GlaxoSmithKline's manipulative hype in repositioning Horlicks in India

This TV commercial is about GSK's attempt at re-positioning their brand Horlicks in India. The TVC claims boiling milk diminishes vitamins A, B and Folic acid content in it and therefore you should add Horlicks to milk in order to make good the loss



The above TV commercial (TVC) for Horlicks, promoted by GSK Consumer Healthcare (GSK), lasts 17 seconds, shows a stressed out mother yelling at her son in the morning uttering:
 

“Utho! Utho! Doodh bhi toh peena hai!” (Get up! Get up! You have to drink your milk as well!)
 

Meanwhile, the milk is on the verge of boiling over the mother rushes in the nick of time to turn off the gas to prevent this from happening.)
 

A male voice then announces:
 

“Doodh ko to bacha liya, par uska poshan? Doodh ubalney sey kahi jaroori nutrients 25% tak kum ho jaate hein. Isiliye Horlicks! Jo doodh ka poshan lowtaane mein madad kare aur ushey badhaye bhi!” (You have prevented the milk from boiling over, but what about its nutrition? By boiling milk many of its vital nutrients get diminished by around 25%.  Hence, Horlicks! Horlicks makes up for this diminished nutrition in boiled milk; in fact it enhances its nutritional value!)
 

The background shows a histogram, which appears 9 seconds into the TVC and lasts 5 seconds long. It presumably portrays the diminished quantities of micronutrients Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Folic acid in boiled milk.
 

A female voice (presumably the mother) then speaks:
 

Ubalne kay baad doodh mein Horlicks milao.” (After boiling, add Horlicks in milk)
 

A child's voice (presumably the mother's school-going son) then interjects:
 

Doodh ki shakti badhao! (Implying Horlicks increases the nutritional power of milk)
 

This Horlicks TVC trivializes the very significant act of boiling milk before consuming by unnecessarily dramatising micronutrient loss. In India, we have a tradition for boiling milk and then consuming it since ancient times and this habit is based on good reasoning.
 

According to Livestrong.com, “Food safety is the primary reason for boiling milk. Milk boils at a temperature at or above the boiling point of water depending on the milk's fat and sugar content and the elevation at which the boiling occurs. This boiling temperature kills any bacteria and other microorganisms that may be in the milk.
Before the advent of pasteurization, milk-borne illnesses like tuberculosis, diphtheria and typhoid routinely killed many people, especially children, in regions of Europe where milk was consumed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). Mothers would boil milk to make it safer for their children to drink. Raw milk today may harbor E.coli, salmonella and other harmful bacteria that would be destroyed by boiling at home before serving. Modern pasteurisation methods heat milk near to boiling for brief periods of time then cool it rapidly to minimize disruption of flavor and nutritional components, according to Ohio State University. However, people in many areas of the world do not have regular access to pasteurized milk, and home boiling remains a valuable method of assuring dairy food safety.”
 

Also, the CDCP further states, “Many studies have shown that pasteurisation does not significantly change the nutritional value of milk – pasteurised milk is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. Heat slightly affects a few of the vitamins found in milk—thiamine, vitamin B12, and vitamin C—but milk is only a minor source of these vitamins.
 

The present Horlicks TVC broadcast on national television, particularly on Sony TV, during the Indian Idol Junior contest, appears to insidiously promote a trend of raw consumption of milk. It does this by dramatically overemphasising the supposedly significant loss of certain 'micronutrients' (vitamin A, vitamin B and Folic acid) to the extent of 25% due to boiling of milk. The fact that folic acid (vitamin B9) also belongs to the family of vitamin B seems to have escaped the minds of those who made this TVC!
 

Now milk is consumed primarily as a source of valuable macronutrients belonging to all the three groups: proteins (casein and whey proteins), a wide variety of healthy fats (C4-butyric acid to C20 arachidic acid, CLA-conjugated linoleic acid, MUFA and PUFA) and carbohydrate (lactose which is a disaccharide of glucose and galactose). As a primary food, milk is foremost a provider of macronutrients to weaned infants, children, adults, sportspersons, physical culturists, and convalescing patients. 
 

