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Saying “No”

“Its only by saying “No” That you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

Steve Jobs

Being an Intovert for better part of my life, I have always found it hard to say no.

My Colleague: ” Hey you wanna go out in the evening to see Dasara Lightings ? Everyone in the office are headed that way! “(The Entire City I grew up in – Mysuru, lights up every year around Oct for a festival called Dasara)

In my mind ( do I really wanna spend my evening getting smushed in the endless crowd of people? Do I really wanna navigate thru a maze of One ways and restricted roads? Do I really have to bare the unbreathable conditions to get a decent meal at the end of the tour?)

Me: Why not. Sounds fun!

Warren Buffett became the most successful investor of all time by being hyper selective. He owes 90% of his wealth to just 10 investments. For every 100 opportunities that comes his way, he says no to 99 of them.

One of the greatest management consultant who lived in the last 100 years, Peter Drucker, once said, “People are effective because they say ‘no,’ because they say, ‘this isn’t for me.’ ’’

We are all presented with ‘good opportunities’ during our lifetime, but which of those opportunities are truly essential to our lives?

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying ‘yes’ too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”

Josh Billings

Greg McKeown, in his book, Essentialism, proposes an idea of a “Essentialist”

“A non-essentialist thinks almost everything is essential. An essentialist thinks almost everything is non-essential.”

He puts forth 4 habits which we can develop to be an Essentialist; but before that, lets understand what makes us say Yes, when we really want to say No:

  1. Why do we say ‘Yes’ when we want to say ‘No’?

a. We forget our purpose

When we are unclear about our real purpose in life— in other words, when we don’t have a clear sense of our goals, our aspirations, and our values— we make up our own social games.

Without a clear purpose we’ll default to playing petty social games that provide little meaning to our life.

b. We fear social awkwardness

The fact is, we as humans are wired to want to get along with others. After all, thousands of years ago when we all lived in tribes of hunter gatherers, our survival depended on it. And while conforming to what people in a group expect of us— what psychologists call normative conformity— is no longer a matter of life and death, the desire is still deeply ingrained in us.

2. How can we develop the courage to say ‘No’?

We need to see ‘No’ in a new and empowering way:

a. When we say ‘No,’ we’re actually saying ‘Yes’ to a life of meaning.

Each external ‘No’ is an inward ‘Yes.’ Those inward ‘Yes’s’ strengthen our commitment to our purpose/priorities, defining who we are and what we stand for.

b. When we say ‘No,’ we’re actually saying ‘No’ to a request, not a person.

Everyone is selling something— an idea, a viewpoint, an opinion— in exchange for your time. Simply being aware of what is being sold allows us to be more deliberate in deciding whether we want to buy it…we forget that denying the request is not the same as denying the person. Only once we separate the decision from the relationship can we make a clear decision and then separately find the courage and compassion to communicate it.

c. When we say ‘No,’ we’re trading short-term popularity for long-term respect.

When the initial annoyance or disappointment or anger wears off, the respect kicks in. When we push back effectively, it shows people that our time is highly valuable. It distinguishes the professional from the amateur. Learn to say no firmly, resolutely, and yet gracefully. Because once we do, we find, not only that our fears of disappointing or angering others were exaggerated, but that people actually respect us more. Research has found it almost universally true that people respect and admire those with the courage of conviction to say no.

3. What’s the best way to say ‘No’ without damaging a relationship?

You need to frame your ‘No’ as a ‘Positive No’:

  • Start with a personal ‘Yes’ by stating a personal priority.
    • “I’m currently working hard to finish my project ” OR “I’ve set the ambitious goal of completing this assignment, within the next week.”
  • Continue by stating the conflict with your personal priority.
    • “Because of that, I need to say no to all requests at this time.”  OR “For that reason, I need to let go of a lot of things and devote my time and attention to doing the best to successful complete this project .”
  • Finish by showing that you still care and offer to help out in a small way.
    • “Here are a few resources that I found to help your project succeed.” OR “Although I can’t assist you with this project I can introduce you to someone who can.”

Getting Back to the 4 Habits I mentioned above;

  1. Evaluate the trade-offs

“We just say yes because it is an easy reward, we run the risk of having to later say no to a more meaningful one.”

Each choice has a trade-off. When we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to another. The next time you want to say yes to an opportunity just remember what other opportunities you are saying no to.

“We can try to avoid the reality of trade-offs, but we can’t escape them. Trade-offs are not something to be ignored or decried. They are something to be embraced and made deliberately, strategically, and thoughtfully.”

2. Set boundaries

“Nonessentialists tend to think of boundaries as constraints or limits, things that get in the way of their hyperproductive life. To a Nonessentialist, setting boundaries is evidence of weakness. Essentialists, on the other hand, see boundaries as empowering. They recognize that boundaries protect their time from being hijacked and often free them from the burden of having to say no to things that further others’ objectives instead of their own.”

Create black and white rules, like “I don’t take calls between 7-10am, sorry,” or “I don’t check email after 6pm. If it’s something urgent, you’ll need to call me.” People will initially challenge your boundaries, but overtime, people will respect your boundaries. With the right boundaries in place, you can prevent the non-essential from creeping into your life.

3. Dare to say ‘No’

“We feel guilty. We don’t want to let someone down. We are worried about damaging the relationship. But these emotions muddle our clarity. They distract us from the reality of the fact that either we can say no and regret it for a few minutes, or we can say yes and regret it for days, weeks, months, or even years…Since becoming an Essentialist I have found it almost universally true that people respect and admire those with the courage of conviction to say no.”

Develop the courage to say ‘no’ by remembering what you are saying ‘yes’ to:

  • “No, I don’t want to take on another project because I want to ensure my current project is a huge success.”
  • “No, I don’t want to go out tonight because I want to spend time with my family.”

4. Schedule time to journal

Rushing around all day trying to get things done causes us to lose perspective. The more stress we accumulate during the day, the more we mistake non-essential things as urgent and important. To prevent the non-essential from creeping into our lives, we need to schedule a time where we can disconnect and renew our outlook on life. A reliable way to regain perspective is journaling.

Journaling allows us to get the petty stuff down on paper so we can start focusing on the bigger picture. By spending a few minutes journal each day, we increase our introspection and start to question why we do what we do. “Being a journalist(No pun Intended) of your own life will force you to stop hyper-focusing on all the minor details and see the bigger picture.”

“Our highest priority is to protect our ability to prioritize

Greg McKeown

Happy Birthday Sir. M V

True Story:

A couple of years back, I was attending a “Fun @ Work” event organized by our company; it was Sep -15th Engineer`s day. Surprisingly, I answered the most no of questions and won the highest chocolates(yeah, that was the coveted prize).  Our CEO pointed out that, how could a “non-engineer”, steal the show on Engineer`s day? To that, I said;

“Whoever is in charge of designing and building their lives, is no less an Engineer. “

Happy Engineer`s Day!!!

Here is my video tribute to Bharata Ratna, Sir. M.V, Father of Modern Mysore State (Currently Karnataka)

He was responsible (under the patronage of the Mysore government) for the founding of:

  1.  Mysore Soap Factory, Parasitoid Laboratory,
  2. Mysore Iron & Steel Works (now known as Viswesvarayya Iron and Steel Limited) in Bhadravathi,
  3. Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Bangalore,
  4. Bangalore Agricultural University,
  5. The State Bank of Mysore,
  6. Century Club,
  7. Mysore Chamber of Commerce (Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry – FKCCI), the Apex Chamber of Commerce in Karnataka, 
  8. University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (Bangalore) and numerous other industrial places.
  9. He was also on the Board of Directors of Tata Steel, from 1927–1955.

Few lesser known facts; A very important part of his nature was his love for Kannada. He set up Kannada Parishat for the improvement of Kannada. He wanted seminars for Kannada supporters to be instituted and conducted in Kannada itself. Visvesvaraya is known to have designed and planned an entire area of Jayanagar in South Bangalore. The foundation of Jayanagar was laid in 1959. It was one of the first planned neighbourhoods in Bangalore and, at the time, the largest in Asia. It is believed that the locality, designed by Visvesvaraya, has one of best-planned layouts in Asia.

What is Success?

Success is measured across various cultures and nationalities with different matrices. Owning a business and sailing in the yacht over the weekend? Getting married and raising a family? staying young & healthy? However, we have few parameters which is universally accepted…

We all know the good life means more than money…but none of us is exactly sure what those other things are or how to get them…We all know love and friends and other stuff are important too…but they’re a heck of a lot more complicated and we can’t just have them delivered to our house by Amazon Prime. Evaluating life by one metric turns out to be a key problem. We can’t use just one yardstick to measure a successful life. I recently read “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker (No Pun Intended, thats his real surname). Eric’s take on success is very refreshing. Barking Up The Wrong Tree is not black and white, considers the latest research, weighs pros and cons, and then arrives at the golden middle. He’s dedicated to helping you do your best, not push his own definition of success, and you can feel that in his writing. Barking Up The Wrong Tree turns standard success advice on its head by looking at both sides of many common arguments, like confidence, extroversion, or being nice, concluding it’s really other factors that decide if we win, and we control more of them than we think.

People tend to think that those who “make it” in life are the smartest and most talented. But the truth is that success is determined by characteristics that are much more within your control, like hard work, motivation and confidence. Because of this, anyone who wants to can enjoy tremendous success.

So the big question now is, If money isn’t the only measurement of success, what else should we be measuring?

  • Achievement
  • Influence
  • Importance
  • Happiness

Achievement

To feel like you’re winning you need to consistently accomplish meaningful goals. Start by setting and hitting small but meaningful goals each day. Something which leads to a bigger goals. Something which, when you look back at your life when you are 90, gives you a sense of fulfilment.

Influence

To feel like you’re influencing others in a positive way you need to pass on your values and help others find success. If you’re a parent, you might generate a feeling of influence by taking the time to teach and instil your values in your children, who go on to pass their values on to their children.

Importance

To feel like you’re needed you need to be there for the people that matter most to you. You want to find a way to be valuable to the people around you so that you will be missed when you’re gone.

Happiness

To feel like you’re enjoying life you need to find a way to enjoy the day‐to‐day experience of life and be grateful for what you have. Make a habit of stopping during the day and appreciating one small thing that’s going well. Be playful and listen to music during the day to experience happiness without the needing to attain specific results.

“What’s the most important thing to remember when it comes to success? One word: alignment. Success is not the result of any single quality; it’s about alignment between who you are and where you choose to be. The right skill in the right role. A good person surrounded by other good people.” – Eric Barker

The Law Slayer

Union Cabinet approves a bill to merge 13 central labour laws into a single  code

Continuing the spree of merging various laws and consolidating it under a few manageable ones, the Govt has released draft Labour codes for public review. As the last date for public comment on the draft Labour code is approaching, here is a brief review of the structure and nuances, for which, the brainstorming started way back in 2002.

In India, the law relating to employees/workmen has always been a complex subject due to various factors whether due to its archaic laws, multiplicity of laws/regulatory authorities, central v/s states legislation and so on. One of the key factors to remember is that labour laws are part of the concurrent list and accordingly both the central and the state government can legislate wherever they feel need for the same. However, instead of bringing clarity, this has created confusion due to overlapping and multiplication. Central Government has passed more than fifty laws till date pertaining to labour and related aspects while various state governments have also passed more than one hundred and fifty laws on similar or the same subject. Secondly, not only the state and central laws clash on the same subject and create confusion but even in central laws also, a single subject has been placed under multiple laws. For instance, the maternity benefits aspect has been provided in more than four legislations. Wages definitions also have been provided in various Acts leading to varying interpretations. Lastly, some of these laws were too old, archaic and not in line with current economic and industrial requirement. Therefore, consolidation and codification of the entire set of labour laws was the urgent need of India and its manufacturing industry in order to scale up further and put its footprint in global manufacturing base. In order to improve its ranking further, attract more foreign investment, augment domestic capital in order to make India a truly manufacturing hub as envisaged in “Make in India” scheme, we need to create a conducive environment that can facilitate and nurture industrial and manufacturing set up(s). To achieve this, it is necessary to reform and replace, on top priority basis, its’ old and archaic labour laws, which are often considered to be one of the key bottlenecks in making it a manufacturing power house in the global map.

Here is a brief structure of the new codes:

Code of Wages, 2019

The Preamble of Code on Wages, 2019, states its aim is to amend and consolidate the laws relating to wages and bonus and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto and therefore, four laws directly impacting wages and bonus have been submerged and subsumed into one. The first three aspects are minimum wages, governed by The Minimum Wages Act, 1948, payment of wages, governed by The Payment of Wages Act, 1936, and payment of bonus, governed by The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. In addition to these, another aspect pertaining to wages (i.e. equal remuneration for equal work irrespective of gender of employee in the form of Equal Remuneration Act, 1976) has also got subsumed in the Code on Wages Act pursuant to the Section 69 (Repeal and Savings) of Code on Wages, 2019.

