How Much You Will Have to Pay for Cable TV and DTH from 29th December?
With the Supreme Court upholding the new tariff regime proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), consumer viewers can now select the television channels they want to watch and pay the maximum retail price (MRP) set by the respective broadcasters for the channel or channels. At present viewers are provided a bouquet of TV channels, many of which are never watched by the customer. 
 
Under the new tariff regime, TV viewers will get 100 free to air (FTA) channels for Rs130 plus taxes and can then select and pay only for those channels that they want to watch regularly. What this tariff order had done is to discard the practice adopted by broadcasters of clubbing a bunch of channels into a bouquet and making viewer pay for channels, which either are either free or ones that she does not want to watch. 
 
Mumbai Grahak Panchayat believes if a consumer viewer opts for a few a la carte channels coupled with 100 FTA channels, the monthly bill, including taxes, should not go beyond Rs300. 
 
Experts are divided on the new tariff regime with some feel that it would increase the cost for viewers if they continue to subscribe for all channels available at present on their cable or DTH. Those who watch select channels, can either chose particular channels or opt for bouquet offered by major broadcasters, like Sony Picture Network, Zee Entertainment, and Star India, which will result in lower cost.
 
Zee Entertainment has introduced about 68 packs starting from Rs45. Named as ‘Zee family pack’, it offers 24 channels from the group. Star India’s packs start at Rs49 for Hindi and Rs25 for Tamil. Sony Picture Network, which has broadcasting rights of 32 channels in India, is offering standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) versions of its most popular channels at Rs90. 
 
Estimated Cost:
 
Free to Air Channels Rs130 (100 Channels) 
 
Considering price of a la carte channels
 
 
This is just an example, of which total comes to Rs179 excluding taxes. 
 
On the base tariff of Rs130, the viewer can chose any bouquet from the broadcasters. If the viewer choses all three packs mentioned above from Zee, Sony and Star, the monthly bill, excluding taxes, would be about Rs314.  (These calculations are based on rates available at this point of time).

Network capacity fee of Rs130 (excluding taxes) for 100 channels includes FTA channels or pay channel or combination thereof. Taking FTA channels is the choice of subscriber but not mandatory except the mandatory channels of ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) (read Doordarshan channels). If the subscriber chooses pay channels, applicable MRP is payable in addition to the network capacity fee of Rs130, excluding taxes.
    
Let us understand what the TRAI regulations mandate to broadcasters, distributors and last mile operators (LMO)…
 
Whether Broadcaster, Distributor, Last Mile Operator (LMO)…
  • All channels should be offered on a-la carte basis.
  • Free to air channels cannot be part of bouquet.
  • The prices of bouquets and a la carte channels will be uniform on all the distribution platforms.
  • Distributor has to offer a basic service tier pack (BST) consisting of FTA channels.
  • This BST pack will have minimum 100 FTA channels.
  • In this 100 FTA channels 26 channels from Doordarshan are mandatory.
  • BST should contain minimum five channels of each genre like general entertainment channel (GEC), movies, kids, music, sports, news, infotainment, devotional, miscellaneous.
 
Broadcaster’s Role
  • Every broadcaster must declare each channel as a pay channel or FTA channels.
  • The MRP must be more than Zero and shall be the same on all the platforms (MSO, DTH, HITS & IPTV)
  • Price of every pay channel shall be same throughout India, which effectively does not permit regional pricing of channels.
  • If MRP exceeds Rs19, the channel cannot be offered in any bouquet but will be stand alone on a la carte basis.
  • A broadcaster’s pay channel bouquet cannot include FTA channels.
  • Broadcaster shall offer maximum of 15% of MRP as incentive.
  • Broadcaster can give promotion offer for maximum 90 days at a time.
  • Promotional offer can be offered twice in a calendar year.
 
Distributor and last mile operator (LMO)
  • All bouquets offered by broadcasters must also be offered without modification, at the price declared by each broadcaster.
  • Distributor can create bouquets by combining pay channels from different broadcasters.
  • Distributor cannot create a bouquet of pay channels plus FTA channels. 
  • Package of 100 FTA channels is different. Distributor can form bouquet with a combination of FTA channels from different broadcasters.
  • All channels must also be offered a la carte basis.
  • Both of them has to sign interconnect agreement for revenue sharing on mutually agreeable percentage share.
  • If they both do not reach an agreement then recommended revenue share will be distributor at 55% and LMO at 45%.
 
