The Lies and the Fake World we live in



Bench was told that state had planned to approach Centre, seeking relaxation of norms.
The state government, which was planning to relax noise pollution rules for Ganeshotsav and Navratri festivals this year, will instead have to properly implement the same, the Bombay High Court made it clear on Thursday.

A division bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice VV Kankanwadi, while hearing a bunch of public interest litigations on the issue, was informed about the state government’s decision to approach the Centre, seeking relaxation in loudspeaker rules for the forthcoming festivals.

Pouring cold water on the administration’s plans, the High Court observed that the state government had no choice but to follow its directions to not allow loudspeakers in silence zones on any day of the year, as it has failed in its challenge before the Supreme Court.

“Let us remind all the politicians and the government that the Supreme Court has already dismissed the petition that challenged this court’s orders. The SC has upheld this court’s judgment. Now the Apex Court is monitoring this, so you (government) have no other option but to implement this court’s orders or else you are aware about the implications,” the bench observed after hearing the submissions.

The HC order was issued last year.

The court was told that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had met representatives of certain Ganpati mandals and reportedly assured them of relaxations in use of loudspeakers. The mandals are said to have sought the relaxation as 80 per cent of them fall in silence zones.

The court was further informed that despite its orders, the state government has not created any toll-free and WhatsApp numbers for registration of noise pollution-related complaints.

The bench directed the government to ensure that all preparations for effective implementation of the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000, are in place before the festive season. It further directed the state to create the toll-free and WhatsApp numbers.

The petitioners also informed the HC that state has failed to check vehicular noise pollution. On a query from the court, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted that the Regional Transport Officers as well as Traffic Police would conduct workshops to sensitise the drivers of taxis, auto-rickshaws as well as Ola and Uber cabs against unnecessary honking.

ASCI bans 242 ads, including Snapdeal, Amazon, Idea, ToI, ET Now, Zee, Airtel, Coca-Cola, Dhara, Fair & Lovely, Ponds Age Miracle in February 2017

The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has banned as many as 242 advertisements out of 305 complaints it received across segments during February 2017. Out of 242 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 165 belonged to the Healthcare category, 31 to the Education category, followed by nine in Personal Care Category, 19 in the Food & Beverages category, and 18 advertisements from other categories, the self-regulatory industry body said in a statement.
The banned ads are from prominent companies like (Micromax 32T7260 HDI LED TV), Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd (Snapdeal), Idea Cellular Ltd (Idea 4G), Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (Times of India), Times Network (ET Now), Zee News Ltd (Zee Business), Bharti Airtel Ltd (Airtel 4G Data), Dish TV, Coca-Cola, BSNL Corporate among others, they range from FMCGs to autos, personal accessories to alcohol, and education to media.
Click Here for more details and the full list of ads which are banned

Search for your polling booth for the MCGM elections – Operation Black Dot

android-icon-144x144Operation Black Dot is an apolitical initiative from social quotient to make voting easy, engaging and fun. OBD is a movement to bring about a change in the mindset of youth by using a variety of platforms and engagement models to achieve the objectives of increased voter participation in municipal elections and greater youth leadership in urban local governance. Essentially, we want to send a wake-up call to young India: the kind which is wired into Facebook every minute, binge watches House of Cards, parties every saturday, studies hard for entrance exams – but does not know who their corporator is!


Click Here –
And get the booth address where u will vote
This is really a good link. U can search with ur name

