Citizens' Issues
HPC wants e-challans for traffic violations

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.”

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COMMENTS

ABHA CHAWLA MOHANTY

4 years ago

THE HONORABLE HIGH COURT IS NOW ENTRUSTED... WITH.......... A REGULATOR APPRAISAL ....,?

Sachin Purohit

4 years ago

Good to know someone really cares to come up with this kind of report. Roads have become very dangerous to drive on. Rash driving is a norm rather than an exception. No one really stops at red signals. A great number of junctions have signals that do not function or if they do, they are not timed optimally (either they stay red for too long so that the traffic piles up or they change immediately so that very few vehicles are able to pass). No Stop or Yield signs at intersections to highways, resulting in vehicles abruptly merging in, posted speed limits on highways are ridiculously low, making it impossible to follow them! I see a speed limit of 40 Kmph posted on Airoli bridge! Introducing tools like speed guns without modifying the speed limits would only give another tool to the traffic cops to harass otherwise defensive drivers. A lot needs to be done to make driving safe not only in Mumbai but all over India. This HPC is a welcome initiative.

3 killed, over 130 injured in blasts at Boston Marathon

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

 
At least three persons were killed and over 130 sustained injuries when two powerful explosions rocked the US city of Boston during the annual Boston Marathon.
 
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.
 
The Boston Globe quoted law enforcement sources as saying that the dead included an eight-year-old boy. The injured are being treated at several local hospitals. The authorities also found a device at two other locations in the city, but they did not explode. 
FBI special agent in-charge Richard DesLauriers told reporters here that the investigation into the blasts is an “ongoing and criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation”.
 
After the incident, security across major US cities was beefed up and president Obama, describing the act as ‘senseless’, affirmed that the perpetrators “will feel the full weight of justice”.
 
Nearly 27,000 people were participating in the marathon which is held annually on the Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April, a state holiday in Massachusetts.
 
The blasts occurred as thousands of spectators lined the sidewalks to cheer on the runners. Several runners collapsed on the ground due to the impact of the blasts which tore through the windows of buildings nearby.
 
President Obama said those responsible are yet to be identified, and cautioned that “people should not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts”.
 
“But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this and we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice,” Obama said.
 
Obama did not say whether the blasts were a terror attack.
 
Shortly after the blasts, a fire broke out at a local library, raising suspicion of a possible third blast.
 
However, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis later said that based on preliminary investigation, it came out that the incident at the library “may not have been an explosion (but) a fire”.
 
The police also did not specify whether the two blasts were an act of terror. They said they do not have any suspect in custody and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has taken over the investigation.
 
“We’re not being definitive, but you can draw your own conclusions,” Boston Police Chief Edward Davis told reporters at an initial press conference when asked if the explosions were a terrorist attack.
 
The FBI said its Boston division remains on the scene of the bombings.
 
“A multi-agency response, including state and federal law enforcement agencies, has been activated and is investigating the cause of the explosions along the Boston Marathon route and elsewhere. The FBI’s Boston division stands with the Boston Police Department and remains on-scene. The situation remains fluid and it remains too early to establish the cause and motivation,” the bureau said.
 
The area close to the finish line of the marathon is home to several of Boston’s restaurants, bars and popular tourist destinations.
 
After the incident, president Obama called up Boston mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, offering federal assistance in responding to the explosions.
 
Wall Street had its worst day this year after news of the Boston blasts filtered through in the last hour of trade. The S&P 500 posted its worst day in more than four months, down 2.8% to 1,552. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 1.8%, or 266 points, to 14,599. The Nasdaq Composite shed 2.4% to 3,216.
 

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Looting Legitimately

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.

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