Network Capacity Fee (NCF)
 
Distributor has to declare NCF per month for customer, conditions are-
  • Network capacity fee for first 100 channels should not exceed Rs130.
  • After these 100 channels the NCF will be Rs20 for a slot of every 25 channels.
  • For calculation of one standard definition (SD) channel is counted as one & one HD channel is counted as two SD channels.
  • Distributor cannot charge subscriber any amount other than NCF for subscribing to FTA channels or bouquet of FTA Channels.
 
Quality of Service Regulation
  • Every Distributor must have a website and toll free customer care number.
  • Each consumer’s unique identification number must be mentioned in the bill.
  • Consumer must be informed about MRP, NCF, customer premised equipment (CPE), security deposit, rentals, warranty and ownership of premised equipment.
  • Must obtain a completed consumer application form.
  • Onetime installation charges for new subscribers cannot exceed Rs350.
  • Onetime activation charge cannot exceed Rs100.
  • Consumer to be refunded on a pro-rata basis in case a channel is withdrawn by the broadcaster.
  • Consumers can request temporary suspension of service up to three months, every year. Only CPE rental is applicable during this period.
  • Reactivation fee cannot exceed Rs25 for active and Rs100 for inactive subscribers.
  • Consumer must receive three days prior notice for preventive maintenance. 
 
BACKGROUND
  • The Regulations and the Tariff Order were notified by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 3 March 2017.
 
What were these Regulations? To quote a few,
 
  • It prevented the mixing of pay channels and free to air channels in a single bouquet.
  • The Regulations restricted placing high definition (HD) format and ordinary (SD) format of the same channel in the same bouquet.
  • Another restriction was that bouquet of pay channels should not contain any pay channel where the MRP is more than Rs19.
  • There are some other caps, which say that discounts of MRP of a bouquet should not exceed 15%.
 
These Regulations were immediately challenged before the Madras High Court by Star India and Vijay Television. The primary basis for the challenge was the lack of authority of the TRAI to issue such regulations or orders under the TRAI Act, 1996.
 
The case was that the TRAI Regulations amounted to regulation of contents of the channels. The TRAI, in exercise of powers under Sections 11 and 36 of TRAI Act, can regulate only carriage or means of transmission, but cannot regulate content. The content of their programmes/broadcast is covered and controlled solely by the Copyright Act 1957, which recognised two distinct rights, one being copyright and the other being broadcast reproduction right (BRR).
 
A division bench of the Madras High Court delivered a split verdict, with one judge striking down a majority of the clauses in the Regulations and the Tariff Order under challenge, while the other judge upheld them as being in line with the TRAI Act. The case was referred to a third judge of the Madras High Court, who arrived at the same conclusion as the latter judge and held the Regulations and the Tariff Order to be valid. Aggrieved by the judgment of the Madras High Court, Star India preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court.
 
The legal basis for this submission was that programmes aired/beamed in their television channels have content which is either created by appellants themselves or procured from third parties at a huge cost and such content is governed solely by the Copyright Act.
 
After hearing a battery of Senior Advocates – Dr A M Singhvi and P Chidambaram for broadcasters, Rakesh Dwivedi and Vikas Singh for TRAI, KV Vishwanathan for Multi System Operators (MSOs), Shyam Divan for direct-to-home (DTH) operators and Krishnan Venugopal for consumers, the bench dismissed the Appeals.
 
The Supreme Court adjudicated the issue in the light of the objective of the TRAI Act, which was to harmonise interests of service providers and consumers. It was held that no constricted meaning can be given to the provisions of this Act and that the power to regulate has to be construed widely to advance the objectives of the Act.
 
It was also noted that one of the functions of the Authority, though recommendatory, is to “facilitate competition and promote efficiency in the operation of telecommunication services (which includes broadcasting services) so as to facilitate growth in such services”. It was also notice from Section 11(1)(b) that terms and conditions of interconnectivity between different service providers have to be fixed, which necessarily included terms that relate not only to carriage simpliciter but also to all terms and conditions of interconnectivity between broadcaster, MSO, Cable TV operator and the ultimate consumer.
 
The Court expressed the view that TRAI will prevail over Copy Right Act to the extent royalties/compensation payable to the broadcasters under the Copyright Act are regulated in public interest by TRAI under the TRAI Act.
 
