Victim of Junk Food

This is with regard to the Cover Story in Moneylife (13 November 2014). This is an interesting Cover Story.


Since the past 11 years, I have been a victim of such junk food every day, soon after I left my home town. In fact, since the past two years, I have been to McDonalds for breakfast 2-3 times a week. I was addicted to it. Of late, coming across various health-related articles, I have reduced going to such food outlets, but I have not stopped completely.


I believe that a huge chunk of people, who visit such outlets frequently, may not be doing so due to the taste of the food, but the appealing ambience of the outlets that creates an urge in the mind of visitors to go there and have food. If the urban food joints offer better ambience and sell healthy food at affordable prices, society can benefit, to a large extent.


In India, though the regulations on the quality of food served everywhere, including roadside vendors, are almost absent, there is only a small set of people who takes appropriate steps to avoid such places and take healthy food. However, over time, urban population is going to increase and, due to lifestyle constraints, more and more people will fall victims to junk food.


After reading this article, I would think twice before visiting such places for food. A suggestion would be to display photographs of disease, the way it is done in the case of tobacco products. The Indian government has to regulate all junk food chains and start putting up hoardings with photographs about their health hazards in front of such stores, so that visitors at least become aware of the effects of consuming junk food.


Thank you, Moneylife, for a wonderful Cover Story, apart from finance-related ones. We need to make people understand and realise this.

P K Misra, by email


Profound Philosophy!

This is with regard to Prof Hegde’s article on the Nocebo effect in Moneylife

(27 November 2014). Prof Hegde’s philosophy is profound, practical and much-needed for our times. It should reach a larger audience. His articles in Moneylife, complemented with the chapter “Medicine Optionality and Fragility” in Nassim Taleb’s book Antifragile, speak about how naïve intervention by doctors causes harm.


I have registered for MSSN (Moneylife Smart Savers Network) and I love the unbiased advice given on all aspects. I salute Moneylife’s courage to do this in India, where I am sure the powerful will spare no effort to protect themselves.


Thank you, Moneylife for all the amazing work that you do. I have always thought of doing something for society but somehow the lazy, scared and corporate treadmill-running Charles gets the better of me. Hope to do my bit by spreading the Moneylife message. I got my mother-in-law and two colleagues to subscribe to Moneylife magazine. Hopefully, more will follow.

Charles Carvalho, by email


Casual Approach

This is with regard to “Stop Punishing Investors for the actions of Rogue Promoters” by Sucheta Dalal. As usual, congratulations to Ms Dalal for bringing the reality to surface! When the Congress government was in power, nothing happened; the change in government has changed things. SEBI has issued the order.


I was representing the Shareholders’ Association at a meeting with senior officers of SEBI. Officers had a casual approach on protecting the interest of the common investors. Unless such persons are punished within reasonable time, things are not going to improve.

Shanti K Patel, online comment



Simple Helplessness

This is with regard to “Are You Serious?” by Sucheta Dalal. No, they are not serious. Those who are supposed to be the watchdogs of consumer interests hardly care about consumers. They care more about protecting those who exploit consumers. When asked why they are not taking action, the reply is a simple helplessness: ‘No teeth’. Laws do not empower them. They advise, for relief ‘go to a consumer forum’. Everywhere, the consumer is at the receiving end.


Role of Media? Sorry to say, except Moneylife, all other media confine themselves to mere reporting of court judgements. If any consumer has a serious grievance, the media does not have the time or the inclination to print even a line.

Mohan Siroya, online comment


Realistic Expectations

This is with regard to “How Financially Savvy Are You?” by Debashis Basu and Raj Pradhan. I find it shocking that respondents expect returns of 15%-20% from equities, over long periods of time. Only 12% of the respondents have realistic expectations of equity returns. Moneylife should caution its readers NOT to expect returns over 12%.

Ralph Rau, online comment


Nice Coverage

This is with regard to “Book Review of: Why Moats Matter.” Nice Coverage! I liked the Moat concept. Actually, we all think of such factors. But it seems the author of the book helped the reader to actually provide the tools to finally pick the stock.

Kiran Aggarwal, online comment


eal Cleaning Up

This is with regard to Book Review of Not Just an Accountant by Jason Monteiro. The book has opened debates on several issues concerning governance and the games people holding power play. It needs a lot of courage and will to live for the country for individuals like Vinod Rai, to speak out on issues raised in the book. The debate should be taken forward for real cleaning up to happen. Moneylife has done its bit by publishing this review.

MG Warrier, online comment


Loss of Investors

This is with regard to “SEBI Regulates ‘Research Analysts’” by SD Israni. Big fines and penalty can deter roadside equity firms.


