Bicycles are the Way Forward for a Healthier and Sustainable Mumbai
“Even though India is the second largest manufacturer of bicycles in the world, Mumbai is still ranked 97th when it comes to cycling,” said Firoza Suresh, a cycling enthusiast and director of the Smart Commute Foundation (SCF). She was speaking at an event organised by Moneylife Foundation on making utilising Mumbai’s open spaces and making it more cycling friendly. 
 
 
 
We all know about the health benefits of taking a bicycle to work or for covering short distances. It also an economical and eco-friendly option compared to the traditional 2 or 4 wheeler. But as Firoza explained in her talk, the biggest deterrent for people in adapting to a bicycle for transportation, “unlike running or walking, where you just wear your shoes and travel, for a bicycle you have to purchase or already own the vehicle.”
 
Firoza, through SCF, has pledged to promote a healthier, greener and happier city by encouraging people to adopt cycling as a means of daily commute. She shared that since it’s inception in 2012, SCF has taken part in various cycling initiatives in the city such as #cycle2work, #mecyclerider and Get Cycloned - The Smart Commute Way. One of their many goals is to convert 50% of a Mumbai’s population to bicycle users by 2030. 
 
Using herself as an example, Firoza explained that “A bicycle as a vehicle is very unique, it acts as a fitness machine - people who just want to go to nearby locations can ride the bicycle and come back; people use it to commute - cycle to work, I even take it to meetings and conferences.” In fact, she had also come to the event riding her bicycle from Juhu. 
 
 
 
Firoza is also the bicycle Mayor of Mumbai and there are a total of 41 such mayors in India thus far. This idea of a bicycle mayor comes from a social enterprise from Amsterdam called BYCS, that works to transform cities to make them more environmentally friendly. Using Amsterdam as an example, Firoza explained how the city had completely transformed over a period of 30 years from a car centric model to a bicycling and pedestrian friendly city. She noted, “the change did not happen overnight and in fact involved long term efforts from both the public and the government.”
 
To achieve the same in Mumbai will require similar sustained efforts from the public. Firoza hopes to increase ridership in Mumbai to 1 lakh by 2023 and in turn force authorities to “build better facilities - cycle stands, tracks, pothole free roads and better urban infrastructure”.
 
 
“Mumbai is blessed to be a very linear city and the task of converting the population to cycling should not be difficult. Since the last 50-60 years Mumbai has always had the ‘invisible’ cyclists - dabbawalas, istriwalas etc. They have already created an invisible cycling track for us” Firoza explained. 
 
 
Answering the concerns of many on whether cyclists would be safe travelling on Mumbai’s pothole ridden or traffic congested roads, Firoza said “ I feel cushioned on the road. I don’t feel threatened by a bus driver or a car driver. Morever, there is a certain amount of respect when other drivers see you cycling with a helmet on.”
 
SCF is currently working with government bodies and cycling communities to establish cycling tracks under existing Metro lines. The idea is to utilise the existing space in the median under a metro as a dedicated bicycle track. Firoza believes this to be a positive step towards making Mumbai more bicycle friendly. 
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    COMMENTS

    Prasanna

    1 year ago

    Pune used to be city of bicycles. In 1970s I would bike all over and around Pune without any difficulty. Today if try to ride a bike, the scooters and mo-bikes do not give right of way. They in fact make your life difficult to cycle. There are no dedicated cycle tracks. These are only for names sake. No one bothers about the cyclists. Its a pity that are politicians and bureaucrats are purposely dumb, deaf and blind to the situation. Our children will have to a pay a heavy price for not being able to cycle and keep the city green and pollution free.

    ramchandran vishwanathan

    1 year ago

    Firoza , Amsterdam has world class transportation . Roads are equally good. We will end up with health hazards of we cycle on such roads in Mumbai besides accidents .
    Hopefully when the metro is operational across all the promised routes and the roads are a tad better we can think of cycling .

    “If PMC bank depositors need a solution they have to get engaged in large numbers in a legal process”
    “Justice for PMC Bank customers,” was the collective voice of hundreds of depositors and customers of scam-hit Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank and experts. Moneylife Foundation, along with All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA) had organised a public meeting to understand issues with PMC Bank and others, demand answers from the regulators and government and discuss the way forward.
     
