Most Comprehensive Article
This is with regard to “Cut Cost, Gain More: Invest Directly in Mutual Funds” by Raj Pradhan. Kudos to Raj Pradhan! He has written the most comprehensive article on investing in direct plans of mutual funds. This is a popular topic and I have read many articles and blog posts on the subject; but none so detailed, balanced and well-designed to help investors take the leap. I would like to caution investors, of regular and direct plans: not getting good, honest and timely advice can be significantly more costly than higher expense ratios of a product. The same is true for inability to transact with ease. Often, actions are avoided or delayed just because they seem cumbersome. Both of these routinely lead to losses and missed opportunities. So if you are going direct, ensure that you are still getting good advice from some other sources and that you are comfortable with the transaction process. If you are going through a distributor (whether individual or organisation), check if their advice is more for suitable for you or for them.
Anand Doctor, online comment
 

Excellent Article!

This is with regard to “Buy stocks of consumer products companies, not their products” by R Balakrishnan.  Excellent article! Mindless consumerism makes life pathetic. Thank God for giving some people the wisdom to write such articles; perhaps, some policy-makers sitting in a high office would read them and get enlightened. Frugal and simple living and high thinking is what is required to live a fulfilling life. Anyway, the current trend is of collective human wisdom flowing down the drain. This economy has great GDP figures, but where is the well-being?
SK Gupta, online comment  
 

No Dividends!

This is with regard to “Delisting: Unfair Rules?” by SD Israni. I have shares in a company, Invel Transmissions (the name has changed now). When they de-listed, I could not accept their buy-back offer. So, sometimes, I get a notice for meetings and some financial statements. The common denominator of the 2/4-page financial statements that I receive, if at all, is as follows: considering the expansion plans etc, the directors do not recommend any dividend. The royalties and imports from the parent company continue unabated. 
Harish Kohli, online comment
 

Is Fresh Legislation Needed?

This is with regard to “Model Tenancy Act & Reality” by Sucheta Dalal. It is our habit to find fault with the law, system or procedure. We never blame the people. Not that all tenants are problematic or trouble-shooters. When I went to Kolkata on my posting, it was not difficult to get a flat on rent as owners preferred people from other states—and that too working in a bank—rather than people of that state itself. Our own people, where they get the advantage, exploit the law to the maximum extent and people at the helm also provide full support. The number of litigations is on the increase, as we enjoy postponing our decisions. In any case, one person, the complainant, wants speedy justice. But others do not want quick disposal, as all of them are enjoying at the cost of complainant. It is my view that we should dispose all litigations in three months irrespective of its seriousness, and that there is no need to pass any fresh legislation.
RS Murthy, online comment  
 

High Valuation Caution Needed

This is with regard to “‘Global Factors Have Become Very Important’: Interview with Sunil Singhania” by Jason Monteiro. All group companies of ADAG (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) delivered pathetic returns even after two decades for Reliance Infra, and one decade for Reliance Capital and Reliance Communications and Reliance Power. The fund manager says, “We do not see a global crisis.” And Morgan Stanley says that there is 10% probability for the Sensex to be at 26,000 and 40% probability to be at 37,000 and 50% probability to be at 33,500 by December 2015. But, in reality, 10% probability is achieved in shorter time. Only Moneylife is cautioning investors about high valuation. History is repeated.
V Ganesan, online comment
 

Root of Every Financial Scam

This is with regard to “5 Kinds of Financial Illiteracy” by Sucheta Dalal. At the root of every financial scam is a regulator who is asleep at the wheel. Reluctant to take action, unless forced into it, our Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is a classic “do-not-bother-me” type of animal. Lax regulations, which the RBI has not bothered about changing, and individuals who are afraid to take initiative, are the hallmark of our financial regulation. It is amusing to hear such ‘erudite’ renderings.
R Balakrishnan, by email
 

Most Vulnerable Category

This is with regard to “Safe and smart money advice for college students.” Great initiative... Must have such programmes organised by principals of all colleges, as this category is the most vulnerable to greed; experienced fraudsters know how to manipulate young aspiring minds. Kudos to Moneylife
Deepak B, online comment
 

Fraud-Free Country?

