[AI] good news NSDL

pamnani kanchanpamnani at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 10 08:39:50 EDT 2007

This is a long mail but very important.
As most of you may remember NSDL had issued a circular about opening and operating a demat account by the Blind. This circular was discriminatory and awful for us. One of our members T Sekar had filed a writ Petition in the madras High Court but nothing has happened so far.
Dr. Sam and Neha of ST Xaviers and I had met the Chairman and Managing Director of NSDL Mr. Bhave on 12 June 2007. I have to put on record here that Mr. Bhave was very pleasant, forthcoming  and accepted our suggestions without murmur or ifs and buts . the only point he made was that the memorandum should come from an organisation working for the Blind instead of me as an individual which I readily accepted.
I had drafted a Memorandum and taken it to Mr. Bhave and he had suggested some points which I have now incorporated and is my final version. this is the same tactics that I plan to employ for the banking problem. First study the problem completely, then read the law thourghly  then approach the highest possible official and then get all or lots of the organisations to come together for a common cause. We had done similar work on the copyright problem.  
1. Please read the Letter which is copied below 
2. Find holes, make comments, add or subtract. Give me your feedback soon. 
3. I will finalise this letter based on your suggestions  
4. Let me know which organisations will be willing to sign the letter and send it as a consolidated set. Our target is that atleast 25 organisations should send the same letter only filling up the details in the first paragraph.
5. I apolagise for the delay in sending it to everyone but.....Also like to thank Sekar,Mahendra,SS pathak, Shiv, Harish, B.V Yadhav and all others who helped me not to forget Sam and Neha.
10th  July 2007



National Securities Depository Ltd.

Trade World, A Wing, 4th & 5th floors,

Kamala Mills Compound,

Lower Parel, Mumbai-400013.

Attn. Mr. Bhave,Chairman cum Managing Director


Re: Circular No. NSDL/PI/2005/1584
August 26,2005


The _____________(name of organization) was founded in ______ and has ____ branches_____ members and its main objects are_______. 


Our members/clients have brought to our attention your above referred to Circular and the difficulties faced by them due to this circular.

At the outset we have to thank you for considering the "Blind"   as clients and Attempting to mitigate some the problems faced by them while opening and operating a Demat account. The visually challenged community recognizes that the NSDL had issued the above circular in good faith to secure the interests of the visually challenged community. However in practical operation of the circular, we, as a group,  have encountered more inconveniences.  


We understand that there is a thin line between "operating a demat account" and "trading in securities" and NSDL is not concerned with "trading".  However in today's scenario the Client has to "operate" his DP Account while "trading" and therefore the effect of the above circular is felt while he is "trading". The activities of "trading" and "operating" are merged.     

Our representative Dr. Sam Taraporevala, Ms. Neha Trivedi and Ms Kanchan Pamnani had apprised you of these problems in their meeting with you on 12 June 2007. This Letter/memorandum is a formal request to you:  

To withdraw the above Circular and 

If necessary make modifications in other circulars to deal with the special situation

Our aforesaid request is based on the following:




1. Some facts about the Visually Challenged 


  1.. Technology has empowered the Visually Challenged, to undertake, activities hitherto impossible earlier. Blind persons use software, generically called "screen reader", which delivers the computer's output in speech. This has made it possible for blind persons not only to run applications on the computer but also surf the net. Blind persons are now, independently, undertaking internet banking and also participating in e-shopping. In addition, this technology, is also, gainfully used to obtain up to date information and conduct market research. This technology is not only available on Desktop and Notebook PC's; it is also available on Smart phones. Hence, a blind person can also read SMS alerts by himself.
b.      The visually challenged in India are making great strides in securing for themselves financial independence.

c.       Some of them achieve this independence by studying and getting jobs

d.      Some who do not educate themselves formally still educate themselves by keeping abreast of the developments in the financial markets by getting voluntary readers and others to read the newspapers, reports  for them, listen to the financial news on television, radio, surf the internet etc. 

e.       Whether educated or uneducated the visually challenged have found that the financial markets in India offer an opportunity to enhance their income and provide financial independence as well as better lifestyles for them and their families. Ultimately resulting in better social standing in the community.

2. Visually Challenged in India  

The visually challenged in India who transact in securities are of the following types:

a.       Totally blind who have no demat account and want to start an account. They may be able to sign or may use thumb impression.   

b.      Totally blind who have a demat account and want to continue to trade in securities and operate their accounts.   They may be able to sign or may use thumb impression.   

c.       Low vision whose signature is not consistent and who may or may not have a demat account.

d.      Senior citizens and others who had opened demat accounts but whose signature does not correspond with the specimen signature on the records of the D.P anymore.

3. Problems and Issues with reference to this Circular 

a. Discriminatory

This circular discriminates against the Visually challenged client and puts the visually challenged to greater hardship as compared to the sighted client.   


NSDL has not considered the different kinds of Visually challenged clients that need to operate accounts but have Made rules only for "Blind clients"


To open a demat account no other class of persons are asked to physically attend the office of the D.P. However the blind who anyway find it difficult physically to go from one place to another are forced to be present at the office of the DP to open an account.

In the case of all other proposed clients, forms for opening of an account are sent to the clients' address by the D.P. or its representative.  


The procedure for identification of client is the same for every client of a DP and all documents have to be similarly furnished by a blind person who wants to open an account. There was no need of a special clause for the blind client.   