    The expert panel consisted Girish Kuber, Editor Loksatta, Advocate S Balakrishnan, who was Bureau Chief of Times of India, Devidas Tuljapurkar, General Secretary of Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation (MSBEF) and Joint Secretary of AIBEA, Priya Dharshini- senior research associate with Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA) and Sucheta Dalal, Managing Editor of Moneylife and Founder-Trustee of Moneylife Foundation.
     
     
    Initiating the discussion, Mr Girish Kuber touched upon the urgent need to have a fool-proof mechanism to control and regulate the banking system. He cited an old joke to highlight the recent series of frauds in banks, “Robbery is a job of amateurs. Professionals set up a bank.” 
     
     
    The dual regulation for co-operative banks ends up with the co-operative banks getting a step motherly treatment from everyone. It is a sad state of affairs and with all the political connections associated the bank, regulation often has to wait till elections are over. 
     
    According to Advocate S Balakrishnan, the RBI needs to act with transparency and must be made accountable for the current co-operative bank imbroglio. 
     
    He said that he finds it extremely disturbing that the dice is heavily loaded against the common man. Middle class people end up paying a heavy price for all these scams. 
     
     
    It is extremely worrying that depositors across co-operative banks are panicking about their hard earned money and there is an urgent need for a sustained unified joint effort to take on the RBI, he said. He called on all the aggrieved people to join forces and file a writ petition. 
     
    He added disappointedly “The RBI is the watchdog but its response after the fraud came to light, has been vague and non-commital”. He called for an urgent detailed forensic audit of the RBI itself, given that “the central bank functions in the most opaque manner”. 
     
     
    Mr Tuljapurkar, who as a whistle blower in Bank of Maharashtra (BoM), has exposed fraud in BoM in the past, feels that in the current atmosphere it would be wrong to only speak about the PMC bank case in isolation. 
     
    He said that despite regular audits, inspection and concurrent audits, banks regularly end up in defrauded. The system is rotten and if we need to fix the system then we need to fight unitedly. 
     
    Priya Dharshini from CFA said that the problem is not specific to the PMC bank. The nature of the regulator institution has been changing in the last few years. Protecting depositors’ money now ranks far lower in the RBI’s priority list. 
     
     
    Ms Dalal said that one co-operative bank fails every 2-3 months. There are more than 1500 co-operative banks. Hence bailouts cannot work for all banks. It has already been 18 days and a takeover might still be possible. But any future buyer needs to have a very clear picture of the status of PMC Bank. The buck stops at RBI and we need official answers. The window of opportunity is very small and we need to build up the pressure and look for solutions to resolve the impasse. 
     
    Several prominent citizens, activists, entrepreneurs and lawyers were also present for the meeting.
     
    Participating in the discussion, Murali Neelakantan, who is former global general counsel of Cipla and former senior partner of Khaitan & Co, said that the only thing that could make an impact would be if even 1% of the 300,000 depositors (3000 people) come together and file a writ petition. 
     
     
    We have put together a legal team, two senior counsels from the Supreme Court who are wiling to come and help fight this legal battle. 
     
    It can only work if each aggrieved person attending this discussion comes and attends the court hearing. Even if a few thousand depositors come and attend the court hearing, it will build huge pressure on the court. He also explained the difference in strategy: filing a PIL vs filing a writ petition. 
     
    Z. B Inamdar who was working for Bombay Merchantile bank since 1986, shared his personal experience as a banker and a whistleblower. The number of people coming forward to file the writ petition would play a major role in building up pressure.
     
     
    If you want to be part of the legal process, please fill up this survey and get in touch with us. Email: foundation@moneylife.in or Whatsapp: +91-704-515-6415
     
    Or Use the QR Code
     
     
     
    Moneylife Foundation
    304, 3rd Floor, Hind Service Industries Premises, Off Veer Savarkar Marg, Shivaji Park,
    Dadar (W), Mumbai – 400 028. Landmark: Chaityabhoomi lane.
    Contact: +91 22 49205000

     

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    COMMENTS

    nadeem

    1 year ago

    Keep up the good work..!