Key Highlights:

  • Definition of wages revamped and made uniform for all chapters
  • Consistency in provisions across all sections of the Code
  • Includes all remuneration payable to a person; Exclusions specifically listed to be limited to 50% of total wages; Benefits in kind to be part of wages
  • Managerial employees included;
  • Contractor identified as employer
  • Concept of floor wages introduced in addition to minimum rate of wages;
  • Early settlement of claims envisaged.

CODE ON OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY, HEALTH AND WORKING CONDITIONS, 2019

The Preamble to the Code on Occupational Safety, 2019 states that it will consolidate and amend the laws regulating the occupational safety, health and working conditions of the persons employed in an establishment and the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.Therefore, it intends to consolidate the various laws which deals with occupational safety, health and working conditions of employees for example Factories Act, 1948, Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 etc. Clause 134 (Repeal and Saving) of the Code on Occupational Safety, 2019 clearly mentions the acts which will be repealed once this Code gets the force of law. The Laws getting consolidated are:

  1. The Factories Act, 1948
  2. The Mines Act, 1952
  3. The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986
  4. The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996
  5. The Plantations Labour Act, 1951
  6. Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
  7. The Working Journalist and other News Paper Employees (Conditions of Service and Miscellaneous Provision) Act, 1955
  8. The Working Journalist (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958
  9. The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961
  10. The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976
  11. The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers Act, 1981

Key Highlights are:

  • Employees include workers and all other persons employed in a managerial, administrative, or supervisory role (with monthly wage of at least INR 15,000)
  • Applicable to all establishments having 10 or more employees and mines and docks
  • Consolidates procedural aspects and provides uniformity in threshold
  • Mandatory registration and licensing process for establishments covered by the Code
  • Work hours, working conditions and welfare facilities to be notified
  • Entitled to one day of leave for every 20 days of work per year.
  • Bar on civil courts from hearing matters under the Code

CODE ON Social Security, 2019

The Preamble to the Code on Social Security, 2019 states that its a bill to amend and consolidate the laws relating to social security of the workers and the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto and therefore it amends and consolidate the aspects relating to PF, ESI, maternity, gratuity, welfare fund aspects in line with the overall scheme of the Code. Clause 157 (Repeal and Savings) of the Code specifies that following Acts (explained in brief) will be repealed once this Code becomes effective:

  1. Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923
  2. Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948
  3. Employees’Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
  4. Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
  5. The Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981
  6. The Building and Other Construction Workers Cess Act, 1996
  7. The Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008

Salient Features of the code are;

  • Broad based applicability –coverage for gig, platform and unorganized workers, thresholds for specified chapters
  • Limitation period of five years for initiation and two years for concluding enquiries
  • Provision for filing single return electronically or otherwise by the employer
  • Significant increase in penalties and prosecution –No compounding for repeat offences
  • Aadhaar linked identification of employee / beneficiary
  • Impact of the wage definition on contribution / entitlement
  • Provisions predominantly aligned with those in the erstwhile statutes;
  • Change in definitions –to apply consistently to all chapters of the Social Security Code;
  • Provisions relating to Employees’ State Insurance mutually exclusive to those providing for maternity benefit, employees’ compensation;
  • Specific provision for creation of social security boards for unorganized workers;
  • Inclusion of gig / platform workers widens coverage of social security;
  • Provides for funding of notified schemes for unorganized workers through Corporate Social Responsibility Fund besides other funding mechanisms (partly by Central / State Governments, contributions collected etc.)

CODE ON INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

The Code on Industrial Relations is not yet in public domain. However, a good guess is it may subsume The Trade Unions Act, 1926; Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.

The Key differentitors are:

  • Treats fixed term workers on par with regular employee for benefits
  • Provides for sole negotiating trade union
  • Re skilling fund for training of retrenched employees.

Once Enacted, the labour codes will be a game changer for Indian employees and also increase the attractiveness of Indian economy in the eyes of global investors. However, there are many grey areas(like inclusion of value of remuneration in kind; capping of Min 50% remuneration to be considered as wages, etc), if not fixed, may increase the litigations going forward.

Legal Disclaimer: All though due care has been exercised while writing this article, this should be read for purely academic interests. This is not to be constructed as legal advice. No responsibility for the actions, if any, arising out of use of this article binds the author

Movies to Make you ROFL

Hello folks!! I haven`t posted anything on the blog, for quite sometime now. Also I have been accused of forgetting my roots as a movie/media blog, and turned into a full-time therapist. Guilty is charged!! So today I am going to share with you some Movies that made me laugh, hoping to bring some joy and laughter during these stressful times.

Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead | Own & Watch Shaun of the Dead | Universal Pictures

This acerbic action comedy introduced a winning combo: sparring buddies Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and master of style Edgar Wright, who dreamed up the script with Pegg. He plays a sad sack who turns out to be more brave and adept at slaying the walking dead than he ever would have thought. And he gets the girl. More Working Title collaborations followed, but the first time out was the charm: mash up a witty British romance and a zombie gorefest, and hilarity ensues.

https://www.netflix.com/gf-en/title/70003227

The Heat

Amazon.com: Watch The Heat | Prime Video

This yin-and-yang teaming of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as mismatched cops in a summer buddy comedy was Paul Feig’s wildly successful ($230 million) follow-up to “Bridesmaids.” Bullock’s ambitious, uptight and trim FBI agent is forced to team with McCarthy’s sloppy, overweight, profane, maverick Boston cop in order to nab a nasty drug lord. Feig’s casting combo was inspired, as McCarthy’s anarchic improv loosens up Bullock’s controlled comic timing.

https://www.netflix.com/at-en/title/70259168

Zombieland

Is 'Zombieland' available to watch on Netflix in America? - NewOnNetflixUSA

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more fun zombie comedy Zombieland. Stars an a-list cast as a group of characters that must resolve their many many differences band together and survive in a post-apocalyptic zombie world and maybe find a Twinkie along the way. Zombieland doesn’t really do anything new with the genre but its sheer sense of goofy fun it’s referential take on the zombie genre headed stellar cast make it a classic. The Bill Murray scene alone places zombie land in the pantheon of the all-time great zombie comedies. It’s ridiculous but it’s also a ton of fun.

https://www.netflix.com/in/title/70123542

Spy

Spy Spoof Genere is as old as the James Bond Movies itself, and I assumed that I have seen it all. But Spy, is a completely different movie all together. Simultaneously broad and progressive, Spy offers further proof that Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig bring out the best in one another — and delivers scores of belly laughs along the way.

Tropic Thunder

Is 'Tropic Thunder' available to watch on Netflix in America? -  NewOnNetflixUSA

Director Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder is, in my opinion, one of the last decades best comedies and has yet to be surpassed. As a gross-out meta-satire, wickedly on point and revelling in its irony, Tropic Thunder sends up Hollywood, war movie tropes, celebrity and method acting with shiny bright performances from its cherry-picked cast. It is a formidably funny spoof. The smartest, dumbest, and arguably one of the best comedy movies. Starring names such as Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr, Jack Black, and Tom Cruise among many well known names, this movie is a real good time.

https://www.netflix.com/dk-en/Title/70097582

The other guys

The Other Guys (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Will Ferrel and Mark Wahlberg star as Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz, two under-achieving New York cops who, along with everyone else on the force, live in the shadow of the two super-cops, Christopher Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and P.K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson). When an unexpected turn of events puts Danson and Highsmith out of commission, Allen and Terry decide to step up and take on an investigation of their own, leading to a tangle with foreign operatives, and an arrogant billionaire. This movie had me cracking up from start to finish, with the most over-the-top humorous dialogue between Will Ferrel and Mark Wahlberg.

https://www.netflix.com/title/70127228

As many of you requested, I have added the netflix links.

Hope you guys enjoy these movies as much as I did!

Building a Positive Mindset

Off-late many of you guys are asking how to over come the negative emotions. This topic is more relevant in the current challenging circumstance. So today I want to touch upon the topic of ” How to Develop Positive Mindset”. There is nothing new I am sharing with you here, but a culmination of what ever I have learned, applied in my life, tested and now sharing for the benefit of everybody. I have studied these principles from many thought leaders like, Jack Canfield, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Robin Sharma, Bob Proctor, Tony Robbins, Brain Tracy, Dr. Joe Vitale amongst others. Hope this helps. Also, let me know in the comments, if you would like me to write about anything specific. Happy reading!

Maintain a Gratitude Journal

Just spend a few minutes daily to take a stock of what you are grateful for. I know, this is highly subjective. A homeless man will be grateful for a square meal a day. A millionaire may not be grateful even if he is making $10000 an hour. Don`t mistake being grateful with being contempt. Being grateful for all the things in your life, puts you in a positive state of mind, while the mind is trying to look for all the things that you dont have yet. And dont blame your mind for this, since its the human evolution to be blamed. Our ancestors lived in a environment which could change in a moment and be life threatening. hence we have evolved to be in a constant state of fight or flight mode, hence our mind always looks for danger.

In the beginning, I suggest you take a note book and start to write down all the things you are grateful for. It may be small things like a cup of coffee, the cool breeze in the evening, or the fact that you are literate to be reading this. Remember this; if you have food on the table, clean drinking water and roof over your head, you are better than 40% of the world`s population. So dont be put of by the few things you wish to have, but dont possess yet. The reason why I suggested to write it down is that, when you try to sit and think about the things you are grateful for, the chances of getting distracted is higher. Also, when you write, you make it more permanent in you mind. Give it a start and you can see the difference in just a week or so. The key here is to concentrate on the emotion of Joy and Fulfilment for having said things in your life. Dont start thinking about not having a Merc, while being grateful for having a Figo. That will again put you back in the mindset of being ungrateful.

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude!

Taking Responsibility

Sheldon goes to a doctor one day;

Doctor: Tell me what is you issue?

Sheldon: I cant sleep. I have clynical depression. I dont feel hungry anymore. I dont feel interested in anything. Please diagnose what is wrong with me.

Doctor: Why do you feel depressed.

Sheldon: Where to begin doctor!! My wife is a condescending egomaniac, she keeps fighting with me day in and out. My parents often look down on me. My neighbours are always trying to bring me down. My boss is a jerk, who takes credit for all my work. My banker, Accountant and Legal counsel all are trying to steal me of my money.

Doctor: OK, I understand your problem. I know a best medicine for this problem.

Scribbles down something on the prescription pad.

Sheldon: Thank you doctor. How should I take these?

Doctor: No they are not for you, Give one tablet to each to your wife, parents, Neighbours, Boss. Go ahead and give it everyone who you come across. That might solve your problem.

As I keep mentioning in most of my posts, until we learn to take responsibility for ourselves, we can never achieve significant results in life. Its hard to accept that our life is in our control, while there are so many influences which effects our life. However, the option of responding to those influences are always with us. Whatever the event may be, the repose will be our choice. Be mindful about the response you choose irrespective of the events. This will always keep you in a positive attitude.

Nevelizing

Those of you who follow my blog regularly, already know how much importance I place on visualising. Nevelizing is an advanced visualisation technique, where you imagine or script the dream you wish to manifest as a thing of the past. Ex; you want to achieve a said sales target, or finish a project on time. Now sit down and imagine, talking to a friend, narrating how you achieved this. What were the obstacles and how you overcame the same. Its like a movie in flash back. Imagine everything in absolute detail. This automatically put you in a state of achievement and gratitude and help your mind calm itself. What you want to be when you are 85. Where you want to be. Who is around you. What are your accomplishments. Visualise them in detail.

For those who have difficulty visualising, you can script it down. Date your journal to a date in the future, when you want to achieve this target of yours. Then write down, in detail, how you feel now that you have achieved this said target. Concentrate on the emotion you feel on that moment and enhance the same.

Question your BELIEFS

Beliefs are the most powerful construct of our mind. Our belief systems are formed at a very young age and carry us for most of our lives. It is imprinted into our sub-conscious minds and is generally hard to over-write. An event leads to an Emotion (good or bad). Emotion, carried for a longer period becomes mood. Mood, if persistently maintained, turns into temperament. And Temperament turns into our attitude. Hence if we do not fix our belief system, however hard we work, our results will never be substantial.

