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Customer-powered realty server Master of realty Hailing from Cherthala, Thulasi Das is a handsome rich dynamic master in the real estate business as he has involved himself in its dealings from a very young age. So he needed no training and advice in this field. The knowledge and acumen and the two-decade experience Das acquired reflect in his projects which are customer-friendly and affordable and meet the needs of a demanding sector. The Managing Director pays utmost attention to all the nuances of his business, may it be homes or plots. As a consequence, Tusli Developers’ projects whether they are homes or plots, are disposed of at their nascent stage itself.

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ulsi Developers India Pvt Limited, a highly customer-driven company and an integrated organization, established in 2000, is well set to make a mark in the real estate sector. Its projects, ranging from residential villas, apartments, land plots to corporate campuses, address a wide spectrum of real estate needs. As its name implies, Tulsi has purity and integrity and has excellent connectivity with people in all walks of life. Apart from delivering several customer-friendly projects over a decade, Tulsi has launched the construction of its first villa project, Blu Rain, which is being developed in 4.71 acres of land facing the Periyar and has 47 luxury villas. Set on the banks of the Periyar at Thadikkakadavu, Aluva, Blu Rain is the beautiful slice of land known for its eternal charm and scenic beauty. It brings you a lifestyle in serene and salubrious surroundings. Here you are going to re-discover the pleasure of living on the refreshing riverfront. With hi-tech amenities fit for a new-gen life like executive landscaping, garden with palm, cascading water body clubhouse, swimming pool with kids’ pool, barbeque centre, Jacuzzi and steam bath, basketball half court, cricket net practice area, billiards room, table tennis, association room, home theatre, library, servants’ and drivers’ toilet, dormitory for drivers, multi-gym, roundthe-clock CC TV security system, generator backup, intercom facility, broadband connectivity, ornamental streetlight, extensive compound wall, security with security cabin, internal road with paved tiles, children’s play area and wide water frontage. Serene Garden at Vennala embodies seven posh villas with attractive features like swimming pool, party area, health club, association office room, 24hour security, children’s play area, intercom facility, Wi-Fi connectivity, generator backup, indoor games area, extensive compound wall and internal road with paved tiles. A highly customer-powered company, Tulsi Developers’aim is to provide top-quality services to a large clientele, and it exclusively markets projects whose signature means excellence. It has also ambitious plans to meet the needs of a demanding sec-

tor. This means valuable saving in time for those who don’t have it or the inclination to get into the confusing or laborious procedure of buying a property. With transparent dealings and simple procedures, Tulsi focuses on Greater Kochi and has completed projects spreading over vast areas. What makes Tulsi stand out from the myriad other developers in the region is its steadfast dedication to quality and service. Cumulative in-depth experience, skilled manpower and exhaustive material know-how enable the company to be at the forefront of technological innovation to be a globally reputed company in the field of real estate development and management.

Target Tulsi Developers’ target is to extend its development line and continue to use it as a platform on which a powerful group is built, a group which constantly extends its broad spectrum of activities both in India and abroad and is able to compete and survive in any operating environment. Sivaji Kurappath, AGM Tulsi Developers, is incharge of administration and marketing.

Goals Its goals are to enhance its strong position amongst the elite property developers in the country, strengthen its profile as a company of high quality and reliability in all areas; increase its productivity and serve better its clients through continuous improvement and development of its staff.

Mission The mission of Tulsi Developers is to identify the most exclusive and suitable property in the country, experience and technical expertise and integrate in an environmentally manner the most exclusive variety of high-quality properties aimed at becoming its clients’ dream place. (Response feature) Dec15 15--Jan Jan15, 15,2014 2014 Dec

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INBOX Window for useless currency

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he reminder of the news that RBI’s directive through the media on the measures to be taken against scribbling and writing on the currency, by January 2014 is a notable step to be lauded (Passline, Nov-Dec 15 issue). The culture and tradition of a generation should be resonant on the currencies circulated in the market. So our decency and decorum should be seen on the currencies we use. Drastic laws should be in practice to punish the guilty who show disrespect to the national currency, though tearing, burning and duplicating are offences punishable under the law. Similarly, RBI should bring out media releases notifying dates for collecting scribbled and overwritten notes through banks enabling the people to clear the dirty dozens in hand and handle the clean ones after the D-Day. V Srinivasan, Madurai

The fruit forbidden

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f course, malls have created a new culture and shopping spree among Keralites. That is obvious from the number of the same running successfully and more in the pipeline (Passline, Nov-Dec 15 issue). I feel malls are a timely hit with youths and kids who entirely enjoy the game and time in and around the mansions. But there is a class of people who willy-nilly become a part of the entourage. That is the aged lot in each family who have had an opportunity to be a part of the latest buzz, and desire to go with the times although spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The other day I had to accompany my siblings including youths and kids to one of the largest malls in Kochi, a two-hour travel from my abode. The four-wheeler was spacious and comfy creating an atmosphere of a home away from home. The irritable lacuna of the trip was the hip-breaking and nerve wreaking detour through the NH 17. The rattle and straddle through the pit and falls making the flesh too weak in minutes to walk from the spacious and vast car park under the ground floor of the mall to the destination is an arduous task as to feel that the venture is a fruit forbidden for the aged and frail. I thought the better alternative is the trolleys still from the car park itself. U K Joseph,Thrissur

First woman Director of Federal Bank

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lose on the news of Arundhati Bhattacharya(57) became the youngest Managing Director of the country’s largest public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) and the first woman to head the 207-year-old bank; it may be serendipity that Grace Elizabeth Koshie joined the Board of a private Kerala-based scheduled bank Federal Bank Ltd as the first woman Director in the 82-year history of Federal Bank. The bank thus becomes one of the few listed companies which has complied with the latest regulatory directions in the Companies Act, 2013, which stipulates the inclusion of a lady Director to be on the Board of Directors. Grace Koshie, a MA in Economics with specialization in the area of Econometrics and Monetary Economics from Bombay University, joined Reserve Bank of India in the year 1976 as a Direct Recruit in Grade B. She also holds a PG Diploma in Higher Education and is a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers(CAIIB). Before joining Reserve Bank, she had worked as a lecturer in Sophia College, Mumbai. As Secretary to the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India she was responsible for central bank governance and related compliance matters, matters connected to the meetings of the Central Board and its Committee, and other senior management meetings. Grace carries with her rich and varied experience of over 36 years of central banking in the Reserve Bank of India. She has also held the charge of the Foreign Exchange Department in RBI Central Office from 2001-2004 and had earlier served as RBI nominee Director on the Boards of Dena Bank and Corporation Bank

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`Chillar Smart Pay Card’ for changes in buses

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nce upon a time there took place change in currencies and coins to coincide with the whims and fancies of the erstwhile rulers. British India had had witnessed `anna’ coins considered as `chillara’(small denomination coins) in use. As kings/ rajas went into oblivion there arose sets of politicians elected in democratic way. Printing notes and minting coins, then came under the jurisprudence of the government and the government-powered body, the Reserve Bank of India. In Kerala, the shortage of coins(changes) frequents very specially every time the state government revises the passenger fare in buses and prices of items in shops and establishments in particular. The issue became grave when the tipplers at Bevco outlets raised a hue and cry over failing to get the balance back on the price of bottles. Then the authorities found a solution by issuing the `chillar smart pay card’ in the mode of cellphone recharge coupon. Reliable sources say the card has been launched in some private passenger buses under the aegis of Private Bus Operators Association(PBOA) who issues the card. The bus conductor handles a gadget that helps to swipe the card. The buses with this facility can be identified by the sticker pasted on the front glass of the buses, according to sources. A minimum amount of Rs 20 and maximum of Rs 1,000 card is available now. Passengers have the eligibility for Rs 19.20 for travel expense as 80 paise are debited as service tax on every Rs 20


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From the Editor Will Modi be the saviour of Indian economy?