    shivaprasad chhatre

    1 year ago

    To aggressively address PMC like problems I appeal to RBI & Govt to consider the following:
    1. Increase size withdrawal per depositor customer to Rs 25,000 or ts 5,0000 (not Rs 1000 as in most of the cases). This will reduce their hardship to some extent.
    2. PSU/New Pvt Banks should also be subjected to this / similar stringent action (PSU Banks may not be excluded) instead of PCA
    3. Other standalone options such as a change in Management/ key personnel etc to be explored first, wherever possible

    4. Enhancing Insurance Cover: Presently eligible deposits to the tune of Rs1,00,000/- are covered under the DICGC cover. With the rise in general income levels resulting in an increase in the size of individual bank deposits, this ceiling of Rs 1,00,000/- was considered insufficient by RBI had appointed Damodaran Committee (who submitted its final report way back in the year 2011). It recommended RBI & Govt that this cover should be raised to at least Rs 5,00,000/- to encourage individuals to keep all their deposits in a bank convenient for them. Now we are in 2019 it paltry cover of Rs 100000. In the USA it is USD 100000.
    Further, a strict ‘time limit’ should be stipulated to settle the DICGC insurance claims once the bank is de-licensed.
    Till the time the cover is enhanced depositors/public should be well informed on matter How to get maximum Deposit Insurance (DICGC) Cover using different channels.
    5. RBI may not give blanket approval for raising Tier-II bonds (in the form of ‘LTD’) as in case of PMC Bank. It may ensure clear directions about adding an important clause in offer document (altogether missing in case of PMC Bank, please refer annexure), advise banks correctly on the matter of nomination, direct banks on payment of proper stamp duty to this debt product (in due consultation with the stamp authority, missing in PMC bank’s case), and provide clarity on listing of these bonds issued as LTD, following norms on retailing of debt instruments (unless privately placed).
    RBI should lay-down strict criteria to cap raising LTD/tier-II bonds which currently termed by RBI as ‘LTD’.
    RBI may revisit LTD its directions issued on DCB. BPD. MC 10/09.18.201 /2015-16 dt: 01-07-2015 by amending its directions UBD.PCB.Cir No.4/ 09.18.201/-8-09 dt: 15-07-2008, consequential to my approaching HC of Bombay and it’s communication to RBI.

    6. Step up off-site and on-site inspection of large coop banks and reduce the periodicity and strict follow-up on compliance. RBI may set-up department for Coop banks inspection like DBS.
    7. Depending on the time likely to taken by a regulated entity to address the regulatory concern, set appropriate period for restrictions 3 or 6 months and extend in 3-6 months period instead of 6 months each time.

    8. Speedily consider exceptional cases of release of funds to depositors having serious medical problems based on merits of the case (within existing DICGC limits) based on restrictive criteria pre-fixed to be set off against the DICGC claim amount in case of the bank is subject to be liquidated.
    9. It would be ideal if broad reasons for stringent directions are communicated to the public at large appropriately, so that rumour mills will be less active. RBI may also examine other options rather than ‘knee jerk’ action like this.
    10. Speedily consider exceptional cases of release of funds to depositors having serious medical problems based on merits of the case (within existing DICGC limits) based on restrictive criteria pre-fixed to be set off against the DICGC claim amount in case of the bank is subject to be liquidated.
    With more and more banks going to be set up after ‘on TAP’ licensing to small Finance, Payment banks etc there should be a proper mechanism to monitor these type of stringent actions.
    I wish there is a need to highlight these matters to public at large, that would put public pressure on banking regulator and government and force them to have a debate before the customers of another bank face similar problem.
    ( Shivaprasad Laxman Chhatre)
    Land: 020 22947152

    VkJain

    1 year ago

    I am surprised at Ms.Santhanam 's comments, obviously made out of her ignorance or are simply motivated. Either way, it is a big dis-service to depositors and account holders of PMC Bank; by attempting to tarnish and discourage rare organisations and individuals like Sucheta Dalal who are fighting to get justice to 3 lakh defrauded persons, at huge pesonal cost and risk. This attitude is deplorable.

    Virendra Jain
    Founder Midas Touch Investors Association

    Girija Santhanam

    1 year ago

    It is good business for media to keep on reporting about such financial scams. But what changes do these lead to- in the long run? Money Life has reported about thousands of scams earlier and will continue to attract traffic to its website by reporting thousands more in the future. Will it really benefit the common man? What is the materiality behind arranging all these seminars? I am afraid that these exposures are not hard-hitting enough and look slimy to me - just sensationalize the issue and attract traffic to the website. A far cry from the earlier days when this magazine was celebrated for its innovative approach to meaningful journalism. Today, there is only sensationalization everywhere around.

