Sunday, 10 February 2013

What on earth is a KRA ?

I am in trouble because my KRA with CDSL consequent to having submitted some change of KYC, is apparently pending, which I have no recollection of. Therefore I am stuck with my DP who is quoting arcane SEBI rules to make my life miserable.
If you don't understand one word of all this, welcome to the club. I don't understand it either ! And I am supposed to know something of finance !!
This perfectly sums up the status of how consumer unfriendly the financial sector in India has become. Try doing anything - opening a bank account, or buying a mutual fund  or even changing your address. You will tear your hair in frustration. Such is the state of affairs.
This is all because Ramamritham and his political masters have , over the last five years, exclusively been framing rules for catching Kasab.  The starting assumption is that everybody is a Kasab unless they prove otherwise. Rules and procedures have become so complex that an honest simple  man has no chance of understanding, let alone complying.  No wonder that the percentage of the population which even has a bank account is miniscule - fat chance the RBI has of achieving financial inclusion. To understand why they are failing, all they have to do is go and try to open a bank account themselves.
I have a Passport Number, a Aaadhar Number, a PAN, a DIN, an IEC, a Cust ID, a DL No, a ST No. It appears that is not enough for Ramamritham. I now need a KRA.
Laws must not be framed for the law breaker. They have to be framed for the vast majority who will follow the law if given a chance. Yes, crooks must be caught, but it is even more important to make it simple for the 99% of the population who are not crooks.
A beautiful example of killing an entire industry is what they have done to Internet Cafes. In a country like India with a miniscule computer population, but  burgeoning educated class, you would expect a zillion internet cafes at every street corner. No chance. Have you wondered why ? This is what an idiot who wants to start an internet café has to do.
  • Every cyber cafe owner has to register and obtain a  licence
  • Every user who comes to the café has to prove his ID. 
  • The cyber cafe owner has to maintain a log of every user, his ID, his photo, and sundry particulars
  • The owner has also to maintain a log and submit the return of the log each month of
    • History of websites accessed using computer resource at cyber cafe
    • Logs of proxy server installed at cyber cafe
    • Mail server logs
    • Logs of network devices such as router, switches, systems etc. installed
      at cyber cafe
  • Partitions of Cubicles inside the Cyber Cafe should not exceed four and half feet in height from the floor level. The screen of all computers shall face the common open space of the Cyber Cafe.
  • Cyber Cafe owner must ensure that all the computers are equipped with    safety / filtering software so as to the avoid access to the websites relating to     pornography, obscenity, terrorism and other objectionable materials. Cyber Cafe shall take sufficient precautions to ensure that their computer resource are not utilized for any illegal activity.
  • They will be visited and inspected every now and then to ensure that they are complying with rules (of course, those visiting are extremely honest and straightforward and there is no question of a bribe)
Now you know why there are no internet cafes to be found anywhere. I am yet to determine whether they need a KRA too !!


Appu said...

too bad you never mentioned what a KRA is! ;)
w.r.t internet cafe i beg to differ. It is possible that it is cause of the internet penetration to a great extent. thanks to technology and policies. Apart from the legal hassle i guess ROI may not be that great. it is like copier shops going out of fashion as printouts become much cheaper

Sriram Khé said...

I have no idea about the ROI on internet cafes ... but, the fact that in many other countries they seem to operate apparently in plenty means ...

As a "foreigner" in India, I find it difficult to locate an internet place. In Chennai, it was very, very easy until 2006. There were internet places literally within two minutes of a walk from my parents' home. And then things changed. All those operators were gone. And when I walked quite a while to find one, turned out that I couldn't use it because I had left home without my passport and those guys were required by the law to ask for an ID! Ramesh's details on the protocols seem to explain why they pretty much disappeared ...

I am with Appu on this: so, what the heck is a KRA? ;)

BTW, I have heard quite a few tourists complain about the lack of internet cafes in the US ... that is a different story though ...

Vincy said...

I put my hands up in Despair like the other two who commented before me. Please have mercy and tell us what KRA is :-) :-) :-)
To me KRA is Key Responsibility Area :-) :-) :-)

Ramesh said...

@Zeno - Internet penetration in India is miniscule. Very few school students have access to a computer. Imagine how much computer litereacy would explode if we had lots of Internet Cafes. Remember how STD booths exploded telephone usage in India

@sriram - Oh yes - a foreigner trying to use an Internet Café is out of question. You will be immediately identified as Kasab !

@Vincy - Oh there is no mystery. Apparently KRA is KYC Registration Agency - whatever that means. Trust a HR professional to come up with Key responsibility Area :):)

Prats said...

ROFL!!! I still remember I had to sign 72 times for opening a Demat Account.... Fear of it till date the Demat account is registered on some old obscure address

The Million Miler said...

Ramamritham has spread his wings overseas. Bank of Baroda opened a branch (2 actually) here in Auckland. The patriotic side in me won over and we opened an a/c and there began the woes. We had to send a shitload of documentation to their Mumbai office (No Scanned authenticated copies on email, copies duly notarised by a Justice of Peace or by the Indian High Commission in Welly) sent on snail mail via their AKL branch to the NRI (Special) Branch in Fort Mumbai. Worse still any electronic payment needs to go through their partner bank (Bank of NZ) Given all the hassles I closed that account in 3 months time and moved back to good ol' Westpac with whom I have a relationship going back to 2001! In the last several years here, I have never had more than $10 in my wallet and every thing is through plastic or electronic payment over smart phones now. BOB simply does not get it. Sadly to put it in chaste Tamil the two branches of BOB are eee ottifying in Auckland thanks to Ramamritham (International Avatar)

The Million Miler said...