(Varsha Raut, a consumer activist, heads the advocacy & campaigning at Mumbai Grahak Panchayat)
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COMMENTS

Rajeev Khanna

3 days ago

May we please have the list of 100 "free to air" channels....

Anshu Mathur

2 weeks ago

What happens if we have already paid up our subscriptions for a year with the dth provider before these changes came in? Can we get that money back? Can we adjust those subscription monies as per these new packages? Need some clarity on that

Pratyush sipun

3 weeks ago

if i want to add sony tv hd only to my pack.what would be my total cost?

Chote Ustaad

3 weeks ago

Sone

Sandesh Shinde

3 weeks ago

I belong to Maharashtra.. and my pack was related to Marathi entertainment.. now if I want to see Marathi channels I have to buy them seperately.. which is far more price than existing pack value.. the only option is to buy Zee's family pack.. what I wanted to tell is this policy of trai is not for subscriber any ways.. they are forcing me to buy channels that I don't want to.. firstly the base pack was worth 90 RS now it is 130 RS.. I m against TRAI policy

Akshay Jadhav

3 weeks ago

Reliance recently invest in Hathaway and Den networks,and now gov bodies ready to hike the cable prices to get blessing from mota bhai, if 100 Chanel's are free then why should I pay Rs 130.

REPLY

M Ithesh

In Reply to Akshay Jadhav 3 weeks ago

If there is no tariff(rs130) collected who is going to offer you services, you have to fix ur own cable in case of any problems faced with the wires and ur set top box ,if all the money goes directly to the channels why will anyone like Tata sky will offer u a satellite connection from their own pockets. That is why ur paying 1rupee per channel as a service charge and definitely there is no choice to opt from free channels so we have to pay that money.

Jai

In Reply to M Ithesh 3 weeks ago

Hi it's not 130,,, + 18percent
GST,,u know what they offer in in 100 channels,it's filled with 35 percent of dd channels, all rest are news channels etc it's completely free from INSAT, U can buy dvb set box from any shop, installation can be done by laymen with out knowledge, u don't need any professional to do that,,, ,it's corporate game plan to push their web series,, upcoming data services,, eventually Lco's will loose their business , and burden on customers who addicted to Tv who are paying 200rs have to shell out 400 to 600 RS + tax...

Ravi Kerketta

In Reply to Jai 20 hours ago

u r 100+% right.......all r looting common, ordinary people of the country

Mahesh S Bhatt

4 weeks ago

God Knows in this cartel based scewed MNC broadcast standards where we see endless senseless Awards to Ministers without at data/competion its just sheer glossy crassy nepotism at play & display.Reality is out of window only when elections results come some are shocked that in our country we have systematically destroyed Jobless database from Unemployed Bureaus of GoI by simply unemploying them & there is no data consolidated on Farmer Suicides enjoy Mad in India Colourful Starry Zeesty Sony Times Now in India Today Mahesh Bhatt

Tapan Pradhan

4 weeks ago

Sorry to say, but you have not go through the details notice published by TRAI. It was clearly mentioned that you have to choose a base pack of your own which will in between 130/-, and the DTH operator provide 100 channel in 130/-. Like if I have choose [Star sports 1hd(rs 19)], Star plus HD 19/-, some news channel for 25/-, and some other channels sum of which will cost 130/-. Then the DTH operator has provided a 100 channel including your channels. Which was great for consumers....
Thanks you

REPLY

Jai

In Reply to Tapan Pradhan 3 weeks ago

Tapan ur wrong when fta channel s are actually free, u need to pay single penny, see if u buy stc box separately ,ie costing only 1300 RS, no extra monthly fee, moreover u watch can1400 channels free,,,, , that means we are literally looted ,,,

MDT

In Reply to Tapan Pradhan 3 weeks ago

This is what TRAI has said...

"The price of a channel has two components MRP of channel declared by broadcaster and the cost of network for carriage of channel by distributors.

Distributors of television channels can charge a monthly rental amount of maximum Rs130 (excluding taxes) per month from a subscriber for subscribing a network capacity of 100 SD channels. In addition, they may charge price of pay channel, if any subscribed by the consumer.

The Authority has, however, provided freedom to Distributors of television channels to fix the Distributor retail prices of a-la-carte pay channels for their customers by offering discount on the MRP of pay channels declared by the broadcasters.

