Friday, November 28, 2008

ATS chief, 2 other top police officers killed

Three top Mumbai police officers, including two from the Anti-Terrorism Squad, were killed in Wednesday night's terror attack on the financial capital, top police sources confirmed.

ATS chief Hemant Karkare -- who was investigating the Malegaon blast case, Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte and noted encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and were killed in an incident outside Mumbai's Cama hospital, ATS sub-inspector Sudhir Dalvi, who was part of the operation led by the deceased, told over phone.

"Our chief Karkare, my senior officer Salaskar and Adnl Commissioner of police Kamte died while engaging terrorists outside the Cama hospital. All of a sudden terrorists threw grenades at Karkare leading to chaos.

"We are unable to confirm whether they were fell to terrorist fire or were killed by a grenade attack,

Is this Indian Mujahideen's revenge on the ATS?

Even as the police force and the Intelligence Bureau verify the Deccan Mujahideen's claims of orchestrating the Mumbai terror attacks, they are not ruling out the involvement of the Indian Mujahideen , an offshoot of the Students Islamic Movement of India.

The IB points out that the e-mail sent by the Indian Mujahideen in September had made revealed their animosity towards Mumbai and the Anti Terrorist Squad.

Following the terror attacks in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and New Delhi, there was a major crackdown on IM cadres across India and the Mumbai ATS was responsible for most such arrests.

'Terrorists may have come by boat'

The IM, in an email sent out in September, had warned the ATS against harassing Muslims in Mumbai and said that it was closely watching every move made by the squad.

In the email, the IM stated, "You ( the ATS) should know that your acts are not at all unnoticed; we are keeping an eye on you and just waiting for the right time to execute bloodshed. We are aware of your recent raids at Ansarnagar, Mograpada in Andheri and the harassment and trouble you created for the Muslims."

Latest: Over 100 hostages still trapped in Taj

"You threatened to murder them and you even misbehaved with the Muslim women and children," the email alleged.
"If your arrogance has reached this degree and if you think that you can scare us by your stunts, then let the IM warn the people of Mumbai that the ATS will be responsible for the deadly attacks on Mumbaikars in the future."

The Intelligence Bureau believes that the IM wanted to play it safe and hence has adopted a pseudo name of Deccan Mujahideen for this particular operation.

ATS chief, 2 other top police officers killed

Through this operation, the IM is trying to prove its mettle and sending out a message to the intelligence agencies that there is little that can be done to stop them.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Is there a better way to be handed a pink slip

It’s never a good thing to be let go from a job. But, believe it or not, some ways are better than others.
I know what you’re probably thinking: What a ridiculous question. There is no gentle way to hand out a pink slip. There is no way to be told that “your services are no longer needed” but “here is the number to our local unemployment office” and/or “an explanation of why we won’t be offering severance packages this round” that doesn’t sting. Want to do it better? Don’t do it at all.

But, it is hard to argue that there aren’t better and worse ways to break bad news. Countless layoff horror stories abound- from IMs to being informed by security that you are just a “visitor” now and disabled network connections-suggesting that even the so-called smartest companies could use a little tutorial in how to break bad news with respect and tact.

1. Don’t spread layoffs over multiple rounds: Rounds of layoffs is a “horrible idea”, says Calcanis, because it creates massive fear and uncertainty inside of your organization.
2. Lay people off in a group, not individually: Calcanis found that telling people one-by-one was not more humane.
3. Don’t sugarcoat the rationale: Be 100 percent honest and upfront about why you chose to keep some people and not others.
4. Cutting jobs is better than cutting salaries: Rather than angering everyone in the organization by hurting all of their bottom lines, cut a few salaries altogether and leave the people you want to keep as happy as possible.
5. Give severance even if you don’t have to, and freelancer work, where you can: Be as generous as you can be, said Calcanis, and don’t forget these people when you start hiring again.
6. Lay people off at the end of the day: No need to keep people around until the end of the day or week. When they’re done, let them leave.
7. Get over it and get back to work: The reality is, everyone else needs to get back to work.

How about you? If you’ve ever been laid off, how do you think it could have been handled better?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Always factor in the pre payment charges before transferring your home loan to alternate banks

After Diwali one can see the dip in Home loan rates as most of the commercial banks plan to cut down on home loan interest rates. Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Union Bank of India (UBI) have already slashed rates up to 50 basis points. UBI has cut rates by 50 basis points for loans up to Rs 30 lakh . But this reduction in rates may not hold good for all the types of loans. However the private loan providers like HDFC and ICICI prefer to wait and then make their move.
These rate cuts are due to a shift in the policy of RBI and the Government. After two years of credit tightening and the recent liquidity situation, there is a complete U turn in the credit policy of the government. In Home loans where one has opted for floating rate of interest , one gets the benefit of reduced rates even if the rate he has borrowed is different and vice versa.
But in last few years if there are cuts in Home loan rates they are usually given first to new borrowers and then to the existing customers. Banks pass on the reduced rates to the existing users after some time. With the fall in property prices and discounts by various property developers the customer is going to be the King again
In case of Personal loans, Car Loans the trend is still on the opposite way as the liquidity crunch and higher defaults in above segments prevent Banks to lower rates. Personal loans disbursals in the entire country are on the way down. A large number of private Banks have either stop sourcing Personal loans or have downsized there business. Car Loans is also going through the same phase.
From the government side,the efforts are now on to make sure Credit is available to the general public.The finance ministry sources said the government is in constant touch with commercial banks to ensure an easy liquidity for priority sector loans. "The government and the central bank have taken a series of measures to infuse liquidity into the system and there is no reason that the banks should be wary of providing credit to genuine borrowers even after that," an official said.
So, keep a close watch, and choose your best deal!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

