Maharashtra government is offering incentive to its employees for enrolling more residents for the UID number scheme. The incentive part could be dangerously misused by the state government employees by promising fake benefits to get more people enrolled under the controversial Aadhaar project.
The Maharashtra government has decided to give incentives to its employees for hassling…sorry, enrolling common residents for the unique identification number (UIDN) or Aadhaar number. There are already several stories about the fake promises given by employees, like the Aadhaar number would help in getting foodgrains under the public distribution scheme (PDS), several other benefits given under the below poverty level (BPL) initiatives and so on. The additional attraction of incentive would pose serious risks for people who are unaware of the dangers of the Aadhaar number.
The Maharashtra government has in a resolution (GR) issued on 11 April 2011, said it will pay 25 paisa per enrolment to its employees working in the taluka and municipal zones who are engaged in the enrolment work for Aadhaar. This incentive would be derived from the Rs5 per UID number provided to the district collectors and municipal commissioners in the state. The balance Rs4.75 would be spent on daily expenses incurred for items like electricity, maintenance of the enrolment centre as well as travelling and daily allowances and training and seminar expenses.
The GR also mentions that the union government has sanctioned Rs50 per UID number for enrolling the first 20 crore residents for the Aadhaar project by March 2012. The incentive of 25 paisa per UID number would effectively be paid out of this amount.
Many activists are aghast over issues related to the UID number and this incentive has angered them even more. One activist says, "It (the GR) quotes the central government as having issued a target for the first phase. How can one find out, who precisely defined this target and how does it translate into an objective that can be incentivised?"
Already, many voices have been raised against the forceful implementation of the UID project, with most objections focused on concerns over privacy. The incentive issue will certainly push government employees to enrol more residents by any means, when they don't know what Aadhaar is and how it would affect their lives.
Moreover, there are issues over the legality of Aadhaar itself. The National Identification Authority of India (NIA) Bill is still pending before Parliament. The Bill seeks to constitute a statutory authority and lay down its powers and functions, besides deciding the framework to issue the UID or Aadhaar numbers. Yet, the Indian government and UID Authority of India (UIDAI) has been gone about implementing the scheme and issuing Aadhaar numbers without any constitutional validity as yet.
According to an expert, the government is the executive not empowered by the Constitution to implement projects spending public money without legislative sanction. "In the case of UIDAI, while the executive may appoint anyone to head it, the government is legally constrained from implementing the project and issuing Aadhaar numbers," the expert said.
The NIA Bill is under the consideration of the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, headed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and has members from across the political spectrum.
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The detailed report on customer services has not yet been released despite it being ready; committee members are being kept in the dark over the progress of the report by the head, M Damodaran, who is incommunicado on this issue
The M Damodaran Committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to look into the improvement of bank customer services has prepared its final report. But the report is in limbo, even as the committee members are clueless about its progress. Despite the detailed report being ready, it has not yet been released for reasons best known to the committee head, M Damodaran.
Moneylife had reported earlier (RBI panel puts final report on bank customer service improvements in cold storage). On 24th March, the head of the committee and former SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) chief M Damodaran, had informed Moneylife that the report would be out in the next ten days. In response to our query, Mr Damodaran had said, "All we have just now is a draft report, or working paper. This is the first important report on customer services after the MN Goiporia report. Our committee met a lot of stakeholders and we want to make sure that their views are properly represented in the report. I am in the process of redrafting it and the report should be out in the next ten days."
It's been more than ten days and the report is not yet out. When Moneylife contacted Mr Damodaran again on the same subject, he saw red and replied, "I am not supposed to submit the report to Moneylife. I will submit it to the RBI." He even banged the phone down before Moneylife could ask him any other question.
This reply has left the issue in limbo. Even the members of the committee are clueless whether the detailed report-which is in the custody of Mr Damodaran-is the final one, or would there be any more changes made as per the panel's recommendations.
There were several meetings held between the M Damodaran Committee and various other stakeholders for their considered views on the subject. According to our sources, this detailed report is believed to have pro-consumer suggestions.
Thus, banks do not want the report to be out, as it will increase pressure on them for improving customer services.
Such an indefinite answer from Mr Damodaran over the release of the report has raised many doubts. Informed sources from the RBI have confirmed to Moneylife that no one apart from Mr Damodaran is aware of anything related to this report-and there is no one in the RBI who can provide any clarity over this issue.
The committee members are even unaware if there would be any further meetings held for discussion over this report.
Ashok Rawat, one of the members of the committee and Hon. Secretary of the All-India Bank Depositors' Association (Mumbai) had earlier confirmed to Moneylife that the report was supposed to be released in mid-February. "The Damodaran Committee will table the report on customer services by the 15th of this month. If the logistics are properly taken care of, we may even see the report being released earlier-before the 10th of this month," Mr Rawat had told Moneylife on 7th February. (See: Damodaran Committee may release final report on customer service in banks by mid-February).
Moneylife had subsequently reported on how the report, which was supposed to be released in mid-February, was not released. (Read here)
The committee is expected to undertake a strict review of the existing system of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme and attending to customer service in banks, including the approach, attitude and fair treatment to customers from the retail, small and pensioners' segments. The committee was also asked to evaluate the existing system of the grievance redressal mechanism prevalent in banks, its structure and efficacy and recommend measures for expeditious resolution of complaints.
Moneylife sincerely hopes that the report is released in the shortest possible period-for people who have been clamouring for better banking services for years now.
Post IPO, the promoter holding in the company would come down to 80.1%, and remaining would be held by four private equity investors and general public
New Delhi: Muthoot Finance, which is aiming to raise Rs900 crore through an initial public offer (IPO), today said it expects 50% growth in its asset book in the next 2-3 years, reports PTI.
The company's gross assets, which comprise gold mortgages, at the end of September 2010 were Rs13,000 crore, which were over 70% more than that in March 2010.
"We expect the growth momentum to continue for the fiscal ending March 2011. In the previous fiscal (2009-10) our assets had grown by 120%," Muthoot Group MD George A Muthoot told PTI.
He said the growth momentum would gradually slow down going ahead and the company would continue to clock 45%-50% growth in the next 2-3 years.
Gold financing company Muthoot Finance today launched its initial public offer at a price band of Rs160-175 a share. The issue of 5.15 crore equity shares closes on 21st April.
Post IPO, the promoter holding in the company would come down to 80.1%, and remaining would be held by four private equity investors and general public.
"The total market for gold finance in India is Rs35,000 crore. The total gold available is 18,000 tonnes and Muthoot has only 97 tonnes. So there is a huge potential in gold mortgage market," Mr Muthoot added.
The Kerala-based company has finalised the allocation of 77.25 lakh shares to 15 anchor investors at Rs170 a share, thereby, raising over Rs130 crore.
The anchor investors that bought shares in the pre-IPO sale include Citigroup Global Markets Mauritius, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Goldman Sachs India Fund and Baring India Private Equity Fund.
As of 1600 hours, the IPO was subscribed 15% on the first day of offer today, as per data available with the National Stock Exchange.
The IPO proceeds will be utilised to augment the company's capital base for meeting future capital needs, for funding of loans and for general corporate purposes.
ICICI Securities and Kotak Mahindra Capital Co are the book running lead managers to the issue, while HDFC Bank is the co-book running lead manager.