Every year, Australia hosts 875-kilometre endurance racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is considered among the world’s most gruelling ultra-marathons. The race takes five days to complete and is normally only attempted by world-class athletes who train specially for the event. These athletes are typically less than 30 years old and backed by large companies such as Nike.

In 1983, a man named Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone’s shock, Cliff wasn’t a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners. The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” To which he replied, “Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d always catch them. I believe I can run this race.”

When the race started, the pros quickly left Cliff behind. The crowds and television audience were entertained because Cliff didn’t even run properly; he appeared to shuffle. Many even feared for the old farmer’s safety. All of the professional athletes knew that it took about 5 days to finish the race. In order to compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours.

The thing is, Cliff Young didn’t know that!

When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race, he had continued jogging all night. Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone’s disbelief, he claimed he would run straight through to the finish without sleeping. Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he had surpassed all of the young, world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line and he set a new course record.

This shows what significance beliefs play in our lives! We manifest what we believe. There are many stories like above, where the underdog has won, just because they believed (or refused to believe its not possible, like Cliff)

Learn from the best

Genius Leaves Clues!!

One of the greatest acheviement of the man kind is the ability to pass on the knowledge. Imagine, starting over every generation, from the scratch. Would we have acheived this progress?

Read books, especially biographies. They are rich sources of clues on how to make the most of your life, and most importantly, what mistakes not to make!! From Mien Kemp of Hitler, to My experiments with Truth of Gandhi, from Elon Musk to Steve Jobs, study the lives of others. It will help you choose the tactics they have used to navigate their lives.

Also, in this digital age, we have the guru of gurus, Google! its upto us to engage in pointless chatter or follow blogs like this to learn a thing or two 🙂 (a little self promotion never hurt anyone) But seriously, there are tons and tons of materials available for self development. Subscribe to those you tube channels, Newsletter, if you can, enroll to those courses which teach you life skills.

Declaring game

I know the post got really big this time. But this is the last point! and its kind of cool and funny to do as well.

Take a piece of paper and write down what is that you want to achieve. Unlike the previous exercises, let this be brief. It’s like placing an order on Amazon. Do you keep checking with the supplier about your order. No! You know that the order will be delivered in time. Just like that, write down what you want and it will be manifested. Give it a try 🙂

Have a Positive and Productive week!

Morning Habits for Success

“Our levels of success will rarely exceed our level of personal development, because success is something we attract by who we become.”

– Jim Rohn

Here are six timeless personal development habits complied by Hal Elrod, if performed every morning, will create ‘miraculous’ changes in your life:

Silence

If you want to immediately reduce your stress levels, to begin each day with the kind of calm, clarity, and peace of mind that will allow you to stay focused on what’s most important in your life, and even dance on the edge of enlightenment—do the opposite of what most people do—start every morning with a period of purposeful Silence.

Instead of checking your phone and seeing what’s happening in the world, check in with yourself by starting the day with a period of mindfulness. When you start the morning with either seated or walking mediation, you establish a calm and peaceful reference point for
the remainder of the day. Think of your morning meditation like lighting an internal candle you use to find peace of mind during a noisy and chaotic day.

I was a skeptic about meditating, may be due to its religious roots. But I was hooked, once I experienced the Mindfulness Meditation with Jack Canfield. Just 5 Mins of this small exercise, where you try to focus your attention on the breathing, will bring your energies to the present and rid you off worries and fears. Gratitude Meditation is also helpful, and helps you speeden your manifestation.

Listen to My Friend Jess Guide you Thru a Brief Meditation

Affirmations

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

‐ Muhammed Ali

Daily affirmations are to the mind what exercise is to the body. Repeating affirmations helps to reprogram the subconscious mind for success. It helps eliminate negative and limiting beliefs and transforms your comfort zone from a limited one keeping you trapped in mediocrity to a more expanded one where anything is possible. It helps to replace your “I cant’s” with “I cans,” and your fears and doubts with confidence and certainty.

Whether you know it or not, you are always using affirmations… but usually not ones that will bring you what you want. Like, “I am never Good Enough”, “Bad things always happens to me”

The daily use of positive affirmations interrupts and eventually totally replaces this barrage of negative thoughts and beliefs. To achieve this, you must continually flood your subconscious with thoughts and images of the new reality you wish to create. Affirmations are reminders to your unconscious mind to stay focused on your goals and to come up with solutions to challenges and obstacles that might get in the way.

Consider a transformation you want to make and phrase it as, “I [your name] will be [transformation].”

Here are the eight guidelines for creating effective affirming statements. These are derived from the book The Success Principles.

  1. Start with the words “I am.” These are the two most powerful words in the English language.
  2. Use the present tense. Ex: “I am Happy, Now that I can drive my car well”
  3. State it in the positive. Affirm what you want, not what you don’t want. Ex: Affirm “I am a good driver“, Not “I will not hit my car to the curb
  4. Keep it brief.
  5. Make it specific.
  6. Include an action word ending with –ing.
  7. Include at least one dynamic emotion or feeling word.
  8. Make affirmations for yourself, not others.

Repeat your affirmation out loud with intense conviction. Affirmation forms belief; belief leads to action; action leads to progress; progress strengthens belief.

Visualizing


“You must expect great things from yourself before you can do them.”

‐ Michael Jordan

Using visualization techniques to focus on your goals and desires yields four very important benefits.

1.) It activates your creative subconscious which will start generating creative ideas to achieve your goal.

2.) It programs your brain to more readily perceive and recognize the resources you will need to achieve your dreams.

3.) It activates the law of attraction, thereby drawing into your life the people, resources, and circumstances you will need to achieve your goals.

4.) It builds your internal motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve your dreams.

Visualization is really quite simple. You sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine — in as vivid detail as you can — what you would be looking at if the dream you have were already realized. Imagine being inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes at the ideal result.

Be like the Olympic downhill skier who imagines going down the mountain, executing each turn perfectly. Visualize yourself executing the work you need to do today to become the person you aspire to be. When see yourself executing a task in your mind’s eye you make the task easier to execute later in the day, because visualization fires and strengthens the same neural circuits you’ll use to complete the task.

Although a daily practice of visualization is vital, we don’t need to spend all day thinking about our goals for this technique to work. In fact, spending too much time in visualization can rob you of something essential – living in the moment. Daily rituals help to establish the right balance between thinking about the future and living in the moment. Start by picking a time during which you’ll review your goals and visualize your success. Ideally, do this twice a day – first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed. The process typically will take 10 minutes or less.

If you meditate, guided or not, do your visualizations immediately after your meditation. The deepened state reached during meditation heightens the impact of visualization. For greatest effect, read your goals or affirmations out loud. After each one, close your eyes and create the visual image of the completed goal in your mind. To multiply the effects, add sound, smells, and tastes. Most importantly, add the emotions and bodily sensations you would be feeling if you had already achieved your goal. This is a powerful visualization technique.

Research has revealed that images or scenes that are accompanied by intense emotion will stay locked in our memory forever. The more passion, excitement and energy we muster during visualization, the more powerful the results will be. Once you have visualized each goal as complete, it’s time to release. Let go of your goals, and spend the rest of your day being in the present moment.

Exercising

I cannot stress enough on the benefits of exercising. Not long ago, I too was a couch potato, and never in my life had experienced the bliss of sweat. When you increase your heart rate with aerobic exercise, you trigger the release of neurochemicals (dopamine, norepinephrine, and BDNF), which significantly increases your ability to focus during the day. John Ratey, a researcher at Harvard Medical Schools, says, “A dose of exercise is like taking a bit of Ritalin.”
You dont have to do reps of crunches to get this benefit, although it has its own advantages. Just a 20 Min Brisk walk, or even few minutes skipping the rope will do the trick.

Since I have already written much about physical wellness, and also there are plenty of materials available regarding the same, lets move on to the next point.

“In order for man to succeed in life, he is provided with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.”

‐ Plato


Reading

After purposeful silence, affirmations, visualisation, and exercise, your brain is hungry to learn – pick up a personal improvement book and start reading!
Whatever area of life you want to improve (relationships, health, finances, happiness), there is a book to guide you.
Books are the richest source of high‐quality, curated knowledge. Skim a book every morning to find one big idea that may advance your life.

Many of you already know that I spend a considerable amount of my time reading and writing. Honestly, it is one of the things I love doing the most. Last year I read 63 books. I didn’t actually try to read that amount. I was just reading. I honestly felt like I was not reading enough. Then I checked my Kindle and it told me I had purchased 71 Books and have completed 63 out of it. This year I decided that I’d be intentional about my reading time and spend a lot of time deliberately reading.


Scribing

Ever wondered why history’s great minds including Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Leonardo Da Vinci, Marcus Aurelius, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw and Maya Angelou would spend so much of their precious time writing things that will never be seen by another soul?

Many famous creatives, writers, innovators and original thinkers of our generation keep journals— for many, it is a creative necessity, for others, a place for exploration, and for some an art form in and of itself. “Writing accesses your left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational,” says Maud Purcell, a psychotherapist and journaling expert. “While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to do what it does best, i.e. create, intuit and feel. In this way, writing removes mental blocks and allows us to use more of our brainpower to better understand ourselves and the world around us.”

https://www.wikihow.com/Keep-a-Journal

Stop the Blame Game

“YOU CAN’T HIRE SOMEONE ELSE TO DO YOUR PUSH-UPS FOR YOU”

Today, I am going to tell you the biggest secret there is, in the self-development philosophies around the world. Different school of thoughts have called it with different names.  But it’s the One basic thing we all need to adapt if we want to achieve our dream life.

“I was out walking one night and found a man down on his knees looking for something under a streetlamp. I Inquired as to what he was looking for. He said he is looking for his lost key. I offered to help and got down on my knees and helped him search for the key. After an hour of fruitless searching, I said, “We’ve looked everywhere for it and we haven’t found it. Are you sure that you lost it here?” He Replied, “No no, I lost it in my house, but there is more light out here under the street lamp.”

It is time to stop looking outside for the answers to why you haven’t created the life and results you want, for it is You who creates the quality of the life you lead and the results you produce”

We all have this belief system that we are entitled to a great life—that somehow, somewhere, someone (certainly not us) is responsible for filling our lives with Health, Happiness, Good Career, Nurturing family, Lasting personal relationships etc. That there is some one else responsible for the quality of the life you live.

Yes there is!!

No, I am not talking about God..

That person is You!!.

If we want to be successful, we have to take 100% responsibility for everything that we experience in our lives.

The bad news is, this is not easy.

In fact, most of us have been conditioned to blame something outside of ourselves for the parts of our life we don’t like. We blame our parents, our bosses, God, the weather, Modi, our astrological chart, —anyone or anything we can pin the blame on. We never want to look at where the real problem is—ourselves.

We have to take the position that we have always had the power to make it different, to get it right, to produce the desired result. For whatever reason—ignorance, lack of awareness, fear, needing to be right, the need to feel safe—we chose not to exercise that power. It doesn’t matter why we choose that. The past is the past. All that matters now is that from this point forward we choose—Yes, it’s a choice, it always was and always will be—to act as if you are 100% responsible for everything that does or doesn’t happen to you.

If something doesn’t turn out as planned, you will ask yourself, How did I create that? What was I thinking? What were my beliefs? What did I say or not say? What did I do or not do to create that result? How did I get the other person to act that way? What do I need to do differently next time to get the result I want?

I firmly believe in the words, “Don`t Preach what you don’t follow”. Let me tell you, how this principle of taking responsibility has helped me, be what I am today!

If fate had played its cards well, I would either be selling Beedi in a petty shop, inherited from my dad or ended up in a Ashram doing Bajan`s. Today I am leading a happy and successful life. I have a well earning job, where I can do what I love. I am healthy and smart. I have travelled to some exotic locations in Asia-Pacific and Western Europe. I am manifesting what I desire, while also helping other to achieve the same. But this was not the case all thru my life. Be it while I was pursuing my CA, or while I was finding job, I was usually the underdog. I dont think anyone would have even imagined an average kid from a lower middle class family with orthodox background will become so successful in life.

What did I do different?

I took responsibility for my life and I believed that I can become what I truly want!! I did not blame my parents for not feeding me in silver spoon. I did not blame the government for not giving me opportunities since I was not having any reservations in education or career. I did not blame the system as I had to work while I was still studying. I did not blame god when I had to manage my collage studies, my internship and my family business all while riding on my bicycle for more than 80 kms a day.

Remember, the power to success is always in our hands!!

Forming A Habit

Ever Tried to develop a healthy habit and failed to do so? Made a ton of resolutions on new years eve, but never saw it through till the first weekend?

James Clear, in his revolutionary book, Atomic Habits explores the possibilities which lead to failure of developing habits.

