Companies & Sectors
MCX Board meet on Friday to take call on FTIL’s stake cut

MCX has been given time till 10th February to submit a time-bound action plan to ensure its promoter Financial Technologies cuts stake in the Exchange to 2%

Crisis-hit Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX) has said its board of directors is scheduled to meet on 7th February to take a call on the matter of time-bound action plan to ensure its promoter Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL) cuts stake to comply with regulatory norm.


In a regulatory filing, the country's largest commodity exchange said, “A Board meeting of the company is scheduled to be held on 7th February to consider and decide the future course of action with respect to Forward Markets Commission (FMC) letter dated 31 January 2014.”


According to the letter, MCX has been given time till 10th February to submit a time-bound action plan to implement the FMC order that held FTIL is not ‘fit and proper’ to hold anything more than 2% shareholding in the MCX.


On 17th December last year, the commodities market regulator issued an order, declaring FTIL and its chief Jignesh Shah, and two other directors, Joseph Massey and Shreekant Javalgekar as unfit to run any exchange, including the MCX, following a Rs5,600-crore payment crisis erupting at group company National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).


Meanwhile, FTIL and Shah have already moved the Bombay High Court, challenging the FMC order.


The NSEL, which is promoted by FTIL, has been defaulting on payments to 13,000 investors. It plunged into the payment crisis after halting trading in commodities from late July last year on a government directive.


Pune’s SOS Balgram under threat from vested interest?

The SOS Balgram in Pune shares its compound wall with a lush green golf course. Last week Maharashtra government issued an order for closure of the Balgram citing maladministration. Is somebody eying the 9-acres prime land of the Balgram?

For three decades, the unique Balgram, Save Our Soul (SOS) Children’s Village, existed in harmony at Pune. SOS, is a unique concept of orphans living in a family environment with a ‘mother’ (also an orphan) as caretaker for every nine children. The ‘family’ lives in individual homes that are spread out like a neat housing colony. There are 34 such SOS villages in India. The one in Pune houses 220 boys and girls of an average age group of 7-18 years. Until 18 months back, they lived happily with the 20 ‘mothers’ in the sprawling nine acre land, dotted with cottages and sharing the compound wall with the plush Poona Club Golf Course.

However, since the past few months, Balgram has been in the eye of the storm with two cases of molestation and one case of death of a six year old girl, allegedly due to late medical attention. Balgram received a favourable report in an inspection done by the Women and Child Welfare Department in July 2012. However since early 2013, it is being cornered for maladministration by the management. It is pertinent to note here that, SOS is a Swedish-based NGO and funds generously to the tune of Rs5,000 per child per month. It also supports the salaries of the administrative staff. The Maharashtra government provides license to run Balgram and gives Rs700 per child per month.

Last month, through an official order on 6th January, Rajendra Chavan, commissioner of Women and Child Welfare department, ordered cancellation of the license and the closure of the Balgram. This meant immediate evacuation of all the 200 odd children and mothers to other such homes. In a quick swinging action, the Pune district Women and Child Welfare Department, surprisingly displaying extreme efficiency, obliged promptly and shifted 20 children last week. Thereafter, former children of the Balgram, some of who are married and are well settled in their jobs are sitting on a hunger strike, protesting outside the Balgram, located in Yerawada, demanding revoking of the license to run the orphanage. The remaining children, who have been slated to be shifted, are refusing to go, thus halting the exodus, for the moment.

The trigger for such a stern action, as elaborated by Mr Chavan in his order dated 6th January, the copy of which this writer procured under Section 4 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, on 5th February. Through inspection of these files reveal at the outset, that as per a government resolution (GR) of 2000, girls and boys between 7 to 18 years cannot stay together and so should be separated for safety against sexual assault. The same has not been done by the Balgram authorities, claims Chavan’s order. However, in a letter dated 22 December 2013, the President of Balgram Trust, Maharashtra, has written to Mr Chavan stating that the required separation has been done from the date of his letter. Strangely, the issue has been highlighted as one of the reasons for cancellation of Balgram’s license.

Mr Chavan has alleged that show cause notices had been issued to the Balgram management regarding maladministration, corruption, negligence towards health, education, food, clothes and hygiene of the children and yet no action has been taken and replies given by Balgram are unsatisfactory.

