Nation
President gives assent to money laundering, banking bills

The banking bill will pave the way for corporate houses to enter the banking sector which is a key reform legislation pending for long

New Delhi: The three financial sectors reforms laws, Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill and Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 have become law of the land with President Pranab Mukherjee giving assent to them, reports PTI.

 

The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 also got the President's assent, an official statement said.

 

The Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to enlarge the definition of money laundering offences and could help curb funding of terrorist operations, was approved by Parliament in the Winter Session.

 

The Bill had sought to remove existing limit of Rs5 lakh as fine under the Act. It proposes to make provision for attachment and confiscation of the proceeds of crime even if there is no conviction so long as it is proved that offence of money laundering has taken place, and property in question is involved in money-laundering.

 

The banking bill will pave the way for corporate houses to enter the banking sector which is a key reform legislation pending for long.

 

The Banking Bill was approved by Parliament after the government dropped the controversial clause concerning allowing banks to trade in commodity futures.

 

The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 aimed at strengthening the provision for bad debts by banks and financial institutions.

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Defective mypad

Buying a product from the website of Naaptol.com has been a great learning experience. It is a mistake which I will never make again and would like to share it with Moneylife readers. 

 
I was going abroad to be with my grandsons aged three and five years. The older one is familiar with computers. I thought of buying something for my young grandson so that he can play with his play-computer and not disturb his brother. It was just my bad luck that I happened to open the website of Naaptol.com. I was delighted when I saw a product which I had in my mind as a gift for my grandson. The product was ‘MyPad—computer tablet for kids’. 
 
I bought the MyPad and received delivery on 3 December 2012. I was ready with three Duracell battery cells and tried it out. To my shock, it just did not work.
 
Immediately, I telephoned the MyPad supplier to lodge a complaint. I was told that, within 48 hours, someone would telephone me to attend to my complaint. There was no response even after 48 hours. On Thursday, 6 December 2012, I received an SMS from LM-NAAPTOL, which asked me to send the MyPad to an address in Delhi through Blue Dart courier, who would do the pickup free-of-charge from my residence. The condition was that the product should be in a securely wrapped parcel in order that it is received in Delhi in undamaged condition. Who will be a witness to their having received the product in good condition in Delhi? 
 
I telephoned again repeatedly for three more days, since the to and fro courier charges would cost me more than the cost of the product. On the last call I made, the girl attending my call said, “Sir, this product does not carry any warranty or guarantee, so get it repaired by a local electronic technician.”
 
I had no alternative but to put a full stop to the matter and throw the MyPad into the garbage. It is not just my experience but also of others that the products sold are, often, defective right from day one and do not carry any warranty. One has to waste time on making calls to the call-centre.
Hoshang R Nekoo, Mumbai, by email
 
Thank you for sharing this incident with our readers. We would also recommend that you post this experience on consumer complaint websites because it often leads to redress. — Editor
 
Own mutual fund
This is with regard to the Cover Story “Super Stocks Portfolio” in Moneylife (29 November 2012). Another good article from Moneylife. A time has now come for Moneylife to start its own mutual fund. I do not trust most mutual funds anymore, barring HDFC Top 200. Unless you have in-depth knowledge, the agents make more money than their customers. Also most mutual funds agents are untrustworthy. If, and when, Moneylife does start its own mutual fund, I will be one of the first customers.
Suketu Shah, by email
 
Maintaining austerity
I read with great interest Moneylife (1 November 2012), particularly the lead article “Deformed Reforms”. It has political ramifications. The attempt of UPA-2 to bring about so-called bold reforms lacks the political will. It is too little, too late. The people in power know too well that the reforms may not see the light of the day.
 
The government falls short of numbers in the Rajya Sabha. This exercise may best be described as a desperate face-saving attempt from the severe criticism for the all the scams brought to light, one after the other. The new finance minister is talking about the economy and its poor health. He aspires to cut down the subsidy and bring about disinvestment in public enterprises. But he does not utter a word about maintaining austerity in government expenditure and observing discipline among the politicians.
 
I had the good fortune of reading Dr Verghese Kurien’s autobiography where he has vividly described the visit of the late Lal Bahadur Shastri, former prime minister to Anand Dairy. Shastriji stayed overnight in a village nearby and strictly warned Dr Kurien not to disclose to anyone about his overnight stay. He was impressed by the selfless work carried out by the unassuming man called the ‘milkman of India’. It is still not too late to honour the man posthumously with the Bharat Ratna award.
Ramesh Kapadia, by email 
 
High dividend yield
I am a new subscriber of Moneylife and I congratulate the magazine spreading financial awareness in society. Being a long-term investor, I liked the latest issue on ‘Stocks with High Dividend Yield’. It requires detailed study for choosing a high dividend yield stock out of the nearly 6,000 listed companies. Financial strength of a company is dependent on many factors. Therefore, I request Moneylife to bring out a special issue on “How to select high dividend yield stocks”. Please cover topics such as: how earnings per share (EPS) are a determining factor for giving dividend.
Srinivas Shukla, by email
 
 
Thank you, Mr Shukla for the suggestion. We will definitely consider it. — Editor
 
Eye-opener for indian banks
This is with regard to “Refreshing change in the attitude of a British bank; a lesson for Indian banks?” by Gurpur (http://moneylife.in/article/refreshing-change-in-the-attitude-of-a-british-bank-a-lesson-for-indian-banks/30131.html). The ‘stiff-upper-lipped’ British bankers are coming out with apologies not once but thrice. Additionally, compensating a former bank customer should be an eye-opener for Indian bankers.
 
