Widespread Rot in Allotment of Lockers
Recently, I was exploring the availability of lockers close to my place of residence in Mumbai. What I noticed, across banks (I have visited mostly private sector banks, as public sector branches are old with absolutely no locker availability), was that, if one wants to have a locker in a private bank, there is no option but to purchase a ULIP (unit-linked insurance product) which is high-cost, illiquid and is mostly a wealth destroyer (minimum commitment of Rs1 lakh-Rs1.5 lakh per year for five to six years).
All banks tell you that there is a waiting list of 100+ customers but they can push your name and make the allotment immediately, if you make the investment that they are proposing (mostly ULIPs; one bank even proposed portfolio management services).
When I insisted on putting my name on the waiting list as mandated by RBI (Reserve Bank of India), none of the banks was willing to give in writing my waiting list number. The rot is so deep and widespread that, when I spoke to a few of my friends in the banking industry, they mentioned that they also cannot do much. For a majority of bank branches, lockers are a tool to achieve their fee-based income targets.
I wish, with RBI allowing NBFCs (non-banking finance companies) to provide locker services, this issue may be taken care of, to some extent. But it will happen only over a period. In fact, PNB (Punjab National Bank), despite being a PSU (public sector undertaking), allows the availability to be checked online on the following link: https://www.pnbindia.in/En/ui/LockerAvailability.aspx I hope, like the home loan pre-payment penalty, RBI makes it mandatory for all banks to display the availability in a transparent manner. If it has not been covered in the recent past, Moneylife can cover this topic and get various banks to respond on it.
Shailendra Gavali, by email 

Take the Team with him!

This is with regard to “Will the RBI Governor’s Letter Make a Difference?” by Sucheta Dalal. Purely from the angle of ethics in administration and management, it would have been prudent for the governor to retain his communication to the staff as an internal one and not a matter of public debate. 
DN Ghosh, a doyen among bankers, next in stature to RK Talwar, knows pretty well that each central bank in the world has its internal learning processes and failings. Dr Raghuram Rajan would have done well to hold a series of roundtables among his staff, at different tiers, and to develop an iterative process to bring home to them the need to widen and deepen their knowledge and change attitudes. There are tools for continuous monitoring and, as an IIM (A) alumnus of international repute, he should be aware of these and adopt them. An internationally reputed icon among central bank governors and contemporary economists should have engineered the processes internally far better as he has to take the team with him.
B Yerram Raju, online comment

A Real Coup!

This is just a quick note to share how much I appreciate the insightful articles of R Balakrishnan. His article alone is worth the price of each issue and more; the rest is cream. Most of his articles are worth collecting for future reference. You may wish to consider publishing his most insightful articles into a book form. And, if you do that, do not forget to send me an autographed copy! 
You could also persuade him to write by analysing one company in detail, including the financial aspects, which will benefit readers with basic finance knowledge. We would also be keen to know what type of companies feature in his personal portfolio and the reasons thereof. That would be a real coup! This does not mean that the reader should blindly follow Mr Balakrishnan. But, it will give the reader an insight into his approach and philosophy. In fact, even you could do that. Please consider the request.  
Mahesh Krishnan, by email

Claim after discharge from hospital!

This is with regard to “IRDAI Wants Wider Cashless Network” by Raj Pradhan. Cashless is the primary reason for exorbitant medical expenses at hospitals. If you go with cashless, you need to disclose the names of the insurer and the TPA (third-party administrator). Secondly, such a disclosure could also mean that, as a patient, the insured and insurer can be defrauded by way of increased treatment costs, excess billing and so on. It would be better not to have cashless and not disclose at time of admission about having medical insurance. In any event, all bills are provided by the hospital and can be filed with the insurance company with the claim after discharge.
Rajan R Vaswani,  by email

Do we Need to Wait?

This is with regard to “Are You Ready for Netflix?” by Yogesh Sapkale. I am an avid reader of Moneylife. I was one of the first to download the Netflix app. Within the first movie, the whole month’s six gigabytes (6GB) got over! After that, using even the highest speed wifi connection, none of the popular movies gets downloaded. I cancelled my connection within 48 hours. Unless the rates of Internet come down and fast Internet becomes a norm, we need to wait. 
Dr Hari Venkatramani, by email

Citizens are Aware and Awakened Today!

