Here is another MLM, Grace Air Travels, which claims to give cash rewards and a tour to Thailand on selling travel packages
If easy income on filling surveys, selling household products or simply watching advertisements were not enough, here is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, which claims to give money as well a free tour to Thailand on selling travel packages.
Grace Air Travels, registered in Allahabad, claims to be engaged in selling and marketing its travel packages through rewards and incentive based business plan. Though there are certain restrictions on the earning its business plan carries features of a typical MLM model.
To join this company, one has to purchase a travel package and become a “Business Travel Associate” (BT). To be eligible for incentives, he/she has to further sell and market the various packages of the company.
The company, on its website, has gold package, amounting for Rs8,995, which is a holiday stay voucher for three days and nights. There are various destinations, included in this package from Shimla to Goa across the country.
However, it is not as easy as it appears. The company had carefully added certain riders into its business plan such as, “…the voucher is not valid for peak seasons” and “…the company would decide the tour dates and timing, which need to be strictly adhered to”.
A member or BT has to introduce two people (A1 and A2) to the company and two more each under A1 (B1 and B2) and A2 (B3 and B4). On completing this cycle, the member becomes eligible for a trip to Thailand.
On further introducing more people on his both sides, apart from the above mentioned, he/she would be eligible for cash-back reward of Rs1,000, in addition to the Thailand trip.
Interestingly, it has a cap of Rs75,000 on the cash back incentives. It says, “Notwithstanding any thing contained anywhere, the company authorizes itself to create a fund/reserve for the payment of Cash-Back incentive and can suo moto put a cap on the inventive if it feels that the said fund/reserve is in the danger of getting depleted or falls below a stipulated determined level. The decision of the management of the Company would be final in this respect.”
Experts say that any business model based on introducing more people to join company and claiming to give high rewards is unsustainable. People should refrain from associating with companies with such business plan.
Meanwhile, there are numerous complaints against the company on the Internet. “Please don't join in Grace Tourism. It’s a biggest fraud company with very cheapest management and without a vision & they will change their business plan according to their wish…,” reads a complaint on www.consumercomplaints.com
Another complaint reads as, “…They (Grace Air Travels) are collecting money from noble and innocents people for that company. They are making false promises to send to Thailand... I would like to tell you that they have already cheated me & my father. They are big Fraud & cheaters. So please be aware of them, neither entertain them nor invest your precious money for that company...” I am your well wisher from Bangalore.
‘Conflict of interest’ has emerged as a major area of concern for regulators across the world, including in India, and the new rules would look at removing the loopholes that allow irregularities like insider trading, front-running and misaligned employee incentives
New Delhi: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is considering a new set of norms to check ‘conflict of interests’ in the stock market, as it looks to rein in any nexus amongst the corporates, research analysts, investment advisors, and various market entities, reports PTI.
The new rules would also look at discouraging misaligned employee incentives—a practice prevalent among the capital market entities for rewarding their staff purely on the basis of business generated by them and irrespective of the interest of customers or investors being safeguarded.
SEBI is framing these rules in accordance with a new set of initiatives proposed by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) to safeguard the markets across the world from any irregularities.
IOSCO, a global cooperative of market regulatory agencies from across the world, including India, has called for effective steps by the regulators against conflict of interest and misalignment of incentives in securities market.
The new rules, to be called “Guidelines For Dealing With Conflicts of Interest in Securities Market”, would apply to all the entities present in the Indian capital market, directly or indirectly, as also their employees.
These would include all participants in Indian securities market, associated persons, investment vehicles, collective pools of capital, institutional investors and stock exchanges.
An official said that ‘conflict of interest’ has emerged as a major area of concern for regulators across the world, including in India, and the new rules would look at removing the loopholes that allow irregularities like insider trading, front-running and misaligned employee incentives.
The aim is to check those actions of the market entities, as also of their employees, where interest of investors could be compromised to promote the business interests, he said.
Currently, SEBI has prescribed codes of conduct for market intermediaries to deal with the conflicts of interests in the market, while there are also regulations with penal provisions for insider trading and unfair practices.
But, there are no guidelines to identify and deal with conflict of interest by associated market entities such as research analysts, investment advisors and employees of market intermediaries etc, which are not registered and regulated by SEBI at present.
