Saturday, July 25, 2009

Power of LOVE

In Love, one plus one becomes one, not two. In deep love, the twoness disappears, mathematics is transcended; it becomes irrelevant. Two persons are are no more two, they become ONE. They start feeling functioning as a single organic body. This is only the Power of LOVE.

In LOVE two souls start adding life to years rather than years to their life.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

All you wanted to know about GST

One of the biggest taxation reforms in India -- the Goods and Service Tax (GST) -- is all set to integrate State economies and boost overall growth.

GST will create a single, unified Indian market to make the economy stronger.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee while presenting the Budget on July 6, 2009, said that GST would come into effect from April 2010.

The implementation of GST will lead to the abolition of other taxes such as octroi, Central Sales Tax, State-level sales tax, entry tax, stamp duty, telecom licence fees, turnover tax, tax on consumption or sale of electricity, taxes on transportation of goods and services, et cetera, thus avoiding multiple layers of taxation that currently exist in India.

What is GST?

Goods and Services Tax -- GST -- is a comprehensive tax levy on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services at a national level.

Through a tax credit mechanism, this tax is collected on value-added goods and services at each stage of sale or purchase in the supply chain.

The system allows the set-off of GST paid on the procurement of goods and services against the GST which is payable on the supply of goods or services. However, the end consumer bears this tax as he is the last person in the supply chain.

Experts say that GST is likely to improve tax collections and boost India's economic development by breaking tax barriers between States and integrating India through a uniform tax rate.

What are the benefits of GST?

Under GST, the taxation burden will be divided equitably between manufacturing and services, through a lower tax rate by increasing the tax base and minimising exemptions.

It is expected to help build a transparent and corruption-free tax administration. GST will be is levied only at the destination point, and not at various points (from manufacturing to retail outlets).

Currently, a manufacturer needs to pay tax when a finished product moves out from a factory, and it is again taxed at the retail outlet when sold.

How will it benefit the Centre and the States?

It is estimated that India will gain $15 billion a year by implementing the Goods and Services Tax as it would promote exports, raise employment and boost growth. It will divide the tax burden equitably between manufacturing and services.

What are the benefits of GST for individuals and companies?

In the GST system, both Central and State taxes will be collected at the point of sale. Both components (the Central and State GST) will be charged on the manufacturing cost. This will benefit individuals as prices are likely to come down. Lower prices will lead to more consumption, thereby helping companies.

What type of GST is proposed for India?

India is planning to implement a dual GST system. Under dual GST, a Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and a State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) will be levied on the taxable value of a transaction.

All goods and services, barring a few exceptions, will be brought into the GST base. There will be no distinction between goods and services.

Which other nations have a similar tax structure?

Almost 140 countries have already implemented the GST. Most of the countries have a unified GST system. Brazil and Canada follow a dual system where GST is levied by both the Union and the State governments.

France was the first country to introduce GST system in 1954.

Will this be an extra tax?

It will not be an additional tax. CGST will include central excise duty (Cenvat), service tax, and additional duties of customs at the central level; and value-added tax, central sales tax, entertainment tax, luxury tax, octroi, lottery taxes, electricity duty, state surcharges related to supply of goods and services and purchase tax at the State level.

What will be the rate of GST?

The combined GST rate is being discussed by government. The rate is expected around 14-16 per cent. After the total GST rate is arrived at, the States and the Centre will decide on the CGST and SGST rates.

Currently, services are taxed at 10 per cent and the combined charge indirect taxes on most goods is around 20 per cent.

Will goods and services cost more after this tax comes into force?

The prices are expected to fall in the long term as dealers might pass on the benefits of the reduced tax to consumers.

Why are some States against GST; will they lose money?

The governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu say that the information technology systems and the administrative infrastructure will not be ready by April 2010 to implement GST. States have sought assurances that their existing revenues will be protected.

The central government has offered to compensate States in case of a loss in revenues.

Some States fear that if the uniform tax rate is lower than their existing rates, it will hit their tax kitty. The government believes that dual GST will lead to better revenue collection for States.

However, backward and less-developed States could see a fall in tax collections. GST could see better revenue collection for some States as the consumption of goods and services will rise.

How will GST be implemented?

The empowered committee is likely to finalise the details of GST by August. But States have to sort out several issues like agreement on GST rates, constitutional amendments and holding talks with industry associations. Experts feel the drafting of legislation and the implementation of law will take time.

