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Online Personal Finance Magazine
No beating about the bush.
In a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on 20th March, ministry of external affairs puts the onus of the passport project on TCS; says it is bound to provide services in compliance with 27 stringent service level agreements
While the Master Service Agreement (MSA) is being kept a closely guarded secret despite it being a public document, Preneet Kaur, minister of state in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has clearly stated in her reply in the Lok Sabha on 20th March, “n terms of the MSA, TCS is bound to provide services in compliance with 27 stringent Service Level Agreements.”
So, what are these 27 service level agreements that the TCS is bound by? Shalini Mathur, Project Head, of Passport Seva Kendra, TCS, in reply to this question states through an email, “I have requested the concerned department in the ministry to respond.”
However, the extensive reply by the minister in the Lok Sabha brings to light the comprehensive role of the TCS. Consider the following:
Kaur concluded that, “The agreement with TCS to operate and maintain the Passport Seva System is valid till 11 June 2018 with provision for its renewal for further two years. The government, therefore, is in no position at present to indicate any future course of action as regards renewal or cancellation of the agreement.”
Several customers cheated by the online shopping portal came together through social media and kept up pressure on the police, which finally led to arrest of the timtara.com’s top executives
In an extraordinary effort, several cheated consumers of online shopping portal Timtara.com kept up the pressure on the local police through social media, resulting in the arrest of the website’s top executives. After lot of hue and cry and around 200 complaints from cheated customers, last week the Delhi police arrested Arindam Bose, director of timatara.com, and his associate Harish Ahluwalia. Setting an example, these consumers showed how to successfully use social media to track and lodge complaints against the online shopping portal.
Several customers, who were cheated by Timtara.com, joined hands through a Facebook page (which was later closed by the social networking site). Members (and cheated customers of Timtara.com) like Deepak Agnihotri, Neeraj Prasad, Ankit Sharma, Vikalp Gupta and others filed cases with the Delhi police, Noida police as well as the Economic Offences Wing (EOW).
“We put up immense pressure on the police to file a first information report (FIR) against Arindam Bose, Harish Ahluwalia and others. At least one among us would call and ask details from the police station several times a day. I don't know why it took so long for the police to register the FIR but finally they did. In the meantime, the company was selectively refunding money to members. In fact, just a week before registering the case, Timtara.com refunded me. However, we continued with our efforts and filed case against them," said Neeraj Prasad.
Prasad said, several cheated customers of Timtara.com came together on Facebook through various forums, like “timtara.com consumer voice”. He also created a Facebook page “timtara.com fraud website” to create awareness. “However,” he said, “It was a matter of extreme frustration that Facebook sided with the frauds and shut down the page without any courtesy as warning, etc. This page had listed photos and addresses of all the known timtara.com employees.”
The group then contacted a lawyer and sent a legal notice demanding Rs50 lakh as punitive damages from Timtara.com. After receiving the notice, the portal started selectively paying money. “They (Timtara.com) refunded money to a few other people who were not among the complainants so as to discourage more people joining us. They even sent old/repaired goods to some members from our group,” Prasad said.
Finally the case was registered against the company in the consumer court and on 30th March, police arrested Bose and his associate Ahluwalia.
TheGML.com is luring gullible people by promising to pay about Rs35,000 every month just by filling online surveys and clicking on the ad links in the email. Is this another Speak Asia in the making?
While the duped panellists of Speak Asia are still tapping several doors for refund of their money, here is another company, “The Great Money Lab” or thegml.com, which is luring gullible people with similar promises, albeit with a small joining fee and lower pay out.
Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh) based, “The Great Money Lab” or thegml.com is sending SMS (unsolicited messages, in fact) to several people for earning easy money. Here is a first person account from one of the readers of Moneylife...
“I have received a SMS from an unknown source for making easy money with guarantee of payment on stamp paper. They have given the site address www.thegml.com, which I have visited. The full name is Great Money Lab. To me it appears to be another looting scheme where the gullible will fall for it, as the amount demanded is only Rs525 as registration fees. Ostensibly it is an internet survey work that is being promised,” the reader said.
The site thegml.com even quotes from an article published by the Times of India in its Ascent supplement. It says, “An article published in a leading English newspaper (Times of India) describes how thousands of internet users in India are earning money just by clicking web links.”
However, this claim is misleading. The article does not say anything about earning money just by clicking web links. In fact, the article says that professionals are using a flexible working scheme (like using laptop on the move) to break free from their desks and desktops.
The portal offers two ways to earn easy money after you pay them a total of Rs525—Rs499 plus Rs26 (for postal charges!). This is surprising as the portal advocates online work system and sends a kit (username and password) through post!
The portal offers two ways to earn easy money, one is paid email program and paid surveys. Thegml.com claims, “These emails contain the list of advertisements. You just have to click those links for 20-30 seconds once the link will be open, your account will be credited by sum amount. You are helping the advertising companies and they are returning their favour. The advertising companies are able to pay you because their advertisers pay them every time they send you an advertisement.”
Unfortunately, opening links in an email does have its own security risks. Internet security experts and organisations often caution users from opening a link from an email. US-CERT, for instance, says, “Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages and use caution when opening email attachments.”
Coming back to thegml.com, it offers paid surveys as a second option to earn easy money. It says, “You will get the surveys by email. It will take just 5 to 10 minutes to complete the survey. For each and every survey you complete, you will get money. Companies need your opinions to understand how to reach their customers. Because of this, companies are willing to pay people like you. You just have to answer these questions without worrying it wrong or right.”
Sounds similar? This is the same thing promised by Speak Asia, which later went bust leaving thousands of its members high and dry. Thegml.com also claims that it conducts survey or sends paid emails on behalf of many multinational companies. However, there are no names.
When the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police arrested executives of the multi-level marketing (MLM) company, it was revealed that the surveys were designed in Mumbai itself and not in Singapore as claimed by Speak Asia.
Speak Asia duped around 23 lakh investors to the tune of Rs2,000 crore. It promised a weekly income, merely on filling online survey forms. Initially the company paid the money to its panellists but stopped all payments since May 2010. After complaints were lodged against the company, it came under the scrutiny of the EOW, Mumbai. Last year the Enforcement Directorate also registered a case against Speak Asia, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the multi-crore MLM scam.
Earlier the investigating agency had arrested Speak Asia’s chief operating officer (COO), Tarak Bajpai, along with few other employees. Currently, Manoj Kumar, its CEO and Harendar Kaur, a Singaporean of Indian origin and company’s chairperson are absconding.