If you’ve failed to adopt a healthy or productive habit you either failed to make your new behaviour obvious, easy, attractive, or satisfying.

The Four Laws of Behaviour Change

These are what James calls ‘The Four Laws of Behaviour Change’. Failing to abide by any one of these laws means you’ll fail to adopt a new behaviour.
1. Don’t have an obvious daily cue to exercise? You’ll forget about your new healthy habit and stick to your old daily routine.
2. Don’t have an easy exercise routine? You’ll perform an easy and familiar routine instead (like watching TV).
3. Don’t find exercise appealing (i.e. exercise isn’t attractive)? You’ll resist exercise enough to avoid doing it consistently.
4. Don’t get immediate satisfaction after exercise? You’ll lack the motivation to exercise it consistently.

Next time when you want to form a habit, try designing these four qualities into your habit, so that it sticks on.

As I wanted to lose weight and stay healthy, I planned running 5 Miles a day. adapting the four rules mentioned above, I designed my running habit.

My Obvious Daily cue was, I kept my alarm clock, all the way in the shoe rack in the living room. So that when I wake up to switch off my alarm, I would make it obvious that I had to go for my routine jogging. To make the jogging Easy, I started to run a insignificant 1 Mile a day for the first week. and then build up on the momentum to reach my goal of 5 Miles by end of 2 Months. To make my habit Appealing, I photo-shopped a picture of myself, looking 20 pounds lighter and put it on my wardrobe. Everyday before heading off to jog, I would look at that picture, and get inspired, knowing why I am doing this. And for an entire month, I restricted myself from watching my favourite TV Shows, on the days I did not run. So I always had the Satisfaction of watching TV if I complete my 5 mile mark. The routine has worked pretty well, and except for few odd days, I have been running 5 miles every day for past couple of months.

Stacking & Starting

You’ve probably used ‘habit stacking’ to build new hygiene habits without realizing it. As a child, you stacked the habit of washing your hands with the habit of having dinner. Washing your hand became the cue for your dinner habit.
Habit stacking involves using an old and reliable daily habit as the trigger for a new habit. When you stack a new habit on an existing habit, you use the momentum of the old habit to make the new habit easier to initiate. I think of it as riding a bike down a hill to build up enough speed to get up the next hill with minimal
peddling.

But if the hill of your new habit is too daunting, the momentum of the old habit won’t be enough. That’s why you need to reduce your new habit to an easy two‐minute ‘starting ritual’.


“Even when you know you should start small, it’s easy to start too big. When you dream about making a change, excitement inevitably takes over and you end up trying to do too much too soon. The most effective way I know to counteract this tendency is to use the Two‐Minute Rule, which states, ‘When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.’”

James Clear


“Read before bed each night” becomes “Read one page.”
“Do thirty minutes of yoga” becomes “Take out my yoga mat.”
“Fold the laundry” becomes “Fold one pair of socks.”
“Run five miles” becomes “Tie my running shoes.”

Syncing & Scoring


Ronan Byrne, an electrical engineering student in Dublin, Ireland knew that he should exercise more, so he used his engineering skills to synchronise his stationary bike with his laptop. He wrote a program on his laptop to play his favourite Netflix shows on the TV in front of the stationary bike when he cycled at a
certain speed. If he slowed down, Netflix would pause, and he’d need to cycle harder to finish the episode he was watching. Imagine, binge‐watching Netflix meant burning calories!!

Like Byrne, if you only allow yourself to enjoy your favourite experiences while executing a healthy and productive new habit, you’ll find the new habit is something you look forward to doing.

When you synchronise an experience you crave with a new habit you dread doing, the craving will counteract the resistance to executing the new habit and allow you to get started.
Synchronising is a great tool for building a new habit, but to make a habit stick the habit must become inherently satisfying. And to make a habit inherently satisfying you must keep score.

Imagine on June 30th you look at your Google Fit journal and see see 27 Green Heart marks, on 27 of the last 30 days. Each mark represents a successful workout. That journal is a visual proof that you are someone who cares about their health. You should take pride in that fact!
If you take time to score the completion of a habit in a habit tracker (ex: calendar on your wall, app on your phone, or physical habit
tracking notebook), you’ll start to see a pattern of behaviour that proves you’re becoming the type of person you’ve dreamed of being. The immediate pride you experience after using a habit tracker provides the satisfaction you need to return to the habit over and over until the habit sticks.

Happy Habitting!!

This Too Shall Pass

If a man for whatever reason has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself!

JACQUES-Y VES COUSTEAU

Even the simple things like Reading/watching News has become a daunting task nowadays. Every channel, every newspaper, goes on and on about the latest body count. Amidst such a negative set up, how can we stay positive and motivated?

I am not advocating that we should throw caution to the wind and get back to the life before Corona. Lets take all the precaution that`s necessary. Stay away from Crowds. Stay at home. Sanitise. Be Masked.

However, lets not go into depression thinking that the world, as we knew, has come to an end.

Firstly, the mortality rate (i.e, the no of people who die after being infected) is around 3%. That`s 97% reasons not to be gloomy! (Exactly 100 years ago, the world experienced something similar, but with a mortality rate greater than 10%!!) We should just be thankful that we are living in 2020, and not 1920.

Upside to corona is that, doctors and scientists all over the world has come together like never before to find a cure to this epidemic. We are starting to learn what true collaboration looks like. It was indeed a rude awakening for most of the advanced nations, about their healthcare systems.

We are enjoying better air Quality than before. (WHO estimates ~4.6 Mil People die due to air pollution each year – in your face Corona :P) Nature is flourishing. Wildlife is seen thriving everywhere. (Only for MCU fans – I Just remembered, Cap saying he saw whales in the Hudson. After Thanos wiped out half of the universe)

We got to spend time with our family.

Those who always complained that they never had time for their personal development, reading, exercising, realised that there wasn’t a shortage of time, but discipline.

We all got a chance to evaluate our set ways of thinking. challenge the status quo. and if we could learn one thing from history, disruption always leads to innovation.

I am personally thankful to this lock down, since it gave me time as well as perspective.

I started working out(when all the gyms in the world were open, it didn’t even cross my mind that I had to lose weight; Once they announced the lock down, I suddenly got a hankering for dumbbells. I had to do good with filled water cans and my CA books – I told you; Innovation)

I completed all my coaching courses. Though these courses were in my Udemy cart from almost a year now, it was the lock down that allowed me to take them up and complete. I am now a Certified NLP and CBT Coach.

I re-sparked my passion for writing. Wrote 10 blogs in short period of 2 Months or so. you wouldn’t be reading this piece if it wasn’t for the Covid Lock-down.

So please remember, inspite of what the news says, its not all gloomy out there. As always, there are as many inspiring stories as there are negative ones; they just dont make it to the headlines.

Some tips to Stay Positive during the unprecedented blacks-swan event:

Limit your Exposure to Negative news

its OK to casually watch the news for couple of minutes to catch upon the latest developments and stay updated about the information from governments. But dont give in and start to Binge watch episode after episodes of “Breaking News” “Exclusively on our Channel”. It Gradually feeds the paranoid in you. Instead, read goodnewsnetwork.org optimistdaily.com

Be with positive people

Staying Positive is infectious. Surround yourself with positive people. Read positive books or watch sitcoms like “Friends” or “Big Bang Theory”. Whenever you get depressing thoughts or you hear people talking about Covid, watch funny videos on Youtube.

Meditate

I dont have to tell you the effects of meditation, unless you are new to the concept. Meditating even for 3-5 Mins brings rapid change in your mood. Put on your earphones(you can play a soothing music if you want, works otherwise too) and just concentrate on your breathing. Do not try to manipulate the breath (dont breathe faster or slower) Let the breathe be natural. Just bring your awareness to the breathing and see the mind calm down. You can also try Mindfulness meditation.

Practice gratitude

As Advocated by Jack Canfield, Practising gratitude can intensely uplift your mood. Be thankful for the food you get. The family around you. If you have food on your table, roof over your head, clean water to drink and warm clothes, you are better than 60% of the worlds population. Let that sink in.

Do one good thing

Doing something good for others always makes us forget our worries. If you are financially blessed, donate to charities fighting Covid. Help some one whos laid off, get a job. Help your Spouse in Kitchen. However small the deed is, it will always puts you in the state of happiness.

Pick up a new habit. Finish the book that has been sitting on your night stand from days. Clean the weeds in your garden and appreciate the flowers.

Lets Overcome the feeling of uncertainty and Fear about the future. Lets calm ourselves and our loved ones from panicking. When this blows over, we may realise that it might be what we wanted to set our lives straight.

This too, Shall Pass!

Incentives Schemes under the FTP

CA Harikrishna Puranik

Recently the GoI has extended various cut off dates for claiming incentives such as SEIS/MEIS. This may be your chance to encash such benefit, adding to your arsenal in fighting the CoVid Crisis.

Govt Of India, in order to facilitate and encourage the industry towards achieving positive Current Account Deficit, and level the playing field for Indian Exporters to compete in the global Market, announces various schemes for exporters of good and services.

Major Schemes are:

1 Duty Exemption Schemes (such as AA and DFIA)

2 Duty Remission Schemes (Currently Duty Drawback scheme)

3 Incentive schemes such as MEIS/SEIS.

Though there are lot many articles about incentive schemes, they mainly concentrate at conventional schemes such as Drawbacks (DBK) and Advance Authorisation (AA). In the current article, we will try to explain in simple terms, the concept and procedure of benefitting from SEIS Schemes.

Background:

Central government notified a scheme called Service Exports from India Scheme (“SEIS”) under Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 (“FTP”). This scheme replaced its predecessor ‘Served From India Scheme (“SFIS”) under which the benefit was not available for foreign brand of the Indian companies. Exporters of the notified services will be awarded an incentive ranging from 3-7% of your Net Foreign Exchange Earning. These incentives are in the form of Duty Credit Scrips, which can be used for payment of import duties such as BCD. Don’t throw down the hat yet, saying we don’t have any imports, to use these duty scrips. The scrips are transferable and are usually purchased in the market at a marginal discount. So you can still pocket the remaining cash.

Pre-requisites:

1.      The Services fall under the broad classification as; 

  1. Cross border trade of eligible services from one country’s to the other country.
  2. Consumption of eligible services abroad.
  3. Services rendered in the commercial presence of one country in the territory of another is not eligible.
  4. Presence of natural person of one country providing their service in the territory of another is also not eligible.

2.      Types of Services Notified in Schedule under Appendix 3D;

Sl. No.Name of the ServicePercent of incentive
Professional services
a.Legal Services7
b.Accounting, auditing and book-keeping services7
c.Taxation services7
d.Architectural services7
e.Engineering services7
f.Integrated engineering services7
gUrban planning and landscape architectural services7
hMedical and dental services7
I.Veterinary services7
jServices provided by midwives, nurses, physiotherapists, and paramedical personnel7
Research development services
a.R&D services on natural sciences7
b.R&D services on social sciences and humanities7
c.Interdisciplinary R&D services7
Rental/Leasing services without operators
a.Relating to ships7
b.Relating to aircraft7
CRelating to other transport equipment7
d.Relating to other machinery and equipment7
Other business services
a.Advertising services5
b.Market research and public opinion polling services5
c.Management consulting service5
d.Services related to management consulting5
e.Technical testing and analysis services5
f.Services incidental to agricultural, hunting and Forestry5
g.Services incidental to fishing5
h.Services incidental5
I.Services incidental to manufacturing5
J.Services incidental to energy distribution5
k.Placement and supply services of personnel5
l Investigation and security5
m.Related scientific and technical consulting Services5
n  Maintenance and repair of equipment (not 8861-8866 including maritime vessels, aircraft or other transport equipment)5
o.Building cleaning services5
PPhotographic services5
qPackaging services5
r.Printing, publishing5
s.Convention services5
Audio-visual services
a.Motion picture and video tape production and distribution service7
b.Motion picture projection service7
c.Radio and television services7
d.Radio and television transmission services7
eSound recording.7
General construction work for building7
General construction work for civil engineering7
Installation and assembly work7
Building completion and finishing work7
 Primary education services7
 Secondary education services7
 Higher education services7
 Adult education7
 Sewage services7
 Refuse disposal services7
 Sanitation and similar services7
Hospital services7
7TOURISM AND TRAVEL-RELATED SERVICES
A. Hotels and Restaurants (including catering)
a.Hotel5
b.Restaurants (including catering)5
B. Travel agencies and tour operators services7
C. Tourist guides services7
8RECREATIONAL, CULTURAL AND SPORTING SERVICES (other than audio-visual services)
AEntertainment services (including theatre, live bands and circus services)7
BNews agency services7
CLibraries, archives, museums, and other cultural services7
DSporting and other recreational services7
9TRANSPORT SERVICES
AMaritime Transport Services
a. Passenger transportation7
b. Freight transportation7
c. Rental of vessels with crew7
d. Maintenance and repair of vessels7
e. Pushing and towing services7
f. Supporting services for maritime transport7
BB. Air transport services
a. Rental of aircraft with crew7
b. Maintenance and repair of aircraft c. Airport operations and ground handling7
CC. Road Transport Services
a. Passenger transportation
b. Freight transportation7
c. Rental of commercial vehicles with operator7
d. Maintenance and repair of road transport equipment7
e. Supporting services for road transport services7
DD. Services auxiliary to all modes of transport
a. Cargo handling services7
b. Storage and warehouse services7
c. Freight transport agency services7

