Sunday, November 29, 2009

Online Platform: Tech Edge for Mutual Funds

Technologies has many specialties and liabilities to evolve, nurture and grown up the happy means to deliver utmost simplification in day-to-day life. Indeed the Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI) would have been sensed the similar feelings before executing the online trading platform for Mutual funds with aim to reduce its operational costs and address the issue of pan-Indian penetration.The online Mutual fund trading platform would probably do to the Mutual fund space what dematerialization of shares has done for the traders and investors in the equity market.
It will be an online arrangement where Mutual fund schemes can be transacted through the click of mouse; payment directly debited from the bank account and units purchased or sold will be credited or debited to the investors dematerialized account just like the way the shares are traded today; with similar convenience, redemption order will be accepted at a click of the mouse.

Overall the upcoming online platform which start to perform in new financial year (After March 2010) would provide the investors a consolidated view of all their Mutual fund holdings, apart from that platform will bring in simplicity and cost efficiency for investors and will help industry to expand its reach. An another impact of this move would be visible on achieving the goal of financial inclusion since internet as a medium has revolutionary binding over the awareness level; so many frills will be left out for the investors and friendly transaction with many new economy sized Mutual fund products would fuelled incentive for their participation.
Some apprehension regarding the inevitability of demat account for being in transaction have also sorted out as this new portal is not restricted to demat account holders alone; indeed no-frills approach of online trading would increase the transaction and transparency that further fuelled competition and price war between brokerage which eventually would led to highly competitive commissions.

Anyhow some confusion persists on the role of brokers and Independent Financial Advisors(IFA’s) who hitherto have been playing very crucial role in mobilizing around sixty percent of the financial investments in Indian Mutual fund businesses through their channels of recommendations. New platform will be linked to the demat account of the shareholder and the commission payable on every transaction shall be mutually determined between investor and their respective brokers, who will have to be a Depository Participant (DP).
Depository Participants are now present in more than thousand of Indian cities albeit they are hardly in touch to look after the future and just role of small brokers and IFA’S; so it would be better to let brokers manage Mutual fund online trading platforms, as separate infrastructure will defeat the purpose.

Likewise giving artificial support to small Mutual fund agents is hardly compatible in middle to long term perspective as competitive regime is required to infuse constructive morale of these small agents instead to compel them to survive on complementary bucks.
In the wake of SEBI’s move to scraping the entry load, small agents and distributors are facing outright erosion of their identity besides they left with very few options as Insurance sector has introduced D.Swaroop commission meanwhile, which are equally adverse to these middlemen’s. Presently only one lakh AMFI certified agents are in the field with comparison of twenty five lakh insurance agents, so there can be visualize a deep mismatch between demand and supply of effective financial councilors.

So, the present change in the landscape of Mutual fund businesses needs at least a relooking on the plights of consultancy complication since financial awareness level in our country is strikingly lower than counterparts in western and other advanced economies.
It’s worthwhile to note here that despite very high resilience of their economy, western financial regulators still trust and conferred better commission to these financial consultants; even before the scrapping of entry loads in India, there was margin of around four percent of brokerage from western economies. My concern here is not to imitate the western model but to cite the huge potential loss of employment in the wake of new regulatory changes in India…we definitely must go through the all intricacies of pros and cons of its potential outcomes.
Nevertheless, I heartily admire this new technological innovation because its effectiveness lies in many implicit and explicit forms as we have seen previously in the case of Banking and Telecommunication sector in last few years in our country.
Technology both at individual and collective level plays very formative role in preparing the humane psyche to adjust with high end targets; being a very resilient and swiftly emerging economy, Indian economy is indeed ready to upfront with such large scale innovation to achieve the goal of impressive financial literacy as well as financial inclusion. Looking through the technological experiments in past, we can be sanguine about its meticulous performance at Mutual fund arena and further becoming a source for such other innovation in the domains of Indian financial sector.

Atul Kumar Thakur
November29th2009, New Delhi

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Intricacies of the Madhubani Painting (Mithila Art)

The Maithils are intrinsically Shakti (mother goddess) worshippers, Bhagwati- Gauri is among their Kula Devta; schools of Tantric rituals has been flourishing since the age-old inside Mithila region that is undoubtedly a crucial epithet behind the practices of this indigenous folk art which in modern time received acclaim as Madhubani painting or Mithila art.
Moreover, Mithila remains a great place of Sanskrit learning; quintessence of that living tradition had left very conducive impact on alternative disciplines like- art, literature, drama etc through drawing consistent royal patronage from different dynasties of Darbhanga Raj.

