Review of the book Media Ethics
Be it the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj killing case, the...
Think Foundation is about blood, the key to our survival, and blood-related ailments, Alekh Angre reports
Ironically enough, Think Foundation is not about thought, except that campaigning and coordination for blood donation is born out of good thoughts. Think Foundation is about blood, the key to our survival, and blood-related ailments. Only those who have desperately tried to find blood during emergencies, or have been harried about finding donors to match rare blood groups know the time and effort involved. Many a time, finding blood banks is difficult enough and they may be unable to meet a patient’s need. It is as an answer to these issues that Think Foundation was set up in 2006 as a not-for-profit organisation.
In 1980, Vinay Shetty, then a student (now vice president at Think Foundation), conducted a blood donation drive for Mumbai-based Nair Hospital. The drive was a great success, but Vinay’s real aim was to start and maintain the list of donors. Soon, he started receiving calls inquiring about donors with particular blood groups. “We (he and a few friends) responded to the calls, identified donors and sent them to hospitals which had specific requirements,” he says.
As the calls increased, Mr Shetty and his friends became regular visitors at various hospitals, coordinating and arranging the blood requirements. In 1998, Breach Candy Hospital contacted him to inquire about their work and urged his group to also spread awareness on thalassaemia.
After reading and meeting people working with thalassaemia patients, he decided to pitch in with some specific activities. It started with the formation of charitable trust ‘Citizen’ along with his six friends. Its mission was to give a thrust to promoting blood donation and creating awareness about thalassaemia. With donations trickling in from individuals, its activities grew. In 2006, Citizen was renamed Think Foundation after registering it under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956.
The Foundation conducted around 300 blood donation drives in colleges and companies in 2011 and worked at encouraging voluntary blood donation. It works closely with about 60 blood banks in Mumbai and is apparently the only organisation to have donors with the rare ‘Bombay blood group’. “I can guarantee that people who need this blood group anywhere in the country, will eventually come to us,” says Mr Shetty.
For thalassaemia patients, Think Foundation conducts screening camps for college students (as part of its prevention drive) and counselling for those detected with thalassaemia minor. Mr Shetty says, “Anybody with thalassaemia minor is perfectly healthy. A child is born with thalassaemia major when both his parents are thalassaemia minor. So it is essential for people to get themselves tested. It will help to stop thalassaemia. It will also help blood banks, as most of the blood is used for kids with thalassaemia major.” Last year, Think Foundation conducted 150 screening camps. It also runs seven day-care centres across the city where thalassaemia major children are provided with blood transfusion facility, along with iron chelation tablets, essential for the treatment, free of cost.
Think Foundation runs a Lifesavers’ Club, which has a list of platelet donors and coordinates with them as well as blood banks whenever there is a request for platelets. The organisation campaigns actively about stem cell therapy and wants to ensure that India has a functional stem-cell registry. Mr Shetty believes that stem-cell therapy is a solution for thalassaemia as well as leukaemia and other blood disorders.
Think Foundation also provides educational support to needy children and financial help on a case-by-case basis. Currently, it receives funding from individuals as well as corporate houses. You can volunteer for the various activities conducted by Think Foundation, apart from making financial donations which are exempted under Section 80(G) of the Income-Tax Act.
A-101, Valmiki Apartments,
Sunder Nagar, Kalina, Santa Cruz (East),
Mumbai 400 098.
Contact- 91-22- 6518 1341/ 6518 1343
SEBI chief UK Sinha is concerned about mutual fund underperformance but what action can the regulator really take, given its hand-off regulatory policy
Underperformance of mutual funds seems to be a cause of concern for the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). At the CII Mutual Fund Summit yesterday, SEBI chairman UK Sinha said, "There are nine fund houses where over a period of three years, 50%-100% of their schemes have performed less than the scheme benchmarks. So, imagine if more than half of their schemes over a period of time on a continuous basis have been performing less than their benchmarks."
"If it is happening on a continuous long-term basis for a significant percentage of the schemes then it becomes a SEBI issue," he said.
The regulator has also said it will engage with fund managers and CEOs of these asset management companies (AMCs) to understand why their funds are trending below their benchmarks on a continuous basis. The SEBI chairman further states, "The credibility of the industry and the credibility of the individual fund houses, their trustees shareholders directors, it is important that these matters are discussed and remedial measures are taken."
Mr Sinha may be right in saying that underperformance is a concern but what action can SEBI take? SEBI keeps on saying that investor protection and transparency is its top priority, but what action has SEBI taken in the past? SEBI in the past has come out with regulations where fund companies have to disclose their fund manager performance and a fund manger should not be allowed manage two or more similar schemes, these and many more. This would help the investor to a certain extent but what more?
Moneylife is only publication that has consistently highlighted underperforming fund houses. (Recent Articles: Equity Mutual Funds to avoid at all costs , Fund Performance: Worst Equity Funds ). What we have noticed most of the schemes which are consistently underperforming come from the same set of fund houses. Such gross underperformance over different periods can't go unnoticed by the AMC and the trustees. But SEBI has not done the only thing it could have done-question the trustees.
We did analysis of the top 20 fund houses as per AUM over a five-year monthly rolling periods from April 2006 to March 2012. We only considered consistent underperformers, that is, those that have underperformed the benchmark in the last 12 rolling periods. As you can see, LIC Nomura MF and JM Financial MF top the list of underperformers. Even in the last three-yr period ended 15 June 2012, all the schemes of these two fund houses have failed to perform.
Underperformance: 5-year monthly rolling period ending March 2012
Underperformance: 3-year as on 15th June
These are just equity schemes of select fund houses. They charge the highest from the investor for managing the fund and such is the performance. The least the investor would expect is returns on par with the benchmark. Even the index fund of LIC has given below par returns. Unless SEBI takes active interest and introduces stricter norms, AMCs would continue their business as usual.
Given that India has adopted a hands-off disclosure-based regime (meaning, a man charged with murder can make a public issue as long as he discloses it in the prospectus), it would be interesting to see how SEBI can change anything by calling mutual fund CEOs, trustees and fund managers for a chat. Any other action would have to be justified by activist regulatory stance, which SEBI is neither mandated nor equipped to carry out.