On the Digital Highway without a Seat Belt

Prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s mega campaign to go cashless may, in the long run, lead to transformation like his much-needed Swachh Bharat initiative. We are a cash-based economy; over 68% of transactions happen in cash and the push to get, at least, urban, educated Indians to switch to cashless payments is necessary and long overdue. Starting with his radio talk (Maan ki Baat), the PM’s slogan of ‘My Mobile, My Wallet, My Bank’ has been amplified by leading bankers, e-payment companies, Union ministers, NITI Aayog officials and high-profile bureaucrats. But people won’t change just by being shoved in a particular direction. Moreover, in the short run, the pain in accessing one’s own money is very real. The government needs to work harder to make the switchover easier, by providing adequate infrastructure (telecom coverage, Internet connectivity), safety and ease of transactions and proper grievance redress. Unfortunately, the effort to push e-payments seems driven by the need to hastily correct the massive failure of currency management after demonetisation, rather than a genuine desire to bring about a paradigm shift. Let’s look at a few decisions that are urgently needed to ensure that the switch to cashless transactions is both, safe and permanent.
1. Beneficiaries Must Pay: The first step is to encourage and incentivise e-payments by scrapping ‘convenience’ charges and transaction charges. So far, it has been a sellers’ market. So ticket booking agents (makemytrip, cleartrip, etc, or Bookmyshow) and even principals (Jet Airways) conveniently turned the logic on its head and decided that we, the consumers, must pay for the ‘convenience’ of getting tickets online. Airlines used to offer hefty commissions to travel agents who did the hard work of selecting the best route and the lowest fare option; the customer did not pay. Today, there are no travel agents; the consumer does all the hard work of searching and selecting; and also pays for the alleged convenience. We need to ensure that beneficiary companies, at least, share the convenience. But what about movie theatres and airlines which are able to save on ticketing and box-office costs? This is the best time to do it because they need our business at a time when discretionary spending has dried up substantially.
2. Regulation of E-wallet Companies: Information technology experts will tell you that most apps and e-wallets collect a lot of sensitive customer data by seeking omnibus permissions from not-so-savvy users. According to a report by, leading payment apps get access to your Internet history, bookmarks, and even really sensitive data such as IMEI number, saved Wi-Fi network info and the MacID. They record audio info, modify contacts and even use call logs to make calls. Many e-wallets will save  credit/debit card details used to transfer money to the wallet without your permission.
This increases the security risks for users, without their knowledge. If the data is hacked, we, as individuals, are in no position to track the source of the leak and we have no access to easy grievance redress either. We need to have clear rules on what information can be collated by apps and their liability spelt out, in case there is a large-scale data breach or even if an individual consumer has a complaint. Will every minister of the NDA government, who is dutifully promoting e-wallets, take up the issue of regulation as well?
3. Grievance Redress: This is an issue that we have been agitating for several years through Moneylife Foundation, our not-for-profit entity involved in advocacy and financial literacy. At a social gathering, recently, a leading industrialist and a retired police chief were narrating interesting stories about how their domestic helpers and cooks had adapted to technology, using it to transfer money to their village in Bihar and Odisha through ATMs.
While this is, indeed, very heartening, it is also a fact that ATM PINs are easily shared with the family because of ignorance. In one case, a domestic helper’s account, which had her precious savings of over Rs70,000, was hacked. The hacker, pretending to be a banker, claimed that the account was being tested to ensure that a link to her mobile phone was working effectively and she should read out the number received in an ATM. The unsuspecting woman ended up giving her OTP (one-time password) six times, until the bank itself noticed something amiss and blocked her account. A well-known consumer activist, who is helping the lady recover her money, related this story to me; how many are so lucky?
As Dr KC Chakrabarty, former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), told me in a recent interview, “You may push a person to do digital transaction; but once a person has lost money at an ATM or in a digital transaction, he will stay away for 10 years. All over the world, unless the bank can prove that the customer is at fault, his money should first be credited to his account. That is a global rule. This is not yet implemented in India.” The reason for not notifying consumer protection regulations is rather perplexing, especially when RBI deputy governor,
SS Mundra has publicly acknowledged that the increase in online transactions has led to a manifold surge in customer complaints. Addressing a public meeting on 23rd May, he had said that these complaints relate to electronic transactions, unauthorised fund transfers, fraudulent ATM withdrawals using duplicate cards, phishing, vishing, etc. And yet, on 31st August, RBI only issued a draft regulation proposing to limit customer liability instead of notifying formal rules. These regulations propose to shift the onus of proving wrongdoing or carelessness on the part of the customer to the bank. They will also ensure that the money lost is immediately credited back to customer accounts pending investigation. Isn’t it strange that RBI has not been asked to notify these regulations even while a nationwide campaign to go cashless has been launched from the highest office in the land? RBI must also be asked to notify its much-touted consumer charter and take responsibility for its implementation. The charter must prescribe clear penalties for banks’ lapses and amend the banking ombudsman regulations to empower it to initiate stringent action. Instead, an unworkable consumer charter has been put out in the public domain and RBI seems to have no intention of holding banks strictly accountable for treating customers fairly.
4. Financial Literacy: The buck for spreading financial literacy also stops at RBI’s doors. The central bank, as is its style, works at an excruciatingly slow pace on most issues;  it is probably the slowest on consumer protection. Two years ago, RBI took charge of over Rs3,500 crore of unclaimed cash deposits that were lying with banks and set up the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund (DEAF). This money could have been put to excellent use today to spread financial literacy using modern tools to spread the message.
Two years later, DEAF has little to show. It took a year to grant accreditation to a few NGOs and another year to sanction small sums to be spent on workshops to a few of them. Worse, DEAF will simply not engage with people in the field. Another effort to reach out to rural consumers under the aegis of RBI and with support from banks is similarly chugging at a snail’s speed. This is not the pace at which the PM operates; but then, why doesn’t someone push RBI to act, or take away these responsibilities and allow it to remain India’s monetary authority? At a time when people are going through enormous hardship to access their own hard-earned money, being pushed into driving along the digital highway without a safety belt will be even more insensitive.
by Sucheta Dalal

Why the 75% Drop in Global Oil Prices Isn’t Reaching You


Record production in the United States (US), weakened demand from the Eurozone and emerging economies like China and Brazil, and Iran’s entry into the international market have effectively slashed the price of crude oil for India, from $106 per barrel in July 2014 to $26 in January 2016 — a 75% drop over 15 months.