Vitamins are ubiquitous across various food groups in nature and milk is not exactly known as a vitamin powerhouse but rather as a provider of quality macronutrients, especially proteins and fats. Milk proteins are the best form of proteins according to National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. A glance across any bodybuilding, strength training or athletics magazines will show you advertisements of muscle building formulations primarily containing either whey or casein proteins, both derived from milk. If micronutrients are your need, the significant food substances that should be on your plate, are foremost green as well as colored vegetables (leafy and root), fruits, beans (especially sprouted) and lentils. Consuming these in adequate quantities will more than make for the deficiency of nutrition in relation to vitamins A, B and folic acid, more that anyone might suffer on account of boiling of milk as GSK puts it in their Horlicks TVC!
 

The table below shows how GSK compromises the nutritional value of its brand Horlicks by reducing its micronutrient value in smaller packs; targeted at the bottom of the consumer pyramid—poorest socio-economic group.
 

HORLICKS MICRONUTRIENT VARIATION (REDUCTION) ACROSS PACK SIZES

Micronutrients

Milk (cow’s whole milk)

Horlicks

Per 100gms

500gms &200gms pack

Per 100gms

80gms pack

Per 100gms

10gms pack*

Per 100gms­­

Vitamin A

30 mcgms

741mcgms

741mcgms

741mcgms

Vitamin B family:

 

 

 

 

B1 Thiamine

0.044mg

2.0mgs

1.3mgs (35% less than in the 500gms pack formulation)

1.3mgs (35% less than in the 500gms pack formulation)

B2 Riboflavin

0.183mg

3.0mgs

3.0mgs

2.96mgs (1.4% less than in the 500gms formulation)

B3 Niacin

0.1069mg

22mgs

16.7mgs (24% less than in the 500gms pack formulation)

16.7mgs (24% less than in the 500gms pack formulation)

B5 Pantothenic acid

0.361mg

4.0mgs

none

None

B6 Pyridoxine

0.036mg

4.0mgs

3.7mgs (7.5% less than  in the 500gms pack formulation)

3.7mgs (7.5% less than  in the 500gms pack formulation)

B9 Folic acid

5 to 10 mcgms

370mcgs

370mcgs

370mcgs

B12 Cyanocobalamin

0.44 mcgm

4.0mcgms

1.9mcgms (52.5% less than in the 500gms pack formulation)

1.85mcgs (53.75% less than in the 500gms pack formulation)


*The 10gms pack of  Horlicks is both an irrational pack size and formulation both from the point of view of nutritional quality as well as quantity. GSK itself states on the 80gms commercial pack under the tagline “My perfect cup of Horlicks!” to add 3 heaped teaspoonful’s (27g) of Horlicks to 200 ml of milk and “as much sugar” as one likes! Never mind the fact that 27gms of Horlicks contains 8gms of sugar! HORLICKS NUTRITIONAL QUALITY DIMINISHES AS THE PACK SIZE DECREASES!
 

Please note, that I have mentioned just vitamin A and those of the B family because these were being overemphasised in the “Doodh ki Shakti badhao” Horlicks TVC. But, as a matter of fact, even vitamin D and biotin are in diminished quantities as the Horlicks pack size becomes smaller.
 

Even in case of the primarily important macronutrients, GSK compromises the nutritional value of Horlicks by reducing its macronutrient value in smaller packs. The table below illustrates this point:
 

HORLICKS MACRONUTRIENT VARIATION (REDUCTION) ACROSS PACK SIZES
 

 

HORLICKS COMMERCIALLY SOLD PACKS

Macronutrients

500gms

80gms

10gms*

Malted Barley (extracted solids)

40%

18% (reduction of 55% from the macronutrient content in the 500gms pack)

18% (reduction of 55% from the macronutrient content in the 500gms pack)

Milk solids

14%

9% (reduction of 35.71% from the macronutrient content in the 500gms pack)

8.6% (reduction of 38.57% from the macronutrient content in the 500gms pack)

Wheat flour

27%

32% (increase of 18.51% from the macronutrient content in the 500gms pack)

32% (increase of 18.51% from the macronutrient content in the 500gms pack)

Observation: Macronutritionally significant and proteinaceous elements such as malted barley and milk extracts reduce significantly as the Horlicks pack size reduces from 500gms to 10gms!  Wheat flour a lesser quality macronutrient in comparison to milk and malted barley extracts increases in the Horlicks formulation when the pack size reduces from 500gms to 10gms.