This is with regard to “Will life insurers now bleed with fraudulent claims?” by Raj Pradhan. As long as insurers underwrite policies properly and effectively on health and financial grounds, frauds can be reduced to a minimum. We can NEVER be a fraud-free country. 
Deepak R Khemani, online comment
 

Are Crossovers Mules?

This is with regard to “What Really Are ‘Crossovers’?” by Veeresh Malik. I have also been wondering about the issue of crossovers. If hatchbacks are donkeys and true SUVs horses, crossovers are the mules: Wry smile?
Anand Vaidya, online comment
 

Big Thanks!

This is with regard to “The suit and the NSE’s conduct seem to me attempts at deflection and evasion”. A big thanks to Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu for their victory in safeguarding and defending the freedom of expression and media. This is a great job in the service of citizens. A salute to Moneylife’s pursuit of truth and public causes. The arrogance of the National Stock Exchange has been properly punctured.
Shailesh Gandhi 
 

II. Without Fear!

Congratulations to Moneylife and Sucheta Dalal for this marvellous achievement! This reflects the high standards of professionalism in investigative journalism which Ms Dalal is known for. The country needs more such bold and unbiased journalists who maintain high ethical standards in their profession and keep the high and mighty on their toes. She never yields to any pressure and brings to public notice all wrongdoing, wherever it happens, without fear.
Gopalakrishnan TV
 

Will Government Policy Remain a Slogan?

This is with regard to “Fortnightly Market View: Back to Reality” by Debashis Basu. There was a time, not long ago, when Western countries, notably the United States, were asking for a proper valuation of the Yuan; now China has delivered a googly and the world is taken by surprise! Personally, I think, two such adjustments are likely before this year is out, effectively enabling the Chinese exporter to get a better value for his products. As for Indian exporters, they would do well to consider: (a) offer the products partly in rupees (say 50%) of the invoice value; and (b) offer the balance in Yuan. 
 
And, Indian importers should be banned from importing cheap rubbish from China. I cannot swallow the fact that even glass marbles are now allowed to be imported and, on India’s Independence Day, cheap brooches of Indian flags were sold, all made in China. Banks should begin to scrutinise invoices before opening L/Cs (letters of credit) for such products. Otherwise, the ‘Make in India’ will remain just a slogan!
Dr Anantha K Ramdas   
 

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Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan: Accessible India for Economic Growth
The Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan is not fault-proof and there are gaps, questions, doubts and scepticism. However, the government has taken up this issue and from the sound and look of the campaign, it will not disappear too soon
 
24 September 2015 was a red-letter day. A historic moment at the housefull YB Chavan Auditorium where bureaucrats, ministers, corporate honchos , education institutional heads, public sector units (PSUs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government staff and friends with visual,  hearing, speech,  physical impairments’ like polio, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy gathered for the inauguration of a nationwide flagship campaign, “Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan” for achieving universal accessibility for People With Disabilities (PWDs). 
 
Bright red-carpeted ramps were laid out for wheelchair users with student volunteers guiding through registrations, elevator, auditorium and washroom. There was a sign language interpreter throughout the conference. The volunteers led the guest with blindness to their seats. The sign language National Anthem by the children of Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (AYJNIHH) energised everyone for the sessions ahead. This signified that it is just not another scheme by the government but their heart, mind and soul is into making it successful. The detailing in planning and execution projected a professional launch campaign. Every one cheered with hope in their hearts and a broad smile on their faces that truly the 80 million estimated people (26.8 million as per Government of India-GOI figure) with disability in India would have the opportunity to access education, employment, transport, health care, recreation, sports and more, equally and with dignity!
 
