Kshana Charitable Trust organises quality entertainment shows for the ‘forgotten’ sections of society
In Sanskrit Kshana means ‘moment’. The aim of the NGO bearing this name is to spread moments of happiness to people who are underprivileged and are forgotten by their more fortunate counterparts. Kshana organises quality entertainment shows for old-age homes, orphanages, spastic societies and other institutions.
The unique idea of offering entertainment to these ‘forgotten’ people came to founder Ritesh Thakkar in 2001 during a college fest. Mr Thakkar was a member of the organising committee and, after the college fest, the group thought of doing more free performances for the needy. “I was staying with my uncle that time,” he said, “when he went to a blind home, it occurred to me that people in such institutions need entertainment and socialising more than others because they are cut off from the rest of the world.” That is when an enthusiastic group of seven or eight students decided to take up the idea seriously.
Kshana was registered as an NGO in 2008, but the preceding years had got it considerable popularity. Since 2001, Kshana has done over 100 entertainment events for its target audiences with a social theme and touched thousands of lives. Its first performance was for Swami Vivekananda Vocational Training Centre. “In the initial days, we experienced a lot of difficulties,” said Mr Thakkar. “People never considered entertainment as a serious mission. They were more inclined to donate for other conventional philanthropic programmes.” But, with time, Kshana’s appeal grew with other NGOs and institutions, who contacted it for organising programmes for the people it worked with.
Today, many corporates seek out Kshana to aid them in their CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives. Kshana generally puts up a series of performances and conducts workshops on subjects like personality development, meditation and laughter therapy. Of the founding members, only three have stayed back with the organisation. Volunteers help the members to conduct programmes and workshops, and manage the institution. Kshana also hires spot volunteers for its shows. Most of its committee members are professionals. There are financial analysts, entrepreneurs, engineers and students. Kshana does not require full-time commitment.
“We aim to provide quality entertainment,” said Mr Thakkar, “and we insist on professional performers. There are many artistes who readily perform for free or minimal fees, and are regular at our programmes.” Apart from professionals, Kshana also puts up performances in which children from orphanages and other charitable institutions participate. There are skits, dance shows, orchestras, games and magic shows. “We plan around three events every two months. The duration of events is anything between three to five hours depending upon the theme,” says
Mr Thakkar. The members normally visit the places in advance to figure out the theme and the types of events that would gel with the place and people. Recently, Kshana collaborated with ICICI Prudential for a workshop at Sanjivani Children’s Home in Virar. During Diwali last year, Kshana went to Assisi Bhavan, an old age home in Goregaon, a Mumbai suburb. “There were interactive shows, orchestra and yoga workshops. But the icing on the cake was a retro 1950s-style musical programme which was appreciated by the residents of the home,” said Mr Thakkar.
Kshana’s recent visit to Assisi Bhavan saw the residents of the old-age home brimming with excitement. There was flower-pot painting, movie screening, and a party afterwards. “Entertainment is an important component of human life,” said Mr Thakkar. “We may not notice it, but a life devoid of it is very sad.”
One may volunteer for performing in Kshana’s programmes or aiding in their workshops, or donating money for their activities or sponsor individual events. All donations are exempt under Section 80 (G) of the Income-Tax Act.
Kshana Charitable Trust
Akash Deep Society,
Versova, Andheri West,
Mumbai – 400 058
Tel: 98207 50480
Nifty will be range-bound. The first support is at 5,433, while resistance is at 5,620
The Sensex and the Nifty opened well below yesterday's closing following a huge decline in US markets and weakness in all Asian markets. The Sensex opened at 183 points below yesterday's close at 18,426 and the Nifty started 62 points lower at 5,530. The indices immediately hit their intra-day lows, at 18,391 and 5,522.
Very weak US data raised questions about future demand for Asian exports as well as the likely impact on economic growth. Apart from a weak ISM manufacturing reading, employment data from ADP showed an increase of just 38,000 jobs in the past month, well below expectations for an increase of 175,000. The ADP data is a precursor to official non-farm job numbers due on Friday. Goldman Sachs and several other large financial institutions cut their estimates for Friday's non-farm payrolls figure in the wake of the ADP report.
But the Indian market showed good resilience and the Sensex and Nifty stabilised after the morning lows and moved up to their intra-day highs at 18,541 and 5,568 respectively. This happened on reports of slowing down of food inflation. Food inflation rose 8.06% in the year to 21 May 2011 slowing down from an annual rise of 8.55% a week ago. The primary articles price index was up 10.87% compared with an annual rise of 11.60% a week earlier. However the fuel price index climbed 12.54% compared with a rise of 12.11% a week earlier.
The Sensex fell 115 points to close at 18,494, while the Nifty fell 42 points to close at 5,550.
Major gainers on the Sensex were HUL which rose by 3.53%, Bajaj Auto (up 2.22%), ITC (up 0.77%), RIL (up 0.54%), Hero Honda (up 0.53%). The biggest loser was Reliance Infrastructure which fell by 4.66%, followed by Reliance Communication (down 4.11%), ICICI Bank (down 3.10%), Tata Motors (down 2.81%), and Mahindra & Mahindra (down 2.19%). Among the Sensex stocks, nine stocks rose and 21 fell. The Nifty had 16 stocks which rose and 34 stocks which fell.
Except for the BSE FMCG, BSE Consumer Durables, BSE Oil & Gas sectors, all other BSE sectoral indices ended in the red. The BSE Bankex registered the biggest drop of 1.52%. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was 606:1142.
Dr C Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, today said that the economy may grow by 8.5% in FY12 and he expects inflation to come down to 6.5% by next March.