Distributor may also offer basic services below Rs130 to its subscribers. Therefore, it would be better for a subscriber to opt for as many channels up that will cover the network capacity fee."

From the above, it is clear that you cannot club free to air (not free to customers) channels with paid channels within the Rs130 cap or 100 FTA channels. Subscription charges of paid channels has to be paid over and above of the Rs130 for FTA channels.

Abhishek Kumar

In Reply to Tapan Pradhan 4 weeks ago

Tapan Pradhan - It's not like that simple as you understand. According to TRAI you have to pay Two type of Charges----
1) FTA channel Rate - RS. 130

This amount is compalssarrly paid by customers for carry signal to your home and you will get up-to 100 FAT channel like all DD channel

2) Pay channel charges- Here you can choose your likable channel and have to pay only for that mount. Like Star, Zee, Sony, colors and many more

Now you have to add both amount (1) + (2).
Means RS. 130 + what ever you like(star, zee, Sony etc)

It's cost will be more than RS 300 for less channel

Ramesh MV

In Reply to Abhishek Kumar 3 weeks ago

Exactly. U can enjoy all free channels Under Rs.130/- which are never seen before because they are always bored. Simply TRAI saying customer can choose and pay single channel but reality i think will come that service providers again make price for group of channels and lock in period. Just think if all service providers accepted TRAIs proposal without any argument that means benefit again goes to them. Its understood. Any customer supported proposal implemented ever here?

Ria

In Reply to Tapan Pradhan 4 weeks ago

Can you please help me with it? Am not getting how to do it & service providers too aren't helping

Nagaraja Yellapu

In Reply to Ria 2 weeks ago

Check this guide
https://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/SuggestiveBouquet19122018.pdf

Samudragupta Kumar

In Reply to Ria 2 weeks ago

Ria, You have to pay 130 +18% GST per month and you will get 100 free channels (its just like basic fee, which everybody has to pay) and these 100 channels contain some news channels, some music channels, and rest other useless channels. But if you want to see ZEE tv, Star Plus, Sony Entertainment and other popular channels either you have to buy their packages or separate channels. Star and Zee packages cost around 46-49 Rs +18 GST. If you don't want to buy whole packages you can take your favorite channels separately, like Star plus for 19 Rs., Zee TV for 19 Rs. , &TV for 12 Rs. + 18% GST etc. ....... Finally you have to pay 130+(18%GST) + Your Packages/Your favorite channels+18% GST !!!! Regards!

Abhishek Kumar

In Reply to Ria 4 weeks ago

Simpley ready to pay more than 300 rs just for few channels only

Amit Kale

4 weeks ago

Free to air channels at 130 per month.. is it not contradictory? Why should they be mandatory? Secondly if channel prices are going to be same across the service provider networks then how will they compete with each other? Does it not go against free market principles?

Jai

4 weeks ago

This is really harrasing , still thier are people who cannot afford 200rs permonth for watching TV, and more than enough , why the hell someone will pay hefty bill,,, trai doesn't have rights to dictate terms like these without knowing the pulse of our countrymen,, doesnt it something going fishy in the backyard,,,,guys pls rise ur voice against Trai,,

V BHASKARAN

4 weeks ago

100 Channels FTA - Consumer watching more advertisement than the particular content - service providers has to give more pay channels as free.
Rs.130 for fixed free channels - to be modified as "0"
Consumer has to choose the pay channels based on their Regional language not in a package of channels.
TRAI has to take necessary steps to reduce the "ad" timings, at present 30 minutes shows contains 15 minutes ad this has to reduce drastically.
For HD channels: Set top box purchased and delivered on a nominal cost to consumers to get good clarity of pictures to view. For this fixing the amount for HD channels @ Rs.19 is very high.
Service providers are trying to generate more profit of this new TRAI act and they are working on it. Hope TRAI will do the best for the consumers.