    REPLY

    Sucheta Dalal

    In Reply to Girija Santhanam 1 year ago

    Thanks Ms Santhanam -- just one question. Why do you bombard us with your attempts at writing if you find our efforts "slimy". Also, Moneylife Foundation arranges seminars to spread financial literacy. It is a NGO, set up for that purpose and to guide people. If you make the effort -- which is not too much to ask since you want to write for us and have two pieces pending even today -- you should at least have known about Moneylife Foundation (http://foundation.moneylife.in) -- you would then know "the materiality behind arranging all these seminars" !! Thanks for revealing your inner thoughts and wisdom to us in this space!

    Mandar V Bhamre

    In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 1 year ago

    Mam' please accept my HUMBLE gratitude and thankgiving for conducting such informative lectures and gatherings. Most of these are available for general public on youtube @ legitimate cost of a DATA charges .
    I am too tiny to apprise your efforts.

    Abhijit Gosavi

    In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 1 year ago

    She actually writes pieces for you and then writes this?!!! My goodness. No, I would not let her write anything again for me. :-) What's going on?

    Anyway, this has always been the fear at the back of my mind regarding private banks too. I've been telling my family members that you need to keep your money in govt. banks until RBI increases the deposit limit that is guaranteed ( in case the bank collapses) to about Rs. 20 Lakhs or so from the small value (Rs 2 Lakhs?) that they guarantee now. My guess though is as far as cooperative banks are concerned, there is no such thing, am I right?

    Vavrinec Kryzanek

    1 year ago

    Girish Kuber: “Robbery is a job of amateurs. Professionals set up a bank.” That;s just garbage.

    Mohan Krishnan

    1 year ago

    I have recovered by robbed savings by filing a criminal case. Please file a criminal case against RBI and Finance Ministry. Just crying is no use.

    “India Needs To Grow 10% To Lift Everyone out of Poverty & We Can Do It with Innovation,” says Dr Subramanian Swamy
    "India needs to grow at 10% for the next 10 years to lift everyone out of poverty. We have all the resources and making use of innovation, we can do it," says Dr Subramanian Swamy, senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and current member of the Rajya Sabha. He was speaking in Mumbai at the publication of his latest book organised by Moneylife Foundation at the BSE.
     
    Dr Swamy, a former union minister for law and commerce, launched his latest book “RESET -- Regaining India’s Economic Legacy” in the presence of several dignitaries, including Chinese Consul General Tang Guocai, Prof R Vaidyanathan, BSE’s managing director Ashish Chauhan, many share brokers and traders, and several activists, among others.
     
     
    In his new book, Dr Swamy has detailed a blueprint for India, which he hopes can help the country grow at 10% per year, achieve self-reliance and full employment, among other economic benefits. The book also undertakes a nuanced analysis of the manner in which the highly prosperous Indian economy witnessed a long, accelerated decline due to persistent British imperialist aggression.
     
    Dr Swamy talked about the evolution of India’s economy while suggesting ways to revive it. He says, “All other civilisations disappeared but India survived with built in balance in all our systems, society and culture. History shows whenever there was a crisis, India would rise. I feel the crisis is coming in next six months and, for us, the way to go is adopt a comprehensive model for India.”
     
    According to Dr Swamy, who is India’s most independent minded and outspoken politician, the country is heading towards a lower growth than 5%, which he feels can be turned around. “The issue is we have to grow at 10% for 10 years; then only you can solve the problem.”
     
    With the book, the brilliant economist, who often get relegated due to his political activities, has made a return to his core.
     
     
    Speaking about the book, Dr Swamy says, “We need a new reset for our economy. We did not perform at macro growth level. The savings were inefficiently used. The country needs 10% growth for 10 years if we have to eliminate unemployment.”
     
    Dr Swamy also reiterated his demand for abolishing Income Tax (I-T) instead of lowering tax rates. According to him, taxpayers are often frightened of the tax officials and once you abolish this system, we can start on a clean slate where common people would save more without worrying about tax issues or the taxmen.
     
