HDFC Life Pension’s advertisement promises that your tomorrow will be just as today if you buy its pension plans. Well, tomorrow will surely be as messed up as today if you fall for it. The wise guy in the advertisement has got it all wrong—present and future
HDFC Life’s advertisement on its retirement product HDFC Life Pension has the ‘wise’ guy admonished by a friend for frequently changing his car. He tells the wise guy that after retirement there will be no salary. The wise guy responds that he will have money after retirement as he has purchased the HDFC Life Pension Plan. Taaki kal, bilkul aaj jaisa ho.
The wise guy has got his current priorities wrong with frequent changing of his car. He seems appropriately overweight too. He certainly has got his future messed up with his retirement planning. He would have been better off with putting money in the good old PPF (public provident fund), instead. The press release in the advertisement campaign states that it is targeting the younger audience to change the mindset. Beware of the campaign. If only you listen to your parents or grandparents rather than spending time in front of the idiot box, listening to the hardsell of an insurance company!
Here is math for the wise, overweight guy. The advertisement says that putting Rs5,000 per month for 20 years will earn lifelong retirement pension of Rs11,659 per month (pm). Well, good luck with retirement on Rs11,659 pm after 20 years. The value of that Rs11,659 after 20 years at 9% inflation? Only Rs2,081!
If he only puts Rs5,000 pm in PPF for 20 years (@8.8% pa), he may get lifelong pension of Rs19,045 pm. It is a whopping 64% higher pension amount than what HDFC Life’s slick advertisement offers. We are not even talking of mutual funds here. And if you end up with the HDFC Life Pension plan’s assured benefit of paltry 101% of all premiums, then your lifelong pension will be less than Rs8,000 pm. Thanks, for the misleading ad, cleared by the insurance regulator. By the way, have you seen a similar ad by mutual funds? No. Because mutual funds cannot advertise such promises.
Another version of the advertisement has the ‘wise’ guy chide his wife for spending. He says there are lots of expenses with children, promotion party, vacation, nephew and niece’s admission and renovation. Wife concedes and agrees to think before spending. The punch-line has the husband giving jewelry to his wife and tells her to go ahead with spending. It is because the wise guy has HDFC Life Retirement Plan.
The advertisement may actually be correct in a perverse way! If today’s priorities are messed up, then tomorrow should logically follow it. Taaki kal, bilkul aaj jaisa ho. How true!
Indian Post spends Rs22.71 as handling cost for every postal order of Rs10 used for an RTI application. It is senseless to spend this amount and hence the Postal Department should introduce RTI stamps or coupons to avoid the losses, says activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal
The Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) should take up with the Department of Posts the matter of introducing Right to Information (RTI) stamps or numbered RTI coupons in different denominations as mode of convenient and economical payment of RTI fees and copying charges, says an activist.
RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal said, “It is indeed senseless to ‘misuse' postal-orders to recover RTI fees of Rs10 where the handling cost of a postal-order (according to an RTI response) was as high as Rs22.71 for every postal order as per data available for 2005-2006.”
Following an intervention by the Central Information Commission (CIC), recently the DoPT has asked all government departments to inform in time about the additional payments for photocopying and other such charges to an RTI applicant.
The CIC pointed out that some Chief Public Information Officers (CPIOs) inform the RTI applicant about the additional fees under sub-section 7(3) of the RTI Act, at the fag end of the 30 days period prescribed for providing information under sub-section 7(1) of the Act.
In an official memorandum, the DoPT, said, “It is implied in the prescribed time limit that the demand for photocopying charges must be made soon after the RTI application is received so that the information seeker has time to deposit the fees and receive information within the prescribed 30-day period”.
The DoPT has issued the memorandum to all ministries from the central government and to chief secretaries of all state governments.
“Many a times, copying charges are waived under Section 7(6) of RTI Act because of the appeal-effect. In exceptional cases, especially in case of documents being voluminous, sometimes demand-letters are late by a couple of days beyond 30 days. To prevent a loss to the public authorities, amendment may be made to have copying charges halved instead of waiving these completely. This system will prevent free supply of large number of copied documents, sometimes in thousands, in case petitioners do not actually need these,” said Mr Agrawal.
The DoPT said, if the information sought is not voluminous or is not dispersed over a large number of files, computation of the photocopying charges should not be a time consuming task. “As soon as the RTI application is received, the holder of the information should decide about how much information to disclose and then calculate the photocopying charges so that the CPIO can immediately write to the information seeker demanding such fees,” it said.
However, the RTI activist said, “To prevent loss of man-hours and postal charges both for public authorities and petitioners, some initial number of copied documents may be provided free-of-cost with the RTI response even though RTI fees may be increased marginally and uniformly to Rs20.”
Mr Agrawal said, the authorities should not be allowed to misuse Sections 27 and 28 of the RTI Act by charging fees (like Rs500) other than specified by the DoPT. “Better is to repeal these often-misused Sections 27 and 28 of RTI Act for ‘One Nation-One (RTI) Rule’,” he said.
Here is the order issued by the DoPT regarding additional charges...
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