The Karnat dynasty that ruled Mithila from twelfth to the fourteenth century was perhaps the progenitor of royal patronage to this ethnic art. Although that phase of medieval Mithila was caught in frequent political disruptions because of external Islamic invasions from northern India, nevertheless those adverseness were overcome in later phase and the royal court of Darbhanga very soon retrieve its intellectual glory.
Contemporary of King Hari Singh Dev (Karnat dynasty); great poet and scion of Maithili literature, Vidyapati and in later course of time, an another stalwart Jyotireshwar Thakur had brought aesthetic metamorphosis in the region through lyrics of passion and physical love which entirely saturate the countryside and left deep impact on existing art form and its succeeding generation.

Apart from that, Vedic and Puranic sources were quite familiar to most of the Maithil households at the end of medieval period and on the threshold of modern age; so, scriptures and texts like the Bhagvad Purana remains very familiar among the culturally inclined Maithil folks, besides Mithila’s ancient associations with the Ramayana as the birth place of Sit further forward them as source material for the paintings of Shiva-Shakti, Rama-Sita, Krishna-Radha, Ravana and Hanuman, Kohber, Aripan and many more auspicious rituals.
For centuries Mithila art has retained its isolation from outside world until it was came across a visionary British official, W.G. Archer during the colonial era; his perceptive curiosity first drew attention to the mural paintings (Later developed as Kacchni style of painting) of the Brahmin and Kayastha village communities of Mithila.

Madhubani which literally means “forest of honey” partially signifies the closeness of nature with this locality; with separation from old Darbhanga district in 1973, Madhubani became a full fledged district and also privileged to retain the locus of Mithila art inside its world famous “Panchkosi region (Within the fifteen Kilometer radius from Village Saurath, hub of unusual marriage fair)”which was earlier used to be the centre of “Kulinta“(elite ness) and scholastic learning’s.
Indeed Mithila art had fortunate to receive the well timed Mentorship from a renowned commercial artist, Upendra Mahrathi who like a father nurtured this ethnic art and meticulously tried to end its isolation. His pioneering initiative like collection of traditional Mithila paintings on paper and its exhibition then as part of the Indian independence movement in 1930’s proved very beneficial in the broadening of Mithila paintings commercial horizons.

Later he became the chairman of Bihar Handicrafts and began buying paintings and other handicraft arts in that capacity throughout the 1950’s albeit he remained concerned that the tradition must degenerate with commercialization.
In 1960’s famine viciously struck the agrarian socio-economic structure of Mithila which started to desperate the psyche of peoples for their livelihoods; amidst those adverseness a senior Congress leader and stalwart of Maithil politics, Shri Lalit Narayan Mishra (Union Cabinet Minister) had put enormous effort to heal the suffering of that region. Probably he was among few politicians from that region who was so enthusiast to raise the fortune of his native area; obviously this ethnic art was his prime concern, so he struggled to fetch government attention and grant and succeeded with an amount of Rs75, 000 to encourage the commercialization of Mithila art and its innovation as an occupation.

Consequences of his activism proved more fruitful in future as than Prime Minister Indira Gandhi shown proper concern for Mithila region and their indigenous art by sending her close aide and than Chairman of All India Handicrafts Society, Pupul Jayakar to visit and look after the plights of this region. That proved another landmark as Pupul Jayakar involved very deep with this ethnic art, both at personnel as well as on institutional level and played very proactive role in further development of this art.
She had also written numbers of papers on Mithila art and remained keen throughout her life with it; some years later she sent the artist Bhaskar Kulkarni with hand made papers and colors to expedite and incubate the commercialization of Mithila art which was proved epoch making as use of artificial elements in painting out rightly revolutionize the practices of artists involved in that profession.
In later course Mithila art attracted numbers of intellectuals; Erika Moser Smith of Germany and Yves Vequad (The art of Mithila-Ceremonial Paintings from an Ancient Kingdom) of France were foremost among them; they empirically studied the pattern and related micro issues of this art. American Naomi Owens, wife of Ray Owens (An anthropologist and an avid researcher on Mithila art) had very carefully analyzed the feminists led folk music of Mithila; another art enthusiast from U.S.A, Carolyn Henning Brown accomplished an excellent study of the aesthetics of Mithila art.

