrote earlier that the ‘designated monitoring authority” is still BCSBI.


Is this not deliberate abdication of the duty? Or, are they also in league with the IBA and are encouraging the ‘profiteering’ of their member banks?


Agreed that BCSBI has no power to punish or take action against the defaulting bank, but they could have at least ‘monitored the reasonableness’ and given their finding to the complainant. If the monitoring found the charges unreasonable, it should have referred the matter to the bank or RBI for necessary action. But it did not.


ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) is also a toothless body for taking action against “misleading or false advertising.” But, at least, it decides if the advertisement in question is against the ‘code of conduct’ and advises the advertiser to stop/ withdraw such advertisement.


But BCSBI totally neglects its duty to ‘monitor the code of conduct’ to be followed by banks. What is the need of such a body then? It is a sheer waste of public money.


3. As far as the charges for return of cheque, RBI has recently clarified that the bank is not supposed to levy ‘service charge’ if the cheque is returned on any ‘technical ground.’ Those grounds have been mentioned in its circular and are also available on RBI’s website. The concerned account-holder should verify if any technical reason applies to his case and yet the bank has charged. Then, he is definitely entitled to get the charge reversed.


4. As far as the varying practice and confusion on calculation of minimum balance is concerned, it is also clearly specified. If the ‘quarterly minimum balance’ (QMB), say, is Rs5,000/-, then the average of the all days of three months should be taken to check if it has gone down to less than Rs5,000/-in any quarter. In the case of banks which keep minimum balance on monthly basis, it has to be average of the number of days in that particular month. If the depositor finds that this is not followed, he/she must immediately take up the matter with the concerned bank.


5. The finding that the bank service charge for NEFT transfer is applicable only for a sum beyond Rs1 lakh is not correct. Banks do charge for any transaction through NEFT. For instance, ICICI Bank charges for transfer through net (to any other bank account in India) as under:

Up to Rs10,000 – Rs2.50 + ST

Rs10,000 to Rs1 lakh -  Rs5 + ST

Above Rs1 lakh Rs15 + ST.

This information is given on their website and notice board.

Mohan Siroya, by email


Irrational Endorsements

Celebrity endorsements have been used to advertise products/services. Earlier, these endorsements related mainly to products like hair oil, toilet soaps, shaving creams, perfumes, etc. Today, the product portfolio has undergone a major transformation. Amitabh Bachchan sells everything from hair oil to pens to Maggi noodles. Hema Malini endorses a brand of water filter. Kajol endorses Rin, Diapers and wrinkle-free cream. There is a host of actresses who endorse shampoos. Shah Rukh Khan endorses watches.


Mr Bachchan and his daughter-in-law have also been endorsing jewellery brands. In the process, these celebrities end up earning large sums of money, while the consumer ends up shelling more from his pocket as the manufacturer/seller would have factored all these costs in their pricing.


Of late, celebrities have gone one step ahead and begun promoting financial services. While Hema Malini is a brand ambassador for Bank of Rajasthan, Juhi Chawla is asking people to become customers of Dena Bank. What rankles is the manner in which some celebrities are endorsing financial products like gold loans.


Take the case of Manappuram gold loan. Akshay Kumar and Mohanlal have been reportedly paid Rs5 crore each for endorsing this brand while other stars, like Venkatesh (Telugu actor), Puneeth (Kannada actor) and Vikram Kenny (Tamil actor), have been paid sums exceeding Rs3 crore each for endorsing the brand.


As a consumer, I have a question to ask. Tomorrow, if this company goes bust, and if its promoter becomes insolvent, will all these celebrities compensate the victims?


The point that I am trying to make is: Why are corporates hell-bent on celebrity endorsements when their financials are not so good? Has any research been done that correlates celebrity endorsements to increased revenues? If not, how can they be so sure that spending a fortune on celebrity endorsements is going to increase their bottom line? Lastly, there has to be some accountability that needs to be fixed on celebrities for endorsing ponzi schemes, chit funds, gold loans, etc. The celebrities need to be socially responsible before they endorse something that can probably wipe out a citizen’s lifelong savings. Is there no statute/ legal body in India that can actually provide a framework for celebrity endorsements in case of financial services?


Can Moneylife’s legal expert throw light about the scenario prevailing in Western countries?

Valliyur Satyavageeswaran, by email


Excellent Article

This is with regard to “Fish for Undervalued Stocks” by R Balakrishnan. Excellent article. I am enlightened.