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he market has shown a positive nod with the BJP conquering three states and coming out as the largest party in another in the recent Assembly elections. (As a face-saver the Congress won an absolute majority in only one state). The BJP win confirms that the voters have given more importance to a party focusing on development than anything else. Business leaders are applauding the BJP victory.

Editor & Publisher

Varghese Paul

There is an assumption that Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led NDA, is more industry- friendly and liberal in policy matters than the current Congress-led UPA ministry. The reflection of this assumption was seen in the market index. On the Monday following the BJP victory, the Sensex hit a record high of 21,483.74 points gaining 2.3% and the Nifty climbed to 6,415.25 gaining 2.5%, outshining their previous highest peaks in January 2008. The rupee also appreciated to 60.84 against the dollar, its strongest value since August 2012.

Kozhikode Vineeth Mukundan 8714986177

However the situation arouses some doubts as to whether the stock market rally is due entirely to the‘Modi factor’ because the Sensex, which had climbed to a record height on Monday (December 9), fell by 71.16 points or 0.33% to 21,255.26 points and Nifty by 31.05 points, or 0.49%, to end at 6,332.85 the next day. Does it mean that the glory of Modi had only a one-day impact?

Kannur Srikanth P 9846274973

Market watchers will agree that 80% of brokers are from Gujarat. It is quite natural that these players have an inclination towards and sentiments for their leader who has a larger-than-life image on the development front. These brokers with the help of some FIIs must have pushed the market, considering the occasion to be an opportunity for profit-booking from the beleaguered market. The support from FIIs was timely because Modi’s stand on foreign investment has not been very encouraging. This is evident from his stand on topics like foreign investment in retail and some other areas. Political analysts will admit that leaders like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, and Nitish Kumar of Bihar are equally eligible - or a bit more so than Modi to become Prime Minister. But what differentiates them from Modi is that he is a shrewd marketing man. He himself and his managers with the help of some hired media people created the brand ‘NAMO’ which shook political India. The BJP created a fascination for the market through which Modi’s stature touched the roof. Will this exaggeration continue?

Chennai Augustine Joseph Ph: 09381000534 Bangalore Jayachandran 0988699331 Manager-Marketing Sajan K 09895344485

Keethara Publications Pvt Ltd 38/125 1st Floor, Narakathara Road, Kochi-682 035, Kerala, India. Editorial : +91 484 4038346 Marketing : +91 484 4039346

The situation was almost the same during 1984 when Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister immediately after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Though he was not a politician or an economist, everyone will agree that he was one of the best Prime Ministers the country has ever seen. His revolutionary approach to the telecommunication sector in association with Sam Pitroda was globally recognized. He was also instrumental in creating a momentum for liberalization. As in the case of Modi, Congress managers overmarketed Rajiv Gandhi and tried to raise his image among the people sky-high. Naturally the market was euphoric initially during Rajiv’s reign. But slowly the hype died down. It became very clear that Rajiv was unable to come up to the people’s expectations and desires. The rest is history. The chances of Modi becoming Prime Minister are remote because of opposition from his own party and its coalition partners. He may also fall like Rajiv Gandhi, V P Singh or Morarji Desai who sank into oblivion.

Footnote: Be cautious about the inflated image and calibre of Modi. They may burst at any time like a bubble.

Marketing Office: G-238, K C Joseph Road, Panampilly Nagar, Kochi-682 036 Marketing : +91 484 4010075 e-mail : passline.com@gmail.com

Varghese Paul Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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environment

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K Vijayachandran

he two reports on Western Ghats by Madhav Gadgil (522 pages, August 2011) and Kasturirangan (175 pages, April 2013) have got into a collision course: Brought out by two different expert panels, appointed by Ministry of Environment & Forest (ME&F), within the short span of less than two years, the reports were creating all round confusion on the policies and programs related to Western Ghats. This confusion got confounded, when the Ministry issued a notification on 19th October 2013, for implementing the findings and recommendations of both reports. However this order was withdrawn and replaced by another order, within a month for implementing the specific recommendations of Kasturirangan report. And, this order is dead silent on the findings and recommendations of the Gadgil report. Gadgil (72), the grand old ecology expert and well known environmental activist, with a doctorate from Harvard has openly criticized the recommendations of Kasturirangan (73), presently former Chairman of ISRO, an astrophysicist and space scientist of world repute and presently a member of India’s Planning Commission. In a recent press interview in Kochi, Gadgil had blamed that, ‘Kasturirangan report replaced the pro-people and pro-nature attitude of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report with an autocratic approach in terms of development and ecological conservation”. Earlier, soon after the release of the rival report, Gadgil had sent an open email-letter to Kasturirangan, accusing him of rejecting the wholesome approach to ecological conservation and for assigning “one-third of the Western Ghat for forest use and the remaining two-third for development including mining that spawned the Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam of Goa”. In his view the Kasturirangan report was a sure recipe for the total ecological destruction of Western Ghat. True, during the past three decades or so, Western Ghats, in the Karnataka-GoaMaharashtra region, was subjected to heavy mindless mining of iron ore for export, during the last three decades or even more. Floodgates for this large scale mining in these mountainous areas were opened in 1976, by the

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recommendations given by the National Committee on Environmental Planning and Coordination (NCEPC). A task force of NCEPC, headed by the environmentalist Zafar Futehally gave environmental clearance to Kundrermukh iron ore project supported by World Bank for export of iron ore to Iran, and with the fall of Shah of Iran, the project got converted into a Central Public Sector Enterprise which was disbanded in recent years. And that marked the beginning of the reckless mining of Western Ghats hills by Jindals, Chowgle and others leading to the. “Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam of Goa”, Ironically, the young and enthusiastic Madhav Gadgil was a member of this NCEPC task force of 1976. The Kundremukh mining project, associated iron ore processing and pelletisation plants, as well as the large dams and reservoirs for the holding of slurry from iron-ore washeries, all right inside the mountainous forest land of Western Ghat in the Shimoga District of Karnataka was given environmental clearance by this task force. But the very same taskforce took a totally hostile view on a small hydroelectric project of 60 MW (firm power), in the nearby Silent Valley, with all sorts of environmental and ecological objections. In the name of protecting and preserving the biodiversity of Western Ghats in general and Silent Valley region in particular, even global campaigns were organized by small groups of environmental activists in Kerala. Organizations like International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), headquartered in Switzerland, played a key role in providing the intellectual inputs for orchestrating this campaign on global basis. NCEPC, a body appointed by Government of India, had even condescended to accept US$ 10,000 as grant from IUCN, for undertaking directed research and investigations. Apparently, NCEPC was part of a global agenda: This was criticized by Indian power engineers, forestry experts, and well meaning political activists. This writer had actively participated in the debate, and in 1980, published a book titled ‘Silent Valley: Myth and Reality’, which tried to evaluate the project, based on the global experience of building large dams and reservoirs and in the specific context of Kerala’s power development needs.