SEBI should bring out what would happen to an investor if the imposed fine or penalty is unable to meet the investors’ loss. A well-considered and 360-degree approach is required. But, going by SEBI’s track record, it may be a series of over-promises. There is under-performance by SEBI like in the case of PEARL shares.

Madhur Aggarwal, online comment


Commissions of Wealth Management Companies!

This is with regard to “IRDA for Removing Cap on Agent Commission?” by Raj Pradhan.


Excellent article and the issue which has been covered by Moneylife! I would request Moneylife to carry a similar article on how much commission wealth management companies get for forcing their clients to buy Z-grade punter shares.

Suketu Shah


Is the BJP Doing a Quid Pro Quo?

This is with regard to “Bailing Out Cooperative Banks” by Sucheta Dalal. The PSBs (public sector banks) are funded by the central government as they have the majority stake in them. It may be for the first time that the ‘Government at the Centre’ is rescuing cooperative banks. Twenty three cooperative banks get Rs2,375 crore.


It is sad that the BJP, which has come to power with the promise to root out corruption, is shielding cooperative banks that have gone into the red because of corrupt practices, mismanagement, etc. The managements of the failed cooperative banks are, by and large, in the hands of ruthless politicians. The BJP seems to be obliged to them to repay the dues it owes: quid pro quo. What the BJP practises is different from what it professes.


Other ailing cooperative banks may also await the lift karale’ boost by the Central government!


Cooperative banks, which are victims of politicians, are put on moratorium by the regulators. As a result, the depositors, i.e., the public, have to bear the brunt of the problem. The public, if not the regulators, should oppose the misuse of the taxpayers’ money by the Central government.

RG Nakhate


Woes of the New Government?

This is with regard to “What To Make of the New Road Transport Bill?” by Veeresh Malik.


The circus remains the same and so do the new jokers who work in Delhi. Only the ringmaster has changed. These ministries are touts for various industries designed to fleece and trouble the common man. There is no civil society representation. This is the case of the auto Industry. Look at real estate, the mother of all corrupt industries, which has no industry status. Poor agreements are signed which are lop sided and weighed in favour of the builder. Gas prices are up and taxi-drivers will cry for two days. Life would be as usual afterwards. Airlines charge high rates today and the industry is sick.

Mahesh S Bhatt


Health Insurance for Seniors

Health insurance awareness is high when you get close to age 50 years. If you remain healthy till then, it means you have taken good care of yourself. For most of us, the question is not whether there will be hospitalisation, but when it will happen. When it does happen, will it burn a hole in your pocket? Will your family face a financial crisis if there is recurrence of hospitalisation over the next few years? If the answer is yes, then you need to plan for health insurance early in life so that your post-retirement life is secure.


But if you have not planned for it and are now already a senior citizen, or close to it, then you need to know all your options. Mediclaim for senior citizens can be expensive; but, if you can afford it, it is better to continue with the policy you already have, as portability may not work. For others, there are a few options worth exploring. Raj Pradhan gives the details of options for senior citizens.


Sucheta, in her Crosshairs section, writes on a whether a public interest litigation filed against PNB, accusing the senior staff of corruption by mis-selling insurance, has a chance of going in favour of consumers. She also exposes the extent to which government-owned banks, running on taxpayers’ money, will go to protect the corrupt and hunt down whistleblowers.


When the regulator supports a bank cartel by readily accepting its claims about transaction costs without exploring ways to reduce them, what option do depositors have? In her Different Strokes section, Sucheta writes on the various pains of financial consumers.


Moneylife Foundation was proud to hold an open house with its three newest trustees. Former chief election commissioner, TS Krishnamurthy, former RBI deputy governor Dr KC Chakrabarty and COO at Flipkart payment gateway, Siddharth Das were there to discuss the issues that affect all of us. It was a lively 90 minutes. Read more about the event in the ML Foundation Events section. We will, of course, upload the video on YouTube.


Banking: Bank of India To Pay Rs82,000 for Clearing Forged Cheque

The Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (MSCDRC) ordered Bank of India to pay its customer Rs82,000 for having cleared a cheque that was admittedly forged. This forged cheque, cleared by the Bank in 1993, was for an amount of Rs25,000.


There had been suspicious withdrawals from the customer’s account. The Bank was notified and the signature was found to be forged. The customer filed a police case and also approached the Central Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. The District Forum agreed with the Bank’s contention that it had matched the forged signature with the signature on record and it could not be made to pay for the fraud.


The petitioner appealed against the judgement to MSCDRC which has accepted the customer’s application and ordered the Bank to pay the customer Rs82,000.


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