This is with regard to “PK’s Romp through India’s Financial Sector” by Sucheta Dalal. Perfect analysis. We, taxpayers and citizens of this country, pay through our nose for the misdeeds of our leaders (and this includes leaders of all clans and backgrounds—be it Congress or BJP; BJP is no better than Congress in managing the economy of the country). All PSUs (public sector undertakings) including all PSBs (public sector banks) go on giving loans to all non-creditworthy borrowers that turn into NPAs (non-performing assets) eventually. No wonder, Morgan Stanley has given a price target of Rs115 for SBI’s (State Bank of India’s) share. The government has to reckon that the days of its ruthless game-playing have to stop someday. Citizens are aware and awakened today. 
Why can’t SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) take action against a listed company? Only because, at the end of the day, the SEBI chief is a government appointee and has to fall in line with government’s diktats. SEBI is a small regulator in terms of power and authorities. 
Look at even RBI. It is the central bank of the country but the RBI governor is not spared; he is harassed and coerced to obey the diktats of government. One has to only notice the cajoling and nudging by all sorts of government functionaries, including finance secretaries/NITI Aayog chairman, etc, telling the RBI governor to reduce bank rates. If India has to progress, such interference and treating the regulators as their fiefs has to stop. Only then will the regulators work towards better economic development and a transparent policy regime.
Kamal Garg, online comment 



Kanhaiya Kumar sent to judicial custody till March 2
New Delhi : JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on sedition charges, was on Wednesday sent to judicial custody till March 2.
Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen gave the ruling after Delhi Police said it did not need the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) any more for interrogation.
Kanhaiya Kumar, from the CPI-affiliated All India Students Federation (AISF), was arrested on February 12 on charges of raising anti-India slogans during a meeting on Kashmir in the campus.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.


Lucknow tops in issuing most passports in 2015-16
Lucknow : 'Acche din' appear to have finally arrived for passport seekers in Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow has issued the highest number of passports among all cities in the country so far in fiscal 2015-16.
With 13.37 lakh new passports issued in the state, India's most populous, 9.48 lakh are from the capital, a record of sorts, according to officials of the Regional Passport Office (RPO) here.
Major headway has been made over the year in clearing backlogs and reducing the time taken to give necessary clearances, including police verification and appointments for interviews.
Passport 'melas' ordered by the ministry of external affairs have been a great help, officials said.
Hasan Warsi, an Aligarh Muslim University student and a resident of Lucknow, says he had to go to Dubai for a college education programme and he got his passport "in a jiffy".
"I had heard so much negative things about the passport process and delays but was pleasantly surprised by the promptness," Warsi told IANS.
R.N. Rai, the Regional Passport Officer, said police had been a major help as more than 90 percent verification of passport applicants was completed within two weeks, thereby expediting an otherwise long and often much criticized process.
"Credit must go to police who fast-tracked the whole process," Rai added.
Of the 13.37 lakh passports made in Uttar Pradesh, police verification of 12 lakh was done within the stipulated 21 days, thus prompting early dispatch and delivery of the passports.
And police seem to have earned not only praise but moolah too. 
The external affairs ministry gives Rs.150 for each passport verification. This has turned into a windfall for the Uttar Pradesh Police in the current fiscal when it raked in Rs.19 crore, another record.
The earning for police earlier averaged Rs.6-7 crore.
Bareilly and Ghaziabad passport offices have chipped in with 3.89 lakh passports. Special work is on at the passport offices in Gorakhpur, Kanpur and Varanasi so that they do not lag behind, an official said.
Lucknow has also the topped the regional passport offices across the country in issuing most passports in the current fiscal.
Hyderabad is second at 7.60 lakh passports and Bengaluru third with 6.33 lakh. They are followed by Kolkata (6.13 lakh), Ahmedabad (5.66 lakh) and Delhi (5.06 lakh).
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.


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