7 Silent Valley power project of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) was getting delayed thanks to the environmental disputes and Government of India appointed Professor MGK Menon Commission to study the dispute in every detail. Objections based on climate change, biodiversity and uniqueness of the forests as well as the fears on the extinction of the lion-tailed monkey etc raised by IUCN as well as local ecological enthusiasts were closely examined by this eminent scientist, based on facts and figures: He came to the firm conclusion that apprehensions of environmental crusaders were not supported by facts or scientific evidence. However, taking into account the prevailing socio-cultural environment he recommended a 25 year moratorium for the power project, granting benefit of doubt to the arguments against the project. He recommended, in 1983, extensive surveys and studies on the biosphere of the project area which was subsequently declared as National Park by Central Government. These forest areas is now under the routine supervision of an exclusive forest officer, deputed for this purpose by the State Forest Department, and no efforts has been made, so far, to dispute or disprove the findings and conclusions arrived at by Prof MGK Menon, thirty years ago.

could naturally do far better and filter away large chunks of land branded as ESA by his rival. Even though the two commissions had fairly large contingents of experts, specialists and academics, and were headed by eminent professionals, they were handicapped by their lack of direct contact with ground realities and poor quality feedback from state level administration. Quality of our forest administration is poor thanks to outdated techniques and inadequacies of infrastructure and human resources, and of course, widespread corruption. Kerala has its unique Forest Research Institute (KFRI) but its linkages with forest department remain grossly underdeveloped. But for minor variations, this is the general situation that prevails in all the six member states of Western Ghats fraternity; Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala. Geology and Mining department of Kerala is notorious for its lack of professionalism: Even the good old UNDP project, brought in some three decades ago, could not salvage it. Kerala does not have a worthwhile water resources department, and the much talked about authorities for river basin management continue to be mere pipe dreams: Irrigation department which is in charge of water resources was dysfunctional from the very beginning and continues to be a mere bureaucratic outfit.

Our knowledge of Western Ghats and its microclimates as well as flora and fauna continues to be underdeveloped and remains The two commissions appointed by more or less at the same level as in the NCEPC days of mid-seventies. This is eviME&F, in quick succession during the last dent from the principal mandate assigned two years, have proved themselves to be to Gadgil Panel by ME&F: “To demarcate of little relevance to ground realities, and areas within the Western Ghats Region which need to be notified as ecologically to the lives and aspirations of local people. sensitive and to recommend for notificaAnd, that is why their findings and recomtion of such areas as ecologically sensimendations are apparently little different tive zones under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.” This was to be done by from those of the NCEPC taskforce of 1976, reviewing the existing reports and studies which had mostly relied on the perceptions by expert commissions, data from various and prescriptions of IUCN and other global departments of state governments, local bodies, as well as directives of the Subodies. preme Court. Gadgil report admits that available information was inadequate even for delimiting the so called Western Ghats region. Detailed ground level data and information, needed for identifying Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) were inadequate, not available or could not be accessed. Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports differ in their perceptions on ESA as well as their definitions and classifications. But, in the absence of adequate ground level information both have relied on satellite imageries. And, in this Kasturirangan, being a former Chairman of ISRO,

State administration does not see any relevance or need for developing scientific land use plans, even though a Land Use Board is in existence for several decades. District councils, block panchayats, grama panchayats, municipalities and corporations elected by the people are ill-equipped to enforce even the provisions of Town and Country Planning Act of early seventies. Waste management systems installed by our municipalities are a major source of pollution across the state. Kerala State Pollution Control Board, Biodiversity Board and State Committee for Science Technology and Environment have degenerated into mere clerical outfits devoid of real professional or S&T capabilities.

Incompetence and indifferent quality are the hallmarks of state level governance in Kerala. Situation in the other five member-states of Western Ghats is unlikely to be any different. And that is why, the two commissions appointed by ME&F, in quick succession during the last two years, have proved themselves to be of little relevance to ground realities, and to the lives and aspirations of local people. And, that is why their findings and recommendations are apparently little different from those of the NCEPC taskforce of 1976, which had mostly relied on the perceptions and prescriptions of IUCN and other global bodies. Most problems arising out of the so called degradation of Western Ghats could be solved by improving the effectiveness and quality of governance at state and local levels, and making it more transparent and accountable to the people through a process of democratic decentralization. There is a dire need for capacity building at the state and lower levels, in all spheres of governance: management of land, water and bio resources, exploitation of mines as well as development and maintenance of infrastructure. As a solution to this basic problem, Gadgil Panel had recommended the Central Government to establish an eleven member State Western Ghats Authority (SWGA) with district level advisory panels in each of the six member states and a 24 member Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA) at the Centre. The proposal to make this centralized bureaucratic set up as the custodian of development and environment was not acceptable to the states as pointed out in the Kasturirangan report, It has recommended ME&F to set up a “Decision Support and Monitoring Centre for Western Ghats” to be hosted by one State and managed by the six states as a joint venture. This Centre will greatly facilitate the information based decision making process and will have the mandate to: (i) use the existing and new knowledge to build a vibrant political dialogue in the region as a whole on the need to make shifts in development paradigm, given its particular vulnerability, (ii) assess and report on the state of ecology of the entire region, and (iii) provide a decision support function in the management of ESAs. Investment needs has been identified by the Panel and accepted by ME&F. The problems of small farmers and households in the ESAs that have come to the surface during the recent agitations are surmountable through local level consultations. Ksturirangan report if implemented in the right spirit will be a breakthrough in the management of Western Ghats environment. And of course, this presupposes an all-round improvement in the quality of governance at all levels: Otherwise, environment protection using satellites will remain a utopia

Dec 15 15 -- Jan Jan 15, 15, 2014 2014 Dec

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ISSUES

GKSF: Fine-tuning is the need of hour the Tourism Department in 2011-12 had incurred a loss of Rs 44.58 crore as it was launched without any specific guidelines. The report also states the State-specific industries and products like spices, cashew and marine prodS Harikishore ucts, handloom and handicraft had not participated actively and the maximum numbers of coupons were purchased by big textile dealers or jewelers. The registration of the mid size mercantile establishments was much less than the target,” alleges Binny Emmatti, President of Kerala Samsthana Vyapari Vyavasayi Samithi (KSVVS).