And dealing with the Indian High Commission in Wellington is an experience that will probably take up a lot more space. Save it for another time. When and if you get through to the only phone number listed on their website, you will probably get a recorded "Namaskar, welcome to the Indian High Commission in Wellington, our office is closed for lunch hour between 1230 and 215pm, and tea break between 1000am to 1100am and between 3pm to 4pm. Rest of the time we are busy with other stuff. Customers with general enquiries will be provided 2 nanoseconds to state the reason for the call and if you exceed your time limit we will unceremoniously disconnect the call. Thank you for calling the IHC Welly, have a gidday(Sic, that is the Kiwi twist to their greeting delivered in a Yank/Mallu accent)

gils said...

kyc - knw ur country?? tht was a prjct we did in our school days...
ditto with zeno on brwsng centers...nowadays smartfones have repkaced net centers...and as for brwsng centers in US its very true...need to rush in search of nearest starbucks for quick brwse on the go

Deepa said...

Those acronyms looked so familiar and then I remembered I had written some exams for NSDL. It was difficult mugging up all the paper work requirements for new customers for an exam even :D. And this was in 2005 or 06, I m sure things must have evolved even more since then.

And you are so right about the cyber cafes. Pune was full of good and reasonably priced cafes and were a common hangout for us, and suddenly all these rules sprung up in the name of terrorism. The cafes are all gone and terrorism is still thriving! I wonder if Ramamrithams ever sit and contemplate if they've achieved what they wanted from every rule they make.

Ravi Rajagopalan said...

Ramesh, perhaps I would be acting unwisely if I revealed the name of the GM in Bank of Baroda India whose pawprints are all over the procedures that our Kiwi frequent flyer friend decries.

Yesterday I had a call from the World Bank asking how I was doing on financial inclusion. I told them this is strictly for the birds - the only form of financial inclusion that will thrive is lending money to some poor farmer at 45% by borrowing from a bank at 23% (also known as MicroFinance) and the reason this person will take the loan is because MFIs will not break his legs, rape his wife and daughters and steal his children. For that privilege he will pay 45%. Everybody is happy.

Sriram Khé said...

The complicated manner in which transactions are handled in India is not restricted to the world of commerce alone ... It was so bloody disappointing and depressing to read, and that too early in the morning, this piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

if collaborating with India is a no-brainer, why are many American
colleges finding it a nonstarter? Too often, ambitious plans are scaled
back. Agreements languish in drawers, their signatures yellowing.
Relationships begun with optimism and promise dissolve in frustration
and mistrust. ...

For many American universities, the future may indeed include India, but
they need to be prepared for a long and difficult road. Opening Indian
universities to international collaboration will continue to be a
demanding chore, and preparing Americans to work here a challenge. Mr.
Altbach, the Boston College researcher, has been working in India for
half a century. Asked if he expects more change and greater
international collaboration anytime soon, he sighs. "On balance," he
says, "not a whole hell of a lot." 

Read the entire piece ...

I remember telling a friend, who is a medical college faculty in India, that I would love to engage with students in India, by teaching for a week or two in my usual approach, which will be nothing at all like the typical Indian approach ... but that when I think about the logistics, I get quickly deflated :(

Ramesh said...

@Prats - Well, that's an experience in almost every facet of life in India :)

@kiwi1 - Oh yes - its amazing how procedures are so much simpler anywhere else in the world when it comes to banking. Its not that they are any less vigilant in preventing fraud or money laundering. We seem to specialize in making things difficult for ourselves

@kiwi2 - That's a surprise. I have heard many stories of how unhelpful Indian embassies are , but whenever I lived abroad and approached the embassy, I have had nothing but the most exemplary of service.

@Deepa - I had half a mind to write to you and ask for deliverance from the mystery - you being a renowned financial wizard :)

@Ravi - I wish the powers that be in RBI recruit you. You will practically solve more of their problems than they can. Financial inclusion is not even for the birds - its only for mosquitoes :)

@Gilsu - You are mong the top 0.01% of the country - owning a cellphone and be willing to browse on the mobile. Rest of the country is too poor for that my friend :)

@sriram - So true. Everything in India is needlessly complicated. I sometimes think simplicity is not in our genes.

Ravi Rajagopalan said...

Ramesh, here are some numbers that illustrate how big internet commerce is in India, and why people are slavering at the prospect (and why Myntra and Quickr are spending millions on TV ads). In the year ended December 2012, a total of $15bn was spent on debit cards - most of it online - and $7bn on credit cards. The total retail market size in India is about $500bn or $600bn. It is 98% cash. But electronic payments are growing at approximately 1000% a year - from such a small base.

I am in good old England now. A talked to a prominent and old British bank about a concept on Jan 31. Since then there have been three meetings. Tomorrow there is a big one with lots of people in ties and business suits. The expectation is if this meeting succeeds, then we have a deal.

Why cant we be like this? The funny thing is - half the people I am meeting tomorrow are Indians!

Ramesh said...

@Ravi - Oh; your countrymen are no strangers to endless complexity and red tape - after all Ramamritham learnt his art from Sir Humphrey Appleby. You just have to mention Heathrow 3rd runway and you will put the best efforts of Ramamritham to complete insignificance.

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