The High Powered Committee appointed by the Bombay High Court has suggested that tools like breathalyzer, e-challan system, radio frequency identification device be explored and used for better traffic monitoring, enforcement and supervision
The High Powered Committee (HPC) appointed by the Bombay High Court has given the Maharashtra Home Department as well as Department of Transport, Transport Commissioner, CP Mumbai, Mumbai Traffic Police and National Informatics Center (NIC), one year to come up with better technology framework, including better implementation and use of CCTV footage, e-challan system for speedier payment of fines, etc, and use of radio frequency identification device (RFID) to monitor traffic. The HPC was appointed to look into ways of improving traffic in Mumbai. It has suggested that technology be leveraged to make supervision and enforcement easier and more effective.
India is known for its information technology prowess and large number of knowledge workers and engineers. However, these are not put into use in the domain of policing, traffic management and urban planning. In order to put our resources into use, the use of modern technology was mooted by the HPC.
One of the biggest hindrances is cash-payment system of fines which tends to be slow and creates unnecessary delays. To speed this up, the HPC suggested use of e-challans. The report said, “User friendly e-challaning system may be developed with integrated e-payment options to the citizens to settle the offences. Use of SMS gateways to alert and inform the concerned about challaning, settlement options and settlement details, etc, also needs to be integrated.” This is already under consideration by the Maharashtra government and the HPC has given it one year to come up with a suitable framework to implement.
Thus the onus is on technology to ease burden on manpower and expensive equipments. Lack of equipment and resources has made the job of the traffic police to predict and pre-empt bottlenecks caused by breakdowns, undesirable parking and impaired driving even more difficult, leading to extreme situations at times putting their lives at risk, the report said. To make their jobs easier, sophisticated tools are already under consideration and are in progress for implementation, which includes breathalyzer (which is currently already in enforcement in Chennai) to reduce instances of rash driving. The report said, “To enable traffic police to enforce traffic rules more effectively, a proposal to procure mobile wireless CCTV systems, breath-alcohol analyzer with GPS system, accident monitoring system, hydraulic cranes, portable electronic LED signage, helmets with communications sets, speed check guns, tint meters, barricades, vehicles, motors cycles, alcohol detectors, road safety cones, plastic barricades, LED batten, reflective jackets, etc is under process.”
The two blasts occurred within seconds at a sidewalk along the route of the Boston Marathon, where thousands of people had lined up to cheer on the marathoners
Will SEBI-RBI Protect this Investor?
I n direct contrast to SEBI’s enthusiasm in the attempted-fraud, is the case of ML Sharma, a victim of gross mis-selling by his own bank. Mr Sharma’s manager at IndusInd Bank (Delhi) persuaded the 79-year old to invest Rs4 lakh in the product of a mutual fund house, DWS, which he was told was the Bank’s ‘Development of Wealth Scheme’—a fixed deposit. Mr Sharma was persuaded to break a fixed deposit, by waiving charges and transfer the money to this scheme. The manager went to his house to complete the formalities and helpfully offered to fill in the form details himself. Mr Sharma was delighted at the ‘service’ and fell for it. After all, most people trust their bankers implicitly. As our columnist Vivek Sharma has written, the DWS Hybrid Fixed Term Fund Series 10 Growth is a fixed term debt plan with no redemption for five years and only a market exit where liquidity is poor to non-existent.
Mr Sharma realised that he was cheated when he received his first statement. He complained to the Bank, which ignored him. He approached the banking ombudsman, who summarily dismissed the complaint because Mr Sharma had signed the investment document.
Now, here are a few important issues. Mis-selling of insurance and mutual fund products by bank managers is rampant and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is fully in the know of this practice. But this is a mutual fund, so SEBI’s standards ought to apply. Back in 2008, SEBI issued rules said that stockbrokers “owe their clients a duty to provide suitable investment advice in the best interest of the clients.” Independent financial advisors also have to ensure that people get the right advice, even if they don’t get to earn commissions. Only bank relationship managers continue to indulge in brazen mis-selling and con people into buying mutual funds, unit-linked insurance products and hybrid-derivative products on the promise of higher returns. SEBI, RBI and the insurance regulator have done nothing to prevent such cheating. People, like Mr Sharma, are hapless victims. Mr Sharma says, “I am a very old man with an ailing wife” and as a retiree from the private sector he lives on interest from savings. At the age of 79, he does not need a locked-in mutual fund scheme with uncertain returns. He is completely bewildered and shattered. His only mistake was to trust his banker, only to be cheated.
This targeted mis-selling to their own customers, that too hapless senior citizens, is far worse than breaking all the rules to help launder black money through the banking system. When the ombudsman dismisses such complaints without going into details, it is signalling to the banking industry that it is alright to pick the pockets of their own customers through deceit. More damagingly, it is telling people never to trust their bankers.