Archive for February, 2015

Please welcome, an entirely different kind of post on the bug. Well, I’m trying 🙂

While everyone was expecting a big bang reform budget this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley brought out what I’d call a growth oriented budget. I’d not go out and call it an excellent one, but this sure was a good budget with some of the much awaited reforms. Here are a few of the highlights and takeaways:


Numbers:

  • The Fiscal deficit seen at 3.9 percent of GDP, the fiscal target of 4.1 % to be met.
  • Revenue deficit at 2.8 percent while the current account deficit at 1.3 %
  • GDP growth rate seen between 8-8.5%.
  • A target of USD 6.7 billion set for stake sales in the coming financial year. The same revised at USD 5 billion for the current year.
  • Inflation seen close to 5%.
  • Planned and non-planned expenditures at 4.6 and 13.1 trillion rupees respectively.
  • Major subsidies including Fuel, food and fertilizer estimated at 2.3 trillion rupees.
  • Defense budget upped to 2.5 lakh crore rupees.

Announcements:

  • FMC to be merged with SEBI, big news for the commodity markets.
  • Wealth tax to be abolished!
  • Proposal of new universal social security system and a new law on black money.
  • 347 billion rupees allocated to Rural Employment guarantee scheme (Something that was the sign of the previous government’s failure according to the PM’s recent speech)
  • IIT status to ISM Dhanbad, 2 new IIMs announced for J&K and Andhra Pradesh.
  • National investment infrastructure fund to be set up.
  • A student financial aid authority to be set up and a number of excise duty cuts announced to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs.
  • Yoga included as a charitable purpose in the Income tax act. (Something that our PM applauded more than anyone else)
  • Banks to fund small entrepreneurs, laws to be made to improve the ease of business.

For the common man:

  • Health insurance premium reduction limit increased from 15 to 25,000. (30000 for Senior citizens)
  • Additional deduction of 50000 allowed under the NPS.
  • Pradhanmantri Suraksha Bima Yojna launched to provide life insurance at nominal costs.
  • EPF made optional for low earning individuals while choice between NPS and EPF provided to others.
  • Service tax hiked to 14%.

The Union budget 2015-16 was not a bundle of please-all announcements, which can be looked at as both a good and a bad thing. While some of the highly expected announcements weren’t made, many decisions were taken which may sound absurd now but will surely prove to be decisive in the country’s development.

Where will you need to pay more?

If you are a medium earning IT employee who likes to smoke and use high-end gadgets, this budget was more of a disappointment for you than anything else. Cigarettes, Smartphones, Imported Cars, Dining at restaurants, Set top boxes, Parking fees and airline tickets are supposed to be more expensive after this budget.

Where do I pay less?

Thankfully, for the poorer sections of the society, the budget wasn’t all bad. If you’re looking to buy a TV or a computer, or branded clothes, you will probably save more now. Higher education and starting a new business venture should also be easy on a common man’s pocket now.

Summary: I’m no one to judge, but I’d give this budget a 7.5/10. Although some announcements like the 100,000 KMs of roads and the ambitious target of 60,000,000 toilets under the clean India movement did sound appealing, probably worth an 8.5, the no change in tax slabs part hurt me bad. Although some measures are taken to provide relaxations to taxpayers, as I said, they don’t seem helping someone who earns 4-8 LPA and has to spend half of it maintaining a decent life standard (aka, most graduates).

PS: I did miss a few numbers while watching the budget and had to take the help of Moneycontrol and Economic Times to get the same. In case you find any mistakes, feel free to point out.

PPS: Although I don’t like the politicians making remarks at each other in the parliament, this was worth a laugh:

“Kuch to gul khilaye hain, kuch abhi khilane hain, par baagh mein ab bhi kaante kuchh puraney hain,” (We have made some progress and are working towards achieving more goals, but there are some hindrances in the way) (Courtesy: NDTV Profit)

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You can never appreciate motherhood the way it deserves until you see what a mother has to go through everyday right in front of your eyes. That’s a sad but true fact. I’ve never failed to appreciate the women in my life though, but at the same time, I was yet to see a few miracles.

Now that I’ve intrigued you with the word miracle, let me tell you that I’ve been blessed with a baby nephew a few months back. As exciting as this news sounds, a few of us were also worried if my sister was ready to face all the troubles that come with being a mother. It wasn’t wrong to be worried either, this is the first time I was seeing a kid in my family and I had never imagined my sister doing anything that my mother used to do for us when we were kids. But as they say, it is a gift that is there in every woman and comes out alive when she sees her kid for the first time.

Much like other kids, my nephew loves to keep us all awake at nights. I kind of feel he would become a batman fan. He will shout, he will cry and if nothing works, he will use the strongest tool at his disposal and poop!  And night isn’t the only time when he does it. His bowels are as unpredictable as the weather in Mumbai! He’ll do it anytime and anywhere.

So what do you do when you have to do everything you used to do in your life, but only this time with a kid who needs you to be there for him 24×7. And not only he needs you, there is no chance in hell a mother would willingly go away from her kid even for some time anyway! From what I saw, there is a lot you need to learn when you have a kid. And to make sure he is clean, well fed and sleeps well are the most important requirements of all!

But our little devil is not the kind who’ll sleep just like that. It’s a whole hour-long (or sometimes two-three hour-long) program that you need to undergo. It begins with changing his diaper into a fresh one that is soft enough to make sure he likes it and is comfortable and at the same time, absorb the moisture and keep him smiling! Well thankfully after a few failed attempts, we found Pampers! So that’s one thing done. Next up is the music therapy. No! You don’t have to sing, he does all the singing. You just need to provide the background score. For that we have the “Old Macdonald Had A Farm” rhyme that he loves! You just play it on the phone and he will be lost in it and keep singing till it lasts. But every good thing has an end and so does the rhyme. So what do you do next? Here comes the good old fan for rescue. Now this is something very exclusive to my nephew, he’s a fan of fans! He loves them so much that he will watch a fan moving circularly with such a concentration that sometimes the fan will stop and blush (or maybe it’s the power cut, who knows!).

Now that I’ve given away a few secrets to what we do, I feel lucky that he can’t read them yet. Otherwise he’ll find new ways to not keep calm! Which is fine by me, I’m not the one who has to make him fall asleep, but my sister does. And lately she hasn’t been mean to me so I’ll try and do the same 😉

In case you too have a latest copy of a son or daughter, here is summary of the bedtime rituals I’d suggest from my observations.

  1. Diaper change. (Keep a few handy, you never know when you’ll need more!)
  2. Powder application. Because who doesn’t love the smell of baby powder!
  3. Singing a lullaby (Or playing one on your phone)
  4. Switching on the fan. Or you know, anything that works!

Two things will happen after reading this. Many people will go “Aww!” and others will laugh. I know, happens to me! To make sure to convert everything to the good old ‘aww!’, let me post a cute picture of the Protagonist of this post 🙂

PS: Now that I pretty vocally said the name Pampers, it would be mean if I don’t tell you about the place you can check out to know more about it. So check this out:  http://www.rewardme.in/tag/Pampers

Also, take a look at this video, cute, Isn’t it?