Among Indian scholars apart from Pupul Jayakar, Mulkraj Anand (a book over Madhubani painting), Devaki Jain (numbers of papers on Mithila art) and Jyotindra Jain (a fine book over on legend artist, Ganga Devi) were amongst the pivotal contributor to this ethnic art; they traveled across the hinterlands of Mithila to comprehend the actualities of artistic genesis among the rural folks of this region.
Among Maithils, role of Parmeshwar Jha (U.S.A. based academician and an art activist) and his wife Bibha Jha in internationalization of Mithila art is immensely crucial, especially in further turnaround of its fortune. Establishment of Mithila Art Museum in Nilgate (Japan) by Mr. Tokio Hasgawa and American Anthropologist Ray Owens’s almost three decades of active association with this ethnic art and finally set up of Mithila Art Institute in Madhubani (with collaboration from Ethnic Art Foundation, U.S.A) are some of the pleasant outcomes of such consistent efforts.
It’s quite imperative here to understand the subtleties of Mithila art as Madhubani painting is one dominant artistic expression among its peers of handicrafts made by natural recourses like, Bamboos and other herbal ingredients; arts like Siki-Mauni, Sujni and Sitalpati, Godna, sculptures of mythological Sama- Chakeva and numerous other folk art forms which are very close to daily life style of Maithil rural peoples are equally vibrant and needed same attention.
As Mithila art is basically a traditional expression entrusted with unique especialties (like idioms, theme, stylization etc), that has been carried out through a long stretch of time by the Maithil women’s irrespective of caste and class and they largely played the role of channel through this inherited knowledge flows, transformed and made auspiciousness resonant in the energy of the present.The strength of Madhubani painting is that it hasn’t any confinement or taboo in its practices, so persons (especially women’s) of all communities paint.
Their schools of painting can be distinguished, painting is an earthen palette of ochre’s and umber browns, dust pinks, dull turmeric’s and earth reds. The outlines are in a fine black line; here the emphasis used to be given on the volume and depth. Colors are laid on in broad sweeps of the brush, ornaments on cloth or backgrounds are discarded; there is an absence of alankara as tree, bird or foliage.

The Paintings are entrusted with energy forms, stuffed with all details. Austerity are profusely maintain in the paintings, a relentless energy and a sense of magic which perhaps has its source in Tantric ritual and worship (Paintings like “The ten Goddess by Batohi Jha, Tantric, Village Jitwarpur, undated could be a fine example). Like all rural art forms the eyes are the source of Shakti, central point of power.
Colors and their complex uses are the chief characteristics of the this indigenous art, as tradition of colors remains upbeat since the time of writing Sarrada Tilaka in the eleventh century A.D; ingredients of colors are- Black (Burnt Jowar or Kajal), Yellow (Turmeric) or from Chunam mixed with banyan tree, Orange from Palas flower, Red from Kusum flower, Green from Bilva leaf. It could be a matter of solace that natural colors are still in use although artificial colors are became more rampant in the wake of commercialization.
Jitwarpur and Ranti are two prominent villages of artists that also represent some distinction in their paintings. Sita Devi, Ookha Devi, Yamuna Devi and Harijan painters from Jitwarpur; Jagdamba Devi, Mahasundri Devi from Ranti and Ganga Devi from Chiri village were the protagonists and true epoch makers of Madhubani paintings in last century.
They standardized this indigenous art in their limited means and received huge accolades from across the world for sophistication of Madhubani art; it is indeed very prideful for Mithila art lovers that some of artists among them had fetch top civilian awards for their work which sharpen the recognition of Madhubani painting across the world.

Presently Gauri Mishra of SEWA MITHILA is carrying the legacies of those great artists with hundreds of local artists; apart from that independent artists and probably every households of Mithila is very much involve in preserving their indigenous art through their cultural practices like- Kohber (paintings in the sanctum of newly weds), Aripan (portray the agrarian materialism of Maithil folks) etc. Future prospects of this indigenous art is undoubtedly bright as the bright and acclaimed artist like Santosh Das (village Ranti), who left his glamorous voyage in the field of modern art after passing out from M.S.University (Baroda), in 1980’s to catch up his indigenous art with mission to raise it to the crest of achievements.
Through deep intellectual understanding this man in his mid fourtees has added many distinct qualities to the Madhubani painting with relentless meticulous innovations. His experiment in Madhubani paintings have broadly directed it’s towards a complete new journey of expression which was quite unseen before him. Hope Madhubani painting will keep adapting with new innovations in future time with same auspicious colorful connotation in their themes.
Atul Kumar Thakur
November15th2009, New Delhi

Friday, November 13, 2009

Phanishwar Nath Renu in Retrospect

Aurahi Hingana, a small village of North Bihar (Mithila region) is situated just two Kilometer south west away from historic Simraha railway station (Araria district). It’s imperative here to illuminate that these subtle geographical locality once used to be the locus of great literaturer Phanishwar Nath Renu’s panoramic communion with nature- simply far from an opulent surroundings. Indeed his intermittent communion in such sedate environment was quite conducive for him as that richness of nature has been enabling him to conceal from skirmish city life of Patna, besides emanating great literary stuffs of Hindi, Maithili and Bangla from those sojourn.

