“Women believe it is not their job to manage money”

GettyImages-867773878Are women bad at finances? It can’t be, right. We know how deftly our grandmas, moms, aunts managed the household budgets. They even managed to surprise their family with some extra cash whenever the family needed money to take care of an unforeseen expense. Then why is it that many women proudly declare these days they are not good at managing money. We asked three women mutual fund advisors about their experiences – well, it confirms the stereotype that women typically don’t like to get involved in managing money. Read on

Deepali Sen, Founder, Srujan Financial Advisors:

We don’t see many women coming in with their spouses to take part in the family financial planning. The situation has improved in the last decade but we are still behind the time. Women who single-handedly take charge of the financial aspects are generally conservative. From my experience, most of these women are hesitant when it comes to taking big financial decisions. I believe that this comes from the deep-rooted traditional mindset that we are brought up with. We have seen our mothers not taking part in the finances of the house, even when they are the ones who manage the budget. A lot of men are also not comfortable with roping in their wives to such critical discussions. However, as a practice, I push all my male clients to bring their wives along. These women are generally unaware of even the obvious details with regard to money and that is quite scary.

Shifali Satsangee, Founder, FundsVedaa:

When I speak to women who generally come with their partners, I tell them to at least know the basics like where the husband has invested. You will be shocked to know that these women don’t even know about the bank accounts of their husband. The women who single-handedly manage their family finances are divorced, widowed or in some cases now- millennial single women. When these women enter this space after they are left to do it all by their self- they are overwhelmed. Until then they are complacent. The issue with most women, especially when I speak to these in non-metro cities, is that they believe it is not for them or it is not their job. They lack basic awareness about anything related to money matters. This has definitely to do with the kind of societal stereotypes and upbringing.

Nisreen Mamaji, Founder, MoneyWorks Financial Adivosrs:

Majority of the women clients who come to me either come with their spouses or are widowed or separated. There are the new generation women who are talking full charge of their financial lives but they are a minority. Most of the women that come here with their partners do not take interest in the financial part of things. I think this is to do with the kind of upbringing we get in this society. We see the males of the family taking financial decisions and that gets etched in our minds. There are women who are doing all by themselves and taking care of their husband’s financial issues as well, but that’s mostly because the husband is either out of town or not available. So, I think women can do it but because they think it is not for them, they end up becoming complacent. Also, the service providers do harass their customers with multiple calls etc and women generally want to stay away from such behaviour.

Feeling let down. Well, get inspired by these five women who manage their money on their own: 5 women mutual fund investors share their journey (and one of them invests to buy an electric car)


Solutions drive growth in smart cities, not technology

gurugram,smart city,GMDA

Smart city is the new buzzword and everyone is trying to decipher what it means to be smart. While this has become a talking point across India and abroad, there is actually not much clarity as to what it means to be a smart city.

Ever so often, it is considered to be a city with technological innovations and solutions. In fact, what a smart city should be about is attaining a high quality of life for all residents, especially the most vulnerable. Technology, then, becomes the means to the end, rather than the end itself. Thus, we should define and understand smart cities as those which are innovating for solutions to improve quality of life.

Defined like this, a smart city won’t be synonymous to the cities with smart light poles or CCTV cameras. Rather, these innovations will be seen as contributors to improving the safety and people’s access to the street. If a smart city is concerned with innovating to improve safety and inclusion, the light pole and the camera will be seen as part of the solution, rather than the solution itself.

The Indian government launched the Smart Cities Mission in 2016, with the aim of including 100 cities in the mission as a model for other cities to eventually adopt. The official smart city document states that there is no single definition of a smart city, but it does use the terms sustainability and inclusion. These are important elements and need to be understood to give smartness a wider connotation.

Sustainability, in the context of cities, refers to building systems that can respond continuously to needs and problems, while inclusion accepts that a diverse set of residents need to be catered to in the process of city development. The 100 cities were chosen in four rounds and the projects implemented are estimated to eventually impact the lives of nearly a 100 crore people.

Cities had to compete to be part of the mission and while Gurugram participated in the competition, it did not eventually get chosen as one of the 100 cities. While this means that the city will not get earmarked funds from the Centre for developing smart solutions, Gurugram can still work towards finding smart and innovative solutions to address key urban challenges. The areas identified under the mission include e-governance, waste management, energy management, urban mobility and other issues. It is clear that Gurugram has great challenges in each of these areas as it has grown in a largely unplanned and haphazard manner.

While the private sector has played an important role in addressing civic and urban problems in the city, many of these core issues of waste management, mobility or energy management are issues of governance and which need strategic responses from the city government.

The Municipal Corporation in Gurugram (MCG) is fairly new body set up in 2008, the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has been set up only last year. Governance mechanisms in the city are in the process of being developed need to be made much more robust and participatory.

A few months ago the GMDA facilitated a workshop to get citizen input into the liveability index. Building such an index will provide a good roadmap and indicators to plan projects and innovations in the city. As Gurugram aspires to become a smart city, it needs to be able to be smart and innovative in order to help its resident achieve a better quality of life, rather than smartness as a goal in itself.


‘Fear of violence not unfounded’: Supreme Court red-flags BJP rath yatra in Bengal

Bengal,BJP,rath yatra

The BJP’s plan to hold a rath yatra in West Bengal suffered a setback on Tuesday with the Supreme Court refusing to interfere with the Mamata Banerjee government’s decision to ban it.

A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that apprehension of violence by the state government was not unfounded.

The court told the BJP to seek fresh approval from authorities and asked the Trinamool Congress government in the state to decide on BJP’s application keeping in mind the fundamental right of speech and expression.

The apex court was hearing a petition of the BJP challenging an order of the division bench of the Calcutta High Court, which had set aside a ruling of a single-judge bench allowing the procession.

In its last hearing, a bench of justices LN Rao and Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the Mamata Banerjee-led government to respond to the petition.The state government has said that allowing the rally could invite law and order problems.

In its plea, the BJP has contended that authorities cannot abridge their right and they have a duty to facilitate them in exercising their democratic right.

The BJP also offered to submit a revised plan for its ‘Save Democracy Rally’ and the apex court asked the Bengal government to give its view on the new schedule.

The BJP rally planned to cover 42 parliamentary constituencies in Bengal ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

As per the original schedule, BJP president Amit Shah was to launch the yatra from Cooch Behar on December 7, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas on December 9 and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum on December 14.