 

*The 10gms pack of  Horlicks is both an irrational pack size and formulation both from the point of view of nutritional quality as well as quantity. GSK itself states on the 80gms commercial pack under the tagline “My perfect cup of Horlicks!” to add 3 heaped teaspoonful’s (27g) of Horlicks to 200 ml of milk and “as much sugar” as one likes! Never mind the fact that 27gms of Horlicks contains 8gms of sugar! HORLICKS NUTRITIONAL QUALITY DIMINISHES AS THE PACK SIZE DECREASES!

 

 

 

VITAMIN RDIs AND HORLICKS CONSUMPTION, A TABULAR STUDY:
 

Micronutrients as per Horlicks TVC

RDI(recommended Daily Intakes)*

Micronutrient addition due to milk due to 27g (3 heaped teaspoons) of Horlicks to 200ml of milk#

Vitamin A

Adults:690 to 900 mcgms

Children: 300 mcgms

200 mcgms

Vitamin B family:

 

 

B1 Thiamine

Children: 0.5 to 0.9mg

Adults: 1 to 1.4mgs

0.54 mg

B2 Riboflavin

Children: 0.5 to 0.9mg

Adults: 1 to 1.4mgs

0.81 mgs

B3 Niacin

Children: 6.0 to 12.0mgs

Adults: 16 to 18.0mgs

5.94 mgs

B5 Pantothenic acid

Children: 2.0 to 4.0mgs

Adults: 5 to 7.0mgs

1.08 mgs

B6 Pyridoxine

Children: 0.5 to 1.0mgs

Adults: 1.3 to 2.0mgs

1.08 mgs

B9 Folic acid

Children: 150 to 300 mcgms

Adults: 400 to 1000 mcgms

19.9 mcgms

B12 Cyanocobalamin

Children: 0.9 to 2.4mcgms

Adults: 2.4 to 2.8mcgms

1.08 mcgms


# 80gms pack and the irrational 10gms packs of commercially sold Horlicks are micronutritionally as well as macronutritionally very deficient as compared to the 500gms pack and if one were to rely on them for one’s RDI then the economic loss to him or her would be that much more!
 

As can be seen the addition of 27gms of Horlicks to 200ml of boiled milk contributes only to a small percentage of  micronutrient RDIs.
 

* From Dietary Reference Intakes Tables and Application, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
 

Horlicks has been positioned or perceived as bedtime hot milk drink in the country of its origin, United Kingdom, for a major part of its existence, for over 135 years.  In India, the same brand with no remarkable difference in composition from its UK counterpart is projected as a remarkable nourishment provider, which promotes growth, attention and concentration in children of school-going age. Outside of India, in more consumer-aware and well regulated societies of Asia like in Malaysia and Singapore, GSK does not make any manipulative claims regarding Horlicks as it does in India and its immediate neighborhoods. Given below is a photograph of Horlicks poster from Malaysia which is devoid of any tall claims.  
 

In fact, when GSK’s India-based Horlicks advertisement making claims of five signs of growth was broadcast by a Nepali TV channel in the UK, it was monitored and UK regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), took serious objections on the claims made by GSK. GSK was quick to offer an explanation that the claims were meant only for children of this part of the world (Indian subcontinent) and were not applicable to children in UK!
 

Now, macronutrients (fat+protein+carbohydrate) together constitute 11.3% in cow’s milk and 15.8% in buffalo milk.  If micronutrients are the only criterion, then it is better to consume a rational multivitamin formulation with a glass of 200 ml of cow or buffalo milk. Even if you consider macronutrient groups, Horlicks formulation does not enhance the macronutrient profile of milk by much. As a matter of fact, consuming buffalo milk with fortified multivitamin capsule works out even better both in terms of cost-effectiveness and micronutrient requirements than with added Horlicks. Further, if flavor is a consideration then one can easily add readily available flavors to just plain milk whether buffalo or cow to suit one’s taste.
 

In conclusion, GSK Consumer Healthcare violates ethics and consumer rights first by making manipulative as well as misrepresentative claims through the medium of television commercials and then by compromising upon Horlicks formulation both in terms of quantity as well as quality of macro as well as micronutrients in relation to reducing pack sizes and thus peddling inferior and even irrational products. 