Sanjay Deokate

4 weeks ago

FTA name itself contain free
then why not these chanals are *free*
court has to rejustice this.
if 100 chanals given free ie absolutely 0 (zero) rs. then 30 to 40 percent people will not need to recharge dth and to see paid channal
paid channals will then beg for customers and given for 1 rs for each channal for watch
imp:- *i say these chanals should pay 5 rs/month instead of taking 19 rs /month. Because we are watching so many foolish adds, which pay money to chanals. if low customer we not see add, then ultimately adds not go towards high paid chanals because these chanals will be seen by less peoples.
So Jago Grahak Jago
we don't need chanal, chanal need us
so they have to paid us for watching so much foolish adds
add company have to pressurize these paid chanals (these chanals taken money from both customer and add company)
so move towards credit
if i was judge
decision was chanal has to pay to customer for watching foolish adds.

ha i will paid to any chanal if they to *100% adds free*.

Manoj

4 weeks ago

Looks like this author not clearly understand the TRAI order. He/she misunderstood that all FTAs are given in 100 channels mentioned by TRAI. Its wrong, consumer can select what ever channels he can see in 100 channels. that 130 is maximum network capacity fee charged by service providers for their services. its not fixed amount, that is maximum amount. Please visit http://www.trai.gov.in for full details and FAQ.

REPLY

Ravi K

In Reply to Manoj 20 hours ago

just go through this url-http://channel.trai.gov.in/home.php

MDT

In Reply to Manoj 3 weeks ago

This is what TRAI has said...

"The price of a channel has two components MRP of channel declared by broadcaster and the cost of network for carriage of channel by distributors.

Distributors of television channels can charge a monthly rental amount of maximum Rs130 (excluding taxes) per month from a subscriber for subscribing a network capacity of 100 SD channels. In addition, they may charge price of pay channel, if any subscribed by the consumer.

The Authority has, however, provided freedom to Distributors of television channels to fix the Distributor retail prices of a-la-carte pay channels for their customers by offering discount on the MRP of pay channels declared by the broadcasters.

Distributor may also offer basic services below Rs130 to its subscribers. Therefore, it would be better for a subscriber to opt for as many channels up that will cover the network capacity fee."

Amit Gupta

4 weeks ago

I think this is still not good although should be better than earlier. The way to go is to make channels FTA if they show advertisements. For Pay Channels there should not be any advertisements allowed as they are already earning money these being Pay Channels

Arun Adalja

4 weeks ago

this is harassment as one hardly sees 30 channels and pay 200 to 250 rs per month.why 130 rs for 100 free channels?DD sports is not showing cricket matches and asking to watch on star and sony and pay on day basis.TRAI must be practical and they have to ask public opinion.

From a California-based Doctor to a Watchman – It's a Long, Hard Battle for Financial Consumers
When it comes to bank-related problems, there are no class barriers—each one of us is equally at risk and at the mercy of abysmal grievance redress system. Consider the stories of these two harried bank customers that Moneylife Foundation has been trying to help. 
 
Prakash Awadhesh Mishra (Mishraji to us), from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, works as a watchman in Mumbai. Like many people from that impoverished state, he is up-to-date on current affairs, works very hard—often doing 18-hour shifts—to earn and save every penny for his family and their future. 
 
What he does not have is a proper roof over his head in Mumbai and, consequently, an address proof. So, opening a bank account is a huge challenge and a privilege, despite all the lip-service to financial inclusion paid by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
 
He told us how he managed to open an account at Union Bank of India (UBI) only through a recurring deposit which, apparently, did not need strict address proof. Over time, he persuaded the Bank to convert his savings into a fixed deposit (which has a princely sum of Rs2 lakh) and a savings account with Rs16,000. 
 
So, when he changed jobs and moved from Bandra to Shivaji Park, he didn't dare close his account; but he remained confident that his money was safe in a nationalised bank, until he wanted to withdraw it. Now, look at what happens to people like Mishraji, dealing with incompetent private agencies, sub-contracted to issue key identity documents. 
 
Like most migrants, Mishraji has a PAN (permanent account number) card, because it is the easiest identity to obtain. It was, however, issued with a wrong date of birth (1966). He had retained it, because he had no idea how important it is to get it rectified. 
 
He also obtained an Aadhaar which the government promised was the magic number to open all doors. His Aadhaar also has another wrong date of birth (1 October 1960). He is proud to have an original birth certificate and documents from his village school (rare for people like him) which list his birth year as 1962.
 
Such mistakes are the norm. Mishraji didn’t realise the imperative need to get them rectified. In his case, every day spent on getting an identity and then rectifying it involves a loss of income. 
 
