The Sahara group company has again published similar ad which earlier came under the scanner of the RBI
Sahara India Financial Corp Ltd (SIFCL) has issued an advertisement in newspapers, on Saturday, extending the premature payment to its depositors’ to 31 March 2012. However, the Sahara group company has not given any reason for it. The latest ad is identical to earlier one issued by the company in August and also does not have logo of the company or signature of any official.
The August ad issued by stated that it would repay its total liabilities of Rs73,000 crore by December 2011, four years ahead of the deadline. However, this ad came under the scanner of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The apex bank was examining the company's claim about repaying its total liabilities and was looking into the trail of the deposits as well as the authenticity of the print advertisement.
In its recent announcement the ad says, “In continuation to our pre-payment notice published in various newspapers during the month of August 2011, as regards to pre-mature payment of entire deposits of liabilities by December 2011, this is to inform that the Board, on the request of all concerned people including our Honourable Depositors, has extended the date for making the pre-mature payment of the entire deposit liability from 31 December 2011 to 31 March 2012. Subsequent to this pre-payment, the company will have no liability of single paisa.”
Expert pointed out that the claim of making pre-mature payment of deposits of Rs73,000 crore four years ahead of the due date, conveys a false and misleading impression about the financial strength of the company.
The advertisement has once again set off a discussion on whether the RBI should formulate rules about disclosures in advertisements issued by regulated entities. For instance, this particular Sahara advertisement does not have the logo of the company and the signatory has been identified only by the designation.
Moneylife had reliably learnt that the company's total liability is around Rs5,000 crore. But even this may not be a cash repayment, and may well be a transfer of deposits to another entity.
In 2008, the RBI had directed SIFCL, which is a residual non-banking finance company, not to accept any deposits and to repay the depositors on maturity, after it found that the company was not complying with the rules and regulations that are laid down for this activity.
The company, however, challenged the directive of the RBI and the matter went up to the Supreme Court, which asked the apex bank to provide SIFCL a personal hearing and make a fresh order.
Subsequently, the RBI issued a fresh directive to SIFCL, asking the company to bring down its aggregate liability to depositors to zero by 30 June 2015 and repay its depositors on maturity.
The company could not be reached as the phone number of its corporate communication department, given on its website, is invalid. Even our e-mail message sent by them seeking reason for extending the payment date, bounced back.
In June this year, market regulator SEBI also restrained two other Sahara group units, Sahara Commodity Services Corp (earlier known as Sahara India Real Estate Corporation) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp, from accessing the securities market to raise funds till payments are made to the satisfaction of the market regulator.
Jeffrey Sachs captures the angst of a country in trouble but has no effective solution
Narmada Kidney Foundation not only provides information about kidney diseases but also explains how they can be prevented, Shukti Sarma reports
Each year, 0.3-0.4 million people in India develop end-stage kidney disease; only 10% manage to get treatment like dialysis or organ transplant. Apart from the serious medical complexities, the financial and psychological implications are huge for patients, organ donors and their families.
It was to help such patients that Narmada Kidney Foundation (NKF) was set up in 1993. “The patients wanted to know more about required care and medications,” says Dr Prashant Rajput, nephrologist and transplant physician, who works with the organisation. He adds, “Eminent nephrologist Dr Bharat Shah and his friends came together to promote awareness and support the patients and donors. Dr Shah managed its affairs, but his patients were the driving force in setting up this Foundation.”
NKF promotes awareness about kidney diseases and advocates cadaver organ transplant. One can listen to the programmes aired twice a month on AIR FM Rainbow where the doctors are invited to speak. “We believe that if family members want to donate their kidneys voluntarily, things should be made easy. But there are many legal hurdles, and permission often comes after it is too late. The waiting list is huge and patients cannot afford to waste time,” Dr Rajput says.
NKF encourages interaction between patients and donors. Every week, donors and patients meet there—which gives both a psychological boost. Additionally, there are screening and diet workshops and counselling about pre- and post-treatment care. NKF provides medicines and treatments at subsidised rates.
Almost 100 outdoor and indoor patients are treated daily; in a year, 50-60 kidney transplants are performed. Compared to other non-government organisations, NKF had a smooth start. But, as the number of patients went up, the fund crunch started. “We deal with patients from all sections of society. A few are wealthy but the majority earn only about Rs15,000 a month; 15%-20% are from slums,” informs Dr Rajput.
Through NKF, many underprivileged patients get check-ups, operations and medicines at subsidised rates. Some former patients donate, but major part of the funding comes from memberships. Life membership is available for Rs5,000, and annual membership for Rs500. “In many cases, more than one member of a family suffers from kidney diseases. In that case, if one becomes a member, benefits are extended to the relatives too,” says Dr Rajput.
It is difficult to keep up without corporate funding, but doctors at NKF believe that seeing their patients’ walk away smiling is more important. Recently, Dr Rajput performed a transplant, the permission for which was obtained after seven months. “It is an unbelievable story. This person was a bus conductor on a Modasa-Nadiad bus which had a two-and-half-hour-halt at Nadiad. For two and half years, he would come to Nadiad at Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital for dialysis during that break. Dialysis is painful, and one can’t start working immediately after—but he would go back to his duty.”
His wife was willing, but her kidney was non-compatible. His brother-in-law decided to donate a kidney, but the latter’s family was not happy with their son losing a kidney. “So the search started again. Then, a man from Rajasthan came forward, whose mother required a transplant too—but she was in Haryana. Our patient’s wife’s kidney was found compatible with this woman’s—and there was a swap transplant between this conductor and that man, and the donor’s mother and our patient’s wife. He spent almost Rs2.5 lakh as bribe to get permission for the operation,” laughs Dr Rajput.
One can volunteer for NKF’s awareness programmes or sponsor patients. “The best thing to do would be to pledge to donate an organ,” says Dr Rajput. Monetary donations are exempt under section 80(G) of Income Tax Act.
Narmada Kidney Foundation
A-01, Navsanyukta Apartments
AG Link Road
Chakala Andheri (E)
Mumbai 400 093
Tel: 022 2836 8634