GSK itself states on its 80gms Horlicks commercially available pack under the tagline “My perfect cup of Horlicks!” to add 3 heaped teaspoonful (27g) of Horlicks to 200 ml of milk and “as much sugar” as one likes! Never mind the fact that 27gms of Horlicks contains 8gms of sugar!
 

Mounting medical research globally, since the last two decades, shows sugar as an etiological factor in a host of metabolic diseases, which impinge upon the quality of human life; many governments across the world have started taking note of sugar as a reason behind the world’s obesity problem.  Many scientists also suggest the curbing or regulation of sugar intake and even advocate regulating it along the lines of tobacco and alcohol for sugar is a chronic metabolic toxin. Yet GSK encourages its consumption because its malted beverages taste better with sugar!  
 

You may also want to read…
 

Sweet Idols-Part 1: Are you eating more sugar than required?

 

Sugar Idols-Part2: How celebrities promote harmful sugary foods
 

(Dr Arvind Shenoy is an MSc (Organic Chemistry) and PhD in Biochemistry from UDCT, Mumbai. He has 43 years of experience in the analysis, R&D and marketing of foods, organic and inorganic chemicals, plastics, rubber, paper, textiles, waxes, leather, pharmaceuticals, etc. Dr Shenoy, the researcher of consumer products is also Chairman of Centre for Sustainable Development, Mumbai.)

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    COMMENTS

    basant gupta

    6 years ago

    Thank you for such an interesting article.A show cause notice nas been issued to the company today by me as a Food Safety Officer Food Safety & Drug Administration Deoria Uttar Pradesh for violation of section 24 of the Food Safety & Standard act,2006 which is punishable under section 53 of the same Act.If found guilty the company will be fined for upto ten lakhs .The company has been directed by me to stop airing The TVC further until the enquiry is completed.

    Sank ramu

    6 years ago

    Quite well written article; the analysis makes me more aware of corporate science (kind of a pseudo science).
    Grateful to the author!

    Sadanand Patwardhan

    6 years ago

    Excellent analysis that has zeroed down to machinations of Multinationals to the finest details.

    Sadnand Patwardhan
    http://searchlight-is-on.blogspot.in/

    murthypgk

    6 years ago

    The authour,being reputed and knowledgeble,refer the matter of deficiencies,to the concerned regulatory authourities and drug regulators and food ministry.regards
    pgk murthy,hyderabad

    S K Gupta

    6 years ago

    "Ethics and Consumer Rights" Ko Ghor Kar Horlicks Kay Sath Pena Aur Pilane Ki Abb Parampara Chal Chuki Hai.

    jaideep shirali

    6 years ago

    Quite in line with the behaviour of MNCs in India. Glaxo had been caught releasing expired drugs through a scrap dealer, nothing came of it. HUL washing soaps contain no lime, yet they still say "100 limbuon ki shakti" with a fine print which I challenge their Chairman to read in a TV ad. Lifebuoy supposedly saves you from infections, must be under test conditions !! Dettol soaps are of more cosmetic value than medicinal use. As for the fair and lovely creams, all these MNCs would have been sued and forced to stop sales of these products. This is trying to influence consumers to thick only fair people matter, not the brains or attitudes. In India, with a corrupt administration, anything can be sold, any claims made.

    REPLY

    basant gupta

    In Reply to jaideep shirali 6 years ago

    A show cause notice nas been issued to the company today by me as a Food Safety Officer Food Safety & Drug Administration Deoria Uttar Pradesh for violation of section 24 of the Food Safety & Standard act,2006 which is punishable under section 53 of the same Act.If found guilty the company will be fined for upto ten lakhs .

    sivasankaran

    6 years ago

    SIR,
    WELL DONE.WILL THE AUTHORITIES LISTEN AND TAKE ACTION?

    REPLY

    basant gupta

    In Reply to sivasankaran 6 years ago

    A show cause notice nas been issued to the company today by me as a Food Safety Officer Food Safety & Drug Administration Deoria Uttar Pradesh for violation of section 24 of the Food Safety & Standard act,2006 which is punishable under section 53 of the same Act.If found guilty the company will be fined for upto ten lakhs .