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he Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF), started in 2007 with an aim to promote and develop trade and commerce sector along with Kerala’s ethnic industrial products, has been ridden with rows right from its inception. This festival is also considered as tourist attraction as it takes place at the peak of tourist arrival. The Government is incessantly failing to implement the objectives of the festival in its required dimension. So, the faceoff between the Government and other merchants’ organization will put the GKSF in troubled waters. “This year, the 7th in the series of the festival, is Binny Emmatti also not different from that of the previous ones dragging the merchants into litigation. The Government has entrusted the Kerala VyaparI Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES) to conduct the festival single handedly without discussing with similar organizations or calling for a tender. KVVES has to manage the entire task related to the festival like distribution of coupons, holding the district-level inaugurations and other logistical support including the publicity. Till last year, the coupons were printed and distributed by the State Government directly to the registered Mercantile Establishments (MEs) and the logistics, marketing, and inaugural functions were handled by private event managers. In the previous years the festival was carried out jointly by Finance, Tourism and Industries Department of Kerala. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report says that the GKSF conducted by

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Binny has filed a petition in the High Court questioning the manner in selecting KVVES as a sole agency to carry out this season’s GKSF by the Tourism Department. As a result the High Court has stayed further proceedings in the printing and the distribution of the coupons. Binny further alleged that large scale anomalies are found in this obscure deal between KVVES and the Government. According to him, KSVVS has nearly 3 lakh registered MEs as its members, who are regularly paying subscription fees to the organization and the splinter group of KSVVS led by Hassan Koya, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and many other associations will boycott this season of the GKSF. “No procedural hurdle has been there in selecting KVVES for conducting GKSF Season 7. We have invited all associations and conducted the meeting and only KVVES has put forward the proposal stating that they are interested in conducting this season’s GKSF. The executive committee of GKSF approved their proposal and recommended for availing logistic support from KVVES for conduct of GKSF season seven,” said S Harikishore IAS, Director, Tourism Department of Kerala. According to P A M Ibrahim, the vice-president of KVVES, “we are planning to make the event more attractive and successful and KVVES is planning to distribute coupons worth Rs 30 crore to one lakh merchants across Kerala. In last season, the registration fee was Rs 5,000 for each establishment and this season there is no registration fee and also the rate of coupon is P A M Ibrahim slashed to Rs 10 from Rs 15. A minimum of one lakh MEs will be registered under the incentive this year, which were only 7,000 last year. “The expenditure for the printing of coupon will be met by KVVES through sponsors and it is the sole responsibility of KVVES to distribute coupons to all districts. KVVES has ensured a minimum distribution of 2 crore coupons and where, only 54 lakh coupons

were sold last year. The allegations raised from certain quarters are baseless and motivated with vested interests,” says P A M Ibrahim, vice-president of KVVES. Binny added that when 2 crore coupons of Rs 10 are sold, Rs 2 will go to KVVES’ account and Rs 7 in the Government’s account and for coupons sold above 2 crore, both KVVES and Government, will be benefitted with Rs 5 each. By distributing 2 crore coupons KVVES will receive a payment of Rs 6 crore. The bumper prize in this season is Rs 1 crore in cash unlike the previous seasons in which equivalent amount of gold was given. Pecuniary advantage is being conferred on KVVES by the Government in the most arbitrary and illegal manner without following a competitive selection process.

The festival which is aimed to attract more tourists and improve the economic status of our State has not even seen any positive result till today. Whenever a new project or programme begins in our state, it always opens a door for wanton hullabaloo. ‘KVVES is only another association of traders in the State and they do not represent the entire trading community. When an activity like this is conducted, Government could have released a public notice giving equal opportunity to associations like KSVVS or any other organization of similar category to participate in logistic activities,’’ added Benny. 200 major MEs like Seematti, Malabar Gold, Josco Jewellers, Jayalakshmi Silks, Kalyan Silks, Kalyan Jewellers, DATA, etc. were the major sellers of the coupons past years and also they don’t have membership with KSVVS and KVVES. Therefore by granting the whole responsibility to KVVES, substantial loss and hardship will be caused to KSVVS,’ argues Binny. Bakers Association Kerala has also expressed disgust towards the rules of the GKSF Season 7 which states that for every purchase of Rs 250, a coupon of Rs 10 is to be issued. Association President P M Sankaran says that KVVES should boycott the move to impose the practice on small bakery outlets that sustain on small margin of 4 to 8 percent. Therefore, like last season this time also the coupon should be applicable to purchases of Rs 1,000 and above. The Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) have also fall out with the Government’s decision for want of transparency. KCCI said that its one lakh members would not participate in the festival, if the Government did not make amends in its decision. This is not the first time that GKSF is marred by controversies. The festival which is aimed to attract more tourists and improve the economic status of our State has not even seen any positive result till today. Whenever a new project or programme begins in our state, it always opens a door for wanton hullabaloo. The difference in views of different associations affiliated to different political parties in our state is the main quandary associated with this. However, GKSF is still entangled in litigation when this magazine publishes this article, wishing for the redressal

Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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A tale of two plenums T

he plenum of the CPM held in Palakkad recently was viewed seriously in Kerala. People in this highly politicized State V K Vijayakumar were keenly watching the developments in the predominant political party in Kerala and its attempts to cleanse the party and rid itself of the many damaging negative influences that had crept into it. Two weeks before the Palakkad plenum ended, another major plenum and the decisions which came out of it, were very curiously watched by the world, even though it didn’t arouse much media interest in Kerala. This was the Chinese communist party plenum and its major decisions that were thoroughly discussed in international economic fora. Unfortunately, the Palakkad plenum got mired in a ludicrous controversy relating to an ad put in the party mouth piece Desabimani by a dubious businessman of unsavory track record. It would be instructive to examine the two plenums to draw conclusions regarding the present status of the two institutions. China is presently the second largest economy in the world with a GDP of $ 5.8 trillion. China achieved double digit annual GDP growth during the last 30 years – a feat unprecedented in global economic history. This enviable growth was made possible by the viOf course, the single party dictatorship in China made matters easy for China. China was reforming after learning from the experiences and mistakes of running a command economy. The CPM in India, with no such experiences, certainly lacked the conviction which the Chinese had in liberalizing their economy. sionary economic reforms initiated under the leadership of Deng Xiao Peng after the death of the great helmsman Mao Zedong. These economic reforms with profound consequences were initiated by Deng in the plenum held in Beijing in 1978. He followed it up with a second wave of reforms in 1992 to overcome the opposition to reforms coming from conservatives in the party. Deng shocked the world by abolishing the communes and introducing the responsibility system in agriculture by removing state controls and giving

farmers the freedom to produce any produce they liked and to sell them in the market at market determined prices. This substantially boosted agricultural output and incomes. Even braver reforms were implemented in industry. Private initiative and enterprise were encouraged. The party even went to the extent of declaring that ‘it is glorious to get rich.’ China rolled the red carpet to MNCs. When the glaring contradiction between the ideology and the practice was pointed out, Deng famously declared that “it doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white so long as it catches mice.” The reforms initiated in the plenum in 1978 and the high growth it produced made China the economic

super power that it is today. It lifted the large segments of people from poverty in a short period of time. China is today the largest exporter in the world; it built massive world class infrastructure; and sits on a foreign exchange reserves of $3. 2 trillion dollars. The Chinese party plenum that ended on November 15th in Beijing takes the reforms forward. The plenum decided to give a decisive role for markets in resource allocation. PSUs will have to survive and flourish in a competitive environment. The currency will be made increasingly convertible and financial and banking reforms are on the anvil. The unmistakable trend is towards further liberalization. The Chinese economy with 65 % of the GDP coming from the private sector (up from 15 % during Mao’s time) is no longer a socialist system. This transition to a market economy has substantially improved the living standards of the people and made China an economic super power. China could accomplish this phenomenal success because, Deng’s visionary leadership, which was carried forward by his successors, was rooted in pragmatism as opposed to inane

ideology. For modernization of industry, boosting investment and establishing SEZs for exports, the Chinese welcomed and encouraged the world’s leading MNCs. There were no decrying of the corporates as in India; no protests against MNCs. Leading global MNCs in automobiles, engineering, electronics, consumer goods …….all rushed to China. They were given all facilities they needed. Many MNCs including Wall Mart were allowed 100 percent FDI. China is today the largest market for automobiles in the world with an annual production 1.9 crore cars. And the vast majority of the cars are Toyota, Honda, GM, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes and JLR.