Samir Roy


Annuity to the Corrupt

This is with regard to “Food Security Bill passed. What about food supply security?” by Yogesh Sapkale. Madam Sonia has hammered the first nail on the coffin of India, just to ensure another victory in an election. Every few years, food output will fall. Grains will be imported, giving an annuity to the corrupt.

R Balakrishnan


It is a Farce!

This is with regard to “Portfolio Management Schemes: Will Your Portfolio Blow Up?” by Debashis Basu & Jason Monteiro. Thanks for the interesting article on PMS. This is a farce. Most bank employees have no idea of PMS and relationship managers who handle your account ‘personally’ are novices. They have no training. It would be in the interest of the public, who are keen to take advantage of the investments in shares, to read and gather information. The public could do so simply by reading unbiased journals like Moneylife and then take their own decisions. As a start, they would do well to invest in dividend-paying blue-chip companies and not indulge in trading. Then, they must keep a daily watch on the price movements, keep records and read selected newspapers that write on such matters, for additional information. Brokers are only concerned with making money in commissions for themselves. One must avoid them like the plague!

Dr Anantha K Ramdas


Liquid Estate for Family

This is with regard to “LIC agents likely to recommend less suitable product: Harvard Study.” Term insurance covers risk of death. Endowment policy covers risk of death and also provides for life after retirement. Modern investment gurus, who tom-tom term insurance, often ignore this aspect. Endowment policy creates liquid estate for the family, when the proposer pays the first premium which no other asset class does. Life insurance is first-class investment!

Rajendra Athalye


Sceptic Investors

This is with regard to “Why traditional Indian investor is not interested in equities and other products” by Vivek Sharma. While investing in stocks, being gullible is a major handicap. Sceptics tend to survive and prosper; to be sceptical is a necessary pre-condition for becoming a better investor.

Nilesh Kamerkar


SBI increases lending, deposit rates

SBI has increased deposit rates to 7.5% from 6.5% for deposits below Rs1 crore for maturity between seven to 179 days and 211 days to less than a year

State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, has hiked its base rate by 10 basis points (bps) to 9.8% from 9.7% and also certain retail deposit rates by 25 bps to 100bps. SBI has also hiked the benchmark prime lending rate by 10 basis points from 14.45% to 14.55% with immediate effect.


The state-run lender hiked deposit rates for deposits of less than Rs1 crore for various maturities from 7 days to 10 years.




Existing Rates w.e.f. 01.03.2013

Revised rates 

With effective from

7 days to 179 days




180 days to 210 days




211 days to less than 1 year




1 year and up to 10 years





After the latest deposit rate hike, SBI will offer 9% interest on 1-10 year retail deposits. Till date, this bank was offering 8.75% on such deposits.


Base rate is the rate below which banks cannot lend. This move from the country's largest lender may prompt other public sector lenders to hike their base rates.



Infosys explains why MCA21 has issues

In response to Moneylife’s queries on issues faced by users while uploading submissions to MCA21 portal, Infosys’s director V Balakrishnan has offered a detailed technical response. He also asserted that Infosys has inherited technical problems from TCS, which was running the MCA21 portal in the past

Infosys, taking a note of issues raised by Moneylife, has accepted that there were some problems with MCA21, the e-filing portal of Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) due to updation of its intrusion prevention system (IPS) signatures.


In an email response to our queries, V Balakrishnan, member of the Board at Infosys, said, "...of late the users have faced failures in uploading submissions and making subsequent payment of the fees. The root cause of the error was traced to our intrusion prevention system (IPS) whose signatures were updated recently. The signatures were updated after an advisory on cyber security attacks. One of the signatures was causing the system to interpret legitimate e-Form uploads as intrusion and resetting the client connection. The same IPS was also blocking redirection to the payment gateway. The issue was resolved after the specific signature was modified on 16 September 2013."


"MCA-21 is a very important project for us and we will take every effort to make this work to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders. We had met with various professional bodies recently to address all their issues.” Infosys is meeting more users at its campus to apprise them all the initiatives taken and also to address his specific issues, Mr Balakrishnan added.


As reported earlier, a group of Chartered Accountants (CAs), Company Secretaries (CS), CWAs, lawyers, companies and consultants have started an open petition on  to highlight the issues they are facing everyday due to malfunction of MCA21 portal. Binoy Chacko of BG & Associates had said, “The difficulties created by MCA21 are resulting in huge penalty, duplicate fee payments, and waste of professional man-hours across country, delay of application or approval process at Registrar of Companies-ROC and MCA offices."  