    Padmaja Vasireddy

    6 years ago

    Kudos and excellent write ups Dr. Shenoy. And many thanks for getting into lime lights. As a Nutritionist I am on your side.

    Harish

    6 years ago

    Fantastic Work, Hats off for the writer

    dilip mody

    6 years ago

    Very well written article.This ad should be immediately banned as it plays with the heath of children

    Ajit Kushwaha

    6 years ago

    Good story covered by moneylife. Good work. Keep it up.

    Rakesh Tripathi

    6 years ago

    Informative article on deteriorating advertising standards. Isn't this something that would fall within the ambit of Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) ?

    Narendra Doshi

    6 years ago

    Dr. Shenoy,
    Very well analyzed and argued. Kudos.
    Pl clarify:
    1) Is milk really necessary for anyone above two year olds?
    2) Milk contains items similar to cancerous elements and people have written books entitled 'Milk is poison" etc. What is your expert comments on this?
    3) Vegan food eaters don't include any milk or any derivatives thereof and also any oil. Pl give your detailed explanation.
    I had attended one of your demo sessions at Moneylife , few months ago, on milk adulteration and had thoroughly enjoyed it.

    DEEPAK KHEMANI

    6 years ago

    Which Govt. Dept. will take a stand against these giant MNC's?
    In India Companies can get away with almost anything in their advertisements. Ads for fairness creams and surrogate ads for liquor companies are prime examples.

    REPLY

    basant gupta

    In Reply to DEEPAK KHEMANI 6 years ago

    A show cause notice nas been issued to the company today by me as a Food Safety Officer Food Safety & Drug Administration Deoria Uttar Pradesh for violation of section 24 of the Food Safety & Standard act,2006 which is punishable under section 53 of the same Act.If found guilty the company will be fined for upto ten lakhs .

    Who pays the price for biometric scan ATMs?

    Aadhaar has made no mention of who will bear the cost of biometric POS readers and biometric ATMs. Will the bank customers be dumped with the huge bill for biometric ATMs?

    On 12th September, a leading daily wrote about how ‘all new credit card machines and ATMs’ will be required to have an ‘Aadhaar authentication mechanism’ using biometrics. Remember, the massively expensive Aadhaar programme has no clearance from parliament. Yet, according to this report, RBI is “understood to be preparing such a directive to improve security and promote financial inclusion.”

    Just a few weeks ago, a Moneylife Cover Story dealt with the steady increase in bank service charges. This new directive will involve additional expenses which bank depositors will end up bearing under the guise of technology costs. So far, Aadhaar has made no mention of who will bear the cost of biometric POS (point of sale) readers (according to a senior banker, they will cost Rs8,000 each) and biometric ATMs (Rs4 lakh for the machine plus installation, maintenance, electricity, etc). According to the newsreport, banks are expected to add around 200,000 POS machines and around 20,000 ATMs next year. We have always wondered about the rush to keep increasing the ATM network by each bank when they claim that technology costs are prohibitive. Now, it is clear that we, the customers, will be dumped with the bill for biometric ATMs.
    One banker has already been quoted as saying that the cost will be so huge that they may have to divert funds earmarked for developing business to building this infrastructure to support the government’s programme. The big effort at financial inclusion, and the effort to force people to open bank accounts in rural areas, was apparently part of this long-term plan that was carefully kept out of the public domain.

    There are two other issues that need to be taken into account. While Aadhaar-based authentication is touted as the panacea for financial inclusion of illiterate masses, it has not worked. Between 2004 and 2007, several banks launched biometric ATMs, with much fanfare, around the country. They did not work and had to be quietly discarded. Before embarking on another financial misadventure, the government needs to prove that there is better technology, which will work, especially since RBI’s internal committees have expressed several misgivings about the technology.

    We also need some authentic data about whether fingerprints and Iris scans have worked successfully on rural folks with calloused hands and faded fingerprints which caused biometric ATMs to fail last time. While the UIDAI has long been pressuring RBI to order biometric ATMs, it has been strengthened with the appointment of Dr Raghuram Rajan as the RBI governor. In his first speech after assuming office, Dr Rajan said, "I particularly want to emphasise the use of the unique ID, Aadhaar, in building individual credit histories. This will be the foundation of a revolution in retail credit.”