3.  Exclusions:

i) Foreign exchange remittances other than those earned for rendering of notified services would not be counted for entitlement. Thus, other sources of foreign exchange earnings such as equity or debt participation, donations, receipts of repayment of loans etc. and any other inflow of foreign exchange, unrelated to rendering of service, would be ineligible.

ii) Following Foreign Exchange remittances shall not be considered for calculation of entitlement under this scheme:

I) Related to Financial Services Sector include

a) Raising of all types of foreign currency Loans,

b) Export proceeds realization of clients,

c) Issuance of Foreign Equity through ADRs/GDRs or other similar instruments,

d) Issuance of foreign currency Bonds,

e) Sale of securities and other financial instruments,

f) Other receivables not connected with services rendered by financial institutions

II) Earned through contract/regular employment abroad (e.g. labour remittances) would include

a) Payments for services received from EEFC Account,

b) Foreign exchange turnover by Healthcare Institutions like equity participation, donations etc.,

c) Foreign exchange turnover by Educational Institutions like equity participation, donations etc.,

d) Export turnover relating to services of units operating under EOU / EHTP / STPI / BTP Schemes or supplies of services made to such units,

e) Clubbing of turnover of services rendered by SEZ / EOU /EHTP / STPI / BTP units with turnover of DTA Service Providers

f) Exports of Goods

g) Foreign Exchange earnings for services provided by Airlines, Shipping lines service providers plying from any foreign country X to any foreign country Y routes not touching India at all

h) Service providers in Telecom Sector

4.      Other Conditions

  • Service provider must be located in India.
  • Net Free Foreign Exchange Earning during the year must be higher than $15000($10000 in case of Sole Proprietorship)
  • Must have a Valid IEC number.
  • Incase of entities engaged in both manufacturing as well as service then the net foreign exchange earned by such entity shall be considered for services only (although you can claim MEIS on the goods exported)
  • Earnings in INR is also considered as equalling FC where exports are made in INR.
  • Earning via credit card is also eligible.
  • You must posses a DSC registered with DGFT since the application should be submitted online.

Holistic Yoga

No, I am not starting a new Yoga Studio. Not Inventing a new type of Yoga(although I am not sure, if the above name is not taken already!!)

On this Yoga day (21st of June) I wanted to touch upon those aspects of yoga that is usually overlooked. In my opinion, Aṣṭāṅga Yoga (Eight-folds of Yoga) was originally intended for the overall well-being of the society rather than, its current plight of being classified as a physical exercise.

Imagine holding a leaf of a tree, admiring the vivid colours, the visible veins, patterns. Then you realise you standing in front of a tree filled with thousands of such leaves, but further, it has sweet fruits, tangy bark, fragrant flowers as well. Yoga, specifically yogasana, although great in its own right, is dwarfed when you compare it with other aspects of Yoga as a whole. Read on, to know what you are missing out on!

As everything in India, there is no “originator” for the Yoga Sutra`s (the text from which all the knowledge about Yogas are originated). The Yoga Sutras were compiled sometime between 500 BCE and 200 BCE by the sage Patanjali in India who synthesized and organized knowledge about yoga from much older traditions. The Sutras fell into relative obscurity for nearly 700 years from the 12th to 19th century, and made a comeback in late 19th century due to the efforts of Swami Vivekananda, the Theosophical Society and others. It gained prominence again as a comeback classic in the 20th century. Before the 20th century, history indicates that the medieval Indian yoga scene was dominated by the various other texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Vasistha, as well as literature on hatha yoga, tantric yoga and Pashupata Shaivism yoga rather than the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.

Patanjali defines yoga as having eight components (aṣṭ āṅga, “eight limbs”): The eight limbs of yoga are

  • Yama (abstinences),
  • Niyama (observances),
  • Asana (yoga postures),
  • Pranayama (breath control),
  • Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses),
  • Dharana (concentration),
  • Dhyana (meditation) and
  • Samadhi (absorption).

Most of us know the famous once like Asanas, Pranayama or to some extent Dhyana. Let me try to convince you in this article, that, rest of the aspects are as important if not greater than those we already know and practise.

Broadly put, the first three parts can be considered as conditioning the body and mind, changes in life style and Self- purification. With the fourth and fifth one we start the journey inwards, finally attaining the pure self consciousness/ bliss by the last leg of the practice.

Here is what a brief description of each item looks like:

1. Yama

Yamas are ethical vows in the Yogic tradition and can be thought of as moral imperatives. The five Yamas listed by Patañjali in Yogasūtra are:

  1. Ahiṃsā : Nonviolence.
  2. Satya : Truthfulness (Non- Falsehood).
  3. Asteya: Self Satisfied (Non- Stealing).
  4. Brahmacarya:  Control of Sensual indulgences
  5. Aparigraha: Self-Content (Not being Greedy)

The commentaries on these teachings of Patanjali state how and why each of the above self-restraints help in the personal growth of an individual.

Patanjali calls the Yamas Mahavratam, which means a Great Vow.

2. Niyama

The second component of Patanjali’s Yoga path is called niyama, which includes virtuous habits, behaviours, and observances (the “dos”, if you may say so) The five Niyamas listed by Patañjali in Yogasūtra are:

  1. Shaucha: Purity
  2. Santosha: Contentment
  3. Tapas: Patience/ Persistence
  4. Svadhyaya: Introspection
  5. Ishvarapranidhana: Contemplation

3. Āsana

Interestingly, the major part of Yoga, for most of us, being the Asanas, is not a part of the Astanga Yoga.  Patanjali begins discussion of Āsana merely as meditation posture.

Asana is thus a meditation posture that one can hold for a period of time, staying relaxed, steady, comfortable, and motionless. Patanjali does not list any specific asana, except the brief suggestion, that the asanas are “posture one can hold with comfort and motionlessness, which over time and practice stops the quivering of body.

However, the Bhasya commentary attached to the Sutras, (widely thought to be written by Patanjali himself), suggests twelve seated meditation postures:

  • Padmasana (lotus pose),
  • Virasana (hero/warrior pose),
  • Bhadrasana (glorious pose),
  • Svastikasana (lucky mark pose),
  • Dandasana (staff pose),
  • Sopasrayasana (supported pose),
  • Paryankasana (bedstead pose),
  • Krauncha-nishadasana (seated heron pose),
  • Hastanishadasana (seated elephant pose),
  • Ushtranishadasana (seated camel pose),
  • Samasansthanasana (evenly balanced pose) and
  • Sthirasukhasana (any motionless posture that is in accordance with one’s pleasure)

4. Prānāyāma

After a desired posture has been achieved, we move forward to the next limb of yoga, prāṇāyāma, which is the practice of consciously regulating breath (inhalation and exhalation). This is done in several ways, inhaling, and then suspending exhalation for a period, exhaling and then suspending inhalation for a period, slowing the inhalation and exhalation, consciously changing the time/length of breath (deep, short breathing)

5. Pratyāhāra

Pratyahara means not taking any input or any information from the sense organs. It is a process of retracting the sensory experience from external objects. It is a step of self-extraction and abstraction. Pratyahara is not consciously closing one’s eyes to the sensory world, it is consciously closing one’s mind processes to the sensory world. Pratyahara empowers one to stop being controlled by the external world, fetch one’s attention to seek self-knowledge and experience the freedom innate in one’s inner world. Its enabling one towards true freedom.

As I mentioned before, Pratyahara marks the transition of yoga experience from first four limbs that perfect external forms to last three limbs that perfect inner state, from outside to inside, from outer sphere of body to inner sphere of mind.

6. Dhāraṇā

Dharana as the sixth limb of yoga, is holding one’s mind onto a particular inner state, subject or topic of your mind. The mind is usually fixed on a mantra, or one’s breath. Fixing the mind means one-pointed focus, without drifting of mind, and without jumping from one topic to another. It is a fore-runner for our next step, contemplating in the true sense.

7. Dhyāna

Dhyana is contemplating, reflecting on whatever Dharana has focused on. If in the sixth limb of yoga one focused on a personal deity, Dhyana is its contemplation. If the concentration was on one object, Dhyana is non-judgmental, non-presumptuous observation of that object. If the focus was on a concept/idea, Dhyana is contemplating that concept/idea in all its aspects, forms, and consequences. Dhyana is uninterrupted train of thought, current of cognition, flow of awareness.

Dhyana is integrally related to Dharana, one leads to other. Dharana is a state of mind, Dhyana the process of mind. Dhyana is distinct from Dharana in that the meditator becomes actively engaged with its focus. Patanjali defines contemplation (Dhyana) as the mind process, where the mind is fixed on something, and then there is “a course of uniform modification of knowledge”

Dhyana and Dharana, though sounding similar, can be differentiated as, Dhyana being the yoga state when there is only the “stream of continuous thought about the object, uninterrupted by other thoughts of a different kind for the same object”; Dharana, is focussed on one object, but aware of its many aspects and ideas about the same object.

Sri Shankaracharya, brilliantly gives the example of a yogi in a state of dharana on morning sun may be aware of its brilliance, color and orbit; the yogin in dhyana state “contemplates on sun’s orbit alone for example, without being interrupted by its color, brilliance or other related ideas”.

8. Samādhi

Samadhi is oneness with the subject of meditation. There is no distinction, during the eighth limb of yoga, between the actor of meditation, the act of meditation and the subject of meditation. Samadhi is that spiritual state when one’s mind is so absorbed in whatever it is contemplating on, that the mind loses the sense of its own identity. The thinker, the thought process, and the thought fuse with the subject of thought. There is only oneness, samadhi.

Samadhi can be of two types, with or without the support of the underlying object. further, Samadhi with the support of a object can be classified as Deliberative and Reflective Samadhi. The Samadhi without the support of any object, known as Nirvikalpa Samadhi, is considered to be highest form of “Oneness” and the fulfilment of the entire journey of Yogasana.

In as sense, Stage four(Pranayama) Stage five (Pratyahara) Stage Six(Dharana) and Stage Seven(Dhyanya) culminate in achieving Samadhi state

As you can see, the Astanga Yoga is quite unique and different in a way that it is more of a life-style rather than just a physical exercise.

On this Yoga Day, I wish more and more of us understand the true intent of the Yogis who provided us with such an incredible source of knowledge, and, enrich and enlighten ourselves by adapting Yogasutras in its purest form.

Wish you a Happy Yoga Day!!

My Take on Movie “The Parasite”

For Quite some time now, the movie Parasite is making a buzz. Apart from being a box office hit, it also won an Oscar for Best Picture, Making History as first foreign film to do so. Described by its creator as “a comedy without clowns, a tragedy without villains”, Parasite is a tale of two families from opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, slip seamlessly from murder mystery, via monster movie, to dystopian future-fantasy and beyond.

For some reason, I have been putting off watching this movie. Somehow, I cant watch a movie thru its subtitles. Its hard to concentrate on the acting or the expressions, while your eyes are glued to the CCs. And I never felt comfortable watching a Korean Movie. Last night I somehow took up the courage to watch the hyped movie. And I am not regretting the decision now 🙂

The Plot

As in all my posts, here is your spoiler alert!

If you have not watched the movie yet, Please skip directly to the last section of this post

Ki-woo Kim (Choi Woo-Shik) is a young man living in poverty in the slums of a nameless South Korean city with his family – father Ki-taek Kim (Song Kang-ho), mother Chung-sook Kim (Jang Hye-jin), and sister Ki-jung (Park So-dam). The family lives in a garden unit where they struggle finding a Wi-Fi signal to sneak into in order to get access to the Internet to watch TV, get fumigated on, and have to watch men urinating in the alley outside their home. They make ends meet by doing menial tasks such as folding pizza boxes – and even then, get criticized by the pizza employees for messing up the boxes. Ki-woo’s wealthy friend Min-hyuk pays the family a visit, giving them a gift – a rock that is supposed to bring those who have it wealth and prosperity. He then tells Ki-woo that he has been tutoring the teenage daughter of a very wealthy family. He is leaving to study abroad but is in love with the daughter, and knows that any of the other university boys would steal her away. He wants Ki-woo to be her tutor, knowing he will watch over her so that Min-hyuk can propose to her once she graduates high school. Ki-woo knows he isn’t qualified since he isn’t in college, but Min-hyuk promises to vouch for him, and so he agrees and has Ki-jung forge credentials for him to take to his interview.