Citing an incident of a molestation case of a six year old girl by a 14 year old boy in April 2013, Mr Chavan states that the Balgram did not inform the authorities in time and no action was taken. The Balgram authorities, counter-claim through their letter, that such an incident did not take place. Mr Chavan in his order also cites the case of a seven year old who died due to negligence of the Balgram authorities in not providing medical treatment in time. In fact, the order generally states that despite several reminders and show cause notices to Balgram to improve it management, no heed has been taken.

Strangely, most of the show cause notices and letters by the district-level Women and Child Care Development Office are based on complaints made by two former children of Balgram, Milind Kale and Ravindra Jadhav, who by using the RTI Act, have been bringing out  corruption and other maladministration of Balgram. So far, so fine.
However, the duo has been allegedly instrumental in harassing the residents of Balgram through verbal abuses, cutting of 20 odd trees and so on. Strangely, police has not been accepting first information reports (FIRs) from three ‘mothers’ of Balgram, who went to file complaints three months back against harassment by Kale and Jadhav. This writer finally took 45 children and mothers to the Yerawada Police Station in the noon of 5th February and after initial resistance, the police finally accepted a FIR/complaint against the duo.

There are innumerable cases across the country, where there has been mismanagement, financial irregularities and unfortunate incidents of sexual assaults. Should the solution be closure of such institutes or stringent action against those who have been responsible for mismanagement/ irregularities? If the nail is causing a problem, should the finger be chopped off? These and many other questions raise suspicion over this sudden order to simply close down the Balgram in Pune.

Is the Balgram under the eye of some vested interests as it overlooks directly to the lush green and sylvan surroundings of the Poona Golf Course? Would a beautiful luxury condominium on these nine acres of prime land, in the place of the humble Balgram that exists, be the secret plan and so a case is being built up against the working of Balgram? Otherwise, why would the state government, which has a crunch of orphanages, decide on a devious strategy to order cancelling of the license? The writer is pursuing the issue closely and will take every effort to bring out the truth and hopefully build pressure to stall any nasty motives.

This writer is grateful to the management of Balgram, which positively responded to the request of inspection of files under Section 4 of the RTI Act. Information sought was as follows:

1.    Copy of the order of closure of SOS Balgram, Yerawada

2.    All documents pertaining and those which led to the closure of SOS Balgram, Yerawada

3.    Copies of all GRs regarding rules and regulations for closure of such SOS Balgrams

4.    Copy of study report, if any, regarding the need to close SOS Balgram, Yerawada

5.    Any other correspondence regarding closure of SOS Balgram, Yerawada


(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)




2 years ago

All the allegations are bullshit and have one purpose only. To find a reason to close the SOS children's village, so that the land can be used for some upscale real-estate project.

SOS is one of the few orphanages which are actually run well and they have international funding and backing.

I am surprised there's not more coverage in the media about this. or maybe I missed it.

Deborah Gates

3 years ago

I am wondering if the writer of this article has an update on the Balgram SOS Village. I sponsor three children that are birth siblings there. I am commenting from Texas. I received a letter from SOS-USA dated March 4th, stating that both SOS and the local government in Pune initially pulled the funding and licensing for Balgram. The letter further stated that SOS-India was working to tentatively take over the management of the village from Balgram. I received word from a dear friend today in Pune that my three sponsored children at the village are o.k. at the moment. Do you have anything new to report on the facility?


3 years ago

This is completely illogical. I see this institution every time i play golf at Pune Club Golf course and the place looks well kept and well run, with a a bunch of happy kids. Terrible that this has happened. Will support any action to ensure that it keeps running there.


3 years ago

I just do not know when we will awake from our irresponsible attitude towards such social problems which require our immediate attention and involvement. It is shame on us that we are tolerating such corrupt and inhuman politicians and bureaucrats who dance to the tune of selfish and shameless builders and industrialists.


3 years ago

I equally agree what Sunita has expressed in and yet to the point. The sequences and its connection to the literal words is "influential builder". Isn't it a 'minor' yet profound fact that Mr. Ranade, a contractor with its indirect connection with Balgram a '1 plus 1 is 11' since almost 35 years?

लहानपणी देग देवा मुंगी साखरेचा रवा...


3 years ago

I equally agree what Sunita has expressed in and yet to the point. The sequences and its connection to the literal words is "influential builder". Isn't it a 'minor' yet profound fact that Mr. Ranade, a contractor with its indirect connection with Balgram a '1 plus 1 is 11' since almost 35 years?

लहानपणी देग देवा मुंगी साखरेचा रवा...