Here are two instances of how our banks have treated senior citizens (both 80+ years), who have a longstanding relationship (over 50 years) with each bank.
 
(a) Despite furnishing Bank of Baroda with the appropriate form, well in time, the branch went on to deduct TDS (tax deduction at source) on fixed deposit interest. The Bank also failed to provide TDS certificates and fobbed the customer every time he wanted to meet the assistant general manager heading the branch. When we personally called on the Bank branch, threatening to take up the matter with the Bank Grievances Committee, they came round.
 
(b) The second issue is one where a State Bank of Mysore credited the customer’s account with Rs1,36,000 with a simple narration indicating the remitting bank and remitter’s name. The amount was with regard to a mediclaim settlement. Later, the Bank branch demanded refund of the amount credited. It was backed by a legal notice from a Delhi lawyer from the remitter’s bank. The client pointed out to the Bank that the amount credited represented the amount due to him on mediclaim settlement. There is total silence till today.
Nagesh Kini, by email
 
IT BECOMES be-sahara?
This is with regard to “SC breather for Sahara” by Sucheta Dalal. The Sahara case is a classic example of the degeneration of the Indian regulatory and judicial systems. Ask any small borrower how s/he is harassed, or even threatened for a short delay in payment. Many have their assets seized and are dragged to court for paltry amounts. Here, even the Supreme Court exhibits helplessness, when it grants the request of the accused companies. Moreover, income-tax (I-T) authorities will chase small taxpayers to explain the source of funds, or treat the amount as undeclared income subject to tax, interest and penalty. But, if you are a Sahara, even I-T becomes be-sahara and can’t do anything. Why?
Shivkumar 
 
II
Thank you for your courage of conviction in writing and publishing this article. One should inquire into why the I-T is lagging in identifying the ‘investors’ and ‘depositors’ and their sources of funds.
A Banerjee
 
III
It will be an ideal pilot project to put the entire truckload of documents on the Aadhar verification mode rather than conduct a lie-detector test on the Sahara-Shri Managing Partner.
Nagesh Kini
 
Zero mortality
This is with regard to “Trial results prove skeptics of chelation therapy wrong” by BV Gokhale. At Sibia Medical Centre (Ludhiana), it is a patient-proven therapy. Our experience of nearly 100,000 intravenous infusions stands testimony to it. Even double-blind studies in bypass surgery and angioplasty are rare. Chelation therapy is a simple solution to a complex problem. We have several patients for whom surgery was not an option (recurrence of blockages after bypass, failed bypass or those who could not afford bypass surgery), who have responded well to chelation therapy. There is zero mortality during the procedure. We welcome readers to contact us (+91-9814034818).
Dr Sibia

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Govt companies to meet min public holding requirement deadline: SEBI chief

According to UK Sinha, the promoter holding in Indian companies is very high as compared to other Asian markets and SEBI took up the matter with the government as it feels that he PSUs should also follow the rules

Mumbai: The government has assured the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that listed public sector undertakings will meet the August 2013 deadline to meet the capital markets regulator’s mandatory public shareholding norms, reports PTI quoting Sebi chief UK Sinha.

 

“I am happy to inform that we have received confirmation from government that it will abide by public shareholding guidelines within the timeframe,” Mr Sinha said at a conference organised by industry body Assocham.

 

According to Mr Sinha, the promoter holding in Indian companies is very high as compared to other Asian markets and SEBI took up the matter with the government as it feels that he PSUs should also follow the rules, Mr Sinha said.

 

Under the norms, privately promoted companies are expected to have a public shareholding at 25% by June 2013, while the same for the state-run listed companies has been relaxed to 10%, which has to be met by August 2013, Mr Sinha said.

 

According to analysts, 11 PSUs, including Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers and State Bank of Mysore, have government holding beyond the 90% mark and the government will have to bring it down.

 

Mr Sinha also said that SEBI is continuously taking measures to improve retail investors’ confidence in the equity market and stressed that the market is not a ‘casino’ where one can do anything and get away with it.

 

Underlining that the Indian market is well-regulated, he said investors should not worry as SEBI has the necessary mechanisms to take care of any manipulation.

 

It has put up a sophisticated surveillance mechanism which is putting out up to 100 alerts a day on potentially fraudulent transactions, he said.

 

“I assure you, if there is any attempt to manipulate the market or to bypass the rules, we will take action and with this surveillance mechanism, we are in a much better position to do that today,” he said.

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