What are the items on which GST may not be applied?

Alcohol, tobacco, petroleum products are likely to be out of the GST regime.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How does securities transaction tax apply to you

When the ministry of finance announced its Annual Budget for the year 2004-2005, it also announced a new tax which would be levied on capital gains on financial securities -- Securities Transaction Tax.

What is the Securities Transaction Tax?

The Securities Transaction Tax was introduced by Chapter VII of the Finance Act (No.2) Act, 2004. STT is a tax being levied on all transactions done on the stock exchanges.

Securities Transaction Tax is applicable on purchase or sale of equity shares, derivatives, equity-oriented funds and equity-oriented mutual funds.

How is STT applied?

STT is applied as following (effective from June 1st, 2005):

* For transactions in a recognised stock exchange in India:

a) Purchase/Sale of equity shares, units of equity oriented mutual fund (delivery based) -- 0.10%
b) Sale of equity shares, units of equity oriented mutual fund (non-delivery based) -- 0.02%
c) Sale of derivative -- 0.01%

* Sale of unit of an equity oriented fund to the mutual fund -- 0.2%

What items fall under the category of 'securities'?

'Securities' are defined under Section 2(h) of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 (SCRA) to include:

* Shares, scrips, stocks, bonds, debentures, debenture stock or other marketable securities of a like nature in or of any incorporated company or other body corporate
* Derivatives
* Units or any other instrument issued by any collective investment scheme to the investors in such schemes
* Security receipt as defined in Section 2(zg) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002
* Such other instruments as declared by the central government; and
* Rights or interest in securities
* Equity-oriented mutual funds (not debt-oriented mutual funds)

STT is not applicable in case of government securities, bonds, debentures and units of mutual fund other than equity oriented mutual fund.

What are the tax exemptions in regards to short term and long term capital gains?

Long-Term capital gains:

* For sale of equity shares, units of equity oriented mutual fund (delivery based), the gains are exempt from tax under section 10(38)
* For sale of unit of an equity oriented fund to the mutual fund, the gains are exempt from tax under section 10(38)

Short-Term capital gains:

* For sale of equity shares, units of equity oriented mutual fund (delivery based), the gains are taxable at the rate of 10% (+surchage +education cess) under section 111A
* For sale of unit of an equity oriented fund to the mutual fund, the gains are taxable at the rate of 10% (+surchage +education cess) under section 111A

Sales of equity shares, units of equity oriented mutual fund (non-delivery based) and sales of derivatives are both treated as business income. If income is shown as business income, one can claim tax rebate under section 88E.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gilt funds can be double-edged swords

With equity funds ruling the investors' preferences, other types of funds offered by the mutual fund houses have been totally ignored. One of them is gilt fund, which have not received the credit they deserved.

However, with the current market crash, the focus has been shifted to these funds. Here we take a look at these funds and whether you should include them in your portfolio.

What are gilt funds?
Gilt funds are nothing but debt funds that primarily invest in government securities (G-Secs). However they differ from conventional debt funds in that, while a traditional debt fund invests in all types of debt instruments, gilt funds have narrow investment objective. They just focus on G-Secs.

What are G-Secs?
G-Secs are government securities, produced by RBI on behalf of Indian government. Since they are sovereign paper, there are no credit risks associated with this investment.

Hence it is ideal for those looking for safety of their capital. But the biggest problem with G-Secs is that it is suitable only for large institutional investors, it effectively excludes small retail investors.

Gilt funds stepped in to provide these investors a low-cost way to invest in G-Secs. Investors can decide between short-term and long-term gilt funds, according to their investment time frame.

What returns can I expect from gilt funds?
While no investment option can guarantee returns, over the past one year, top-performing gilt funds have managed to generate returns exceeding 20%.

This is because in the recent times, the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote] has introduced number of interest rate cuts. As there is an inverse relationship between the interest rates and the prices of bonds, reduction in interest rates, causes an increase in bond prices.

As a result, this has caused an increase in prices of long-term bonds and G-Secs. This has led to appreciation in NAVs of gilt funds, letting investors enjoy such stupendous returns.

I want to invest, but I need to understand the pros and cons of investing in gilt funds.

As with any other investment, gilt funds do have their own share of pros and cons.

* Quite safe as the underlying investments are backed by government.
* Allows you to tap the G-sec market, which otherwise was open only to large players.
* Proves for effective diversification.