Ki-woo interviews at the very wealthy Park family where he meets Mr. Park (Lee Sun-kyun), his scatterbrained wife Mrs. Park (Choi Yeo-jeong), and their children, teenage daughter Da-hye and young son Da-song. Ki-woo realizes he needs to flirt with Da-hye to get the job, and he does – Mrs. Park pays him an exorbitant amount of money and mentions they need an art tutor for Da-song. Da-song had a traumatic incident where he saw a “ghost” in the house and had a seizure and has been needing help with his art. Ki-woo introduces them to Ki-jung, who forges documents for herself and goes by “Jessica,” and she too begins making money hand over fist. When the Park’s limo driver takes her home, Ki-jung leaves her underwear in the car in order to get him fired: she then suggests her “Uncle” as the new driver – who is really Ki-taek. The last position is that of the housekeeper, Moon-kwang (Lee Jeung-eun). She has worked for the home since before the Park family lived there – she worked for the previous owner, an eccentric architect. In order to get her fired, the Kims exploit her allergy to peaches, causing her to have allergic reactions: they then convince Mrs. Park that she is seriously contagiously ill and cannot be around their son. She leaves, devastated, and Mrs. Kim is given the job, fooling the Park family into hiring the entire Kim family.

The Kim family enjoys their massive increase of income, and when the Park family decides to leave to go camping for Da-song’s birthday weekend, they take the opportunity to stay in the huge Park house for the weekend. They spend the evening drinking and eating and making a mess of the place when the doorbell rings: it’s Moon-kwang. She claims she was fired so quickly she left without being able to get something and just wants it back. Mrs. Kim reluctantly lets her in, and Moon-kwang runs into the basement and begins screaming, opening a secret passage behind some shelves. She goes to her husband, Geun-sae (Park Myung-hoon), who has secretly been living in the bunker ever since the previous owner moved out in order to hide from loan sharks. She gives him food while Mrs. Kim looks on in horror – she tells Moon-kwang she needs to leave, and as Moon-kwang begs her to let them stay, the rest of the Kim family (who had been eavesdropping) falls off the stairs and into view – and they call each other “dad,” etc., which Moon-kwang films on her phone, realizing the con the family has pulled. She threatens to send it to the Park family and uses that so she and her husband can force the Kim family to do their bidding.

The Kim family manages to get the upper hand on them, getting them into the secret bunker, but the Park family calls: they’ve canceled their camping trip due to rain and will be home in eight minutes. The Kims scramble, trying to clean up as much mess as they can, keeping the other two in the basement. They manage to do a good enough job that the rest of the family is able to hide while Mrs. Kim gives the Parks their dinner – when Moon-kwang breaks out and runs upstairs, Mrs. Kim shoves her back down the stairs, where she hits her head and is severely wounded. Moon-kwang and Geun-sae are locked in the bunker. Mr. and Mrs. Park end up sleeping in the living room in order to keep an eye on Da-song who is camping out in the backyard, forcing the Kims to stay under the table, frozen all night, even as the Parks complain about Mr. Kim’s smell – and then later, have sex. Eventually, in the dead of night, they are able to sneak out. They return home to find their apartment completely flooded with rain and sewage. Ki-woo takes the rock, and the family sleeps in a shelter for the night.

The next day, Mrs. Park decides to throw an impromptu party for Da-song. The Kim family, in their roles as help, are invited and have to pretend that they don’t know that there are two people locked in a bunker under the house. Ki-woo takes the rock down into the bunker, where Moon-kwang has died and is ambushed by Geun-sae, who bludgeons him in the head with the rock. He then enters the party, where he stabs Ki-jung in the chest. The party explodes into horror, and Da-song has a seizure – Geun-sae was the “ghost” he had seen in the house prior. Mr. Park screams at his driver, Mr. Kim – who is trying to stop Ki-jung’s bleeding – for the car keys to take his son to the hospital, and he throws them to him. They land under Geun-sae, who is fighting with Mrs. Kim. She manages to kill him by stabbing him with a meat skewer. Mr. Park gets the keys but expresses disgusts at Geun-sae’s smell – this triggers Mr. Kim, who snaps and stabs Mr. Park, killing him. Mrs. Park faints as Mr. Kim flees.

Ki-woo wakes up in the hospital, where he had been in a coma for weeks. He finds out that Ki-jung has died, and he and Mrs. Kim are sentenced to probation. There has been no sign of Mr. Kim, even though the police have been searching for him for Mr. Park’s murder far and wide. Ki-woo leaves the rock in a river and observes the former Park house where he sees the lights flickering – Ki-woo translates the flickering from Morse code, and learns Mr. Kim is controlling them from inside the bunker, where he is now living, sneaking upstairs for food from the new owners. Ki-woo writes his father a letter back, resolving that someday he will become wealthy enough that he can buy the house and their family can be reunited.

Key Take Away`s

Critics have various meanings for the title of the movies. But what I deduced is How the Kim`s family lives in the Parks Family` s lifestlye. An alternate theory can be analysed as Parasite is a movie that taps into a rich cinematic tradition of unreliable servants with an intimate knowledge of their employers, an intimacy that easily, and inevitably, congeals into hostility

its a cunning, thrilling, dark humoured movie. if you are ready to follow the entire movie (for 2 hours long) thru the sub titles, you are up for a treat !!

Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan – Summary

As we were all eagerly waiting on how the FM will spend off Mr. Modi`s 20 Lakh Crores kitty, here is the summary of announcements.

Although todays package mostly revolved around MSMEs, It can broadly divided into 6 categories as below;

  1. MSME
  2. EPF
  3. NBFC & MFI and Discoms
  4. Contactors
  5. Real Estate
  6. Direct Tax

1. MSME

  • In a most welcomed move, FM announced the revision of MSME norms which were long overdue. The revised MSME criteria looks as below now:

Micro: Limit revised upward Investment  upto 1 cr. or  Turnover upto 5 cr.

Small: Limit revised upward Investment  upto 10 cr. or  Turnover upto 50 cr.

Medium: Limit revised upward Investment  upto 20 cr. or  Turnover upto 100 cr.

Note: There is no Differentiation between Manufacturing and service enterprises.

However, this still looks lesser compared to the current economic growth India had witnessed prior to Covid setback.

  • Collateral Free Automatic Loan to MSME. No guarantee required. Period 4 Years. No principal repayment for 1 year.
  • Stressed MSME: Subordinate Debt 20,000 crore
  • MSME doing viable business: 50,000 cr. equity infusion for expansion
  • Government Tenders: Global tenders will be disallowed upto 200 cr.
  • E-market linkage for MSME. Within next 45 days all payments will be made to MSME.

2. EPF

  • Government to continue to contribute PF for firms with 100 staff, earning less than Rs 15,000
  • To provide more take-home salaries and increase cash-in-hand for employers statutory PF contribution reduced from 12% to 10%. However for state PSUs, govt will continue to pay 12%, while govt staff pays 10%
  • Liquidity relief to be given for all EPF establishment
  • Govt support towards EPF contribution extended by another 3 months – June, July, August
  • Relief of Rs 2,500 crores to be provided to benefit 70.22 lakh employees

3. NBFC, MFI and Discoms

  • Rs 30,000 crore special liquidity scheme announced
  • Investment to be made in primary & secondary investments
  • The debt papers will be fully guaranteed by government of India
  • Government announces Rs 45,000 crore liquidity infusion through a Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme 2.0 for NBFCs
  • Emergency liquidity injection of Rs 90,000 crore to Discoms

4. Contractors

  • All GoI agencies, such as railways, roadways, will provide 6 month extension to contractors
  • No cost extension of upto six months for govt contractors to comply with contract conditions construction work, goods and services contract, completion of work

5. Real Estate

  • Covid period should be treated as a force majeure and relax timelines
  • Registration and completion date should be extended suo-moto by 6 months for all registered projects expiring on or after 25th March, 2020 without individual applications

6. Taxes

  • All pending refunds to charitable trusts, non-corporate business, LLPs and co-operatives will be processed immediately
  • Due date of all IT Return filings extended from July 31 to November 30
  • Vivaad say Vishwas scheme extended upto December 31, 2020. No extra payment sought.
  • Date of assessments getting barred as on September 30, 2020 now being extended to December 31, 2020. Those getting barred on March 31, 2021 extended by six months.
  • In order to provide more funds at the disposal of the taxpayers, the rates of Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) for non-salaried specified payments made to residents and rates of Tax Collection at Source (TCS) for the specified receipts shall be reduced by 25% of the existing rates.

Mr. Modi has pledged almost 10% of the nation`s GDP towards this package, matching that of the developed countries like Germany. However, two questions looms on the horizon, how will the govt raise funds to nurture this ambitious package, and will it be enough?? What do you think?

Missing Suits? Watch these great shows!!

Inspired by the tremendous response on my previous post, (thanks by the way) here comes something on similar lines. This time it’s all about TV Series; but for only those who have watched and fell in love with this magnificent show.

Why do some TV Series captivate us so much? Is it their cliff hangers? Is it the continuity we feel good about that is lacking in movies (unless its trilogy) or the anticipation which keeps us glued? Whatever the reason may be, haven’t you eagerly waited for airing of next episode of your favourite TV Series?

But, Sadly, all good things must end!! So did Suits.. We all miss the Charisma of Harvey, Grace of Donna, Loyalty of Luis, Wits of Mike(Spoiler Alert; you get to see him for one last time in the finale).

In case if you haven’t watched the last episode of the series, I suggest you do so now!! You will be in for a surprise, and not just about Mike. 

Why did we fall for Suits? Is it the brilliant choice of characters? Its impeccable fashion sense?  Character Chemistry? Casting (can you imagine anyone else playing Donna)? Or is it the dark themed yet sensible way Aaron Korsh builds and breaks the relationships with the characters? For me, it was always the magnetic charm of Great Harvey Specter (I have custom T-Shirt with WWHD quote, What Would Hari Do )

Feeling bummed by the mediocre screenplay of Pearson (we all were expecting another suits, waiting to see Jessica in all her Glory) one of my friends who is also a Suit”e” like me, asked if there are any other shows like suits. We did a google search and found that most of the search result indicated other legal dramas like Chicago Justice and Law and Order. Of course, those shows are great in their own respect, but are we looking for a courtroom drama? These shows don’t give us what we were looking for, why we love suits.  So here is my take on the shows I loved, which may cure you of the Suit-lessness.

  1. BOSTON LEGAL

undefinedBoston legal is a strange case where the spin-off stole the show from its original series. What started as The Practice, continued for a few seasons before the spin off Boston legal was born. Exploiting the character nuances of “Alan shore” from Practice, with the right mix of Humour, satire, with a pinch of dark truth about the American dream, Boston Legal took on current issues such as Guns, Pharma, Tobacco etc. We get to see the friendship of Harvey and Mike in Alan and Denny.  Although most of the scenes take place in the courtroom (I know I promised I wont take you there) with the splendid narrating abilities of Alan Shore, you never feel like it’s a legal drama. Plus, James Spader, (remember Altron in Avengers, yeah, that was him) brings that urgency, eccentricity to the character, which is a must watch. Its is still a mystery why ABC© decided to end the series with just 5 seasons.

2. WHITE COLLAR

A story about the bright and sleek guy who is trying to make amends. His life revolve around a bunch of lies. A guy who can convince almost anyone. a story of his friendship with a much older guy, who tries to set him straight. Sound familiar?undefined

White Collar is the closest thing to suits amongst all the TV series I have watched. Much like Harvey and Ross in Suits, these two quickly develop an intriguing bond, and their bonhomie leads to a light-hearted binge-worthy show with a few tricks up its sleeve. It has almost everything we fell in love with suits. I dare you to watch it and not fall in love with the charismatic con artist Neal Caffery.

