Thursday, February 21, 2013

Black Money - Where to Look for Black Money in India?

One hears about a lot of black money flowing in India. If someone were to find out where it is hiding here are some places to look for black money:

Real Estate

Anytime one hears the phrase "you have to pay a premium" one can bet the premium is nothing but the black money asked by the seller. And who are these sellers? Mostly investors with loads of black money. Black money grows faster and fatter as compared to white money because these "investors" pay no tax on the black money - neither income tax nor capital gains tax. In fact it is really amazing that the term being used is "investor" rather than "tax violators".

Simply asking all builders to provide the names and contact details of those who have bought and sold a house before the physical possession is enough to nail these "tax violators". Most of such people would be ones with black money.

Wedding and Festivals

In many cases someone splurging loads and loads of cash on wedding, birthday parties, festivals is a good case to explore further. Chances are high that the money behind all of it would be black in color. When payments made for all such expenses are made in cash it is invariably a case of black money being used by the person making the payment. Not only that the payment accept in such cases stays in cash and gets spent further in cash, all of it remaining in black.

Simply asking all tentwallahs, banquet hall and lawn owners and restaurants organizing birthday parties the names and contact details of those who have used their services is enough to nail these "tax violators". Most of such people would be ones with black money.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Managing Cost Control

Cost control is an effective strategy for an organization to rein in its expenses and hence positively impact the profit margin. Here are some examples of cost controls that can be viewed as aggressive by employees if introduced for the first time but without exercising due care.
  • Number of cups of teas and coffees consumed by employees is rationed
  • Late stay transport is at fixed times and also drops provided to the employees both in late stay and regular transport is at fixed locations only
  • Plastic and paper cups are replaced by every one being given a mug that needs to be washed after every use
  • Quantity of food portions taken by an employee in the company cafeteria is rationed
  • Paper towels are not available in washrooms
  • Lights and AC are switched off or dimmed when not in use 
The above cost control measures should ideally exist in any organization at all times. As a matter of fact, resources should never be overused or wasted whether in the workplace or at home. This is very important in today's context where the sustainability of planet earth is at stake.

Unfortunately many organizations adopt these measures only when in distress (economic slowdown, recession, etc.). This may lead them to be viewed as aggressive by employees if introduced for the first time but without exercising due care. Cost control measures perceived as aggressive can vitiate the organizational culture if not managed nicely.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Always Remember, We Have to Die One Day

The way most of us live it appears as if we assume we would never die. Every day we go about doing our daily chores in a ritualistic manner assuming we will be doing the same tomorrow as well.

Nothing is farther from the truth. We must always remember that we have to die one day and that day could be any day. Death is a great equalizer that way. After our dead bodies are burnt or buried it is in some way "returned to nature". This means that we must always remain "down to earth".

The constant realization of the inevitability of death is a powerful method to keep one's ego at check. All of us - the famous, the infamous and the not-at-all famous - join and stand in the line of the "waiting to die" the moment we take birth in this world.

Death will come to all. And it can be said that for all of us the key question regarding death is not if but when. We must always be prepared to die but until then try to live a wholesome life each day and each second. Whenever one is felling depressed or exuberant it is a good time to do a reality check and repeat to oneself "we have to die one day".

Life is Too Precious to be Lost on a Road

If one drives on Indian roads for some time it is more than enough to make one emotionally drained initially and stiff over time. Here are the typical sights and sounds on Indian roads:
  • Mangled remains of cars and other vehicles
  • Trucks that are overturned or lying at strangle angle on or off the roads
  • Dead bodies and injured people
  • Ambulances arriving at the site of accident and rushing away to a hospital nearby
  • Bodies of animals crushed under the tyres
  • Dark red spots of human or animal blood on the road
The loss of life and material has its economic, social and emotional impact on those who experience it first hand. For the others it is the loss of life on the roads that has the maximum emotional impact.

The first time one watches a dead body of any man or woman involved in an accident the feeling can be gut-wrenching and emotionally draining. The question that lingers on for many days and weeks to come is "oh, it can happen to me also, I can also die in an accident!". After few such incidents one becomes philosophical and emotionally stiff, "well since it can very well happen to me I better buy an accident insurance policy!".

Life is too precious to lost on a road. We must keep this in our minds while we drive on Indian roads. Some of the following rules may be helpful:
  • Know and follow all traffic rules yourself but assume that others will not (expect vehicles on wrong side, over-taking from wrong side, vehicles in the night driving with both front and rear lights not working, overloaded vehicles, etc.)
  • Assume bad roads and feel happy if the roads are in good condition (expect potholes, craters, wrongly parked vehicles, extreme lanes being hijacked by shops on either side of the road, etc.)
  • Drive with a relaxed mind. If one has to reach on time it's better to start early than drive fast (expect unannounced road diversions, traffic jams regardless of the time of the day, etc.)
  • Though driving fast is not unsafe on Indian roads it is (stray animals can suddenly come on the way, other drivers can stop or turn unexpectedly without any warning, etc.)
As life is too precious to lost on a road, one must exercise due care and caution as one drives on the Indian roads. Loosing one's life on a road demeans and devalues life.

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