* Interest rate risk
* Underlying securities are illiquid as they are not frequently traded. So if the fund manager opts for distress sell, to relieve redemption pressure, the fund may suffer loss.
* Makes ideal short-term investment as most of the funds tend to be volatile over longer investment time frame.

Should I invest in gilt funds?
To invest successfully in gilt funds, it is essential to watch the economic indicators that can predict the decrease in interest rates. Some essential factors leading to interest rate reduction are higher inflation, reduction in IIP (Index of Industrial Production), slow GDP growth and likelihood of reduction in corporate earnings.

Also consider your capacity to take risk, goal and fund's track record. Don't be swayed by only returns, as you may end up suffering losses

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The basics of PPF

It is that time of the year when most of us would have already made our decision as to where we will make our investments or would at least have had the chance of looking at different investment instruments.

At one point in time or the other we would have come across 'Public Provident Fund' as an effective investing instrument. But how much do we know about Public Provident Fund, or PPF?

What is the Public Provident Fund?

PPF is a long-term, government-backed small savings scheme of the Central government started with the objective of providing old age income security to the workers in the unorganised sector and self-employed individuals.

What is the interest rate offered through PPF?

Currently, the interest rate offered through PPF is around 8 per cent, which is compounded annually. Interest is calculated on the lowest balance between the fifth day and last day of the calendar month and is credited to the account on March 31 every year. So to derive the maximum, the deposits should be made between 1st and 5th day of the month.

What is duration of the investment?

People who are interested in liquidity or small-term gains would not be very keen about PPF because the duration for the investment is 15 years.

However, the effective period works out to 16 years i.e., the year of opening the account and adding 15 years to it. The contribution made in the 16th financial year will not earn any interest but one can take advantage of the tax rebate.

The account holder has an option to extend the PPF account for any period in a block of five years after the minimum duration elapses. The account holder can retain the account after maturity for any period without making any further deposits.

The balance in the account will continue to earn interest at normal rate as admissible on PPF account till the account is closed.

What is the minimum and maximum amount of deposit?

The minimum deposit that you can make into a PPF account in a year is Rs 500. The maximum is Rs 70,000.

Who can open a PPF account and where?

A PPF account can be opened by an individual (salaried or non-salaried) on his own behalf or on behalf of a minor of whom he is the guardian or on behalf of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) of which he is a member or on behalf of an association of persons or a body of individuals. An individual can open only one account for himself.

A PPF account can be opened with a minimum deposit of Rs 100 at any branch of the State Bank of India [Get Quote] or branches of its associated banks like the State Bank of Mysore [Get Quote] or Hyderabad. The account can also be opened at the branches of a few nationalized banks, like the Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Bank of Baroda [Get Quote], and at any head post office or general post office.

What are the tax benefits from PPF?

The amount you invest is eligible for deduction under the Rs 100,000 limit of Section 80C. On maturity, the entire amount including the interest is non-taxable.

Is it possible to withdraw the amount deposited at any time during the tenure?

Yes. You can take a loan on the PPF from the third year of opening your account to the sixth year. So, if the account is opened during the financial year 2009-10, the first loan can be taken during financial year 2011-12 (the financial year is from April 1 to March 31).

The loan amount will be up to a maximum of 25 per cent of the balance in your account at the end of the first financial year. You can make withdrawals during any one year from the sixth year.

You are allowed to withdraw 50 per cent of the balance at the end of the fourth year, preceding the year in which the amount is withdrawn or the end of the preceding year whichever is lower. For e.g., if the account was opened in 2000-01, and the first withdrawal was made during 2006-07, the amount you can withdraw is limited to 50 per cent of the balance as on March 31, 2003, or March 31, 2006, whichever is lower.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sehwag hammers India's fastest ODI ton

Swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag hammered a 60-ball ton to eclipse Mohammad Azharuddin and register the fastest hundred in One-Day Internationals by an Indian in the fourth match against New Zealand [Images] in Hamilton, on Wednesday.

Batting on 97, Sehwag danced down the pitch and hit a Daniel Vettori delivery over the bowler's head to bring up his hundred with a big six in the 18th over of the rain-truncated match to better Azharuddin's 20-year-old mark by two balls.

Incidentally, Azharuddin's 62-ball 108, had also come against New Zealand in Baroda in 1988.

Sehwag had earlier smashed a 69-ball century against the Kiwis in Colombo in 2001.