As Moneylife has reported several times in the last eight months, MCA21, the showpiece of e-Governance and corporate filing portal, which, for the first time has made all corporate filings available online, has been sputtering. This is especially after Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) handed over the portal to Infosys. Since then, people accessing MCA21 for paid information or mandatory filing have been facing a nightmare.


This was supposed to be simple handover involving two of India's best and most reputed software companies. On 16th January, Tanmoy Chakrabarty, the head of Government Industry Solutions at TCS told Moneylife, “There was a round of bidding after the first seven-year contract was ending. We lost to Infosys on the price front in the MCA 21-II and we have gone through the full transition. In fact, at the end of business day today we have handed over all systems to the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) and Infosys Technologies”.


At that time, the ministry had said the portal (MCA21) was undergoing transition of its operations and services to a new service provider. But there were a full 120 days provided in the contract for training and transition before the handover was completed. And TCS claimed that this was fully done to the satisfaction of Infosys as well as the ministry.


According to Mr Balakrishnan of Infosys, the system had teething issues during the transition due to some problems and they have worked to fix all of those. "The fact is that we inherited a system from the earlier service provider with many components which were past its end life with lots of manual scripts at the back end. We had put in enormous amount of efforts in reconfiguring the system, automating the scripts, upgrading the technology while making the disaster recovery system more robust," he said.


He added, "At the outset let me reiterate on behalf of Infosys that we consider MCA21 to be a project of national importance and shall do whatever it takes to do a professional job to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. We assure you that you will see significant improvements in the system going forward." Here is an excerpt from a detailed technical note from Infosys to Moneylife.

  1. Improvements in the system:  We have taken a number of measures for improving the stability of the system. We have invested significantly in providing:
  1. Additional/Upgraded servers such as Back Office database server, Monitoring Report Server, LDAP server.
  2. Replacement of Network elements such as Cisco Firewall, Core Switches, Routers, Riverbed WAN optimizer, Radware Load Balancer.
  3. Migration of the database to newly installed servers for better performance and stability.
  4. Implementation of Linux based new LDAP servers (more number of cores), thus eliminating the frequent crashes of old LDAP servers.
  5. Upgrading Software components such as LDAP and DB2.
  6. Upgraded Bandwidth and Client Infrastructure refresh for Field offices. 
  1. Root cause Analysis of the issues:  One of the most common issues raised by the stakeholder was the failures in uploading submissions and making subsequent payment of the fees. The root cause of the error was traced to our Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) whose signatures were updated recently. The signatures were updated after an advisory on cyber security attacks.

One of the signatures was causing the system to interpret legitimate e-Form uploads as intrusion and resetting the client connection. The same IPS was also blocking redirection to the payment gateway. The issue was resolved after the specific signature was modified on 16 September 2013. 

  1. Peak filing preparedness:

a. The improvements made in infrastructure as above have been supported by augmentations in manpower for providing Helpdesk support and for ticket resolutions to cater to higher traffic in the peak filing period.

b. We have upgraded / added new hardware.  These changes have already been deployed in production as of 9th September 2013. We are monitoring their performance and are making necessary changes as required to ensure that we have a stable environment with added capacity prior to peak filing season.  

  1. Performance:
    1. We would like to point out that the number of filings done in MCA portal for the period 16th August to 16th Sep for 2013 shows an increase compared to 2012. 




Aug 16 - Aug 31



Sep 1 - Sep 16



  1. The ticket pendency is down to 350 from the highs of > 6000 in May 2013 time frame.  Please note that the ticketing process has a facility by which the originator is informed of its closure and the originator can reopen if not satisfied.
  1. Issues reported by stake holders:

a. We are actively pursuing the issues reported by stakeholders in the past few weeks and have significantly increased field contact with stakeholders. We have conducted interaction sessions with stake holders at Delhi and have planned for stake holder interactions at Kolkata on 18th Sep 2013 and Hyderabad on 23rd September.

b. Our teams have been meeting stakeholders in various cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, etc. to see their issues first-hand and offer resolutions to their issues. Till date we have met more than 50 professionals in all these cities and we will continue to do so in the coming weeks as well.

c. We are also taking measures to address the issues through stakeholder education, improvement in system messages content.  