Consumer brands like McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut etc are ubiquitous in China. Since driving away a major consumer brand will have a negative impact on foreign investment, they were very liberal in their foreign investment policy. The encouragement given to private business, corporations and MNCs were sincere and genuine. The attitude of the CPM in India, by contrast, was vague and inconsistent. They opposed the liberalization initiated in India in 1991. The political compulsions in India’s multi- party democracy, the need to declare ideological purity and a leadership which refused to learn from the collapse of the communist- bloc made matters worse. Of course, the single party dictatorship in China made matters easy for China. China was reforming after learning from the experiences and mistakes of running a command economy. The CPM in India, with no such experiences, certainly lacked the conviction which the Chinese had in liberalizing their economy. Also, to keep the cadres intact and to nurse the political space they occupied in India (read Kerala, W Bengal and Tripura) the party upped the political antenna to attack the corporate sector in season and out of sea-

son. Even while rolling the red carpet for the corporate sector in West Bengal under Budhadev, the party didn’t waste an opportunity to attack the corporate sector. Consequently, they couldn’t develop a straight forward relationship with clean capital. At the same time the party had realized the need for reforms and the need to encourage private initiative and enterprise. They started openly praising entrepreneurs (in Marxism there are no entrepreneurs but only exploitative bourgeoisie.) The left government in Kerala initiated steps for setting up ‘start up villages’ and ‘incubation centres for young entrepreneurs.’ It is the small businesses started by young entrepreneurs that grow up to become large corporates. Therefore, accepting corporates is only a logical corollary of encouraging entrepreneurship. Without realizing this, the party followed a policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound. Since the party is ideologically opposed to the bourgeoisie (class war is in the party programme even now) it does not accept donations from the corporate sector. At the same time, the exigencies of running a party in a multiparty democracy, made accepting money from business imperative. Unfortunately, this led to a situation where the party and its paper started accepting money and ad from businessmen of dubious distinction. Lottery agents, land dealers and sundry businessmen who made money by manipulating the system through political connections, befriended the party. Consequently, the image of the party took a severe beating. It is time, the CPM in India, taking a leaf from the Chinese comrades, took a more straight forward and honest attitude to businessmen, particularly corporates. There are many corporates in India, even in Kerala, who do honest and competent business. The transparency in their business and the character of these corporate leaders are appreciated and admired by the society. Why not accept donations and seek advertisement from them? An ad or donation from the likes of Kris Gopalakrishnan (Infosys), Kochouseph Chittilappilly et al will be appreciated by the people than an ad or bond investment(?) from lottery kings or dubious real estate dealers. It is time for a reality check. (Dr V K Vijayakumar, Investment Strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas )

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‘Think big, and be the

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iE Kerala, the State Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), a global organization, engaged in promoting entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking and education, hosted the second edition of TiEcon Kerala 2013 on December 13 and 14, 2013 in Kochi recently. Delegates from

across the state and outside attended the conference which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Eminent speakers comprising leading entrepreneurs, industrialists, professionals, venture capitalists, educationalists, mentors and management experts from the country and abroad addressed the delegates in different sessions held on both days. The theme chosen was ‘Prosperity through Entrepreneurship’. In the plenary session K Ganesh & Rajeev Madhavan, successful serial entrepreneurs, addressed the gathering on ‘Creating Wealth through Serial Entrepreneurship’. In an e-mail interview, both Ganesh and Ramesh spoke of their lives and their ventures. Below are given brief sketches of their lives and their answers to our questions. Ganesh, founder and ex-CEO, TutorVista,

K Ganesh

Apart from founding and successfully

is a successful serial entrepreneur with four successful green field ventures and exits. His last venture, TutorVista, was acquired by USand UK-listed education leader Pearson for $213m. He was among the top five nominees for the Economic Times Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 Award.

growing four ventures, Ganesh has worked as

His current venture, Portea Medical, aims at providing technology-led home healthcare services to the Indian consumer. He is actively involved in incubating start-ups and is strategic investor and promoter of India-based consumer internet and e-commerce companies – Bluestone.com (online jewelry), Bigbasket. com (egrocery), MustseeIndia.com (travel packages and content), bookadda.com (academic focused online books) and delyver.com (hyper local delivery), onlineprasad.com (online religion).

one of the Iconic Entrepreneurs of India in a

Ganesh was founder of the data analytics BPO firm Marketics until March 2007, when the company was acquired by NYSE-listed WNS for $ 63m. His earlier venture, Customer Asset, was started in mid-2000 and later acquired by ICICI and is now publicly listed in India as First Source Solutions. In 1990, as his first entrepreneurial venture, he promoted IT&T, one of India’s top multi-vendor IT service and support companies. The business was acquired by iGate in 2003.

strategic investors in five e-commerce start-

the CEO of Wipro and Bharti British Telecom – a British Telecom JV in India, and held a senior management position in HCL Ltd. He is a popular speaker in entrepreneurship, start-up and technology events. He has been recognized as document published by National Knowledge Commission, Government of India. He serves as a member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta. Meena, his wife, and Ganesh are India’s best-known entrepreneur couple. Over the past two decades, between them they have built and exited four successful ventures at a total valuation of $300 million. The couple are currently ups. They plan to invest in 100 start-ups over the next 10 years. They are also contemplating a new venture in retail healthcare delivery. The duo say they are “looking for the next disruptive model using technology and the internet.” Ganesh is a master’s from the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi University.

What is keeping you motivated to go on and on and start new ventures?

current status-quo. There are several advantages to this strategy.

Start-up and entrepreneurship is like an addiction. Once you get hooked on to it, like a drug, it is impossible to get off. There is so much fun in creating something that did not exist before, the ability to give life to a new idea, see it grow and employ hundreds and thousands of people and it takes a full shape and life of its own is sheer joy.

You will not be compared to anyone else and you get more time and longer rope to build your business. You can afford to be stupid, make mistakes and learn. If you choose an idea that is already being done and try to do it better, you are under pressure from day one. For instance , if I were to start an IT services company or BPO company, then from the start the analysts, media and investors will start comparing me with Infosys or Wipro and tear me to pieces. But TutorVista we started in 2006 and sold for $213m (around Rs 1,000 crore) in 2011; there was never a competitor that we could be benchmarked and compared with.