The Indian now has the seventh fastest hundred in ODI history, with Pakistan's Shahid Afridi topping the chart with his 37-ball 102 against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996.

Don't make a nuisance of yourself in the name of Holi

Holi is the festival of colours, water balloons and revelry and Indians enjoyed it.

But let's face it, you need to exercise caution at the best of times -- Holi also spells skin ailments, altercations with strangers who are deluged with colour and massive hangovers for revellers who go overboard drinking bhang.

So, to make sure you have a healthy, happy experience celebrating tomorrow, we've put together a small list of dos and don'ts. Because good, clean -- well, as clean as possible, given the nature of the festival (!) -- fun is the order of the day.

Go the safe, organic way: First things first. Ensure your own wellbeing and that of your friends by opting for natural, organic colours as far as possible. Chemical powders are harsh on the skin and their side effects often catch up with you after you're done playing with them. Preferably, rub yourself down with baby oil before playing so that all the colour comes off your body easily. Wear old clothes that can be thrown away after playing around.

Set boundaries: Make a pact with everyone playing to limit yourself to acceptable Holi props. Often, what starts off with water balloons and colours ends up with people slinging muck and eggs at each other. And that kind of fun is not for everyone. So don't get carried away and ruin somebody else's good time. A vegetarian will not take kindly to being pelted with eggs and mud is unhygienic, it may cause a reaction with the skin or get in someone's eyes.

Don't pester bystanders: Don't assume an 'anything goes' attitude. Pelting strangers who are going about their business in and around your neighbourhood with colour and water, for instance, is a strict no-no. While you may be in the mood for fun, somebody else may not be and more often than not, altercations take place when passers-by are charged at. It ruins the celebrations and leaves everybody with a bad taste in their mouths. You don't want to drag somebody into the fray only to discover that one of his parents is in hospital and you upset him on his way there.

Show consideration towards people's property: Other than bystanders, make sure that you don't destroy people's property. Spraying water at someone's balcony in a bid to get him/ her to join you or pelting passing cars with eggs is not cool. Understand that you're severely inconveniencing people and have no right to manhandle anybody else's belongings; in the latter case, you may even cause a serious accident by obstructing a driver's vision.

Show some respect for the opposite sex: Guys, don't play rough with women in the name of the game and ladies, conduct yourself with decorum -- if you dish it out, be prepared to get it back. You can have a good time while still showing consideration towards each other.

Don't be a spoilsport: If you're not participating in the festivities, don't take to the street until the revelry are over. Chances are that even if people don't target you, the colour and water may be flung your way and your clothes will be ruined. If you're going to be a spoilsport about being dragged into it all, you'd rather keep yourself out of the way. If you're travelling by car, make sure that you roll your windows up and don't get annoyed if a little colour or water settles on your vehicle. It can be easily washed off.

Intoxication is a poor excuse for bad behaviour: A lot of people like to drink the intoxicating beverage bhang on Holi. Like all intoxicants, it can have serious effects on your health. The choice is yours, but remember, nothing in excess. If you must, make sure to have only as much as you can handle and don't start misbehaving -- getting intoxicated is no excuse to behave aggressive and loud. If you can't handle your drinks, it's better left untouched.

Don't impose on others: Don't try to force people into doing anything they are not comfortable doing and don't allow yourself to be convinced if you're reluctant either. Force-feeding people with bhang, dragging in folks who don't want to participate and creating a nuisance are not what Holi is about. Remember, to each his own.

Well, enough of the lecturing (!), but do keep these points in mind. That way, you'll have a great Holi and can create plenty of pleasant memories without creating a ruckus.

Have fun!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Does money make you happy, or does being happy make you money?

“The base majority of IT professionals are satisfied at work with 4 out of 10 being either ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ satisfied with their jobs. Indeed, the results show a direct correlation between job satisfaction and the amount of money that one is paid. Since more money equals greater job satisfaction, one could infer that for some, money does buy happiness–at least at work.”

While I’m not denying money can put a smile on most people’s faces, I’m wondering if this may be a case of what came first — the chicken or the egg. Instead of considering that money buys happiness, how about thinking of it as more money comes to people who like their jobs. If you like your job, you’re more likely to put in that extra effort, which is recognized by your manager who, in turn, issues you raises. If you’re happy in your job, it may have something to do with the fact that your talent is recognized with positive attention from your managers and others in the company. And that positive attention results in more money.