The market regulator is of the view that the absence of a general and comprehensive principle to deal with conflict of interests poses regulatory gaps in oversight and mitigation of possible conflicts of interest that may arise in the activities of these associated entities.
The new norms would also focus on active involvement of senior management of market participants, adoption of clear and concise policies, adequate disclosures, information barriers and effective corporate governance procedures.
At the employee level, the focus would be on remuneration to commensurate with the job functions, maintaining record of activities and specific prohibitions, among others.
As per IOSCO, the most common conflict of interests include use of non-public insider information obtained in the course of business, front-running, cherry picking (of stocks), unfair treatment among investors and unfair practices in analysis report preparation and distribution.
While framing the new rules, SEBI would also draw from the report of a working group on conflicts of interest in the Indian financial sector by RBI.
As per the report, the major sources of ‘conflict of interest’ in Indian financial sector include closely-held structure of Indian corporates, cross-holding among the companies, a dominant role of promoters in governing the companies and ‘tunnelling’ or diversion of funds between different firms within the business groups.
SEBI has previously said that conflicts of interest also arise where market participants, who are supposed to act in the interests of customers or investors, use their authority or information to instead advance their own interest.
Such motives could be achieved through bad financial advice, inappropriate margin lending, misleading disclosure and reporting, front running and front loading, among others.
“Conflicts of interest also arise in the case of stock exchanges in their dual role as self regulatory organisations (SROs) and commercial business entities,” SEBI said in a recent memorandum submitted to its board.
“... Business interest of an exchange may prompt an exchange to turn a blind eye to a broker churning their clients’ accounts as higher volumes means greater income for the exchange,” SEBI said.
While SEBI has been promoting the SRO (Self Regulatory Organisation) model for various market segments, it has found the self-regulation as such as a “glaring source of conflict of interest”.
To people living in the vicinity of nuclear power plants, what matters is scientifically substantiated logic
Former bureaucrats and activists have expressed their bewilderment at former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s controversial defence of nuclear power plants. Dr Kalam’s article in The Hindu has been followed by a string of letters and comments from sector experts, who have pointed out the loopholes in his reasoning.
Former finance and power secretary, EAS Sarma, in a letter to Dr Kalam asks, “When you brushed aside the safety concerns about nuclear technology as mere conjectures, did you make an effort to ask the nuclear establishment whether Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NCPIL) had ever carried out a reliable engineering study of each existing nuclear power plant to estimate the compound probability of an accident taking place as a result of a mechanical failure arising from the failure of individual components? If this has not done, can you jump to the conclusion that the probability of an accident is negligible, merely on the basis of your own appreciation of the number of accidents that have taken place during the last few decades?”
Mr Sarma, a resident of Vishakhapatnam, heads an environmentalists’ group called ‘Forum for Better Vishakha’. He has expressed his apprehensions about the upcoming Kovvada nuclear power plant near Srikakulam, which is his native place. He pointed out that though NCPIL has adopted a zoning system around nuclear power plants; and have earmarked a monitoring zone of 16km around the power plants, the residents of that area have not been told about this.
Terming Dr Kalam’s article as biased, Mr Sarma has alleged that the former president has underplayed the negative aspects of nuclear power, and has not mentioned the long-term impact of radioactivity on health. Mr Sarma also said that Dr Kalam has not considered the costs of decommissioning nuclear plants or managing toxic wastes. He further asks, “Are you aware that these costs are difficult to quantify? The cost of decommissioning Chernobyl will never be known, as it can never be decommissioned. With foreign financial help, Russians are building a sarcophagus around the contaminated Chernobyl reactors! Till date, the cost of Fukushima is not known.”
His thoughts have been echoed by a former general manager of railways at Indian Railway Service of Engineers, who says, “The public at large and the educated intelligentsia have all grave doubts about the safety of our country depending on nuclear power. After the recent disaster in Japan at Fukushima, Germany has already decided to phase out existing N-plants and stop the construction of new ones.” He has requested Dr Kalam to write another article and address the questions Mr Sarma has raised.
Former IAS officer MG Devasahayam said, “I wonder as to why the venerable Dr Kalam is on an emotional overdrive preaching for nuclear power. He compares nuclear disasters with air-crash and missile-launching snags, calls the protesters ignorant cowards and goes to Kudunkulam to proclaim that the nuclear plant is a boon to the locals.”