How do you choose an idea, to put your energy in? This is very personal and there are many different paths taken by different entrepreneurs. Personally, I like new spaces where there are no players and competition yet where I can use technology or internet or some tool to disrupt the

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This strategy also ensures you can be a category-leader or industry-defining company which is impossible in established sectors. The category leader gets


driving force for change’

11

Rajeev Madhavan, Founder-Chairman &

CEO, Magma Design Automation Inc, is a serial entrepreneur, having founded and co-founded three successful start-ups. The most recent, Magma Design Automation, became the fourth largest electronic design automation company in the world under his leadership. The San Jose, California,-based Magma Design Automation provides software to design chips for cell phones, networking, automotive products, electronic games and more.

maximum visibility, brand recognition, attracts best interests from all quarters and also disproportionate valuation. You can see that in Flipkart, redBus, TutorVista, Bookmy show etc, all of them commanding huge premiums disproportionate to their size and scale because they define the industry. I also like ideas that address big problems and solve a major pain point - then getting customers is easy. India has so many challenges and each one is waiting to be solved. If you do it smartly using technology, provide convenience and reduce the suffering and pain for the consumer, then you can build a large valuable business. Whether it is home healthcare through Portea , grocery online through BigBasket, last mile logistics through Delyver.com - these are companies we have promoted to address very basic needs on the consumer. With our huge population, we have a large untapped market that gives us mega opportunity. What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurship is a very hard and low probability business - 95 % of start-ups don’t monetize or be very successful in terms of financial success. So you need to be very passionate about the idea and also be stupid enough to think that you will be in the 5% success category! So, don’t think small. Go for big opportunity and big wins. Address large problems that have a crying need. You find it everywhere in India. Then it will be worth taking on the pressures and perils of entrepreneurship. In short “Think Big so that even if you fail, you fail spectacularly!”

Rajeev served as Magma’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors since he co-founded the company in 1997, and also served as President until 2001. Magma was listed on Nasdaq in 2001 and was ranked as the second-fastest-growing technology company in 2005 by Forbes. Magma was acquired in February 2012 by Synopsys Inc. Rajeev Madhavan is the son-in-law of Prof Dr Unnikrishna Pillai, the longest-serving Principal of NIT Calicut (formerly REC), and Director CAPE. Rajeev is from Kochi and did his schooling in Rajagiri School, Kalamassery. Prior to founding Magma, he co-founded and served as President and CEO, Ambit Design Systems Inc. Ambit’s market leadership led to a successful acquisition by Cadence in 1998. Rajeev also co-founded and served as Director of Engineering of LogicVision, Inc (went IPO and was acquired by Mentor). Recipient of the Red Herring, Top Innovator 2002, Lifetime Achievement Award at NIT-K, India, and various other awards, Rajeev is an active angel investor and was one of the first investors in Yume Networks, Virident, Apigee, Reflektion, Robin Systems, Zerosoft, Co-Design and Sabio Labs. Rajeev received a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication from KREC, Surathkal, India, and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada.

Rajeev Madhavan

What is keeping you motivated to go on and on and start new ventures? Technology keeps changing rapidly staying one step ahead and creating or helping create new ventures that exploit the radical shifts is the best adrenaline rush I could get! Having great financial returns while doing this is just the icing! How do you choose an idea, to put your energy in? Ability to differentiate, lead, build and attract the highest quality team. Start-ups are a team sport and not about individuals! What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Be the driving force for change and don’t let a few ‘no’s’stop you! Surround yourself with people smarter than you!

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Project

PRODUCT OPPORTUNITIES

Packaged Drinking Water Demand The packaged drinking water is widely accepted in offices, restaurants, railway erala State is stations, airports, bus stands, hospitals endowed with a and to some extent even in rich and middle variety of resources income house-holds. With around 1600 like natural rubber, brands, the annual Indian packaged drinkspices, minerals, ing water market is estimated to have a size marine, nature etc. of Rs. 1800 crores. About 5 billion litres of suitable for industrial bottled water are sold in India today. It is to be noted that India is the 10th largest coninvestment. sumer of bottled water globally. The packHowever, we are aged drinking water market is growing at not able to convert the rate of about 25 percent annually at the these resources global level. It is estimated that Indian botinto value added tled water market growing at 19% per anproducts due to various reasons. One num. Spiraling population, expanding tourof the limiting factors ism, growing scarcity of pure drinking water, rising awareness on health consciousness for the state of among Indian consumers are some of the affairs is the lack of adequate awareness factors contributing for the growth. There is also a growing segment for bulk water on the product particularly from flat/apartment dwellers, ofopportunities that fices and shopping malls. The bottled water are available in the market is likely to touch Rs. 2200 crores in state. 2014-15.

K

JOB K. T

Kerala is termed as a consumer state and crores of rupees worth of products find market. A rough estimates shows that around one lakh crores of goods are sold in the state every year. Out of these, 90% of our requirements are met by supply from outside the state. This indicates that Kerala is a fertile market, which can be utilized by local manufacturers. We are making a humble effort by bring to the attention of the readers about some of the feasible project ideas through a series of publications. This effort will be initiated by introducing the potential for packaged drinking water in the state.

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Brands The packaged drinking water market in India is highly active. Multinational, national and local brands are dominant in the market. Of the 1600 certified manufacturers, famous brands jointly hold a market share of 30 percent. Major players are Bisleri (Parle), Aquafina (Pepci Co), and Kinley (Hindustan Coca Cola). These players primarily market smaller containers of 300 & 500 milli litres or 1 & 2 litres. Out of 30% all India market share for branded packaged drinking water, Bisleri continues to hold leading position by having 36 percent of the market share, followed by Kinley 25 percent and Aquafina 15 percent, Parle Agro’s Bailley holds 6 percent share. Kingfisher, Oxyrich and Mc Dowell’s No. 1 together hold an 18 percent market share. There are plenty of local brands varying from region to region. This unorganized sector, accounts for the remaining 70 percent of the market. The annual demand for packaged drinking water in Kerala is estimated to be Rs.300 crores, thanks to the

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growing tourism sector. The leading brands available in Kerala are Sabari, Green Valley, Maxwell etc.

Process The packaged drinking water is derived from any source of potable water which may be subjected to treatments such as decantation, filtration, combination of filtrations, aeration, filtration with membrane filter, depth filter, cartridge filter, activated carbon filtration, demineralization, re-mineralization, reverse osmosis or any other method to meet the prescribed standard and then packed in PET bottles.

Project Details Packaged drinking water can be started with a processing capacity of 1000 litres per hour to 4000 litres per hour depending upon the demand and investment. Accordingly, the investment requirements will also vary. In this article, a packaged drinking water plant having a capacity to process 4000 litres of water per hour is introduced. The project particulars are shown in below.

Amount

Particulars

(Rs.in lakhs)

Land

Own

Building

90.00

Machinery

120.00

Laboratory Equipment

7.00

Miscellaneous Fixed Assets

24.00

Preliminary & Pre-operative

30.00

Expenses Contingency

24.00

Margin Money for Working Capital

75.00

Total

370.00

The project can expect a term loan of Rs. 200.00 lakhs from financial institutions. The promoters have to bring in Rs. 170 .00 lakhs. It may be eligible for incentives under the Entrepreneur Support Scheme of Industries Department, Government of Kerala.