On the other hand, if you’re unhappy with what you do, you’re less likely to respond readily to new intiatives, and your negative attitude might impact effective communication with your co-workers.

What do you guys think?

--Toni Bowers

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Coping with the aftermath of layoffs

Relief, guilt, grief and fear are all typical feelings of the employees who are left behind in an office after a wave of layoffs. It's easy to get mired in the emotions; it takes deliberate thought and action to manage in the workplace after colleagues have been let go. "To be a survivor, you have to act like one,".
People who survive difficult experiences and economic times are able to do so because they can imagine a time when things will change for the better.
Here's how to cope and position yourself in the office after a round of layoffs.

Confirm new business priorities. Not only does the number of employees change after a layoff, but often the direction of the business and the importance of various projects also change. Check in with managers at least one or two levels above you to find out what the highest priority work is now and ask for detailed descriptions of your new responsibilities, especially if you've taken on the work of a former colleague.

Take initiative. Now is the time to get out of your comfort zone at work and stretch yourself. At a time when there are fewer people to do the work, "look for projects and raise your hand for new assignments that need to be done. Managers will see you as someone who is willing to go the extra mile. You might also open yourself up to other opportunities by taking on new projects or picking up new skills.

Promote teamwork and collaboration. This isn't the time to hide out in your office or to try to fly under the radar. "You need to do just the opposite,". Often, after a layoff, two departments will be combined or responsibilities in one group will be shifted to another. Use the opportunity to forge alliances and work as part of a team to create new ways to get work done with fewer people. Find ways to stay engaged that will help you in your job as well as contributing to the overall health of the business. Consider renewing a relationship with a mentor or planning a casual office lunch.

Communicate constantly. During times of change, it's imperative to seek feedback from your managers and colleagues. You'll want to be sure you're doing high-priority work and that you're doing it effectively and productively. Start out with a formal request to get up to speed on what's expected from you, and follow up with face-to-face conversations in the weeks ahead.

Avoid negativity. Layoff survivors can easily fall into "pity parties" where they kvetch about the state of their workplace. "It's essential that you look for the positive things around you and realize that you have a choice about your morale,". Managers look for people they can count on during these times, whether it means handling more pressure, being a team player or being easy to work with. You want your manager to see you as having a personality that brings energy rather than zapping energy from the group.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dookh ne eak pal saath na chora

Dard ke daastaan badi lambi hai
Dookh ne eak pal saath na chhora

Sookh mujhe tarsaata raha
Door door se dekh khushi ko

Man ko mere behlata raha
Her taraf rang hai umang hai

Jahaan bhi dekho khushboo hai bahar hai
Tanha dil ko mai samjhata raha

Aur baharow ka mausam mujhe chidhata raha
Taskeen ka eak pal na mila

Chain mera her ghadi beaabroo mila
Apne haathow mei chehra chupaker

Andhere ka darr bhagata raha
Jab bhi dekhi perchai apni

Laga dost purana aagya

Has ke muskura ke mai mila
Uski chuppi bhram todta raha

Haath ke rekha mei dhoonda kavi toh
Dhoonda kavi taqdeer ke keetab mei

Eak chehra jo kho gya hai na mila
Mai panne der panne palatha raha

Kuch saans bachi thi aakhri
Sitamgaarh dekhta aake jara

Mai raastow pe teri her pal
Intzaar ke palkein bichhai rakha

Dookh ne eak pal saath na chora
Sookh mujhe tarsaata raha
















Mera Saath.........

मै तुम्हारे पास रहूँगी हर पल
धूप कभी तो कभी छौं (shade ) बनकर

दूर् हूँ तो इसलिये गम ना करना
पास रहूँगी सदा याद बनकर

किताबौ मे ढूंदते हो अस्तित्व अपना
उतर जाउन्गी हर्फ पे शब्द बनकर

ग़मे जुदाई मे कभी आंशू ना बहाना
खव्बौ मे होगी बस्लेयार ( date ) ख्वाईश बनकर

थक जो जाओगे तन्हा सफर मे
मेरी मुस्कान होगी दिल मे हौसले बनकर

मै ना रहूँगी इस जहाँ मे तो क्या ?
मेरा साया साथ होगा हमसफ़र बनकर

हो मुकम्मल ( complete ) ज़िंदगी तेरी , ख़ुशीयौ से
मेरी ये इल्तzआ है खुदा से दुआ बनकर