Deepak Mahulkar

3 years ago

It is ironic that it is the same government that takes an inordinate time in settling the long pending issue of Anganwadi whereas in this case, it shows alacrity in giving so called justice. It is like cutting your limb to avoid stumbling if a stone in seen in your way.If a death of a child within Balgrame is the reason for the closure, then the jails must also be closed where inmates die or a police station be closed where custodial death take place.


3 years ago

All the power be with you Vinitaji

hum tumharay sath hai.

nagesh kini

3 years ago

Agey badho Vinita, hum thumarey sath hai.
There is more than meets the eye!
The instigation by the rich golf club is a certainty.This powerful has both the clout and the money power to get anything done. They also should be made parties to cases, lest they get get way.
Those sitting on dharna need to be supported. The 'deficiencies' reported in the show cause notices should be rectified. They by themselves cannot warrant closure.This necessarily has to be challenged and a stay obtained. Simply giving in to a malicious diktat shouldn't do.


3 years ago

We should find out what are the activities of the two persons (it is not possible to address them as 'Gentlemen'). Most probably they are on the payroll of some influential builder. If the local MLA and Nagarsevaks are keeping quiet, they also could be on the payroll of the builder.

Sensex, Nifty highly oversold: Wednesday closing report

A close above 6,045 may take the Nifty upto 6,100

On Tuesday, we had mentioned that NSE Nifty may move sideways with an upwards bias that may take it to 6,100. On Wednesday, the index opened in the red, and after a range bound move up to 11.30 in the morning, Nifty tried to rally.


The BSE 30-share Sensex opened at 20,241 and Nifty opened at 6,004. The Sensex moved to the level of 20,076 from 20,289 while the Nifty hit a low of 5,962 and a high of 6,028. The Sensex closed at 20,261 (up 49 points or 0.24%) while Nifty closed at 6,022 (up 22 points or 0.36%). NSE recorded a volume of 54.31 core shares.


Except for FMCG (down 1.01%) and Media (down 0.36%) all the other indices on the NSE closed in the positive. The top five gainers were Metal (1.82%); Realty (1.74%); Auto (1.69%); IT (1.11%) and PSE (1.11%).


Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 33 ended in the green. The top five gainers were Ranbaxy (5.75%); Tata Steel (5.12%); DLF (2.76%); Tata Motors (2.65%) and M&M (2.61%). The top five losers were ITC (1.89%); Bhel (1.50%); PNB (1.22%); Maruti (0.84%) and HCL Technologies (0.78%).


Of the 1,488 companies on the NSE, 846 companies closed in the green, 561 companies in the red, while 81 closed flat.


Stock market was awaiting the survey on the performance of India's services sector for January 2014. The headline HSBC Services Business Activity Index increased from December's 46.7 to 48.3 in January, signaling a moderate rate of output contraction that was the weakest in the current seven-month sequence of decrease. Sector data highlighted Post & Telecommunication as the best performing in the services category. Conversely, Financial Intermediation suffered the sharpest declines.


Up from 48.1 in December to 49.6 in January, the seasonally adjusted HSBC India Composite Output Index indicated a seventh consecutive monthly drop in private sector activity. But, the rate of contraction was marginal and the weakest in that sequence, Markit Economics said. Whereas manufacturing production growth accelerated, output at services companies fell again.


Finance Minister P Chidambaram expressed doubt over passing any key legislation, except for the vote-on-account, during the current session of Parliament that began today. Besides interim budget, the government wants to pass the Telangana Bill as well as some anti-corruption legislation. The Finance Minister also assured that the red line for fiscal deficit drawn by him 18 months ago will not be breached.


US indices closed in the green on Tuesday. On 4 February 2014, two Federal Reserve district bank presidents signaled a decline in global stock markets which may not deter the Fed from further trimming bond buying. They both, Evans and Lacker, don't vote on policy this year. The next major event on the horizon is the labor report out of the US, with non-farm payrolls due on Friday, 7 February 2014.


Most of the Asian indices trading on Wednesday closed in the green. Nikkei 225 was the top gainer which rose 1.23% while Taiwan Weighted was the top loser which fell 2.34%.


European indices were showing mixed performance while US Futures were trading marginally lower. UK services unexpectedly slowed last month, as new business expansion fell to the least in eight months and wet weather hampered activity. A separate report showed services in the euro area grew at a slower pace than initially estimate.


Markit's euro zone Composite PMI, which gauges business activity, climbed to 52.9 in January from 52.1 the previous month. That was the highest final reading since June 2011.


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