House of Pearls was one of the top gainers on the NSE, up 20.01%. The company expects revenues to rise by 15% to 20% in the coming fiscal. Clutch Auto rose 18.17% and continued to be among the top gainers today on the news of demerger of the auto ancillary technology division.
Sun TV Network fell 28.31% on reports that former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran could be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for alleged favours granted to Aircel as a quid pro quo. Maran is currently textiles minister in the UPA government and served as telecom minister in the first term of the UPA government. His brother Kalanidhi is chairman and managing director of Sun TV Network. Meghmani Organics slumped 7.23%.
The Federal Reserve's second round of quantitative easing, the policy designed to temporarily increase money supply, keep interest rates low and stimulate the economy, ends on 30 June 2011. However, such weak results may make the Federal Reserve consider supporting the US economy by extending its asset purchases, which have been often criticised in Asia as being responsible for driving inflation.
The SEBI chief is worried about poor retail participation. The regulator and the exchanges are alone responsible for this. Will anything change?
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has finally woken up to the fact that it has fallen short in its key role to develop the capital market and increase the base of investors. Today, SEBI chief UK Sinha admitted as much, saying that the market regulator would take steps to get retail investors back into the market. While the new SEBI chief's policy changes are well-intentioned, the measures to be taken would make sense only if they are grounded in reality. We will be keenly watching what SEBI does, for Moneylife alone has been highlighting how investors have been pushed out of the capital market system by a combination of factors.
In India, the retail participation in the stock market has declined from 20 million in the 1990s to 12 million in 1999, and just around 8 million in 2009, according to official data, this despite the fact that the Sensex has grown by 20 times during this period. As a percentage of the total population, the retail investor participation is just 1.3%, whereas in the US and China it is 27.7% and 10.5% respectively, according to the Bimal Jalan Committee report. The SEBI chief has targeted an optimistic figure of 8% for retail participation in India.
As has been pointed out by Moneylife repeatedly in the past, the decline in investor participation is due to many complex issues for which the regulator and the stock exchanges are squarely responsible. This cannot be resolved by making just one or two policy changes. The market is riddled with problems ranging from the difficulties for investors in opening a demat account to price manipulation, poor grievance redressal and the lack of proper guidance. Retail investors face a tough time, and to add to this they are taken for a ride by greedy investment advisors.
In August last year, Union minister of state for finance, Namo Narain Meena, revealed in Parliament the reality of the Indian 'equity cult'. He said around 50% of the cash market transactions on the National Stock Exchange (during April-June 2010) came from a shockingly low 451 investors, of whom 156 were proprietary traders, while 50% of the trading in NSE's derivatives segment came from just 106 investors of whom 58 were proprietary traders. Only 6% of client accounts contributed to 90% of the trading in the cash segment. 80% of turnover came from just 41,654 investors. In other words, 1,50,546 investors (78%) accounted for just 10% of trading turnover.
Moneylife magazine and Moneylife Foundation have on a regular basis highlighted these issues through articles and seminars. In the month of February, Moneylife Foundation released a position paper on the issues faced by retail investors, alarmed by the decline in retail participation. This paper was sent to the finance minister, the finance secretary, the joint secretary, Capital Markets, and Yashwant Sinha, head of the Standing Committee on Finance. Investors face multiple issues as identified by Moneylife Foundation. Some of these are listed below:
To open a demat account an investor has to go thorough cumbersome KYC procedures. Along with this, the customer has to sign on numerous forms, many of which they sign without asking too many questions. The charges involved in opening and maintaining a demat account are not in favour of the retail investor either. Investors have to cough up nearly Rs550-Rs3,500 just open an account and then there are account maintenance and transaction charges. Brokers usually ignore those with small investments and look for investors with bigger pockets, as they earn higher commissions on the later.
The power of attorney (POA), which gives brokers the power to operate their clients account for conducting trades, is often misused by the brokers. In August 2009, an individual from the brokerage firm India Infoline was arrested for conducting unauthorised trades in an investors' account that led to a loss of Rs13 lakh for the investor (Read, Harassed Investors.) This is taking place in spite of the lengthy and complicated procedure of creating a demat account and is a de-motivation for the investor.
Portfolio management services (PMS) are no better in servicing clients. There are several cases where investors have been duped by fanciful presentations of the brokerage firms. The major problem is that this area is not yet regulated. Investment norms are not clear and there is no restriction to churning and trading. They have been cases where investors have lost a major portion of their fund value due to excessive churning. (Read, Will Portfolio Managers Be Accountable?)
The issues related to demat accounts, mis-selling, and PMS can be tackled to some extent with proper investor education. But, issues like price manipulation, corrupt accounting practices and over-pricing and incorrect grading of IPOs, are issues which cannot be controlled by the investor. It is the job of the regulator to take stern action against such malpractices. But, SEBI has not seriously pursued investor protection.
Investor protection is one of the primary objectives of SEBI. But, its grievance redressal system is not up to the mark. In May 2009, the chief information commissioner (CIC) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had severely criticised the regulator's handling of investor grievances. The CIC said that SEBI was not providing the right support to information-seekers and rejected requests even when it had the power to obtain details from stock exchanges.
"The response of the regulators in India has been knee-jerk and panicky. Instead of trying to punish wrongdoers after in-depth investigation and sensitivity to market practices, the regulators have only succeeded in eroding investors' confidence in the market by high-profile arrests and media hype," says Deena Mehta managing director, Asit C Mehta Investment Interrmediates, and one of the three trading member-directors on the board of the Bombay Stock Exchange.