Filling Their Pockets
This is with regard to “Stop those Statins!” by Prof BM Hegde. This is to congratulate Prof Hegde for pointing out the bad effects of statins which are prescribed for correcting the lipid profile, especial-ly to reduce cholesterol. I am 73 years old and my health checks have not been very frequent. Most of them were a part of the mandatory checks of the companies that employed me. My cho-lesterol has been around 230-240. I remember very well that up to the late 1990s, the level of 140 to240 was accepted as normal range. Now, it is supposed to be under 160. It is said that the paid research by drug companies of USA came with the outcome of the new cholesterol level of 160, for obvious reasons.
Not only that, a strip of statins costs Rs90, i.e., $1.5. In USA, if you do not have US insurance, it re-tails at $88 (yes $88!), even if you have a doctor’s prescription. When I showed the man on the counter my used Indian strip costing Rs90, on his smartphone, he checked the US dollar conversion and actually called 4-5 of his colleagues to see that it was the same statin strip, by the same West-ern company, only manufactured in India. He then offered the strip to me for $66. So, especially the American pharma companies are there not to take care of your health, but to fill their pocket even if the medicine is harmful to you. It is actually worthwhile to repeat their research, at least on a few drugs like statins, in India under strict supervision. Also, for such select harmful drugs, feed-back from volunteer patients for, say, three years will help a lot.  
The major part of the issue of Time magazine of 5 May 2014 (American edition) is devoted to the research carried out on how the American hospitals are taking the insurance companies and pa-tients for an expensive ride. It has also given examples of how the over-the-counter pills are charged 20 times for in-patients.
Ravindra B Shetye, by email

What Next?

This is with regard to “Buy Used Cars Smartly” by Raj Pradhan. How do you handle such diverse topics? First, you astounded us with your depth of analysis on various insurance issues. Then, you covered the entire spectrum of fixed-income products—from debt funds to bonds and equity, oc-casionally. And now used cars? What next? Fingers crossed.
Pravesh Pandya, online comment

Scope for Improvement

I would like to share with Moneylife readers, my recent air travel experience. I took a trip to Dubai on IndiGo which is India’s largest airline, reportedly with a market share of 36.4%. We all know it is a low-cost and no-frills airline. It is known for its commitment to punctuality and its customer-friendly attitude.
Our flight to Dubai was on time and the ground and cabin staff was extremely kind and friendly.  But the in-flight sales of snacks leave scope for tremendous improvement. Let me explain.
Our flight was scheduled to take off at 0720 hours and passengers for international flights were expected to check in at least three hours in advance.  Thanks to their constant follow-up by SMS, one could directly check in online; but the baggage has to be handled, which is a minor issue. How-ever, this meant that we had to be at the airport by 0420, or earlier, and the process of fast check in, immigration and security clearance would take about 45 minutes, depending on other flights at that time.  In Bengaluru, the travel time from the city centre to the airport takes about one hour, following speed limits, and one has to make a provision of 10/15 minutes for security check at the entrance. All this meant, one had to leave home as early as 3am, which, again, means, one has to be up by 2.30am! So, after doing all this by 5am or so, one would be able to clear the security and reach the departure gate. We decided to have the breakfast on the flight, as we were advised that IndiGo offers this facility. Our travel agent mentioned that they (IndiGo) accept payment in ru-pees, which we found is not valid in case of overseas flights.
Anyway, we paid $6 for uppuma and $3 for coffee; both were of poor quality. What we would like to suggest to IndiGo management is that, considering their expansion plans, and the anticipated service of good quality food by others in the field, they ought to think in terms of having IndiGo kitchens for all their flights that leave so early in the mornings, for a start. Otherwise, all those who have plans to travel overseas on IndiGo, and have early morning flights, would do well to have a ‘little’ bite at the airport itself. I hope IndiGo will review the situation, if they think seriously about this aspect of customer service. 
The founders of IndiGo, Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh S Gangwal, have adequate knowledge of this is-sue; at least, Mr Gangwal has had great experience in the US Air Ways. He is admired and respected for his ad-ministrative abilities.  As a resident in Washington DC area, I have often interacted with the airline crew to know this. IndiGo can still improve and do better than today, by seriously considering the food-on-board issue. You cannot have a hungry passenger on flight who would become angry after eating IndiGo snacks!
Dr AK Ramdas, by email

Forcing Staff To Sell Stock?  

