Monday, 22 February 2010

Palpitations by Pranab

Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee, was improsined for over 10 years, for fighting for India’s freedom, while in Birbhum, West Bengal, his son was honing his skills in communication, writing for the Desher Dak Magazine. In 1969, little Pranab began his political career as a Member of the Rajya Sabha from the Congress Party, rose to become India’s Finance Minister in 1982, and was rated as one of the five best FMs in the world by Euro Money in 1984.

With the Union Budget for 2010-11 being announced on February 26, all eyes are on our venerated and wizened FM – Hon’ble Pranab Mukherjee, who has the unenviable task of What appears to be a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object - balancing the country’s economy, while keeping his party in political power.

The Hon’ble FM Pranab Mukherjee must control the aftermath of the global recession including -  
1)     Reigning in hyper-inflation – rising food prices, controlling petroleum hikes, etc. - basically to much printed paper currency running after reduced goods and services
2)     Boosting growth – Agricultural, Industrial, Infrastructural, Occupational… and all the other ‘al’s.

What I fear is that the FM will choose to take the path of least resistance, and wring the neck of the Fixed Middle Income Group, who form a small, insignificant & fragmented vote bank,  but are the easiest to tax & take from.

Kindly have a defibrillator ready for me - Here come my palpitations (courtesy of Pranab) –

I)                   Removal of ELSS
II)                Conversion of PF from EEE to EET
III)              Increased Home Loan Rates
IV)              Removal of Home Loan Interest Deductions
V)                 Increased Property Tax
VI)              Increased Petrol & LPG prices
VII)            Increased Essential Commodity Prices – Roti (Bread) & Kapda (Clothing) Expenses
VIII)         Increased General Cost of Living Expenses
IX)              Increase in Tax Saving u/s 80 from Rs. 100K to Rs. 300K

I hope and pray these palpitations, do not convert into a coronary heart attack!

What are you Grouses? Please post… Misery LOVES company!


Update - Pranab's Speech Today-

While "IT returns forms for individual tax payers are to be further simplified", dunno how, we are going to welcome Hyper-Inflation (or HUGE Interest Rates) with -

"Income up to Rs.1.6 lakh per year exempt from income tax; up to Rs.5 lakh to be taxed at 10 percent; income of Rs.5-8 lakh to be taxed at 20 percent and income above Rs.8 lakh to be taxed at 30 percent" - more demand
Higher prices with immediate effect as "Petrol & Diesel up by 1 Rupee per Litre"
I hope that-

Here is a brief of the latest provisions on Direct tax under Budget proposals announced by Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee for the Year 2010-2011

Tax on Personal Income:

Income slab (in Rs.) and tax rates
During FY 09-10                                                 Proposed for 10 -11

0 – 1.60L           NIL tax                                      0 - 1.60L           NIL Tax
>1.60 – 3L         10%                                          >1.60 – 5L         10%
>3L – 5L           20%                                          >5L – 8L           20%
>5L                   30%                                          >8L                   30%

In addition to the above, benefit under 80C can be claimed for an amount upto Rs. 1.20L as against existing level of Rs. 1L, by investing an additional sum of Rs. 20000 (max permissible) in Infrastructure Bond to be announced by the Government in the near future.

Above revision will give you Tax relief of Rs. 56000/- p.a . To this if you add 3% towards education cess, the total relief will be Rs. 57680/-

Proposals with negative impact on your pocket:

Petrol and Diesel prices will go up by Re. 1/- 
Excise duty on Large cars and SUVs (if you propose to buy one) – will go up by 2% (from 20% to 22%).

Direct Tax Proposals which impact Corporates:

Surcharge on domestic companies reduced from 10% to 7.5%
Minimum alternate Tax increased from 15% to 18%

Thankfully none of the other major palpitations seem to have been affected (YET) - status quo maintained.... Praying that I am wrong on Hyper-Inflation Front…

Monday, 15 February 2010

Blogs are Old Hat …. NOT!

Just because “Two Pew Internet Project surveys of teens and adults reveal a decline in blogging among teens and young adults and a modest rise among adults 30 and older” - All media has gone crazy touting that “millennials” (people born after 1982) do not twitter or blog,

Then what do they do? According to Pew- only Facebook and SMS.

I have 2 opinions on this –

First, the Pew Survey samples could be suspect,

OR, more importantly,

Second, youngsters & teens, irrespective of year of birth, have always been self-referral, I remember clearly that at that age, we always knew everything, and let alone others’ opinions, ‘others’ did not matter, so communicating with them was irrelevant and futile, because the “others” were all idiots.

So micro-blogging on twitter, writing a blog or communicating an opinion to the “others” really was a waste of time and energy. To quote the epic (and perhaps the millennials’ archaic) Pink Floyd - “We don’t need no education” is the motto of this age group.

I opine that far from being Dead, blogs are going to “Rule The Roost”… just give the millennials another five years and see how they take to surfing Blogs – like Ducks to Water!

You can read more of Pew’s opinions at -

What’s YOUR take?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Earning the Right to Blog

“You must start your own blog”, said my CEO on Friday, “You need to build upon your credentials as a writer.”

These words came from him, without any instigation or suggestion, of any kind, from me.

Finally, I had earned my “Right to Blog”.

You may wonder, why such a big fuss about writing a blog…. EVERYONE does it! ... And you would be absolutely right, but I didn’t blog.

Even though I have been very active on Twitter, FB, PeerPower, LinkedIn, Google Knols etc. I fully understood Web 2.0’s nuances and needs, and this was precisely the reason why I did not have a personal blog, as I take my current role as the de-facto voice of my organisation, very seriously and so did not voice my personal opinions, in the unrestricted public domain.

With my CEO’s approval, this blog will remain a personal journal and shall serve the purpose of being a resonator of my cerebrations - a panegyric of my own thoughts, ideas, opinions, and probably some angst and frustration as well.

I hope to spark discussion and debate on stuff that interests or affects me, and probably a whole group of people whom I would like to classify as “salaried free-thinkers”.

I hope that I’ve raised your expectations, and trust I will be able to meet and surpass them, with your best wishes,

Aseem Seth