3. LUCIFER

Lucifer is the story of the original fallen angel. Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, Lucifer has abandoned his throne and retired to L.A., where he owns Lux, an upscale nightclub… the character of Lucifer mirrors the invincible nature seen in Harvey. Also the way he tries to protect those he loves is admirable. if you can withstand the constant Flirtatious conversations, it’s a great show to watch.undefined

4. CASTLE

Don’t you love it when the two main character of the show get married at the end. (Oops another spoiler). Although we don’t get to see Harvey`s charm to a greater extent in Castle, Nathan Fillion, bring his comedic devilish yet pleasant persona to the show. Also the chemistry between Stana and Nathan is a treat to watch. No wonder it delighted us for 8 seasons. Although it is categorised under the Crime Genre, its not your typical run of the mill CSI stuff. it teaches us that the family values are the most important virtue in life. It was unfortunate that ABC took a decision to fire Stana, and the whole show fell apart.

5. SHERLOCK      

Sorcerer Supreme to our rescue once again. (Am I referring too much to MCU, maybe I am hinting the next post?) Present day remake of Victorian era tale, Sherlock is often praised for its brilliant Writing, acting and direction. However, what got me addicted to sherlock was how witty compelling and fast paced story line it has. We get to see the Giant Ego of Harvey (though its nothing as compared to that of sherlock), the close friendship and mentoring between Sherlock and Watson, like that of Harvey and Mike.   You start to admire sherlock as you did Harvey!

6. THE BLACKLIST

undefinedWe started the list with one of the best performances of James, isn’t it fair that we end it with one which tops that? Welcome to The Blacklist follow the adventure of a (il)legal partnership of FBI with its No one Fugitive. Apart from the beautifully drafted story line filled with twists, what made me glued to this series is the magnetism of Raymond “Red” Reddington. The way he protects Liz, his friendship with Dembe, all reminds me of Harvey. Also, he is supposed to be the best in his field, just like Harvey was! He is of course refereed to as the Concierge of Crime by his peers. The awe and fear he imbibes in his enemies reminds me Harvey`s reputation. It’s a must watch for both the fans of Suits and James.

So which one are you watching tonight?

Learning Through Movies

Now that we are in the lockdown and struck at home, what’s the one thing we all are doing?? Don’t tell me its doing the dishes and mopping the floor!!! Anyways, atleast as per Google, its Binge Watching! There is a significant increase in the viewership of content streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not going to lecture you here on how binge watching can be counterproductive, you should read a book instead, learn something new blah blah… When life throws lock down at you, you binge watch!!

But why not watch which is fun, as well as leaves you with something after you have finished watching? There is a up and coming concept of self-development called “Learning thru movies”. Here, a coach or a PD teacher engages the audience with a movie instead of the typical lecture. He or she typically plays the movie, pausing wherever necessary to dig deeper into understanding the concepts behind that scene.  Visual learning is one of the powerful methods to retain the concepts learnt. Also, there is the added advantage of learning by association, where the students associate themselves with the character of the movie as the plot unveils. I have tried this technique in a couple of classes and have witnessed wonderful results. So, here are some movies you can watch and learn something from it while you have fun. And, since I am going to explore some of the plots, here is your spoiler alert!!! 

1. THE REVENANT

Equal parts revenge saga and survival story, The Revenant was inspired by the frontier tale of Hugh Glass, who in 1823, against all odds, endured a mauling by a grizzly and abandonment to his fate by his fellow fur trappers. The Revenant teaches us resilience, persistence and the importance of “Hope” in our lives. Leonardo DiCaprio`s Oscar Winning performance is cheery on the top.

2. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

Gardner, played by Will Smith, endures homelessness with his young son, with grit and determination. The Pursuit of Happyness teaches us You can’t let people discourage you from your dreams. It’s okay if people don’t believe in your dream as long as you believe in it yourself. We can also learn that there should never be any excuse not to try. And its never too late to start something new. Acting of both the Smith`s is heart touching.

3. KUNG FU PANDA SERIES

Ok, hold on. Don’t dismiss It yet as an animated kids’ movie. I bet you can’t stop watching the 2nd and 3rd movies in this trilogy once you complete the first one. The movie imparts lessons about continuously challenging oneself to be better and the importance of having good mentors. And there are no accidents in life. There’s no Bigger Pain than not Doing Something You Love. Everyone has their unique form of motivation. Its who decides how your story ends.

Ok, hold on. Don’t dismiss It yet as an animated kids’ movie. I bet you can’t stop watching the 2nd and 3rd movies in this trilogy once you complete the first one. The movie imparts lessons about continuously challenging oneself to be better and the importance of having good mentors. And there are no accidents in life. There’s no Bigger Pain than not Doing Something You Love. Everyone has their unique form of motivation. Its who decides how your story ends.

4. ROCKY SERIES

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for most of your life, I’m sure you are familiar with the name Rocky Balboa. Played by Hollywood action legend Sylvester Stallone, Rocky was the title character of six boxing drama films that chronicled his rise from an unknown battler to the heavyweight champion of the world. In each successive film, Rocky was confronted with various life crises, ever-stronger opponents, and his own aging body. Throughout the series, Rocky came to define the perennial underdog, continually drawing strength from the struggles he faced to overcome the odds and succeed. Rocky teaches us to never quit. Being down doesn’t necessarily mean you are out. You make your own destiny.  One of the best series to binge watch. 

5. The Shawshank Redemption         

The Shawshank Redemption is based on a short story written by Steven King and directed by Frank Darabont. The movie portrays the bond being shared between two men during the years of their imprisonment who share emotions and find solace in each other, ultimately paving their way to salvation. The movie also shows how to maintain one’s self significance in the most disintegrated and hopeless place. It leaves us with “PERSISTENCE AND PERSEVERANCE ARE KEY TO SUCCESS”.  Keep your mind occupied when you are going thru difficult times. I agree the beginning of the movie may be a little depressing. But trust me. Sit through and you are up for a wonderful thriller.

6. 12 Angry Men

With a small cast of 20+ people, shot in a single room, black and white, still 12 Angry Men never stops to amaze me even today. 12 Angry Men chronicles the murder trial of an 18-year old boy from a slum, charged with stabbing his father to death. It is about a jury of 12 different individuals from distinct backgrounds; given the task of deciding unanimous whether the boy is guilty or not. Considered one of the best movies, it teaches us the skills of influencing, handling a team, understanding group dynamics, Negotiation, Risk taking, Sticking to your gut, Importance of Communication. Its nothing short of a quick MBA course.

7. Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump had a below average IQ of 75, yet he he still managed to teach Elvis how to dance, receive a football scholarship from the University of Alabama, be named to the All-American team, meet John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, receive the medal of honor for his heroism in Vietnam, play in ping pong diplomacy against Chinese teams, have an interview on the Dick Cavett show with John Lennon, meet President Nixon and expose the Watergate Scandal, create the extremely successful Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, invest in Apple computers thereby becoming a millionaire, run across the U.S. just because he felt like it, and in the end became an awesome father. He teaches us to be authentic, Don’t let others to turn you down, channel the pain into something productive, don’t be afraid of being honest, Dedication will take you places, so do what you love.

8. Cast Away

Cast Away is a dramatic story of an ordinary man facing an extraordinary situation. Tom Hanks, playing as a FedEx delivery supervisor, whose plane unfortunately crashes into the ocean. He is in an isolated island as the sole survivor of the terrible crash. There he lives a solitary life full of uncertainties and depression. He tries to cope with new environment with his wit and feeble camping skills. As a survivor, Tom Hanks attempts every strategy possible to live on the island. The thought of reuniting with his family becomes his reason to live. The movie celebrates the rediscovery of life’s simple joys as it features Tom Hanks’ struggle with the natural environment. It also signifies the importance of hope and persistence. (Additional Watching; The Terminal, movie with a similar theme)

9. Catch Me if You Can

Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) worked as a doctor, a lawyer, and as a co-pilot for a major airline — all before his 18th birthday. A master of deception, he was also a brilliant forger, whose skill gave him his first real claim to fame: At the age of 17, Frank Abagnale, Jr. became the most successful bank robber in the history of the U.S. FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) makes it his prime mission to capture Frank and bring him to justice, but Frank is always one step ahead of him. No matter if you associate yourself with Frank for his resourcefulness or with Carl for his persistence, they both teach you so many life lessons. Confidence is the key to success, experience is never a match for your skills, don’t fear the unknown, Never give up!!

Tips to Clear CA Exams

Arjuna: Hey (Hari)Krishna, the very thought of CA Exams itself gives me grief and I feel dejected, therefore, I will not Apply for the Exams!!.”

Krishna: Hey Partha, CA is also just a course. You too can clear it with ease.

Arjuna: Keshava…Hey Keshava! Wherever I look (on the Internet), I see nothing but good for nothing advices to clear the CA Exams. You being the almighty, show me the path to clear my exams with flying colours? 

Krishna: Hey Savyasachi, here you go;

  • Don’t Prepare Just for the Exam:

It may be a paradox, but never prepare for exams for the sake of exams. Clearing exams is actually the easy part. Once you are a CA, your Employer/Client, peers, society at large has high expectations on you. If you ask me, that is where the real exam starts! If you prepare only for the sake of exams, you will have a rude awakening once you start your practice or join  employment. Learn the subjects keeping in mind the application of those subjects in the real world.

  • Don’t Study it like a Theory Subject:

I still remember locking horns with my friend arguing how Company Law is not a theory subject. There are no theory subjects in CA. May be except for ISCA(no disputes there). Always prepare for all the subjects as they are practical subjects. Solve questions and case laws to understand the sections better, than learning the sections. Its good to go thru the bare act once before you start the preparation, but don’t get struck there itself.

  • Imagine as if you are a CA already:

Maybe I am teaching a lot of Law of Attraction these days. But this really helps. When you are studying, imagine as if you are already a CA, and you are trying to help your clients manage their Compliances, update their Books as per Accounting Standards, or helping them make strategic decisions such as “Make or Buy”. This not only makes learning those subjects interesting for you, but helps you retain the core matter of the subject even after you qualify.

  • How can I use this practically?

In continuation to the above point, whenever you learn a new Section/Standard etc, try to find atleast one situation where you can apply the same. This may be in your Articleship, or in other subjects. This builds the reasoning skills and make you a better CA once you start your Career.

  • Stop Mugging the Book:

I have seen my friends who could remember every sentence in the Revision Test Papers and yet could not clear the exams. That is why CA is different. Like any other disciplines, how you apply the knowledge is more important than acquiring the said knowledge. Again, as I mentioned above, always learn with an intention to apply that in your career.

  • Remembering Sections are not so important:

Agreed that, by remembering the sections of the law you may impress the examiner, but I do not see any practical use for the same. Instead, concentrate more on arrangement of sections and what they project as a whole. It will be easier to retain what you learn this way.  

  • Learn the intent:

Try to learn the intent behind the subject, especially in Tax and Law. If there is any restriction, like in Sec 2(22)(e) of Income Tax Act, or the different rates under section 194 for individuals and others, try to understand the intent of the law maker behind that section. This makes you understand the concepts better and keep yourselves updated with the amendments as well.

  • Articleship is Very Important:

One of the key distinguishers in CA as compared to any other professional courses is the mandatory internship known as “Articleship”. Learning while you are working is, according to me, the best kind of learning. You get to experience all the things what you need to learn right in your office itself. Off late the trend of “Dummy Articleship” is on a rise. Most think that they can use the time available to better study and prepare for exams rather than working your Articleship. But this will not only make you void of the practical exposure required for clearing CA but make you less prepared for your post qualifying career as well

  • Coaching may not be always appropriate:

When I was pursing my CA, coaching was an option only for those who were with silver spoons in their mouth. It was only available in Metro Cites and was pricey as well. Now that CA has gained traction and the general public is also aware of the course (on a funny note; I still remember one of my uncles asking me why I enrolled to CA? I could have been better off graduating BA!!!), there are a lot of Coaching centres mushrooming everywhere. In addition, the collages themselves are trying to integrate the CA course into their regular graduation classes with an attractive promise (kind of) of completing both courses together. However, and this is purely my personal opinion, coaching may not be the right approach to CA. or atleast, do not depend entirely on the coaching. I know I have repeated this a lot through this letter, but it’s very important that you learn the subjects thru practical experience and your own understanding of the same. 

  • Always Good to take both groups together:

Although you have the option to take one group at a time, and its tempting to study for 4 subjects rather than 8 at a time, I suggest you take both the groups together. The advantage with this approach is that your strong subjects help you to gain the average required to clear the weaker subjects as well. This will also help you clear your exams in first attempt, as I did

A Personal Finance Checklist for Newlyweds

Getting married is one of the most important events in your life. There is so much to consider— the flowers, the jewel, the dress, the venue, the photography—the list goes on. Once you are back from the honeymoon, the daily life of marriage begins and also begins the challenges of managing the finances of a new household with your spouse. In recent studies, many couples ranked financial matters as one of the most essential factors when it comes to happiness in a marriage. It is one of the key factors causing marital stress. 

