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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ATM Robbery By Banks & A Constructive Alternative Model by ABAHU

The ATM usage charges are introduced indiscriminately to harass the millions of common people of this country at this modern age of cost effective technology and services. We, common people (Aam Aadmi) of this country are fed up of the treatment meted out to all of us by various organizations/ institutions like banks?!

Going to such kind of places seems to be a herculean task for the common man as they lose a day's wages for no constructive purpose. More over, many a times, we are sent back with yet another list of things to be fulfilled before actually receiving the service from these institutions. The funniest part of this ATM story is that when RBI came up with strict security norms, the first bank to protest and suggest such a charge was not any private or multinational banks, instead it was SBI group of banks who did that??!! For the service they offer to their customers, it was always relieving for any customer to avoid going to this hell and they keep complaining about the work load and when it came to ATM services they want to squeeze their customers. 

Now, let's think from bank's perspective. There's huge pressure from RBI and governing bodies for these banks to cut down their operating cost and increase the productivity. In addition, they were asked to modernize and introduce world class security as well! Caught in the act, what they wanted to achieve was to squeeze the customer and make up for new expenses. However, they don't bother to improve the quality of services as our country or country men neither enforce nor demand that quality, respectively. There are constructive models available and one of that was to build an independent ATM network operated by a third party with all the facilities as per the security norms prescribed by RBI. Thus the operating cost of these ATMs will be shared by all the banks based on the customer usage of these banks. This was successfully evolved in mobile tower network and similar logic is applicable here as well. This would increase the number of the ATMs to include every bank associated in this network. In this context the banks with existing ATMs can lease out their existing property to this external agency so that they can recover their investment over a period of time. Now, what I mean to say is instead of harassing the lives of millions of common people, if we create an "All Bank Account Holders' Unity - ABAHU" and join  together to form a pressure group and make such constructive proposal to the government & RBI, it would be noticed/ listened. Remember, if few banks can come together and demand a change in RBI policy of free ATM usage, why can't millions of customers do the same muscle flexing in return?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Election 2014 – The Abusive Money Power!

It is with a heavy heart I write this note?! This is written with fresh experience I had while campaigning myself in ‘Palakkad’ constituency.

When we decided to field our candidate in the last minute, we called for a campaign strategy meeting and worked out a minimum budget of 7.5 Lakhs, which may extend up to 10 Lakhs. We had appealed for 25 lakhs to common people as we had post – election plans. When we were evaluating our strategies, we found that there are patterns and precedents set by most of the mainstream political parties, which tend to make elections, a festival of flex boards, road shows and illuminated jugglery of statements and visits of leaders of regions and religions. After quite a bit of debates, we had taken a conscious call to omit this Flex-Mania and instead, opt for cloth banners with printed matters on it.

On the field, we had positive responses from every section of the society and the acceptance from the women folks, both rural & urban, and the youth gave energy to pull on despite the taxing heat…! Many of them were expecting us and responded with enthusiasm. We realized that we need not speak much as people are well aware of Aam Aadmi Party and its relevance. They cherished us with their hearts full of hope and joy and it gives us momentum and unconditional hope in the journey ahead.

The point I wanted to make here was on the abuse of money power spread by these mainstream parties on campaign. The money spent is estimated in crores and the reliable information is that all these parties had collected hefty sums from ‘Quarry & Sand Mafia’ to make their campaign rich and colourful. Remember, the money thus collected smells blood and vita-salts of each of us. My questions to the common people are as follows….

1)      Have you ever thought where this lavishly spent money is sourced from?
2)      Have you ever checked what did you get there in your region as development?
3)      Have you ever checked about the growth in assets of these sitting representatives?
4)      Did any of these parties or candidates reveal the receipts (Income) vs Payments (Expenditure)?

I know, like me in the past, none of you would have thought about this or even if you had thought about it, you would have conveniently ignored this thought justifying that it does not affect you. This attitude is exactly what prompting our political representatives to become arrogantly assertive in looting us and still face us for votes offering few freebies gimmickry. They had weighed us well and used us well consistently.

To fight this precedence, we need to react by choosing wisely the people with credentials and substance, who represent an idea of a noble political culture which resonates the common man’s aspirations. Encouraging such a trend is the responsibility of each one of us…