This campaign in one stroke “acknowledges” the existence and the Rights of People with Disabilities unconditionally! 
 
With the guidance and leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the mantle for initiating and implementing this much needed creative campaign is in the hands of Mukesh Jain, Joint secretary, Department of Empowerment of People with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.  His credentials evoke awe: IIM (A) 1985, IPS, IG Police 1989-2010, Harvard 2005 and he has served the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. Listening to his enthusiastic, extempore speech unravelling the strategy, which comes across as BOLD, INCLUSIVE, COLLABORATIVE, STRATEGIC, and INNOVATIVE. He admits that they are a small team and the task humungous and they invite the involvement of all the stakeholders for fruitful outcomes of this campaign.
 

What is the Accessible India Campaign about?

  1. Increase the accessibility of the physical environment.
  2. Enhance the accessibility and usability of Public Transport.
  3. Enhance the accessibility & usability of information & communication.

The objective and targets for the Accessible India Campaign, (highlights):

Four cities in Maharashtra- Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Nasik to be made completely disabled friendly.
A web portal for crowd sourcing the requests regarding inaccessible places is in the offing. And so is a mobile app to click and upload on the Accessible India Portal. It will also invite PSUs and corporates to partner in the campaign for Access audits and conversions.
50 buildings in metros will be made fully accessible to persons with disabilities via retrofitting of ramps, lifts, toilets, and signage. 75 important railway stations and all international airports will be made fully accessible by July 2016. Enhance the pool of sign language interpreters by 200 by July 2019. Ensuring that at least 50% of all web sites and public documents of the central and the state governments meet accessibility standards (2019).
 
The “Accessible India” campaign is a magic wand, which will eliminate obstacles and barriers to indoor and outdoor facilities including schools, medical facilities and work places. These would include buildings, footpaths, curb cuts and obstacles that block the flow of pedestrian traffic.  Transportation systems and information and communication, TV programs would also have sign language and captions making it accessible to all.
 
Three cheers for our new “Accessible India Campaign.”
 
A child with disability today is dependent on his parents and family members-caregivers for basic activities- for e.g.- If she has spinal cord injury and living on the  2nd floor flat without a lift , she has to be carried in her wheelchair physically. So in the school bus, classes, tuitions sessions, movie theatre, and parks she has to sometimes forgo computer and sports classes as a wheelchair cannot navigate the obstacles leading there. The mother has to visit the school twice or thrice to assist her with her toileting needs. So we have a non-confident, weak, shy youth- not very sure of  getting a  job, earning a salary, maintaining a family and enjoying a full life.
 
The new initiative will enable the youth with disability to have equal opportunities to contribute and grow. Imagine by 2019, even 50% of the 80 million PWDs have equal access to education, jobs and enterprise. It would mean that much more growth and prosperity for India. 
 
The campaign is not fault proof, there are gaps, questions, doubts, trepidation, and scepticism- Can the Government of India be trusted to execute this ambitious plan?
 
Whatever the case –the fact is that a bureaucrat has taken up this issue and from the sound and look of it – it will not evaporate too soon!
 
There are some loose- ends but the PWDs and the NGOs actively perusing the cause of the disabled are both positive and happy.  As for the first time in the history of India, the root cause preventing them to rise and shine is being tackled in a coordinated and systematic effort.
 
So now, there is no time to whine and cry and take pot shots at the gaps. Now is the time to join hands to work together towards a bright Indian horizon beckoning the huge dignified disabled population!
 
Sugamya translates to reaching in a dignified manner. Heads up!
 
(Dr Ketna L Mehta is an educationist, editor, author and Founder Trustee of Nina Foundation that works for the rehabilitation of economically and socially disadvantaged people with spinal injuries. www.ninafoundation.org)
 

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COMMENTS

Hardik Dholabhai

1 year ago

Lets hope for better implementation of sugamya bharat

Hardik

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