Undoubtedly, this towering giant of Hindi literature mostly derived his laconic art of expression from this milieu, by which his classic characters and meticulously woven plots carried a top sensible belongingness with the rural plights. Apparently, stupendous sensitization of sprawling landscape and folk culture with insertion of his own lucid cosmic views presents a very ruminate view of Koshi’s catchments areas and of actual persisting hurdles. That seems very close to socio-economic inquiry and somehow different from passive literary interaction. Renu has credit to award the literary world with numbers of novels, stories and poems, memoir, satire, reports, travelogue etc.

Amazingly they all quintessentially possess the worth of being sacrosanct to the sensible literary enthusiasts. Like his diversely rich works, Renu’s life was full with adventure. After his initial schooling at parental house, he flew to neighboring Nepal where fortunately he found acquaintances with famous Koirala family of Biratnagar. Henceforth, he kept performing the duty of aide to Koirala’s and remained very close to them, meanwhile he also succeeded in his academics and finally accomplished his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from prestigious Banaras Hindu University. Indeed Koirala’s were the factor behind his staying in the city of Kashi as they have proper establishment in the city of light (Kashi).

The timeframe of late 1940’s was entirely transitory in nature for Nepalese politics as the tussle between De facto rulers Rana’s and Dejure contender Shah dynasty grew sharper. Essentially being the scion of Nepalese politics, Koirala’s had to play some crucial roles in political transformation and further bonding of new ties with India. Being a close aide of Koirala’s, Renu actively participated in those movements and later produced a very comprehensible report on that era named as “Nepali Kranti Ki Katha (Tells of Nepalese Revolution)” which is a crucial document of that landmark era in Nepal. In later phase Renu primarily concentrated on his own milieu and tried to decipher the ruination of Kosi belt.

His magnum opus work in Hindi “Maila Aanchal” is also regarded as top notch literary creation in any Indian language. The novel very aptly elucidates the contemporary realities of Indian village scene at the threshold of independence. Undoubtedly “Maila Aanchal” is a rare piece of literature entrusted with superb delineations of rural wisdom along with the fine fusion of dynamic universal changes that was ready to shift the prevailing idleness of the dogmas in compatibility with the new future of democratic India. From the post-colonial perspectives, this book has immense worth in reckoning the late colonial framework of eastern regions which was over burdened with the segregative policies being carried over native Indians under the guise of Indigo farming, exploitative revenue collection, terror policing etc.

Renu was closely concerned with the endemic diseases like Malaria which was caused by the water logging of Kosi river; being benign, Renu had approached with superb humane concern to judge those plights with completely repudiating any discrimination to even the colonial officials. Mary (Later Mary Gunj was commemorated on her memory), wife of an English official who died from Malaria in absence of proper medicine drew same grief as those for thousands of unprivileged local victims. Renu had eloquently elucidated the challenges of post independent India through his another epic novel in Hindi “Parti Parikatha”; in which he painstakingly tried to show the Nehruvian vision of development in early planning years with adequately acknowledging the pertinent issues like, land reform, abolition of Zamindari, villages self rule (Gram Swarajya), socialization of institutions.

Moreover he visualized a new emerging democratic India with socio-economic change as priority in the growth agenda; indeed Renu in that period had shown overt differences from his earlier radical ideological stand albeit he remained firm as a believer in socialistic form of development. Strikingly, Renu was equally gifted in storey telling and poetry where he equally became successful in forming close bond with the concerned themes. His superb storytelling reached to zenith in works like, “Rinjal Dhan Jal”, “Aadim Ratri Ki Mahak”, “Panch Light”, “Wighthan ke Chhanh”, “Mare Gaye Gulfam or Teesri Kasam” etc. These stories are vigorously moves around the contemporary dynamicism of Terain region of Mithila.