So, why are you not seeing evidence of this price-cut at your local petrol and diesel station? The answer: As global crude prices reach a 11-year low, the Centre and state governments steadily increase excise duties and value-added tax, shoring up their revenues and keeping fuel prices high for retail consumers.

Although India imports more than 80% of its fuel requirement, which means declining global prices should, theoretically, have seen sharp declines in retail petrol and diesel prices, Indian consumers of petrol and diesel now pay about double the global rate.

Click Here for the full analysis

Selfless Service for NGOs

We live in an age of such cynicism and negativity that most of us would admit to a twinge of doubt when we wish to give back to society through a financial contribution. Many find it hard to believe that there are people out there who have devoted their lives to a cause or to alleviate the suffering or exploitation of others. How do we distinguish between those doing genuine work from the ones who have made NGO-work their publicity vehicle?
Arusha Creations, led by Eknath Satpurkar, its founder, has done the job for us. It took the form of a tele-serial called Tapasya, which show-cased 52 carefully selected NGOs that are doing selfless work. The NGOs featured in this series had no government or foreign funding, nor had they won any major awards then. But each episode was a gift of love, which gave the NGO a professionally created profile, without fake glorification or needless understatement. Tapasyabeen telecast by Doordarshan’s Sahyadri channel and was re-telecast by ZEE24Taas.
Mr Satpurkar says that the series was entirely self-funded (about Rs1.10 crore, some of which they recovered through advertising during the telecast) by his company. He believes that it is “our duty to bring to light such selfless services to the society, so that the society also can contribute to the cause in any form physical or financial.” He also managed to get some famous personalities from the Marathi film and literary world to anchor various episodes or compose the theme song.
To ensure ongoing reach and support, the Tapsaya series has now been made available as a set of DVDs plus a booklet of information about the NGOs covered in the series. You can buy the set at the address below.
Mr Satpurkar says that a Mumbai builder was so impressed with the Tapasya series that he presented the DVD sets to homebuyers while handing over the keys of their flats. Latur-based Samvedna Cerebral Palsy Vikasan Kendra, run by Suresh and Deepa Patil, a simple couple, was stunned by a phone call from an overseas Indian, who was so impressed with their work, that he funded a two-acre plot of land and a three-storey building to help the organisation expand its work.
“The Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly also bought DVD sets of Tapasya and distributed it among members of legislative assembly (MLAs) requesting them to spend their funds on such NGOs instead of routine, road, water and sanitation works,” Mr Satpurkar says.He shared a touching story on how these people behind the NGOs think. He said, “I invited Sunil Deshpande of Sampoorna Bamboo Kendra to Mumbai. But he flatly rejected my invitation. When asked about the reason, Mr Deshpande told me, it would cost him around Rs2,000 to visit Mumbai; instead he would use the money as yearly expenses for an Adivasi child’s education.”
The first set of DVDs contains 26 episodes on NGOs like Samvedna, Udyog Vardhini from Solapur, Sampoorna Bamboo Kendra from Melghat area which has generated livelihood in the malnourished region by training artisans in bamboo handicraft. Then there is Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Pratishthan (BVVP) from Osmanabad which works at education and self-employment of neglected tribes like Paradhi, Bhill and Vaidu. Samtol Foundation (from Mumbai) and Chaitanya Mahila Mandal (from Pune) also feature in the first DVD set, among others.
The second set provides information about 26 other NGOs that are working relentlessly across Maharashtra to help the society. These include: Manohar Dole Foundation from Narayangaon (in Pune district), Aatpadi, Sangli-based Sheti Pariwar Kalyan Sanstha, Palawi-Prabha-Hira Pratishthan (from Pandharpur) that provides shelter and care for children affected by AIDS. Gramvikas Samiti (from Baripada in Dhule district) and, Satkarma Shraddhshray (from Panvel) that runs several service centres for tribals, Parivartan Mahila Sanstha (from Titwala), which focuses on women empowerment, Vijaya Pariwar (from Nagpur) and Aadhaarteerth Aadhrashram (from Trimbakeshwar, Nashik), among others.
If you are an individual, buy the DVD and check out the work being done by India’s unsung heroes. If you are a corporate house or a charitable organisation, you have a fantastic database of genuine organisations that deserve your support.
Aurusha Creations
2, Laxmi-Narayan Baug,
Bal-Govinddas Rd,
Mahim, Mumbai – 400 016
Tel: (022) 24305392, Mobile: (91) 98203 25061 / 94239 72450