How to be a happy employee

Let's look at what might make an employee unhappy.

* Unfair rewards and recognition
* Office politics
* Un-cooperative team
* Unreasonable boss
* Insufficient compensation
* Constant threat to job security
* Lack of responsibility in the current job
* No clear career path
* Seating location
* Lack of basic facilities at workplace

And the list goes on and on. Some of these things may not really propel an employee to quit, but it might lead to negative energy which leads to low productivity. When an employee is under-productive he or she will be the first target when companies look for opportunities to give pink slips.

Being happy is always in your hands. A happy employee is more productive and gives more than an unhappy employee. So let's look at some ways to up the happiness factor.

1. Plan your week on Sunday night
Look at your work calendar and plan your week on Sunday night or Monday morning. This would include important meetings, deliverables, a brief summary of things that are pending from last week and any tasks to be achieved during the week. Though this might look like a time management tip, at the end of the week, on Friday night when you re-visit what you have achieved over the last five days, the satisfaction is immense.

2. Undertake activities that you are passionate about even though it might not be in your job profile
Start an initiative that you would love to do irrespective of whether it is required for you to do or not.

* Send a daily newsletter to your team on the topics that most of them will be interested.
* Do a presentation on the topic that you are passionate about.
* Organise a small sports event for your team.
* Call everyone in your team for a team coffee, breakfast or lunch break
* Appreciate colleagues in your team or in a cross-functional team who did a great job
* Write a poem on your team's achievements
* Arrange a potluck lunch

3. Do not indulge in the blame game
If something goes wrong do not blame others blindly. If you commit a mistake, do not hesitate to accept it. As Gauthama Buddha said, there are three things we can't hide for long: the sun, earth and the truth. Accepting your mistake gracefully will only make you look like a true professional and also give you the satisfaction of not cheating.

4. Communicate more often in person
Utilise all the opportunities where you can speak to an individual in person rather than e-mail or phone. But be aware of the other person's time and availability. Listening to a positive answer from a person will give you more happiness than if it is done over the phone or via e-mail.

5. Know what is happening at your workplace
Will this make a person happy? Truly, yes! Imagine a cricket team that doesn't know how many runs to score to win a match? More than losing the game, the player will never be interested or motivated to play well.

Attend all meetings that are addressed by the CEO to your immediate manager to know what is going to happen around you. It could be the company's growth plan or your department's next big project. Jack Welch mentions in his book Winning "every employee, not just the senior people, should know how a company is doing."

You will also get an extra edge if you are in a position to answer queries raised by your peers or juniors. This is not just for the good reasons, but bad reasons as well. You do not want to be the last employee to know if your company is laying off employees (in the worst case, if you are the one who is on that list).

6. Participate in organisation-level activities
This could be as simple as spending one weekend for a corporate social responsibility activity or attending a recruitment drive to help your HR team or arranging a technical/sports event at the organisational level. Most of these events will be successful as people do come on their own to contribute.

7. Have a hobby that keeps you busy and happy
Many people say their hobby is watching TV or listening to music or reading the newspaper. These aren't hobbies, they are just ways of passing the time. Some hobbies are evergreen and will keep you evergreen as well: dancing, painting, writing short stories, poems, blogs and sharing your experiences.

8. Take up a sport
While choosing a sport make sure that there is physical activity. There is the danger of becoming addicted to sports where there is less physical activity (like computer games, chess, cards etc). Physical activity keeps a person healthy and happy. If you pick up one sport well, you can represent your organisation in corporate sports event too.

9. Keep yourself away from office politics
Politics, as a practice, whatever its profession, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds. -- Henry Brooks Adams

Politics is everywhere and the office is no exception. Playing politics might be beneficial but only for the short term. So the best thing to do is play fair.

10. Wish and smile
More often than not, there are fair chances that the other person will smile back. This could be your security guard at the gate, your receptionist, your office boy, your CEO or your manager -- never forget to wish them and smile.

11. Volunteer for some activity

"The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving." � Albert Einstein

Do at least one activity without expecting anything in return. There is no set frequency for this. This could be once in a day or once in a week or thrice in a week. It could be as simple as making tea at the office for your colleague, helping a colleague who is working in another department by using your skills, dropping your colleague at his door step in your car, going to your manager or colleague to ask if there is any help you can extend, contributing to technical or knowledge management communities in your organisation etc.