The reporting of crimes against women rose discernibly in the year after the Delhi gang-rape in December 2012, as indicated by data released at the end of June by the National Crime Records Bureau.
According to the Bureau’s reports on crime in India, 27.2% of all rape cases tried in court in 2006 ended with convictions. In 2013, it was 27.1%.
In 2012, the NCRB changed its base of calculating rates of reported rape. It now calculates the rate of reported rapes per 1 lakh women and not 1 lakh of the entire population. This is why the rate of rape seems to have almost tripled from 2011 to 2013.
Higher reporting of rape is likely to indicate that the social stigma against sexual violence might be decreasing, and that affected citizens are more confident about getting justice from the legal system.
But it is also important to look beyond this data. Rape statistics rarely reflect reality. Rape is among the most under-reported crimes in the world, without even considering the factors peculiar to India that influence people from reporting sexual crimes.
Indian law does not recognise sexual violence against people who are not female or children, nor does it acknowledge the existence of marital rape.
There is immense social pressure against reporting rape, whether within a victim’s social or familial circle as well or at police stations, where officers regularly attempt to turn away survivors.
In 2013, The Hindureported that the NCRB was undercounting crimes as a whole by only recording the principal offence of a first information report. Cases that involved rapes ending in death, for instance, were being recorded only as murders, not rapes.
Given all these factors, India’s rate of reported rape is expectedly far lower than that reported in other countries.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime collected official data from 81 countries in 2010. The highest rates of reported rape in Europe and Africa were in Sweden and Botswana respectively.
These comparisons are not entirely representative. The UNODC itself acknowledges this, saying that caution must be exercised while comparing because of different legal definitions and methods of recording.
[This article has been updated to note that the NCRB changed its base of calculating rapes from per lakh population before 2011 to per lakh women from 2012 onwards. The percentage conviction for rapes in 2013 is 27.1, not 36.5.]
Want to retire at 45? Make your money work for you
Common sense and some discipline are all you need.
Dreaming of writing that book or taking that cruise when you hit your 40s? Well, this dream need not be unrealistic.
All it takes is simple math and the foresight to do some smart financial planning when you are still young. If you start early and get into the discipline of cutting down on unnecessary expenditure, using that money to invest systematically, you can build wealth that sets you free to tick those items off your bucket list sooner than later.
A quick look at how much you spend on indulgences will give you an idea of how much you can save and invest. For example, if you spend, say Rs. 1,000 on movie watching per week, this amount compounded over 10 years means you would have spent around Rs 7,52,000 on just movies! You can try this calculation for yourself. Think of any weekly or monthly expense you regularly make. Now use this calculator to understand how much these expenses will pile up overtime with the current rate of inflation.
Now imagine how this money could have grown at the end of 10 years and overcome the inflation effect if you had instead invested a part of it somewhere!
It is no rocket science
The fact is that financial planning is simpler than we imagine it to be. Some simple common sense and a clear prioritization of life’s goals is all you need:
Set goals and work backwards: Everything starts with what you want. So, what are your goals? Are they short-term (like buying a car), medium-term (buying a house) or long-term (comfortable living post-retirement). Most of us have goals that come under all the three categories. So, our financial plans should reflect that. Buying a house, for example, would mean saving up enough money for up-front payment and ensuring you have a regular source of income for EMI payment for a period of at least 15-20 years. Buying a car on the other hand might just involve having a steady stream of income to pay off the car loan.
Save first, spend later: Many of us make the mistake of putting what is left, after all our expenses have been met, in the savings kitty. But the reverse will have more benefits in the long run. This means, putting aside a little savings, right at the beginning of the month in the investment option that works best for you. You can then use the balance to spend on your expenditures. This discipline ensures that come what may, you remain on track with your saving goals.
Don’t flaunt money, but use it to create more: When you are young and get your first job, it is tempting to spend on a great lifestyle. But as we’ve discussed, even the small indulgences add up to a serious amount of cash over time. Instead, by regulating indulgences now and investing the rest of your money, you can actually become wealthy instead of just seeming to be so.
Set aside emergency funds: When an emergencyarises, likesudden hospitalisationor an accident, quick access to money is needed. This means keeping aside some of your money in liquid assets (accessible whenever you want it). It thus makes sense to regularly save a little towards creating this emergency fund in an investment that can be easily liquidated.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: This is somethingany investment adviser will tell you, simply because different investment options come with different benefits and risks and suit different investment horizons. By investing in a variety of instruments or options, you can hedge against possible risks and also meet different goals.
How and Why Mutual Funds work
A mutual fund is a professionally managed investment scheme that pools money collected from investors like you and invests this into a diversified portfolio (an optimal mix) of stocks, bonds and other securities.
As an investor, you buy ‘units’, under a mutual fund scheme. The value of these units (Net Asset Value) fluctuates depending on the market value of the mutual fund’s investments. So, the units can be bought or redeemed as per your needs and based on the value.
As mentioned, the fund is managed by professionals who follow the market closely to make calls on where to invest money. This makes these funds a great option for someone who isn’t financially very savvy but is interested in saving up for the future.
So how is a mutual fund going to help to meet your savings goals? Here’s a quick Q&A helps you understand just that:
How do mutual funds meet my investment needs? Mutual Funds come with a variety of schemes that suit different goals depending on whether they are short-term, medium-term or long-term.
Can I withdraw money whenever I want to? There are several mutual funds that offer liquidity – quick and easy access to your money when you want it. For example, there are liquid mutual funds which do not have any lock in period and you can invest your surplus money even for one day. Based on your goals, you can divide your money between funds with longer term or shorter term benefits.
Does it help save on taxes? Investing in certain types of mutualfunds alsooffers you tax benefits. More specifically, investing in Equity Linked Saving Schemes, which are funds that invest in a diverse portfolio of equities, offers you tax deductions up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
Don’t I need a lot of money to invest in MFs? No, you can start small. The returns in terms of percentage is the same irrespective of the amount you invest in. Additionally, the Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) allows you to invest a small amount weekly, monthly or quarterly in a mutual fund. So, you get to control the size and frequency of your investment and make sure you save before you spend.
But aren’t MFs risky? Well many things in life are risky! Mutual funds try to mitigate your risk by investing your money across a variety of securities. You can further hedge risk by investing in 2 to 3 mutual offers that offer different growth stories i.e. a blue-chip fund and a mid-cap fund. Also remember in a mutual fund,your money is being managedby professionals who are constantly following the market.
Don’t I have to wait too long to get back my returns? No! Mutual Funds, because of the variety of options they offer, can give you gains in the short or medium term too.
The essence of mutual funds is that your money is not lying idle, but is dynamically invested and working for you. To know more about how investing in mutual funds really works for you, see here.
Disclaimer: Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mutual Funds Sahi Hai and not by the Scroll editorial team.