Smart technology and users is the watchword for business globally with projects like Smart Cities and Smart Villages encouraging the world to invest in technological advances that can make life conveniently comfortable for humanity at present and in the future. One of these smart innovations was a first-of-its-kind app-based solution – to allow users to save and grow their money “smartly” – launched recently by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund and Money View, leading money management app.
Puneet Agarwal, Co-founder of Bangalore-based Money View, said: “Money View’s Green Account platform will offer two exclusive products – Savings and Tax Saver – to India’s 300 million smartphone users to facilitate them in financial fitness and growth. “Savings” could grow users’ money by parking in Liquid Funds of Prudential Mutual Fund, while “Tax Saver” helps users save on tax by investing in Equity-Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) option provided by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund – thus saving upto Rs 46,350 in taxes, depending on their tax rate by investing upto Rs 1.5 lakh annually.”
Describing this “free” app as a revolution providing users real-time summary of their money management, he said: “Personal finance is a universal need and working professionals and entrepreneurs are so preoccupied in juggling their day-to-day activities that the idea of keeping track of spends, savings and investments, across multiple accounts becomes a tedious process. Money View’s nucleus lies in empowering young urban India workforce with solutions to boost their financial wellness through auto-tracking, monitoring and analysing their monthly incomes and spends. The minimum investment is Rs 500 and a user can start investing within two minutes though it takes one to three days for the folio to get started. Where security is concerned, we don’t have critical information that will allow fraudulent activity. The information is encrypted and kept in a different environment.”
Abhijit P Shah, Sr. Vice-President & Head, Marketing, Digital & Customer Experience, ICICI Prudential Asset Management, said: “India has an ever-growing base of smartphone users keen to digitising their lives and money, and our association with Money View – which has a three-million strong user base – will help us tap into this large segment of smart, tech-savvy, digitally-driven to managing-and-growing-their-savings people.”
Meanwhile, women too were in the limelight nationally, where business was concerned.
Women and Comedy TV: Tata Sky recently introduced comedy with a woman’s touch in its first-ever interactive service on DTH in India that would provide a single destination for all formats of Hindi comedy content. Stand-up comedian Sugandha Mishra – along with colleague Sahil Khattar – had a launch gathering in Mumbai rocking with laughter, while Pallavi Puri, Chief Commercial Officer at Tata Sky, along with Hiren Gada, Shemaroo Entertainment – the content partner for the service – highlighted Tata Sky Comedy rib-tickling content that included classic tv comedy shows like Nukkad, Ye Joh Hai Zindagi, besides filmy spoofs to fun movie reviews, gags and pranks to faking news shows, alongside Bollywood Tadka and Comedy Fatafat, and interactive section featuring jokes, fun quizzes like dialogue baazi (based on dialogues from Bollywood movies) and a popular comic strip Suppandi.
Ms Puri said there is currently a gap for a singular destination for all types of Hindi comedy content and Tata Sky was filling that space through comedy content at Rs 59 per month for 24-hour service.
Women and Tourism: Ms Valsa Nair Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra, was awarded recently the prestigious Celebrating Her – Global Awards For Empowered Women In Tourism during the ITB Berlin 2016 at the hands of Dr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO. The award was presented in recognition, honour and felicitation of her significant contribution in the tourism sector, her prowess to empower herself and also being the epitome of women empowerment in the tourism industry. “Valsa Nair Singh (IAS, Principal Secretary Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra) persistently contributed to the tourism sector with utmost devotion, sustainability and exemplary tourism initiatives which are bringing in positive changes in the sector,” Dr Rifai stated. The ‘Celebrating Her’ – Global Awards for Empowered Women in Tourism, set up by International Institute of Peace Through Tourism (IITP), are intended to acknowledge and celebrate exceptional women in the fields of travel, tourism and hospitality with a clear vision and mission of development; and who have consistently worked towards fostering the tourism as a vehicle for peace.
