19 December 2011

Paypal and Lokpal

Paypal                                   Lokpal

1.Not your pal                           Not your pal  

2.Facilitates smooth passage             Facilitates smooth
of part of your money                    passage to
-part of your money is appropriated      penitentiary
3.Save for Assange, is agnostic in its   Save for PM, Group
behavior towards others.                 C employees, is
                                         agnostic to all

16 September 2011

Plastic Bags

Bangalore has banned plastic bags. A very commendable initiative to drive away plastics from the face of the earth, indeed. If you go to a shop or a supermarket in Bangalore, you are not offered plastic bags to carry your stuff anymore. Well, that may not be strictly correct. You are offered plastic bag(s) if you pay Rs 2/- for each of the bags.
Here lies the rub. How many of us carry a bag to a shop to bring back things that we buy? A few perhaps. But most of us do not. Eventually we end up paying multiples of Rs 2/- for our plastic bags. So what actually has happened is that what we were getting as complementary take-aways are now being charged.
It would instructive to know the dip in plastic bags' demand -if any at all - in all of Bangalore since the time the ban has come into force. I suspect there would have been a negligible dip in the demand-clearly, not even worth its weight in plastic. Effectively this means that an enterprising business person has passed the price of the plastic bags to the consumer.
Once I asked at one of the supermarkets why are the supermarkets are making a mockery of the environmental protection campaign. Why did they not wrap our stuff up in paper bags as was done in this country in the seventies, eighties and earlier? The answer was simple: paper bags cannot hold today's weighty stuff.
I agree. Only plastic cards can hold today's weighty stuff.

25 January 2011

Intell Inside

The Intell company always conducts a test for its new joiners. It takes all the new joiners to a room full of artifacts-computers, laptops, devices, mobiles, even paintings and photographs. You would imagine that the new joiners are a brilliant lot and do not fear the test. After all, they had come up through a battery of tests to reach the gates of Intell. And you are right about that too. The new joiners enter the room with utter nonchalance to face the test.
And the test?

It was quite simple, actually. The company wants to find out how familiar the new joiners are with the the company's product proliferation. The newcomers are given 50 stickers each. All the stickers have the company logo Intell Inside embedded. All the newcomers are required to do is to stick these logos to the artifacts which they think have Intell Inside.

The company is in the business of manufacturing processors and therefore there are very few things in that room that do not have Intell Inside.
The company prides itself that 98 percent of the time, the new joiners get it right. That, among other things, proves the making of a loyal workforce for the company.

Sometimes the new joiners get it wrong - 2% of the time, that is. Sometimes some noob sticks the logo onto this artifact:

Now, if you don't recognise this artifact let me put you wise. This is a potty. The Management frowns on this small indiscretion and resolves to put the errant new joiner on a corrective course.
Other times some newcomer points the logo onto the top of a painting of the visage of the Chairman, Paul Otellini. And the Management smiles. The Management hasn't made too many mistakes in choosing their new Intellians, has it? Mr Otellini's upstairs does indeed have Intell Inside.

And on rare occasions - ever so rare occasions - a bright young lad or lass points the logo to the name Otellini, written at the bottom of the painting . And the smiles on the faces of the Management brethren broaden. Yes, even the Chairman's name has Intell Inside. This new joiner is really a potential CEO.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any character is purely coincidental. All events described in this article are fictional.

21 January 2011

Do Indian Banks care if you are an honest Income Tax Payer?

There is a lot of noise these days about the amount of money stashed away in Swiss Banks, and how immoral the Swiss Banking system is. It may be safe to assume that all the Indian money that is changing colours in the Swiss Banks is probably increasing for honest reasons as well-interest gained on parked money. I maybe wrong for I am neither an investment banker nor a financial expert. But still, such an assumption appears intuitive.

How well the Swiss banks look after your money! Whatever the method of your wealth accumulation!

Now compare it with the Indian Banks. I am an Indian. The company that I work with required that I submit proof of my savings for getting some income tax rebate by January 5th. Fair enough. I scrimped and scavenged and put some money into a 5 year term deposit into an Indian Bank. Of course, the number of zeros in this amount doesn’t in any way compare with the numbers in the Swiss banks. But parking money is parking money, and such parking is required by Indian law - if you want some rebate on your Income tax, that is. I did.

After I put my money, the rate of interest on deposits went North. It went up well enough for me to get worried and scurry to the Bank. I wanted to redeem my deposit and put the money in a fresh term deposit. I figured I could plead with my company to accept the new savings proof. After all, we are still in the same Indian financial year; in fact we have another two months for the current financial year to end. Also, I figured that whatever penalty I had to shell out owing to premature redeeming would be more than made up by the increased interest rates.

It turns out that the answer to question raised in the title of this article is a resounding No! That’s what I learnt when I went to redeem my term deposit. “You cannot redeem a term deposit that you have specifically pledged for tax savings,” said the bank officials. No arguments there, rule is rule.

The least you would expect the Indian banks to do is to protect the measly gains of an honest tax payer. Here, I did a 5 year term deposit as required by statute but was robbed of its benefits because our banks do not care for tax payers’ money. Well rule is rule.

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