Regulation: SEBI proposes new listing norms
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed a new set of rules which would require greater disclosures by companies and give more powers to stock exchanges to check non-compliance. 
The proposed norms, to be called SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2014, require compliance by all listed companies, and by those listing their debentures, bonds and mutual funds on stock exchanges.
The final norms, to be framed after obtaining public comments, would replace the existing provisions for listing agreements. Meanwhile, hundreds of dubious companies listed on BSE continue to be rigged with impunity, making a mockery of all listing norms.


Dormant Bank Accounts: No Penalty for Non-maintenance of Minimum Balance
RBI asked banks not to levy penalties on customers who cannot maintain a minimum balance in an inoperative account.
“It is advised that henceforth banks are not permitted to levy penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balances in any inoperative account,” RBI said in a notification.
The notification further said: “Instead of levying penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance in ordinary savings bank accounts, banks should limit services available on such accounts to those available to basic savings bank deposit accounts and restore the services when the balances improve to the minimum required level.” 


How big booths end up denying voting to citizens
Voter turnout percentage reduces significantly when booth size increases beyond 1,600 voters. Even the counts of people, who vote in these booths, do not increase much with the size of booth

In the previous article (Read: Turn voters out and complain about poor voter turnout ), I argued that when the number of voters in a polling booth is higher than 1,320, then not all the voters in the booth can cast votes in the allotted polling hours. The chief electoral officers (CEOs) deny voting rights of citizens by design when they increase the booth size beyond a limit. This argument was based on logic. With further analysis, we have evidence.
After the Assembly Elections 2013, CEO of Karnataka, published Form-20 giving details of votes polled in each booth of the state. He also published the count of voters in each booth in another document. From these documents, I extracted voter counts and votes polled in 41,441 booths. (CEO-KA has later removed these documents from his website. Document properties show the date of creation as 23 May 2013.)
We find a clear correlation between decline of voter turnout percentage and polling booth size whereas the number of people who vote does not increase beyond a count showing that the booths have reached their capacity.
The table below gives the booth sizes in different ranges, number of booths in that category and turnout in number and turnout % in them. Because a larger % of big booths are in Bangalore, I have given the counts for Bangalore in separate columns. 

The table above and bar graph below clearly show decline in voter turnout percentage, when the size of booth crosses 1,400 voters. When the size crosses 1,600 voters, the decline is even sharper. Whereas the turnout percentage in Bangalore is lower till the booth size is about 1,600 voters, for booths larger than that, the figures are close to those of Karnataka as a whole.

Whereas the voter turnout percentage reduces significantly when the booth size increases beyond 1,600 voters, the counts of people who vote in these booths do not increase much with the size of booth. No correlation of votes polled and booth-size beyond a size indicates that booth’s capacity and not voter apathy reduces voter turnout percentage. Bar graph below helps in visualising this reality too.

Other than some increase at the tail-end, maximum number of voters are found in booths whose sizes are between 1200 and 1400. When the size increases, voters may be de-motivated thinking of possible long queues. This is an assumption based on the data. Surveys with this hypotheses may give better insights.
When we talk of the need for electoral reforms and voter apathy, our priorities are wrong. The CEOs should first adhere to the rules and guidelines of Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Commission should ensure that they do so. Reforms before that would be like paint on a rusty surface, allowing the rust to eat the metal inside while exhibiting shine outside. 
(Commander (Retd) PG Bhatt is a retired naval officer, an educationist and a social worker.) 





2 years ago

Good work Mr.Bhat,

As the number of voters in a booth increases it puts the weak, not so healthy and older people at a disadvantage as they may not be in a physical condition to wait for long hours. Hence it automatically reduces voting percentage.

If election commission can make use of the data that you mined and uses logical approach, may be they will be able to find the optimal number of voters for a booth to increase the voting percentage.


PG Bhat

In Reply to CHILUKURI K R L RAO 2 years ago

Thanks, Mr. Rao. Please let me know if anyone has ideas to explore using the published public data by ECI and various CEOs. If we mmet the authorities with hard data, we may succeed.


In Reply to PG Bhat 2 years ago

You are welcome Mr.Bhat. Yours is a good idea and need to be communicated to the election commission. That is what we can do.

I believe there are good people in the system and if we can make such ideas reach those people then we might get a chance to better the system.

Here is a link that contains all the email ID of the people manning the election commission.

Request you to send your article to all these email IDs so that we can improve the odds of reaching those good people that matter in the system.

Wish Moneylife too pitches in.

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