1. Roaming few Govt Offices: 

Not to Dampen the mood, but these are necessary:

a. Change of Address: You could have shifted to in law’s place or both of you could have shifted to a new place. So you need to make necessary change of address requests to your bank accounts, demat accounts, mutual fund accounts and so on (not to mention the other statutory stuff like Aadhar, PAN etc). 

b. Change of Name: Generally, the women change their initial or the last name after their marriage. This need to be updated in all the accounts. 

2. Best Way to avoid the blame game

Money is always the problem area in most of the marriages. what if you could avoid the blame game, by careful planning?

a. Assign Financial Responsibilities 

You need to decide, who is going to take care of day to day money management i.e. paying bills, monitoring investments and the like. And who is concentrating on the long term goals.  

b. Develop a Family Budget 

You need to create a workable budget for your family that gives extra money and life. This budget should take into account both of your income, the individual expenses and family expenses. 

c. Create an Emergency Fund 

You need to accrue savings for some surprise situations like loss of job, break in job or sudden expenses like a major repair to your car or house. Generally, the emergency fund need to be in the range of 3 to 6 month of family expenses.  

3. What if the unthinkable Happens !!

Dont take it as a bad omen, but if the unthinkable happens, be prepared:

a. Change of Nominee/Beneficiary: You may like to change the nominee to your spouse for the investments, accounts, insurance policies which you have taken before marriage. 

b. Changes in Will: You also need to create a will if you have not created one so far. If you already have a will, then you need to revisit your will now.

c. Insurance Coverage: So far, you may not be having any dependents or less number of dependents. You could not have considered life insurance or settled for a lesser coverage. This is the time to look at life insurance seriously. When I say life insurance, I am talking about only term insurance and not the ULIPs.  

4. Pathway to Abundance:

a. Debt Payoff Plan 

Suppose, if you are already on debt(like Housing/Car/Study Loans), you need to create a debt payoff plan. This plan will help you in getting out of debt and staying out of debt. 

b. Spend Smarter and Save More 

Spending habits will be different from individual to individual. Both of you need to align your spending pattern and learn how to spend smarter and save more. When both are working and not having kids yet is the stage you have more income, especially more disposable income. Couples need to be careful and avoid overspending and save as much as possible during this stage. This will ease you out when you have more expenses at the later stage of your life. 

c. Combined Financial Goals 

Both of you need to spend some quality time discussing about the financial goals like buying a home, international vacation and the like. This is the right time to plan your retirement.  

d. Chalk out a Financial Plan 

Once you have set the combined financial goals, then you need to chalk out a financial plan to achieve these goals. You need to take into account growth rate of your income, inflation on your expenses, time set to achieve various goals, rate of return expected from various investment options. 

This is slightly a complicated procedure and this plan need to be review periodically. That is why it is better to outsource it. You may seek assistance from a professional financial planner. To financially succeed, it needs teamwork from both the partners. 

As a newly married couple, you have enough time and plenty of opportunity. I am sure that with this checklist and the guidance from a financial planner, you will reach your life goals together.

Tips for a New Manager

Hey Bro, Congratulations on your promotion. Years of hard work finally paid off, and now you are a manager! You have climbed another step in your career ladder. In addition to pay hike, got your own Cabin/cubicle, even an executive assistant(may be). Now that your responsibilities have increased, here are some tips which helped me manage them successfully. 

1. Assigning Priority:

As a manager your work load naturally increases. You are now responsible for your work as well as your entire team. So it is absolutely important to assign priorities to the work list. You are always best judge to decide the priorities. An important project takes precedence to routine team meeting, or replying an mail. Best way to assign priority is to follow 4D principle, Do, Defer, Delegate & Delete. Or you could also use Steven Covey`s Matrix approach.

2.Multi-tasking:

Again, you will have to play many roles as a manager. Execute your responsibilities, manage the team, deliver the outcome, liaise with the management etc. But the time you have is still the same!. Hence there is no other option, but to multi task. I am well aware, multitasking sometimes leads to errors, but gradually you will get a hang of it and mundane things will go on auto pilot.

3. Communication:

As a manager your work mostly depends on interaction with various internal colleagues as well as help from external service providers and it is essential to have a good rapot with them. But to be frank, some people won’t respond to you, till you sit on their neck. So don’t be hesitant. Keep calling. Send reminders. Don’t stop till you get what you require. Keep the escalation matrix handy. If you don’t get the things done, refer it to his/her boss. But never go directly to their superiors. I am not asking you to be rude. Just be persistent. Being persistent gets you results, being rude gets you nowhere. You will realize the difference once you start experiencing it.

Being said that, please remember, one phone call is 10 times effective than an email. A visit to their cabin/office is 10 times effective than a phone call. So act accordingly.

4. Time management:

As I mentioned earlier, you will have limited time and a lot of things to do. Trust me, you won’t get any help. Initially even I felt overburdened. But extensive use of technology helped me a lot. Try to automate as much as possible. It saves a lot of time. You are Lucky, if your Boss is pro automation. Avoid or cut down repetitive tasks. Organize your inbox and folders. Don’t keep pending papers on your table. Try to skip unnecessary meetings (yes! You heard it right, those where there will be lot of deliberations and no decisions). You will have to work on holidays and weekends sometime. It’s inevitable. In my tenure of nearly 10 years, I have hardly taken 30 days off. You just have to start loving what you do. Then you won’t feel the stress.

And, sticky notes helps a lot. After all, our brains can remember only so much.

5.Concentration and Speed:

You may feel these two doesn’t go hand in hand. But it should. As being a manager is a crucial position, accuracy is the lifeline here. You can’t afford to make any mistakes.

However, if you are slow in what you do, You will miss the deadlines. You should learn to balance them both. There is no trick to master this balance. It comes to you only by practice.

6. End to end thinking:

You should develop end to end thinking as it is absolutely essential if you want to excel. As you are becoming a manager for the first time, I can understand you may not have had opportunities to learn this skill. To put it simply, keep the end in mind. That should define all your activities. Then you will see the difference.

Always have the broader picture in mind before you do even the smallest things. Every activity you do, will have a domino effect on something else. If you realize this simple reality, you will always be two steps ahead. This really helps a lot, especially while interacting with other colleagues. don’t get irritated/frustrated with their silly and stupid requests, “keep the end in mind”.

7. Co-relation between things

What I mean by this is, you should be in control of the things. You should know what happens if you do X rather than Y. How is it going to effect the overall picture.

You should be on top of the data. Always!

You should always be able to relate one part of your work with many other areas which it is going to effect. 

8. Handling pressure

Pressure is inevitable as you are a Manager. You will get lot of pressure from the top management, other managers etc. but don’t budge to that. Always make sure the you follow the book no matter what. Don’t be prejudiced. Once you enter the office, all other friendships has to be kept aside. Don’t let people take undue advantage of your personal friendship.

I am sure you are already an expert in your respective field. So, hope these pointers helps you in becoming the best Manager in your company!! All the best!!

“Fintech”

The financial technology (fintech) industry is thriving globally and received $17.4 billion in investment last year alone.undefined
According to EY’s Fintech Adoption Index, a third of consumers worldwide are using two or more fintech services, with 84 percent of customers saying they are aware of fintech (up 22 percent from the previous year).
But users are often unaware that the financial services applications they use count as “fintech”, or may not know what exactly fintech and its accompanying jargon means.

What is Fintech?

Financial technology is broadly defined as any technological innovation in financial services. Those engaged in the industry develop new technologies to disrupt traditional financial markets. Various start-ups have been involved in the process of creating these new technologies, but many of the world’s top banks including HSBC and Credit Suisse have been developing their own fintech ideas as well. Fintech companies utilize technology as widely available as payment apps to more complex software applications such as artificial intelligence and big data.
In this Post, let’s try to understand what impact Fintech has on our Lives. I will try to keep out the Jargons and simplify as much as possible, so that it serves as a guide rather than a white paper.

State of Fintech in 2017

I have listed below some of the hot topics in Fintech buzzing currently. I will hopefully try to cover these topics in the future posts:
 Cryptocurrency
 Bitcoins
 Block Chain
 Ethereum.
 Disruptive Innovation
 Initial Coin Offering
 Open Banking
 Financial Inclusion
It’s also now easier than ever for small businesses to accept payments. Even Small farms in the middle of nowhere can accept credit and debit cards with tools like Square and PayPal. And while there are fees, the entrepreneur doesn’t have to do a particular volume of business to qualify for an account. Anyone, anywhere can safely and easily accept credit card payments, making it easier to do business.

FINTECH BY 2020

As per a report by pwc, 77% of the respondents expect to adapt blockchain as a part of the production system/process by 2020.

So, are you ready to adapt it?

Fintech in India

The Biggest Disruptor in India was the 2016 Demonetization

Payments and lending remain priorities in India. Fintech interest grew in
India during Q1’17, with Paytm attracting Asia’s largest funding round of
$200 million. Payments and lending drove investment during the quarter,
although interest in AI also increased. On the blockchain front, a number of banks formed consortia with fintechs to develop blockchain proof of
concepts. Interest in blockchain seems to have also increased in the
insurance space. Over the next quarter, insurtech is likely to come into its
own in India and the government is expected to release regulations for
fintech, particularly related to peer-to-peer lending, which could lead to
additional activity.

Caution with Bitcoins

As bitcoin prices skyrocket, it seems like everyone around wants to join the bandwagon, irrespective of the lack of understanding of the instrument and the risks involved. While the sharp rise in bitcoin prices may look attractive, you need to be careful while deciding to invest in them. To start with, do a thorough check while choosing the company from where you want to buy. No one wants to put money in something where they may get cheated. In the last couple of years, there have been multiple incidences of fake cryptocurrencies. Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency in the form of
payment, check if the company has a history of making payments in this
manner and if your banker has an outlet to convert this into currency if required.

Crowd Funding

Acclaimed due to its use in Indian Film Industry, Crowd Funding is gaining importance in India

There are more than 600 crowdfunding platforms around the world, with fundraising reaching billions of dollars annually, according to the research firm Massolution.

How it works: The most common type of crowdfunding fundraising is using sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo variety, where donations are sought in return for special rewards. That could mean free product or even a chance to be involved in designing the product or service.
It is also possible to use crowdfunding to assemble loans and royalty financing. The site LendingClub, for example, allows members to directly invest in and borrow from each other, with the claim that eliminating the banking middleman means “both sides can win” in the transactions. Royalty financing sites appear to be rarer, but the idea is to link business owners with investors who lend money for a guaranteed percentage of
revenues for whatever the business is selling. The Holy Grail is to sell company shares or ownership stakes in the company on crowdfunding sites, because it could be like a mini-IPO without the traditional hurdles.


Upside: Crowdfunding provides another strategy for startups or early stage companies ready to take it to the next level — such as rolling out a product or service. Before, a business owner was subject to the caprices of individual angel investors or bank loan officers. Now it is possible to pitch a business plan to the masses. A successful crowdfunding round not only provides your business with needed cash, but creates a base of customers
who feel as though they have a stake in the business’ success.

Downside: If you don’t have an engaging story to tell, then your crowdfunding bid could be a flop. Sites such as Kickstarter don’t collect money until a fundraising goal is reached, so that’s still a lot of wasted time that could have been spent doing other things to grow the business. It could be even worse if you meet your goal but then realize you underestimated how much money you needed. A business risks getting sued if it promises customers products or perks in return for donations, and then fails to deliver. There is also an argument to be made that angel investors and even bank officers provide more than just money. They provide entrepreneurs with needed advice. Business owners miss out on
such mentorship when they ignore traditional investors and turn to the
crowd.

Tips for Successful Crowd Funding

  1. Have at least a small network of enthusiastic friends and family
    willing to help get the ball rolling by giving and urging others to give.
  2. If you’re giving out perks in return for money, make sure the perks are cool.
  3. Present a serious business plan and an explanation of why the money will take your enterprise to the next level.
  4. Demonstrate that you have your own skin in the game because of
    the personal funds you have already poured into the business.
  5. Include a video pitch and keep it short and concise, with a call to
    action.
  6. Be prepared to essentially live online, staying active on social
    media sites, until the crowdfunding campaign is complete.

Crowd Funding Models:
The well-known models of Crowd Funding
are Donation, Reward, Equity (similar to IPO
of any company) and Peer to Peer Lending
(Borrowing from other than banks and
NBFCs)