Project Economics

The annual economics of the project is indicated below. Particulars

Amount(Rs. in lakhs)

Sales

1500.00

Cost of Production

1425.00 75.00

Description

Requirement

Operating Profit

Land

50 cents

Break Even Point

50%

Building

6000 Sq.ft.

Pay Back Period

5 years

Machinery like chlorine dosing system, sand filter, activated carbon filter, micron bag filter, reverse osmosis module, mineral dosing system, ozonation unit, PET blow moulding machine, hot melt auto labeling, jar filling machine

Internal Rate of Return

40%

Rs.120 lakhs

Laboratory as per

Rs.

IS: 14543:2004

7 lakhs

Direct Employment Potential

30 persons

Power Requirement

120 HP

Project Cost The approximate investment required for setting up of a 4000 litres per hour packaged drinking water will be Rs. 370.00 lakhs, as shown below. However, there can be some variations in the cost depending upon the production capacity.

Conclusion The annual packaged drinking water market in Kerala is estimated to be Rs.300 crores. The market is growing at the rate of 20% per annum due to increasing inflow of foreign and domestic tourists, more of travelling, poor quality of water supplied by the public distribution system. The project having a capacity to process 4000 litres of water per hour will require an investment of Rs. 370.00 lakhs. The enterprise can available a term loan of Rs. 200.00 lakhs from any financial institution. Apart from this, the project is eligible for incentives under Entrepreneur Support Scheme The economic indicators of the project is found to be attractive. (Professor JOB. K. T is a retired Senior Faculty of Centre for Management Development, Thiruvananthapuram. He offers training and consultancy services to small and medium enterprises. He can be contacted at Mob: 9847135571 or e.mail: jobkt012@ gmail.com)


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MONEY MANAGEMENT wealth is conservatively kept to be secure and safe, it will simply erode over the time since inflation is a monster that can enhance the needs of the household dramatically. Therefore, some growth in wealth is desirable so that it appreciates in value over time. The third part is maximization. This is the active deployment of wealth with the objective of increasing it. It is obvious that in terms of risk and return, the three parts progressively hold higher risk and higher return. Sachin would have preserved adequately more. He would also have wealth invested in various as-

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he principles for making the wealth of an HNI person or yours grow are surprisingly the same in view of the wealth of Sachin Tendulkar. The retirement news of Sachin Tendulkar has grabbed reels of newsprint in print media and hours of prime time in electronic media. The announcement made by Sachin left us in deep sorrow and with heavy heart.. The whole world considers him a gentleman on the crease, off the crease; and for Indians he is God. But there is another story to tell around his retirement for us particularly people who are rife for retirement. By quitting he has given up his primary source of income . Or, perhaps, he crossed his peak income at a young age, having another 40years to provide for. There is a basic income and wealth equation in all our financial lives. If we enjoy an extra sum from our incomes on a regular basis, we are able to use it to add wealth. The poor, who However, the decisions struggle to he takes after retirement can meet their baimpact these portions of wealth sic expenses, significantly. There would be fail to build business propositions that eye wealth. It is his wealth. Advisers are asking not merely him to set up sports academies, the income one earns, sports management firms or but the wealth mentorship organizations. created that defines how comfortable one’s financial life will be. Sachin’s biggest advantage is his accumulated wealth built over years of high income. Wealth can be divided into three parts. The first is preservation, which is the amount needed to take care of all the essential expenses over a large number of years of one’s life, or the household’s needs. The wealth that is meant to secure the household’s needs cannot be exposed to risks. The second part is accumulation. If the entire

. Since the wealth cannot be replenished without a continuous income stream and a steady accumulation, Sachin should ensure that the first two part of his wealth are not compromised to chase the third part of maximization. The risk to a highly successful professional is the mistaken belief that everything he attempts will succeed, or the smugness about being able to do tasks never attempted before. Amitabh’s willingness to start over is indeed rare quality in someone who enjoyed mass adulation. Sachin, hopefully does not see himself as God, a title adoring fans have bestowed on him and, instead takes his business decisions with the same calmness and

sets that will serve the accumulation and maximization objectives. However, the decisions he takes after retirement can impact these portions of wealth significantly. There would be business propositions that eye his wealth. Advisers are asking him to set up sports academies, sports management firms or mentorship organizations. All these propositions are based on the assumption that there is enough wealth to be put into the maximization bracket. However, the risk in this portion can shake the foundations of the other two parts. This was realized by another celebrity when he retired after an injury.

sensibility that he displayed in his game.

When Amitabh Bacchan set up ABCL corporation, he was leveraging the fact that he had earned and accumulated adequate wealth to pursue a wealth maximization strategy. However. the initial years of struggle with ABCL took away quite a bit of his wealth without generating any income for him. His return to earning income as a star; doing television shows as well as commercials, is what brought back stability to his wealth. Many in the film industry will acknowledge that his ability to attract work an exception than the norm. Every film star hopes to remain in the limelight and every sports star hopes to earn income from endorsements, commentaries, speaking assignments and columns, but not all manage this for a long, sustainable period. The stories of failed business enterprises that were meant to maximize wealth are too many to ignore.

The salaries class, used to the comfort of a regular income, might not have the stomach for business to jump from preservation to the maximization mode. Many of them live in the illusive world, believing that

The risk to Sachin’s wealth comes from the decisions that may be taken keeping the current wealth in mind, ignoring the reality that his ability to earn may have actually peaked. He may not be able to earn the same amount of money in 48 years of retirement that he did during 24 years of active playing

The reason retiring professionals and celebrities try to secure their incomes is that they want to cushion the wealth from business decisions that may go wrong . Every good business decision maximizes the pie, as happens in shrewd business families that have mastered the art of taking risks, making them efficiently. When business decisions backfire, the erosion in wealth is tough to manage, even for someone like Vijay Mallya, whose losses in Kingfisher are threatening the other components of his wealth.

a few tips from brokers will open the world of magical returns for them. They skip accumulation and demand that all investments preserve their wealth and also earn high returns. Find out how your wealth is apportioned and how you will build and use each. You may find the principles to be surprisingly similar, whether the wealth is yours or Sachin’s

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TAX EVASION state revenue on a large scale, as ours is a state which heavily depend on commodity tax,” said Jose Sebastian, Faculty Member at Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation. When asked about the situation in developed countries where everything has changed to online today, Jose says that “unlike our country, governments in many developed countries provide social security to merchants but there is no such facility in our country and hence the surging online market will affect our merchants, especially branded shops and markets more than any other country.

