Personal finance Thursday

ICICI Pru MF unveils one year fixed maturity plan; SBI Mutual Fund floats Magnum Income Fund–FRP–Saving Plus Bond Plan–Daily (D); Sundaram MF introduces 367 days plan; Tata Indicom launches remittance service through CellPayÒ

ICICI Pru MF unveils one year fixed maturity plan

ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund has launched ICICI Prudential Fixed Maturity Plan-Series 53-One Year Plan D, a close-ended income scheme.

The investment objective of the Plan D is to generate regular returns by investing in fixed income securities/debt instruments which would mature on or before the date of maturity of the plan. The tenure of the plan is 371 days. The plan offers growth and dividend (payout) options.

The new issue opens on 9th December and closes on 16th December. Being listed on the stock exchange, no exit load will be applicable on the plan. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000.

CRISIL Composite Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. Chaitanya Pande will be the fund manager.

SBI Mutual Fund floats Magnum Income Fund–FRP–Saving Plus Bond Plan–Daily (D)
SBI Mutual Fund has launched SBI Magnum Income Fund–FRP–Saving Plus Bond Plan–Daily (D), an open-ended floating rate scheme.

The investment objective is to provide investors an opportunity to earn returns that would be higher than the returns offered by comparable investments in debt and money market securities.

The new issue opens on 9th December and closes on the same day. The minimum investment amount is Rs2,000.

Sundaram MF introduces 367 days plan

Sundaram Mutual Fund has launched Sundaram Fixed Term Plan–AS, a close-ended income scheme.

The investment objective is to generate income with minimum volatility by investing in debt and money market securities, which mature on or before the maturity of the plan. The plan offers growth and dividend (payout) options.

The new issue opens on 9th December and closes on 10th December. The minimum investment objective is Rs5,000. The tenor of the plan is 367 days.

CRISIL Short-Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. Dwijendra Srivastava will be the fund manager.

Tata Indicom launches remittance service through CellPayÒ

Tata Indicom has tied up with eSSecom to offer CellPayÒ (direct debit to account) solutions. CellPayÒ will provide consumers a secure way to make their payments through their mobile phones using funds in their bank accounts (direct debit to account) or through credit card. This service is available for all Tata Indicom postpaid mobile subscribers across Karnataka.

The CellPayÒ solution is available for customers who are registered for mobile banking with CellPay connected banks. The registered customer has to create a unique PIN by calling the CellPay IVR. Once the number is generated, the caller is eligible to avail all the benefits. Customers using CellPayÒ service have two options to make payments. One, they can either use an SMS requesting for payment using their CellPayÒ virtual number wherein they will get a confirmation of the payment via SMS on their phone. Secondly, the customer can also opt for an application available on the handset to make the payment. Here, the customer has to simply select the CellPayÒ application on the phone as a payment option post which a confirmation SMS will be sent to the phone once the payment is received. 


3G tech vulnerable to cyber crime, says experts

New Delhi: As third generation (3G) mobile services are set to be rolled out soon in the country, cyber experts sound a word of caution about the high tech enabled mobile phones, which they say are more vulnerable in the world of technology related crimes, reports PTI.

While the next generation technology aims to make life simpler enabling downloading of movies and music within minutes, it can also be used for various unscrupulous activities.

“With 3G, cellphones will have faster broadband Internet and with such speed you can watch television live, make video calls and download music and movies in no time. But through spying software and virus, the hacker can easily break into your system,” says Ankit Fadia, an ethical hacker and cyber security expert.

“The hacker can record all the audio conversation and video files. Not many people in India install anti-virus in the phones. I would recommend them to install anti-virus and fireballs while using 3G, says Mr Fadia who recommends switching off the bluetooth function of the phone when not required to protect the user’s password.

Not limited to an individual’s privacy issues, the 3G technology will also lead to increase in piracy of films and music, thereby giving a staggering amount of losses to the entertainment industry that is battling the piracy threat.

“It will become extremely easy for anybody to download an entire Bollywood film in few minutes using 3G. This is going to lead to further tremendous growth of websites like torrents,” says advocate Pavan Duggal, a cyberlaw expert.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) points out that Bollywood would be hit most by the 3G and wants service providers to adopt a stricter approach to check cybercrimes.

“Today it takes several hours to download a new release Bollywood film but with 3G it will be in minutes that will encourage people to use illegal means to view a film,” says Rakshit Tandon, consultant, IAMAI.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report titled, “Indian 3G broadband subscribers,” the mobile subscriber base is projected to cross one billion in 2014. The 3G broadband subscriber base is expected to cross 107 million by 2015.

Indian law enforcement lacks the necessary training to deal with cyber-crimes and there is a distinct need for amending the law and making security agencies aware about the Internet, say experts.