For a short stint, he was also in Bombay to try his destiny in cinema script writing; he penned some scripts and more remarkably cinematised his own lively story “Mare Gaye Gulfam” for a great Hindi cinema “Teesri Kasam (Cast- Raj Kapoor, Wahida Rahman, Iftikar etc)” in mid sixties. Teesri Ksam was directed by Raj Kapoor and produced by Shailendra but unfortunatelly it could not fetch the early commercial succes although in second release “Teesri Kasam” proved remarkable success. Alas! Shailendra couldn’t see the success of his dream project as he failed to sustain the initial shock of failure; probably very few cinemas in modern time have been woven in such lucid intricacies of rural folk life and at best with the greater revelations of humanism over the blind materialism.

By record, it’s true that except two short stories and some memoirs, he directly never contributed anything more in the literary collection of his mother tongue-Maithili. Although through a close inquiry of his work, it becomes seemingly clear that they basically inspired and originated from his Maithili speaking rural locale of Purnia district, eastern Bihar. Renu was a lively humane being like his literary productions exudes. Few months back, I was going through an old issue (Late eighties) of “Hans (leading literary magazine in Hindi)” from my own collection which was consisted with some rare photographs of Renu with Baidya Nath Mishra”Yatri” (Nagarjun for Hindi speaking world) in a rainy season in his lush green paddy field in Aurahi Hingana. Those beautiful photographs shows the frequent visits of celebrated figures during Renu’s staying in village and moreover his universalism under close association of local aesthetic inferences.

Photographs were undated although aesthetically depicts his close communion with natural landscape of his village; Renu often used to said that, my staying in village energies me for creative works and enabling me to produce my literary works in the city of Patna. Indeed he had led most eloquent voice for villages after the great Hindi literaturer Premchand in the literature of any Indian languages; even in modest appraisal, he was a man of deeds who devoted his entire life raising awareness for the afflicted plights of the rural hinterland. His sudden and premature demise was extremely elegiac for entire literary world as his many promising works remained uncompleted...that void is still continue and unlikely to be over. It’s daunting for me to cover the life and works of Renu in a single article; hope I would be able to produce something more on his works and life in future.
Atul Kumar Thakur
November13th2009, New Delhi

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Perils of Indian Maoism

Stiff arms resistance of left extremist groups within the boundary of a strategically sound country like India manifests some noble pattern to deal with it in its own terms and conditions.
It would be worthwhile to recall here that Maoists are currently operate in 231 of 626 districts in the country with at least 20,000 ideologically determined armed activists whose assertions against state and civil society straightly reflects through violent method which indeed shaping their plights and demands far from proper materialization.

Infact,senseless use of violence by Maoists deterred the state authorities and entire civil society for a better deal with their plights; nonetheless, it’s required to see this grave problem in new light.
Confrontation with the Maoists has raged since 1967 just out of first Maoist rebellion, although it strongly consolidated in early years of present decade following the formation of the CPI (Maoist) in 2004 through the merger of two strong naxalite groups, the Peoples War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC).

After consolidation Maoists have been remain equivocal in their real intention as they largely failed to conceive the exact political nature of India; they still believing India as semi colonial country which radically altered them from mainstream and being a leading force of working class movement and mass mobilization.
Their relentless violent act basically emerged from their confused reckoning of modern and consolidated Indian state with the feeble Nepal or1950’s parochial China where their parent ideology had gain the momentum albeit the ground realities in India is entirely different as its democratic pillar and mainstream left movement is in very fine tune with the state and mass citizens; so, India as a Nation state very much exists in the mind of its citizens and all the institutions of democracy.

This is the major cause of failure for such radical movement in the country way back from Ekbari (Bihar) to Naxalbari (West Bengal) in 1960’s and ongoing battle from West Bengal to Karnataka.They all poised to fail because their central leadership started from Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal to Kobad Gandhi and his wife,Amitav Bagchi (Dada) etc couldn’t win the trust of common mass although they partially succeeded to win the sympathy of a chunk of radical intelligentsia and like minded university students but that alone may never be suffice to run successfully a mass movement.

What is imperative from the entire mass movement and not specifically of Maoism is to come across the entire length and width of larger reality and form a new insight to handle the prevailing discrimination and other inequitable practices which creates harbinger and belligerence among own peoples for basic rights.
Second practices that’s utmost imperative is to change the mindsets of brutality since it’s explicitly evident from the history that alone violence can never be triumphant and only dialogues have capacity to parley and resolve any specific issue; so, beheading policemen’s and methods of “Individual killing” of political opponents is nothing short than Talibani practices as they use same tactics to shunt their rivals.