This is with regard to the article “Making a Mockery of the Nifty” (Issue dated 28 May 2015). A cou-ple of months ago, a friend who works for Bosch told me that the management was forcing staff to sell their company stock held through stock options. This, to me, was a signal that the company was preparing to de-list. It must be noted that the parent company Robert Bosch is a privately held company in Germany and is not listed in that country. So I fail to understand how the NSE could replace a widely held and highly reputed IDFC stock with Bosch, when it does not seem to be eager to have any public shareholding. Incidentally, IDFC is one of the promoters of the NSE. There is def-initely something fishy going on here.
Satish M, by email

Welcome Judgement

This is with regard to “Promoting Politicians with Public Funded Advertisements” by Sucheta Dalal. The Supreme Court judgement on this subject is welcome. There should be a thorough check of expenditure using public money. Similarly, rules and regulations should be set for expenditure like freebies, subsidies, etc, by the government at the Centre and states.
Subramani PK

Only Time Will Tell!

This is with regard to “Is Modi Following BJP’s Pre-election Vision Document 2020” by Sucheta Dalal. Will Mr Modi realise that better economic performance, job creation and agricultural growth must come first? Only time will tell. But one has to acknowledge the efforts of the present government. Indeed, it is their achievement that they have transparently worked so far and tried to recover what was lost under UPA regime. This government realises what is in India’s interest and is stead-fast in its stand. It is not bowing to the pressure of foreign countries. The message is clear. To pro-tect India’s interest at all cost... Dr Swamy is a veteran and he ought to know that it requires some more years before we see results. Unfortunately, the government is trying its best to pass maxi-mum Bills in Parliament and is also attempting to enter into bilateral pacts with neighbouring coun-tries.
Let us all give it support, cooperation and time to prove itself.
Jayendra Pandya 

Too Young an Age

This is with regard to “Life Insurance: Review of Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana” by Raj Pradhan. I feel that 55 years is too young an age for exit! It is stupid of me to think that this scheme is universal and is for men and women of all ages. I will check for SBIs claim settlement procedure. 
Shashank S
Keep Your Data Safe
This is with regard to “Safe Mobile Banking” by Yogesh Sapkale.  Android has an option of phone encryption; if you are a frequent user of mobile banking, it is good to encrypt your phone; even if your phone is lost, your data would be safe.  


Product Suitability: Don’t Rely on Your Banker
Suitability of financial products, though extremely essential, is not followed in principle. Bankers, wealth managers, advisers, etc, need to check their clients’ profile before recommending a specific product. On the other hand, the average person is clueless about which products to invest in and is left confused by the risk profile form that needs to be filled. Therefore, the onus of due diligence for assessing product suitability is on the service-provider. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) included the ‘Right to Suitability’ as one of the rights of bank customers. But do banks diligently check product suitability before selling a product? We received numerous cases where senior citizens were sold toxic unit-linked insurance products. In our survey, a majority claimed that they were mis-sold financial products by banks. In our Cover Story this time, we highlight several such cases of mis-selling and the ways to protect your savings from the hard-selling of banks.
In her Different Strokes section, Sucheta writes on Essar’s sordid story of crony capitalism. First, leeching off public shareholders and, then, public sector banks. The Essar diaries, and leaks, pertain only to a small recent phase, but provide an insight into how this well-oiled system of influence has worked for the past 30 years.
Sucheta, in her Crosshairs column, writes about the bizarre Rs92 lakh crore arbitration award to an investor Madan Sharma for a total loss of just Rs3.47 crore over five years due to unauthorised trades and false promises of high returns. Even though the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is armed to inspect, adjudicate, ban, raid and, even arrest, a person, nothing has been done, yet.
Moneylife Foundation recently launched a Tax Helpline. In this online forum, the tax queries asked, and the answers provided by experts, will be visible to all. If you have any query or issues on taxation, do visit -


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