    “Abolishing I-T had been a very salutary (step); the middle class would have been very happy and they would have saved the money. The problem with corporate sector is that demand is low, so demand can only come when you empower the people, the people means income tax and that should have been abolished. Reducing corporate tax is of no use. Because they can only increase more supply but if there are no buyers, then there is no result in increasing supply,” he added.
     
    Claiming a significant role in the 1991 economic reforms, Dr Swamy said he had drawn up their blueprint for economic reforms, while serving in the short-lived government of prime minister Chandra Shekhar before it collapsed and a general election saw the return of the Congress to power.
     
     
    “Ninety-five per cent of the credit should go to (PV) Narasimha Rao (who became the PM after the 1991 elections); the execution was by Dr Manmohan Singh (the then finance minister) and Montek Singh Ahluwalia (part of the team under Manmohan Singh) but in terms of conception, it was mine,” Dr Swamy said during a panel discussion following the release of his book.
     
     “It started with Chandra Shekhar and he was very much part of that,” maintained Dr Swamy, who served in the government as the commerce minister. He said he was approached in March 1991 for a copy of his blueprint which he agreed to hand over. He was then asked if he would join the Cabinet.
     
     
     “I said that I can’t do because it would meaning joining the Congress, a house owned by the Nehru-Gandhi family. I told Narasimha Rao that you too are just a tenant in this 'house',” Dr Swamy said, reiterating that it was Narasimha’s Rao’s 'political leadership’ that saw the reforms through as they broke new ground.
     
    For playing an important role and providing stable support on the upcoming Republic Day, PV Narasimha Rao should get a Bharat Ratna, Dr Swamy demanded.
     
    Mr Modi’s advisers, Dr Swamy says, “tell the prime minister only what he wants to hear,” leading to decisions like demonetisation, but he still has a “rapport with the public.” "The PM should encourage people to tell him facts," Dr Swamy concluded. 
     
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    COMMENTS

    Aditya G

    1 year ago

    It's a pity that 'Loonshots' (refer to Safi Bahcall's book) like Swamy aren't part of the cabinet. The present government seems to be suffering from groupthink. Banishing income-tax will be a revolutionary move but will require further consultations amongst stake-holders. Plugging the fiscal hole is essential.

    SAMUEL LAIWAT WARBAH

    1 year ago

    He should be given a chance as Finance Minister.

    Ramesh Poapt

    1 year ago

    Swamy should be given some respectable position by the
    Govt. Let him prove his mettle there and then decide
    his further course.

    AAR

    1 year ago

    1. Growth% hardly means anything in India where bulk of economy is outside the organized sector.
    2. No need to get all emotional and call Su Swamy as peoples\' champion because even he will not talk about the world highest tax on Petrol and Diesel in India.
    3. It\'s not just about Economy anymore it\'s about sustained living. Every year Indian states and major cities are getting submerged in rain and if you include the environment cost we would be in negative.

    Nagendra Acharya

    1 year ago

    Dr swamy is an epitome of boldness , honesty n patriotism! An ideal example how toughness n softness can exist together in a person .

    shadi katyal

    1 year ago

    My simple question and since he is an economist ,why has Modi not listened to him to develop the nation or is he just selling his book?
    Five years has been wasted and yet we see no new industry,development or jobs so why such road block.
    Modi govt claims that our GDP growth have uplifted 300 millions, almost one third of population ,from poverty but with what ? No investments,no industry etc
    Now we read that fee of IIT will be raised by 10 times and thus this education industry will also be killed as it was also work of Nehru.
    So where are going???

    REPLY

    Suketu Shah

    In Reply to shadi katyal 1 year ago

    it reflects so so poorly that the greatest economist India has ever produced who is in his cabinet but he royally igfnores him and Dr Swamy writes a book.It reflects very poorly on Modi esp when India is greowing at 3% /yr.

    dvn

    In Reply to Suketu Shah 1 year ago

    Because Dr. Swamy is a loose cannon. Mr. Modi has to consider political repercussions also.

    Suketu Shah

    In Reply to dvn 1 year ago

    the solution (based on yr statement) for "Swamy as loose canon" is worst that the problem.Modi's rightr hand man "very intellectual and one of his best performing in their words ",doesnot know the difference between Einstein and Newton.

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