    Meanwhile, check out the statistics of how forced financial inclusion has worked so far. Deputy governor RBI, Dr KC Chakrabarty, said in a speech, “While over 150 million accounts were opened, only 30 million transactions have taken place up to December 2012.” This low acceptance of banks continues to plague the system and is affecting the financial viability of banks. The government hopes to change that by forcing un-banked people to get their subsidies and direct benefits through bank accounts.

    It is an experiment fraught with a lot of teething problems. But, a government in a hurry to meet deadlines before the general elections in 2014 is likely to force unviable decisions on banks, with the cost burden born by existing customers.

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    COMMENTS

    Vidya pani

    6 years ago

    The public should no longer be fooled by the biometrics industry with false security claims. Biometrics is fundamentally a technology designed for oppression and control, not for securing everyday device access.

    Deepak Gupta

    6 years ago

    While I have concerns about data privacy for biometrics data at the UIDAI in absence of any strong law guaranteeing citizen's right to privacy, I find this article misleading.

    What is point of quoting the price of POS terminals and ATMs and the running expenses (electricity etc.)? Banks are expanding ATM networks anyway. For all new ATMS and POS to be UID compliant, the real cost is only the extra cost for the biometric functionality over and above a normal ATM. If it costs an extra 5-8,000 for fingerprint and iris scanners features in a new ATM, it is hardly 1-2% of the cost. Once you add the overall running cost over the lifetime of the ATM, this additional purchase cost boils down to almost nothing.

    ATMs have added lot of functionality in the past, while reducing prices as technology became cheaper over time. And the features being added this time are purely electronic - with no moving parts.

    On top of this, UID could very well accelerate the deployment of Indian Rupay payment network - this system has much lower transaction costs than Visa and MasterCard.

    The bankers have a habit of cribbing, and lobbing for rules that let them make more money. Have you asked a single banker what is the additional cost of UID functionality in ATMs and POS, compared to the costs of the bad decisions they have made on the lending that are now turning into bad loans?

    REPLY

    Mohit

    In Reply to Deepak Gupta 6 years ago

    1. Misleading? After all, even you don't know about the real cost. If that is so, what is your point really?
    2. ATMs have added functionality....cheaper over time." Cheaper for whom? For customers banking is becoming more and more expensive. Its your assumption that is flawed.
    3. "UID could very well..." A pipedream. The same forces which are milking UID will ensure Rupay does not take off to replace Visa and Master. Since when cheaper and better won in India? Its all a matter of vested interests.
    4. Bankers don't crib. They get even and more. Wake up. They have their way because customers don't complain enough. Look at the profits of private banks
    5. Its not either/or as regards NPAs and UID functionality. Cost is cost and they are ultimately passed on to the users.
    6. Finally, WHO WILL USE BIOMETRIC ATMS? Do you know whether banks want them as customers?
    It seems you don't want to see the issues here. Why?

    Rakesh

    In Reply to Deepak Gupta 6 years ago

    Dear Mr Gupta: Are you in the business of selling biometric ATMs?

    Sucheta Dalal

    In Reply to Deepak Gupta 6 years ago

    It is easy to raise questions when you dont have to do any work yourself. WE have not only asked questions to banks, we have taken up the issue of costs very strongly with the Reserve Bank of India and also discussed it with the Banking Codes & Standards Council of India. Make the effort to read our cover stories and our open house to learn about the background and effort behind this concern.

    Deepak Gupta

    In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 6 years ago

    I am a regular subscriber to the MoneyLife magazine and have also attended some of your sessions, though not as often as I'll like to.

    All I have stated is that the way this article is written is misleading, and the expected additional cost of biometric features on NEW ATMs and POS machines is not likely to be a major one, either as a share of the one-time purchase cost, or as a share of full lifetime costs. There is no attempt in the article to even present this data, and instead it presents the total cost of purchase. It even mentions the running costs like electricity - as if the new machines will suddenly start consuming a lot more electricity compared to the old ones.

    Unlike some of the unscrupulous people you fight against, your readers expect a certain honesty of argument from you while making your case.