Earlier this week, Mishraji went back to Azamgarh after five long years in Mumbai. Since he has no home, withdrawing his savings from the bank was kept till the end. A couple of days before he left, he went to the bank to withdraw his savings, only to be told that his account is dormant.
 
For most educated people, getting it activated is a simple matter of submitting KYC documents afresh; but thanks to inefficient government agencies and wrong IDs, Mishraji faced a nightmare. Unlike millions of others in his situation, he got in touch with Moneylife Foundation. We are lucky to have a very committed former central banker volunteering his time to guide people. 
 
The RBI circular on dormant accounts requires banks to seek KYC documents, to reactivate the account. Typical of RBI, this prescriptive ‘fatwa’ does not take into account people like Mishraji, who don’t have proper documents even while opening the account and end up with no access to their own money. The system has no room for empathy, or alternative verification. So, he was rudely turned away and even calls from a retired CGM (chief general manager) from RBI’s consumer services department was not good enough to vouch for his identity. He, eventually, went back to Azamgarh without a chunk of his savings. 
 
Remember, Mishraji is an unusually smart and well-read person. What happens to millions of migrants who are less literate and more helpless? Wouldn't the system simply gobble up their savings? The massive pool of over Rs19,500 crore in unclaimed deposits transferred to RBI until June 2018 is testimony to this. 
 
Now let us look at another story. 
 

Dr Ajay Sood is a California-based non-resident Indian (NRI) with a non-resident ordinary (NRO) account at Bank of India’s (BOI) Chandigarh branch. The money in the account is his mother’s lifetime savings to be used for her welfare. On 20 July 2018, Dr Sood found that the account was almost emptied out, with two huge debits—of Rs98 lakh and Rs35 lakh, respectively—using cheques from his NRO account. 
 
Not only had he not withdrawn the money, but he had in his possession the original chequebooks with the exact same cheque numbers on which the money was purportedly withdrawn. 
 
After speaking to the Bank and filing a first information report (FIR), he learnt that his mobile number with the Bank had been changed and a false Aadhaar card submitted with his photograph but wrong information about his father’s name. Dr Sood did not even have an Aadhaar-linked account. 
 
Dr Sood is an innocent victim of a fraud that occurred at BOI. But BOI simply would not respond to him. He connected with Moneylife Foundation on 5th September, following which we helped take up the matter with the RBI. This, finally, led to a communication from BOI asking for the original cheques and informing him that the ‘matter of payment’ of the unauthorised withdrawal of Rs1.33 crore was “under process and will take some time. You are requested to kindly bear with us for some more time.” On 19th December, Indian Express reported that the Chandigarh police had arrested two people in connection with the fraud. But that is cold comfort for Dr Sood, since his money has still not been returned. 
 
What if the account were still in his mother’s name and this was her only source of income? Why should the victim of a bank fraud, that calls into question the bank’s weak security system and verification practices, punish an innocent customer?
 
UPDATE: After the story was published, Dr Sood, came to know credit of his principal amount in his account.
 
If RBI’s rules limit customer liability for digital fraud and mandate that victims should have their money credited back within 10 days, why is there no time-bound redress system for other innocent victims of bank frauds? Rules for digital transactions have shifted the onus of proving customer negligence in case of “banking system frauds and third-party breaches” to the bank. It is common sense that the same should apply to physical fraud, especially since a large bank ought to have a comprehensive insurance cover for such eventualities. 
 
Since Dr Sood is able to produce cheques with the same numbers that were used to withdraw massive sums of money, the finger points to internal collusion and, yet, he is subject to mental agony and his money has not been returned for over four months. 
 
Where is the accountability of bankers, who dare to ignore a customer who had a hefty Rs1.33 crore deposited with it for safe custody? Why does he need an NGO (non-government organisation) or former RBI officials to intervene to get the courtesy of a formal communication? And what about compensation and interest?
 
One of prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s first big actions was a financial inclusion drive to give all Indians access to formal credit through a bank account. Like several of PM’s big ideas, this one, too, had revived a failed effort of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government, but came with better branding (the Pradhan Mantri JandhanYojana—or Jandhan for short), plenty of hype and subterfuge in terms of genuine new accounts opened. 
 
Jandhan was further hyped-up as JAM (Jandhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) during demonetisation (after 8 November 2016) by making Aadhaar and linking of mobiles to bank accounts mandatory (until it was halted after a long-delayed Supreme Court judgement in 2018), not-so-savvy or literate bank depositors became easy prey to digital fraud. 
 