Women and Banking: International Women’s Day this year was the occasion for the national launch of Dena Bank’s “Dena Stree Shakti” – a special savings account with Platinum Rupay Debit Card with attractive features that focused on the women customer segment – at the hands of special guests Ms Aditi Arya (Miss India World 2015) and Ms Manish Goyal, IRS, Assistant Commissioner-Mumbai customs. Dena Bank’s CMD Ashwani Kumar said the Bank will position this product as an attractive and distinguished savings account for women and this new product is targeted to bring in an added savings culture for women across all segments while, at the same time, provide various special benefits such as: shopping limit of Rs 2 lakhs; 2 zero-balance accounts for family members, personal accident cover of Rs 2 lakhs etc.”
“We have been talking about equality in genders and, in India, we have to see that women achieve parity fast in a perpetual process. Women face so many odds in India and globally, but now they are taking over the reins of power in finance where even the IMF is headed by a lady – Christine Lagarde as Managing Director – besides India’s largest private sector bank – ICICI – led by Chanda Kochchar, and India’s largest Bank under its Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya. However, about 43 per cent of adolescent males think domestic violence is okay. We need to change this thinking and while the government is working in that direction through Beti Bachao, Beti Padao, we need to ensure about empowering women alongside ourselves and society,” he said.
Executive Director Ms Trishna Guha later told Millennium Post that the Stree Shakti card coverage would target around one lakh women this year, and the bank’s target for the next financial quarter would be about covering its stressful assets while expecting the two successive quarters to be better.
To whether the recent budget would help the bank, she said it will help Dena Bank focus more on the rural and agricultural sector where it had gained good experience. About whether the RBI rate cut will help the bank, she said business growth for the bank would continue though NIM growth will be affected.
In another event, State Bank of India’s Chairman, Arundhati Bhattacharya recently had a select gathering in splits of laughter, while quoting Albert Einstein and waxing eloquent on the financial scene in India. The occasion was the 8th Annual CIBIL TransUnion Credit Information Conference held in Mumbai, where David Neenan, President, TransUnion International, pointed out that the life expectancy in between Bad Credit and Good Credit is 15 years in the USA. “The stress of being an NPA will kill people faster,” the SBI chief quipped, while highlighting this remark from Neenan in her keynote address on Driving faster and cheaper access to credit-issues, Imperatives and Information solutions. “Information is not knowledge, said Albert Einstein. Today we live in an age that is technology-driven and where it is necessary to use information, and slice-and-dice it,” she said while emphasising the need for information sources being trustworthy, supply of data genuine, and engendering an unquestionable benchmark leading to relevant decisions.
Noting that India can be a powerful force globally if it tapped all opportunities, she also sounded a word of caution, saying, “As dependence on technology increases, there is a need to ensure safety of such data and we cannot let down out guard even for a minute. All have to work together to pool data.” “Banks are the largest consumers and suppliers of data, and will be better off with healthier portfolios. So data cleansing is an ongoing exercise and, in the State Bank of India, this exercise is named Project Ganga.”
“India remains a very cash-intensive society and there is a need for shifting into electronic channels. About 50 per cent of our population is in the countryside, while banking facilities are not in every nook and corner of India. There are 134 dark spots in India not having connectivity with the world. All these areas pose a challenge for improving from cash to electronics.”
The West in India?
“The West’ solutions will not work in India, which has a different democracy and solutions alongside its requirement level,” Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India, said while narrating a case in point through an incident that occurred during her travel to the USA. Bhattacharya said that while paying for a coat at a store with a $100 billion, the cashier refused to accept it and instead asked her for her credit card. When she said that she had no credit card and chose to pay with the $100 billion, the cashier checked the note thoroughly for its genuineness and still refused to accept it but finally relented when a frustrated Bhattacharya displayed her passport and assured her that “I am not a money launderer.” “I decided then that henceforth I will only carry $20 bills,” she quipped as the gathering rocked with laughter. Expanding on her emphasis on the difference in solutions for the West and India, she said many people here were illiterate about banking and had to sign with their thumb prints or even have their bank account cash details told to them loudly.