    As in all matters, there has to be a sense of prioritization. Your focus on banking costs is commendable and helps all of us - you may want to keep it focused on the largest items, and the hidden costs due to banker's nexus with others like insurance.

    On UIDAI, there are far bigger issues of lack of public and parliamentary oversight, the semi-private nature of the entity, and complete absence of data privacy laws. You have highlighted these in the past, and in my opinion, that's where the focus should stay.

    There is a strident tone in a lot of your commentary and even in your response to my comment above. I understand some of it may come from experience, but please don't let it become a shell that hurts your ability to accept feedback and inputs from people who share your larger goals.

    Sucheta Dalal

    In Reply to Deepak Gupta 6 years ago

    Again Mr Gupta.... everything is a work in progress. There is a meeting with several organisations this Saturday to work out details.

    Facts will be available when people are willing to share them. If, despite our best efforts, people in positions of power dont share facts and numbers, there is nothing we can do.

    If you notice the strident tone, you, as a reader could not have failed to notice that it happens after a BIG effort to get information using RTI, filing memorandums with the government and failing on several counts.
    You may have also noticed that none of this is of benefit to us personally. So pardon me for failing to understand what is the point of your comments and why you are so keen on running down this effort.
    Also, for your information, the All India Bank Employees Association is supporting this view. And MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar has raised these issues with the government. Isnt it interesting that none of them found the article misleading or inadequate. While you say that you appreciate our work, I do wonder why you are so agitated at the fact that I have take up an issue that will only save the average bank depositor some money.
    Also, the issue of rising bank charges has extensively discussed in a cover story and backed by a survey of people -- it is not my individual view point!

    Deepak Gupta

    In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 6 years ago

    I'm not agitated, as you can note from the language of my last reply that you responded to.

    The numbers you mentioned refer to the cost of expanding any ATM and POS network - whether the ATM or POS being Aadhaar/biometric enabled or not. So, I have said that the issue about Aadhaar ATM and POS costs in this article is NOT supported by the information being presented.

    How is that simple matter of fact resolved by referring to AIBEA and an MP?

    I'm not running down the effort. The case you are trying to make about rising bank charges is an important one. I'm only asking for the case to be supported by relevant information so that it cannot be shot down so easily.

    That is the simple point of my comments. Hope that clarifies.

    If it is matter of not getting the information after making a BIG effort, make that the issue. Govt and banks should not be allowed to ride roughshod over people.

    Harish

    6 years ago

    Governments want to tap each & every step of its citizens, will lead to hell

    sekara

    6 years ago

    If Aadhar is made compulsory for ATMs.OK. I will discontinue using ATMSs. As soos as your salary is credited you can have ECS arrangement with Civic departments like Electric co, water supply Board, Tel, and Insuramce etc. Always keep some cash for daily use.
    By this way we can avoid ATMs and save money also.

    PRABAL BISWAS

    6 years ago

    You want everything for free? A country which has learned nothing but to get subsidy to be paid by tax payers money. A population which will not work hard to earn more. So why blame the UPA for Security bill? Just because some are over the poverty line or now less people will work? Nothing happens to countries whose favorite pastime is to produce more and more mouths to eat.

    REPLY

    Rakesh

    In Reply to PRABAL BISWAS 6 years ago

    I guess you can see that HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Yes Banks of the world are on the verge of bankruptcy because they are offering everything free ;)

    Sucheta Dalal

    In Reply to PRABAL BISWAS 6 years ago

    Nobody wants anything free. We are already paying higher and higher charges for bank services. No bank customer needs a new ID in the form of Aadhar. You cannot open a bank account without stringent KYC with multiple identification. With no-frills accounts being purely loss making, the cost of all the tens of thousands biometric ATMs in rural areas will be borne by us the bank customers who do not need them. Government has made no provision for biometric readers in the MASSIVE AAdhar programme and is trying to dump the costs on bank customer through the backdoor. Let the government get Aadhar passed through parliament before it tries these tricks.
    Please read what you have written and then re-read the article. There is no contradiction. We are saying dont use us to propogate your subsidies. But easier to jump to conclusions and comment without understanding, right?