RBI watched and did nothing. Oh wait! Its deputy governor SS Mundra made a speech and published a draft regulation on limiting customer liability. The rules were, finally, notified after an online campaign and tweet-morcha in July 2017. An enabling provision was only the first step. Earlier this month, RBI has promised a separate ombudsman for digital transactions whose rules will be notified in January 2019. This is after complaints of digital fraud have risen to as much as 28% of all complaints, as in June 2018. 
 
Given the pathetic performance of the existing banking ombudsmen, who are openly biased towards banks, this does not hold out much hope for victims who see their hard-earned savings vanish.  
 
Instead of putting in place a robust grievance redress mechanism that works in a time-bound manner and a fair payment of interest, compensation and damages, the government is actually toying with the idea of a digital security cess, to create infrastructure for digital security, on top of making it increasingly mandatory to use digital transactions. Is it any wonder then that there is a massive consumer pushback and people are using more cash than ever before? 
 
For too many people, the lesson from demonetisation is that cash in hand, even when it doesn’t earn interest, is more secure than money in the bank. According to World Bank’s Global Findex Database, 2017, at a whopping 48%, India tops the world in terms of bank users with inactive bank accounts. 
 
While the government has an aggressively different spin on it, the cases that we encounter everyday at Moneylife Foundation show that there is a good reason for this state of affairs. Until RBI is made more transparent and more accountable to people and Parliament about its performance as a banking regulator and supervisor, victims of banking fraud will remain at the mercy of such a callous system—whether they are well-off or poor. 
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COMMENTS

K V RAO

4 weeks ago

I do not agree with the writer that when she asserts Mishraji is an unusually smart and well read person for the reason that his KYC docs had date of birth errors. Mishraji should have taken steps to rectify them at the earliest.

Ravindra Malve

4 weeks ago

Thanks Moneylife for helping them....

Most questionable part is why SC took so much time and didn't intervene strictly while AADHAR,PAN,MOBILE linking was going on??? They gave free hand to all during that period to exploit Indians. Was it deliberate????

Suketu Shah

4 weeks ago

This is the way life continues in India since 70 yrs plus when you have a man like Jaitly as FM.To solve such chronic issues of open fraud in the banking system you need Dr Swamy as FM but this wl not happen as he is honest.You also need moneylife advising MOfinance with Dr Swamy as FM and all these issues wl be solved from the root in a few months/yr countrywide.

The will to prevent banking frauds not there due to wrong person as FMinister and not Dr Swamy.

P M Ravindran

4 weeks ago

I am glad that MLF has put its finger at the right sore spot-failure of regulators and grievance redressal systems. I would like to bring in a little more clarity by highlighting the fact that the ultimate grievance redressal authority is the apex court and we should know how the judiciary as a whole is the ultimate example of a totally failed, wayward and whimsical organisation.

Amoung the comments I also found one that blames politicians who 'surely do not wish to bring about any judicial reform because they stand to gain the most from an inefficient and corrupt legal system'. It is true that our elected politicians are in the driver's seat of governance but we have seen how a few judges of the apex court invented a new meaning for the term 'consultation' and usurped the powers of the Executive to appoint and transfer judges and more recently how they trashed a duly enacted National Judicial Appointments Commission Act.

Readers are invited to read my blogs at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.com/2011/02/reforming-our-justice-delivery-system.html, http://raviforjustice.blogspot.com/2011/04/crime-of-non-governance-and-quasi.html and https://raviforjustice.blogspot.com/2018/12/an-open-letter-to-chief-justice-of-india.html

REPLY

Meenal Mamdani

In Reply to P M Ravindran 4 weeks ago

Thank you for referencing your blogspot.
I am not well versed in legal matters but can see from your extensive writing that you are.
I hope that citizens like you can band together to reform the legal system, one reform at a time.

Harish

4 weeks ago

Fully agree with what you say about the Banking Ombudsman.

Ramesh Jaradhara

4 weeks ago

Operational Risk is a major risķ that the banks faces with the burden shifted to the customers to bear. Banking institutions did not pay much attention to the operational breaches that they make and eventually, customers have to suffer.