  1. Future plans:  The MCA system was built over a period of six years.  We have been running it and resolving the teething issues of upgrading a live system.

This is the second major issue related to an e-governance issue highlighted by Moneylife. Earlier, Moneylife raised the issues faced by passport applicants at the facilitation centres (Passport Seva Kendra) managed by TCS. The high-level meeting of Pune Passport Grievance Forum with senior-most officials of TCS organised by Moneylife Foundation at its Mumbai office raised some hopes for the generally harassed passport applicant. (TCS assures smooth passport delivery system)


A week after the meeting, TCS took several steps like appointing a seasoned Verification Officer (VO) before Counter ‘A’ where documents are blindly scanned; extending the online appointment date to a week instead of a day; putting up boards to warn against illegal passport agents and putting up prominent boards to list the documents required for various categories of passports.



Emerging Voice

3 years ago

I rxd my 2Wheeler renewal notice from NIA. It had no renewal premium mentioned. It just asked me to contact branch for renewal premium. I tried online renewal but was stonewalled "more than 10Yr old vehicles, renewal can't be done online". When I lodged a comliant with NIA & IRDA, NIA replied that I should visit the branch with my Scooter for chking its condition. I had 50% NCB for past 5 Yrs & never made a claim. I asked NIA if they have a mechanic at their office to check my scooter or a Surveyor? They said neither. Then they told me orally the renewal premium on phone & refused to send me a proper renewal notice. I will NEVER take any insurance from a Public sector insurance company in future. I have asked a Pvt Insurance to provide a quote & will be changing my Insurer.

Sandeep Jalan

3 years ago

Apart from all the flaws MCA 21 may have, it has also one serious flaw,

wherein online filing (uploading of documents) can be made by "Companies only",

whereas section 445 of the companies Act, 1956, obliges every Petitioner to file the order of Winding up, which is filed in his Petition.

The said Petitioner may be an individual or the partnership firm.

Nobody in the RoC has the answer as how this Petitioner would upload this winding up order with RoC.


Avinash Murkute

In Reply to Sandeep Jalan 3 years ago

Nice Observation Sandeep. Earlier to my experience, there was no system to read and check postal mail. One DIN officer told me that she receives thousands of postal mail and asked me to resend the details by DTDC which costed me INR 150.00 extra and loss of 4 months. Although PAN number was mentioned in the earlier offline DIN application, although DIN was processed on the basis of PAN photocopy attested by Class I G officer as valid ID proof, they want me to use to DIN 4 for updating PAN number, this is really funny side of MCA 21, isn't it? And it is amusing that someone who don't have common sense of reading and understanding Marathi names, asked me to change father and I refused and lodged 7 page written protest with DIN officer. How to change father, MCA better put on their website or employ sensible executives and not merely so called highly qualified technical kids.


3 years ago

There is a similar situation with New India Assurance Company for issuance of insurance policies - portal based.

At new India Assurance- organisations involved are TCS and Wipro.Software is in a TOTAL mess.Brokers and Agents are just bearing the brunt.Problems are faced for almost over ONE YEAR.

Above mentioned system MESS is further worsened by in-competent data entry - unionised operaters and in-competent and inefficient Managers of New India Assurance.

There are plenty of mistakes in policies issued and renewal notices are wrongly generated or even NOT AT ALL generated with lot of delays.In case of Mediclaim policies-wrong data sent to TPA can create problems at the time of claim.

Policy holders are asked to send BLANK cheques since renewal premium calculations are in MESS.If excess premium is paid-refund is given after couple of weeks/months.

Above mentioned situation results in huge loss of man hours of brokers and agents as its happening with MCA21 portal.

Any brokers/agents of Newindia Assurance reading these comments may add their experiences.

I am sure situation is similar with other PSU General Insurance cos.

Avinash Murkute

3 years ago

Good at least they agreed that there were / are isssues. 2 plus 2 is equal to 4 and not eight. Unfortunately they could not agree earlier at CPC Bangalore which is now ISO 15489-1: 2001 certified unit.

Dutt Sharma

3 years ago

Congratulations Moneylife..!!
Seeking answers from any service providers, for their deficiency in service or malfunctions in software, are never easy to seek answers. I am happy that the issues are getting addressed in a very open fashion, rather than being shoved below RED CARPETS .. ..true democratic processes being evolved.

Anil Agashe

3 years ago

Great work by Moneylife to get this information. Congratulations!

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