    Ramesh Iyer

    6 years ago

    The Aadhar Project is a dubious one floated by the UPA govt with some ulterior motive. On the one hand it says it is not mandatory, but on the other hand it makes it compulsory for LPG consumers to have one to avail of the Direct Benefit Transfer.
    When the UPA govt can have many controversial bills (like the Food Security Bill) passed in parliament, why hasn't it tabled a bill to make UIDAI a statutory body which will authorize it to provide the UID No. to all residents of India ? Surely the govt is not telling us the real reasons !

    Mukesh kamath

    6 years ago

    Already consumers and merchants are bearing heavy costs of visa and other card companies. The aadhaar-rupay network will be an alternative and will give competition to the EMV players and who knows the Capex+Opex might be lesser than EMV. And i always believe that more is better. RBI is not making aadhaar mandatory. It is making it available as an additional factor of authentication. And mind you security is the number one reason Indians are not trying out cards. I am sure no one opposes a less cash economy. Any steps to improve card usage is welcome.

    Anil Ambani's I-T account hacked by CA student

    Hyderabad-based young chartered accountant student allegedly hacked into I-T returns account of the R-ADAG chairman and accessed details of his income, tax amount paid, PAN card number and even changed the password twice

    Hyderabad-based young chartered accountant student has been booked for alleged hacking income tax (I-T) returns e-filing account of Anil Ambani. According to police, the 21-year-old woman, who has been doing her chartered accountancy articleship at Manoj Daga & Co in Hyderabad, hacked Ambani's account with an intention to know his income and tax amount paid over a period.

     

    After a preliminary investigation, she was booked on 7th September under relevant sections of Information Technology Act and faces arrest in the case.

     

    "The girl hacked Ambani's e-filing of Income-Tax returns account with an intention to check the industrialist's income and tax amount paid by him over the period of time. After hacking the account of the chairman of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), she accessed the details of his income, tax amount paid, PAN card number and even changed twice the password of his e-account on the IT website," an official involved in the probe told PTI.

     

    According to police, a chartered accountant firm in Mumbai, which files 54-year-old Ambani's individual tax details, was intimated through an email from IT department on June 26 that as per request, the industrialist's e-return account had been changed. Again on July 12, the firm received another email stating that second time the password had been changed.

     

    As suspicion grew, the ADAG group representative complained to Himanshu Roy, joint police commissioner (crime) at Mumbai, who directed cyber cell inspector Mukund Pawar to probe the case.

     

    "As preliminary probe suggested it as a clear case of cybercrime since it involved hacking into the e-return account, a case was registered on 7th September. Probe revealed that the account was hacked from Manoj Daga & Co's computer following which a team rushed there and upon questioning, the girl confessed to have hacked into Ambani's account," Pawar told to PTI.

     

    The server has been seized, Pawar said adding that, "We have all technical and physical evidence against her. The accused, who is in Hyderabad, will have to face the arrest."

     

    The offence is bailable.

  • User

    COMMENTS

    Abhineo Agarwal

    6 years ago

    So what do we know? That the IT guys are not very proficient or that AA and team are not up to mark. I guess its kind of disappointing from both ends.

    R Choksi

    6 years ago

    Hi,

    My and my mother's income tax accounts too were hacked on 2nd Sep 2013. On that day, at around 6.15 pm when I accessed my emails, I noticed two emails received from Income Tax department with time stamp 3.05 pm and 3.09 pm respectively, stating that the password had been reset and if I did not reset the password, then it means someone else has reset the password and I should contact 1800 4250 0025 immediately. I called up and informed that I had not reset the password/s and thus wanted to lodge a complaint for an illegal access. I was told by the person that they did not have any format or instruction to take down any complaint for such things and instead explained me the steps to reset the password in case I had forgotten.

    REPLY

    Vicky Shah

    In Reply to R Choksi 6 years ago

    You can write a complaint addressed to Senior inspector of Police Cyber Cell or Cyber Police station.

    Regards,

    Vicky Shah

    R Choksi

    In Reply to Vicky Shah 6 years ago

    Dear Mr. Vicky Shah,

    Yes. I am precisely doing that. I have already prepared a complaint letter on Saturday, which I will be submitting at BKC by tomorrow. In fact, I have also sent an email complaint addressed to Directorate of Income Tax (Systems) at [email protected]

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