Meenal Mamdani

4 weeks ago

I would not rely on changing the mindset of Indians. Moreover the Indian mindset is miraculously changed when these same Indians live in a country where the rule of law is applied without bias and in a timely manner.
Here the wrongdoer is assured of years of litigation where the poor person keeps paying the lawyer while the case drags on and on.
The pols surely do not wish to bring about any judicial reform because they stand to gain the most from an inefficient and corrupt legal system.
Perhaps our only hope is a public spirited organization like ML Foundation which could take judicial reform as its main focus.

Anand Vaidya

4 weeks ago

When you have a media-starlet and then a hermit-crab as RBI guv, is there any hope of any improvement? I know you guys (MoneyLife) have been crying hoarse for consumer charter, better consumer protection and service levels from banks, but didn't happen. Now we have a puppet as Guv. He will keep ML busy :-(

Gurudutt Mundkur

4 weeks ago

Whatever our PM may say, it is impossible to stop frauds and bribery at the lower levels. People will continue to have problems like those stated above --- you and I cannot expect the avaricious employee, [whether he is a policeman, a bank clerk or a clerk in the Municipality or a middle manager in a Bank] from losing an opportunity to make money.
The mindset [vritee] needs to change, which is way too much to expect.

Lok Sabha passes Consumer Protection Bill 2018
The Consumer Protection Bill 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday amid slogan shouting by the Opposition.
 
Moving the Bill for its passage, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs Ramvilas Paswan said the Bill was non-controversial and was in the interest of the consumers.
 
He said the Bill, which seeks to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers' disputes, is above partisan politics.
 
The Minister said that a penalty provision has been incorporated in the Bill, but does not envisage jail terms.
 
The Bill was passed after an hour-long discussion in which 11 members from different political parties participated and presented their views.
 
The Bill was introduced in January during the last Winter Session of Parliament.
 
It seeks to replace the three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and seeks to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to "promote, protect and enforce the rights of the consumers".
 
Participating in the debate, Trinamool Congress' (TMC) Pratima Mandal demanded that celebrities be restrained from endorsing any product.
 
"The celebrities or endorsers may also not be able to understand the scientific compositions of the food products and the science behind the claims. Therefore, to deal with the situations like these it may be a better option to ban celebrity endorsement completely," she said.
 
The Bill also seeks to provide Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions at national, state and district levels to look into consumer complaints.
 
She said the Bill empowers the Central government to appoint members to this commission but does not specify that the commission should have a judicial member.
 
"If the commission was to have members only from the executive, the principal of separation of powers may be violated. The Bill confers power on the Central government to appoint and remove members and provide conditions of service for members of the district, state and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission," she said.
 
Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) Tathagat Satpathy said that power to appoint members into the commission at the district and state levels lies with Central government which will be an attack on the fundamental structure.
 
Consumer Protection Councils will also be set up at the district, State, and national level, as advisory bodies. Consumer mediation cells will be set up on the same lines.
 
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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COMMENTS

Sunil Kumar

4 weeks ago

Public opinion Lijiye Jo channel free-to-air the unko mana karte thaa jabardasti abhi bhi de rahe ho 130+tex kahan se ho gaya sabse pahle Agar mai
200 rupay Mein Jaan Si Aa Jaye Jab Koi aa gaya bahar se new channel chahiye ke aage rishtedari se Cartoon Network siste kahan se ho kya bole

P M Ravindran

4 weeks ago

I have had some of the most horrible experiences in the consumer 'courts'. To begin with, it was a reasonably good pro-consumer law. I remember having got Rs 100/- as compensation from the railways (awarded by the District Forum at Indore in the early 1990s) for their failure to confirm reservation of berths for onward journey. But then after seeing the functioning of the district forums at Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram and State Commission at Thiruvananthapuram, followed by the National Commission at Delhi, I have seen how those tasked, empowered and paid to enforce the law have subverted it most blatantly. Two instances are narrated in my letter to the then President, Dr Abdul Kalam, under the title 'Access to Justice'. It is available at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.com/2012/02/access-to-justice-stake-holders-report.html. The case of Mobilgas is a must read would be an eye opener.

Explicitly in the matter of consumer grievances, please read my complaint to the then Chief Minister of Kerala and the reply by the President of the District Forum, Palakkad. These are available at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.com/2011/11/chief-ministers-contact-program.html and https://www.slideshare.net/raviforjustice/complaint-cm-contpgmconsumerreply011211 respectively.

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