Leaders of these movements have to keep in their mind that great growth stories of communism in U.S.S.R, China or Cuba haven’t woven by such hide and seek game instead they resolute and adopted the core ideology in the local conditions without following any sub nationality as tragically as Indian communists have been availing it’s on many critical junctures.
It’s equally important re-looking on the relevance of Maoism as an ideology in India since still two third of its population solely rely on fateful agricultural and allied occupation with very little saving in their hand.
so drawing a line after core theme of Marxist-Leninist ideology and its conditional adaptation in Indian socio-economic reality would be more rational as these integrated ideology of communism have entrusted with the universal applicability unlike the Maoism that’s completely a local phenomenon reliably shaped for China.

So, time is ripe now to hold some exhaustive debate on ideology and core of problems which creates impatience among the bottom of pyramids and high minded sympathetic's; for the state point of view any promotion of arms fraternity in civil society, like “Salwa Judum” or brutal retaliation against our own aggrieved citizens (Maoist Cadres) must be timely checked since they are creating big hurdles in peace process.
Being the largest democracy of the world, Indian state must have to ensure the equitable distribution of resources and opportunities because these left arms movement indeed reflects the lack of entitlement that emerged from the chronic scarcity of basic means of livelihood and rampant feudal, corporate and state atrocities in the name of development against the downtrodden who have been living in chaotic order even after the sixty two years of independence.

I think these are the reason of violence in state’s growth agenda; so it must be acknowledge that without streamlining the system as a whole, Indian growth story wouldn’t be complete, so state has to reward basic and dignified life for all.

Atul Kumar Thakur
November11th2009, New Delhi

Dooming Provisions before Indian Mutual Fund /Insurance Industry

Financial reform generally intends for a turnaround story with some fresh provisions although these provisions left different implications for diversely segmented components of industry.
A closer view on modus operandai of Mutual fund/ Insurance industry reveals the segmented interest of its components vis-à-vis the recently introduced regulatory provisions which try to demystify the role of intermediaries by simply cutting their edge of incentives from core of business.

Some fortnight back Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI) came out with a move to end the entry load regime in the pretext of investors welfare albeit that initiative was from reality since the prevailing nature of Mutual fund industry primarily influenced and shaped through bulk investment instead of petty investment.
So, investors are hardly going to benefited as they still have to bear the alternative charges that substituted in further course like, trail fees and entry load etc. In such scenario, the huge distribution network including of Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) have caught in demure backdrop as their hitherto role are not going to proceed in future time, but this fallout is unlikely to be an universal quotient as the Asset Management Company (AMC) being the third pillar of Mutual fund businesses will surely avail the huge margin in current regulatory framework.

However, for the time being it’s seems daunting for AMC to cope with the emerging consequences from unconventional shifting of distribution pattern; so some temporary arrangement have been made although that is not suffice for raising the morale of persons involved in Mutual fond distribution.
Whatever would be the future shift on these matters; at least it’s an arch reality that again the interests of labour forces especially of unorganized sector have been compromised in the name of reforms.

By following same bandwagon for Insurance sector, meanwhile government have appointed a panel on investor protection and awareness under the Chairmanship of PFRDA Chairman D Swarup whose recommendations till now struggling for a consensus for investment advisors and agents selling financial products to usher them in changed regulatory framework. The apparent mandate of D Swarup committee is to synchronize the level playing field for investment advisors who hitherto have been championing for the great growth stories of Insurance businesses in India.
Proposal to remove commission on products such as ULIPS and allow investors to negotiate fees is acutely dampening for lakhs of advisors and their conventional bond (of employer-employees) with Insurance companies. Other plan to set up Financial Well Being Board of India (Finweb), an agency to write rules on the common minimum standards for sellers of financial products, and supervise a Self Regulatory Organization (SRO) of agents and financial advisors.
The mandate for Finweb seems exhaustive as every financial advisors needs to be registered with it; apart from that, establishment of an SRO on the line of ICAI is another move that creates complexities since advisors already have SROs to look after their businesses.
Regulatory changes are indeed essential but it needs to structured in proper sense and complete canopisation of all components plights; financial sector reform is inevitable but it’s implementation would required due diligence to cover all the core quarters.

It’s again a coincidence that marginal forces (Intermediaries) are being victimized from this new regulatory ruling that’s not at par with peoples expectations. Government must ensure the regulatory changes with following the proper care of mass welfare otherwise it would start to visualize as artificial attire with feeble original appeal.
Indeed economic activities without employment generation are nothing but futility especially when the claim of transparency stands lofty high.
Atul Kumar Thakur
November10th2009, New Delhi