“Laws are there to protect but our police agencies are yet not ready to take-up the cyber crime challenges, especially 3G. They need to be trained to tackle the growing usage of Internet by criminals,” says Mr Fadia.

Mr Duggal, who is a Supreme Court lawyer, says there is a distinct need for amending the law so as to provide for far more broad generic provisions which can withstand the onslaught of any other new technology.

“Further adequate statutory protections needs to be given to users so that whatever limited right to privacy they have in the context of the electronic ecosystem are not appropriately compromised with the advent of new technology,” he says.

As mobile handsets are becoming an integral part of the consumer experience, the availability of a large number of feature-rich handsets at affordable prices or in attractive bundled offers is likely to further drive the adoption of 3G value-added services, according to a report by RNCOS.

The industry analysis provider also predicts that the number of 3G mobile subscribers is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 80% during 2011-2013.


IB submits reports on price rise; little change expected in onion, garlic prices

Prices of several essential commodities have risen sharply over the past couple of months and the seriousness of the situation has been conveyed to the government by the Intelligence Bureau. Traders, however, don’t see prices coming down soon

The most loved bhakri, lasun chutney and kanda which makes up the daily diet of the common man is making him cry, literally!

Onion prices have climbed to around Rs50 a kg, garlic is as high as Rs200 a kg and traders suggest that these prices will stay high for a while. But one can continue to enjoy the French fries as potato prices have stabilised.

Over a decade ago, spiralling prices of onions contributed to the downfall of Bharatiya Janata Party in the Delhi Assembly elections. While price rise has been a major political issue in the country, strangely there isn't much of a noise heard over increasing prices today.

Moneylife tried to contact politicians across party lines, but got no response to phone calls and messages.

In the middle of this silence, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has been collecting data on the prices of a range of food items, which it has submitted to the prime minister's office, the cabinet secretary and the union home and finance ministries.

According to the IB reports, copies of which are available with Moneylife, in June there was a decline in prices of onions and potatoes from the levels in January due to an increase in production and better storage. In August, onion prices softened further on adequate stock and a decline in exports during the month to 0.88 lakh tonnes from 1.86 lakh tonnes in August 2009. Potatoes prices also declined with wholesale prices falling 8-44% from January to September.

But in its September review report, the IB records galloping prices. Onion prices hardened mainly due to damage after heavy rainfall. Retail onion prices were up at Rs22-35 a kg from Rs12-22 a kg in the month before. Retail prices of potatoes also increased by 7-67% in most markets.

This rise in prices has been mainly due to unseasonal rain showers that destroyed most cultivated crops and a decline in the storage space.

Satish Bhonde, additional director, National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation, said productivity was affected due to increase in the moisture level of the soil caused by rain which resulted in lower yield of onions. The highest price of onions in the wholesale market was Rs2,000-2,500 per quintal. At the retail it was about Rs40 a kg on average.

Currently, the retail rates in Mumbai are about Rs45-50 a kg for onions, Rs10-17 a kg for potatoes (depending on the quality) and around Rs200 a kg for garlic.

Hasmukhlal Udani, an onion and potato trader at the APMC in Vashi, said, "Due to untimely rain the onion crop was more impacted and this has resulted in the price rise. The wholesale rates of onions are around Rs300-330 per 10 kg. These prices will remain for a while."

Ram Singh Yadav of Kanaiya Trading also attributed the price rise to the destruction of crops by unseasonal rain showers. "The APMC prices of onions are Rs30-35 a kg at wholesale and Rs45-50 a kg at the retail. These prices are expected to continue for some more time."

The potato crop was also affected, but the adequate storage of the produce last year ensured there was no shortage. Hence, traders say, the prices of potatoes would remain stable. "Potato storage is adequate so there won't be shortage in the coming days and prices will be stable," Mr Yadav said.

Onion prices might see some relief by the end of January. According to S Altamash, of Gemini Trading, based in Panvel, "The prices of onions are high due unseasonal rains in which 1,000-2,000 metric tonnes of onions in the Nashik region was destroyed. The prices might see some relief by the end of January as the new crop of around 2,000 metric tonnes will enter the market."

The maximum concern is around garlic, which is selling at around Rs200 a kg, and the price is not expected to come down till the next crop comes to the market. According to a report by Spice Board India of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the average price of garlic in Mumbai markets in November was Rs97.50 a kg, an increase of 45% over that at the same time last year. Garlic prices started rising in August this year, when the average price was Rs90 a kg.

"The situation of Garlic will remain critical and the prices will remain high till the next production comes in the market. Garlic being a rabi crop it is grown once a year and it is stored. There have been storage losses caused by factors such as a rise in the temperature, which has affected the supply and led to high prices," said Mr Bhonde.

Mr Altamash, from Panvel, said there had been a decline in demand for garlic on account of the high price, so he had stopped trading in the commodity.


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