Further the "Blind Client" feels the inequity every time he tries to operate the account. 


has not considered the available methods of trading allowed to sighted clients. 


The booklet of delivery instruction slip not being given to the Blind client is discriminatory and violates other circulars of NSDL.

The need for thumb impression can be made mandatory only for those who cannot sign. Others need not be treated as illiterate only because of this circular. 



The requirement for different thumb impression of male and female clients does not seem to have any basis.

If at all there is an issue of protecting the blind client, it is at the time of sale of security. Even then his coming into the DP's office does not ensure his safety.  

A client who decides to open an account also knows his responsibilities. He is aware of what is a DP and what he as a client needs to do. the contents of the account opening form and DP-client agreement. are available on the internet and can be read directly by the blind client. He does not need an official of the DP to do anything for him. Most clients have persons who read to them if they can't read it on the internet themselves.


b. Hardship/inconvenience

This Circular adds to the hardship already being suffered by the Visually Challenged instead of helping them. 


inconvenience is further aggravated since the blind person has to come in every time he wants to operate his account.  

the delay caused due to this Circular causes further problems in the life of the Visually challenged.  



Giving a Blind client a loose leaf slip in fact makes his life more difficult since he has to keep them safely. 


Actually there is no need at the time of purchase of security even then a Blind client is asked to attend the office of the DP. 


The need for 2 companions to open the account is imposed as a hardship on the blind customer.


c. Companions


Instead of protecting the client the need for companions actually makes the Client vulnerable to emotional blackmail, envy of others, exposure to others opinion and maybe even fraud apart from compromising his financial independence and a target.


It does not serve any purpose. 

It makes the blind person more dependent on others. Having one of the 2 companions accompany him at all times during his transactions violates his independence, 


The "Companions" have no legal standing.


It violates the right of privacy of the blindperson.


These companions cannot be forced to come in nor can they be held legally responsible for any mistakes.

Also the hardship caused to the Companions has to be considered. 

Case of a blind man working at IDBI World Trade Center, Cuffe parade (South Mumbai ) having a demat account with IDBI Bank and staying at Virar (North West of Mumbai in the Thane District) who has to get his wife to travel about 2 hours to Cuffe parade (his DP) every time he wants to trade. 



The need for companion's signature should not be enforced as the Agreement also has a provision for witness signature.    




Capturing the companion's signature is of no legal use as he cannot be held liable in case of fraud by him or by the DP official or any other intermediary. 


d. Deprivation



It has deprived the visually challenged from benefiting from the advancement in technology.

The conditions imposed in the Circular are depriving the "Blind client" from excersising his right to enter and carry on the business of investing in the share market.


The operational and logistical problems hinder the visually challenged person at every stage. 



over all it is a circular which instead of helping as had been envisaged by the NSDL, is actually a nightmare for the visually challenged community and is violative of their natural justice and  fundamental rights . 





4. Our Suggestions


Having said the above, we therefore urge the NSDL to:

withdraw the above Circular and 

If necessary make modifications in other circulars to deal with the special situation

We,  further urge the NSDL to follow the same procedure for opening and operating the Demat accounts for sighted person as for the blind persons with a single exception that wherever required a blind person is allowed to use his thumb print as a form of signature if he/she wishes to do so.


All the other facilities and arrangements relating to the opening and/ or operating of accounts can be availed by the visually challenged client if he so wants to do so within the already existing framework, such as


a.       Power of Attorney -every client has the right to appoint an "attorney" or representative to transact on his behalf and to operate the Demat account  by signing the delivery instruction slip in case of sale and cheques in case of purchase. This facility already exists and does not need to be modified to be adapted for the use of blind clients. We are aware of several visually challenged clients using this method for overcoming the problems.    

b.      For senior citizens and clients whose signatures are not consistent and do not tally with the specimen signature a letter is given by the client to confirm the sale. This modus has been resorted to overcome issues at the time of audit. No special provision has to be passed to continue with this procedure.

c.       The client has a right to trade over the internet or do teletrading if he has an account with a DP which offers such a facility and the client having signed the appropriate power of attorney with the DP. The visually challenged clients can continue using this service like any other sighted client. 

d.      If at all there is a question of signatures and safety it is at the time of sale. At the time of purchase the issue does not arise and the Blind client can use the same procedures as the regular clients.






5. Future solution 

In addition to internet and tele-trading which dispenses with withdrawal slips and the need for signatures in the not so distant future there will be for all clients "Biometric system for thumb print recognition on paper". Experiments are being conducted at present in India to make this a safer way to transact for all citizens. Once these systems are in place the same can be used by NSDL for account operation

6. Facility by the DP 

In case a visually challenged client does go to the office of the DP we would request you to instruct the DPs to 

a.      Make the visually challenged client know of the possibilities as mentioned in (4) above

b.      Help the visually challenged to complete the form or the withdrawal instruction slip as the case may be

c.      Assist him in any manner that is required

We therefore strongly believe that the only thing required is perhaps a little bit of ground assistance for visually challenged persons and not any separate rules which only add to their inconvenience and hardship. Cause as sated above whilst they may have been put in place for greater security, one they do not guarantee that and second the visually challenged are technically not at any higher risk as compared to the sighted.

We therefore request you to kindly do the needful and withdraw this Circular.  






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