Grey side of online trading O

R G Gireesh

nline trading has become the buzz word in modern age, world wide. Number of online companies are surging day by day. Busy schedules of life, 24X7 commitment towards the profession have widened the scope of these companies. The repercussion of this transformation has made path-breaking development in India also. Kerala, compared to other states, has become more vulnerable to this development since the State has a high literacy rate and more internet penetration. According to a spokesperson of online company who doesn’t want to be mentioned, says, “there is an estimate of more than Rs 3,000 crore worth of ecommerce business is taking place per annum in Kerala and approximately Rs 1 lakh crore business per year in India. E-commerce has tremendous potential and opportunity because shopping and paying by debit card or credit cards online is as simple, hassle-free, and products and services showcased by the e-commerce companies are vast and divergent’ But the flipside of this development is that it has become a threat to the Kerala exchequer by shortfall in tax collection. The various traders’ associations have alleged that the sales on net are depriving the country of huge revenue by way of tax evasion. They also complained that the traders those who deal with branded products are the worstaffected lot. They substantiate their argument by showing the recent report revealing that the business of shops in high-tech malls and hypermarkets drastically coming down in these days

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and even in developed countries like Britain and the US (many megastores have been closed in the past few years due to swelling e-commerce). As the new technology has already established and conquered traditional markets in our state it has become hard for the Government to ban the system. The trading community and merchants’ union had already gone to strike in our country recently to ban online shopping, but in vain. “Mainly in the online marketing, inter-state purchase is going on and for which tax is paid only to that state where the product is manufactured, and we don’t have a system to collect tax in Kerala as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is still not implemented by the Government. It is true that, in Kerala we are losing crores of rupees as tax due to increase in online purchase. The delivery of products and collection of the money is done by courier companies in most of the cases. The courier companies, mainly indulged with this business, are DHL and BlueDart . The collected money by these courier services are remitted in a common account and it is still elusive on who all will get the share and in what quantum. For these reasons, we have imposed a penalty of nearly Rs 3 crore on Bluedart,” said P S Soman, Deputy Commissioner, Intelligence Wing, Commercial Taxes Department. “Tax laws and structures are completely different in developed countries and also they have high monitoring system in place as regards the tax evasion is concerned. Therefore the

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need of the hour is to introduce an advanced system to monitor this fraud before opening the floodgate of online shopping in India as in developed countries. Valuable items which attract more tax are trading online usually and it creates a huge dent in the exchequer,’’ added P S Soman. “According to a survey conducted by National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) the per capita consumption and demand as a whole is the highest in Kerala compared to other states due to high earnings and standard of life. Also, we mostly depended on products manufactured from other states for our requirement. Therefore the increasing dependency on online marketing is diminishing the

Shop owners and traders cannot be able to compete with the online companies after paying the expenses like rent for showrooms, money for parking spaces, interest for their capital and other taxes and levies to various government departments. Offers from the virtual market for safety pin to TV and laptop, even automobiles, with attractive discounts, are rampant in the market and it can be ordered through SMS or email and it will be delivered at your door step. Once GST is implemented it will replace all indirect taxes levied on goods and services by the Central and State Governments. In that scenario these kinds of anomalies can be rectified to some extent. “Flipkart, E-Bay, Myntra are some of the popular online markets who had already established their base in India. Bluedart and DHL are the main courier groups who deliver the ordered products at different places. There is an estimate of Rs 10 crore worth business happening per day in Kerala. They are providing 15% to 60% discount by which many people are attracted to this. The minimum applicable tax in the state is 15% since the e-commerce companies are not having any accountability they offer tax- free transaction to its customers and the customers can be easily lured by this offer. Ultimately the government and trading community who do legitimate business would be at the receiving end.’’ said Binny Ematty, State President of the Kerala Samsthana Vyapari Vyavasayi Samithi. Also he added, “due to this, an overwhole decline of 20% business in shopping sectors other than online is taking place now. It will be increased in future, unless the authorities open their eyes and ears timely. Our association strongly stands for a CBI probe on this and the Government should discourage this fraudulent business tactics which are ruining our state’s revenue system. Online marketing, which is prominent in developed countries, is not at all suitable for our country.”


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he Indian Railways carry nearly 6 billion people annually and are considered to be the country’s mass mode of transport. They are also the largest employer in the world. However the organization has not attained professionalism in its administration. Dearth of railway lines, coaches, unscientific time schedules coupled with red tape and nepotism have marred the institution’s development. The Railways’ catering service for on-board passengers and their canteens in most stations are infamous for their unhygienic and unhealthy food. More than 1,000 complaints were received last year about stale food and

Head) and Suchithra Sumadevi (Chief Technical Officer) - , YatraChef delivers food for rail passengers. A wide choice of items and recipes is available with YatraChef to make travel pleasant. “To make the yatra menu delicious, the travellers have to log on to YatraChef website (www.yatrachef.com) and enter the PNR number or train journey details and they will be shown the food outlets available at different stations through their travel route and they can choose the station where they want the food. Once they choose the station they can see the hotels and food outlets available and they can select the hotel and check their menu.

this which delivers passenger delicacies is very valuable here.” “At present we have a tie-up with 100 hotels, which include restaurants, food plazas, fast food chains and caterers across the country and our focus is to bring at least three hotels in a station by the next six months. Before selecting a hotel we inspect their food, health certificates and hygienic conditions to ensure full safety to customers. By March 2014, the service points

will be increased by 130 railway stations from the current 100 across the country. We have tie-ups with 55 stations in the South. From December, online payment will be started. Till now we have received more than 150 orders. Sometimes it is difficult to track trains, as many are running late, but still we overcome such situations by timely delivery of the ordered food,”says Arun

(From Left) Arun, Suchithra and Rameez lack of hygienic conditions in pantry cars in trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi Expresses. Inspections carried out by the Railway Board in February 2013 reveal that the meals served in trains are cooked in pantry cars that are dirty, stinking and waterlogged. They also showed major inconsistencies in the rates charged for food items. It is in this context that YatraChef, developed by Kochi-based startup Eleventh Hour Innovations Private Ltd, assumes significance. Set up by three young entrepreneurs - Arun Rajan (CEO), Rameez Ashraf (Process

Once they have found their favourite dish, they can either order the food through the website or call us to order through our food adviser,” says Arun Rajan. About how the idea of starting such a venture occurred to them, Arun says: “While I was travelling on a train last December, I was affected by food poison. I also heard many such incidents happening in trains. This made me think about the difficulties faced by passengers. This prompted us to develop such a website. We have 8,000 trains in our country and only 2,000 have pantry services, so a website like Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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Restore the glory: Realty

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he real estate sector in Kerala has been going through a bit of a rough patch for some time. Discerning investors, especially NRIs, who earlier were relying on property as their prime option for investment, are now dithering over whether to take the plunge at this time. Many apartment projects ready for delivery are left to remain vacant at the mercy of would-be buyers, forcing the structures and builders to undergo enormous wear and tear. Even buyers who have long been looking for buying a villa or flat are deferring their decision thinking that there will be a drastic price cut. People in the sector say that NRIs’patronage had always been the strength of the industry. But a major

sion in the US, Europe and the Gulf countries, has made the situation worse for NRIs too. The demand from the IT industry is at a standstill because of the economic doom. The market has an array of finished projects now. Apart from major players, those dealing in premium flats and villas are now trying their luck at budget apartments to keep their cash flow intact. This will increase supply in the market and decrease demand.

The impending parliamentary elections, escalating living costs and high interest rates are cited as the main reasons for the industry’s present predicament. But the fact is that the overall crisis in the sector cannot be overcome by builders alone. For that, there must be a combined effort by people and the Government. Builders are suggesting some immediate ameliorating steps by the authorities, like:

Because of the increase in the interest rates banks are demanding 20% as down payment, instead of 10% a few years ago. The Union Government should be lenient towards the sectorby slashing the rates.

The procedure to get sanction for a project plan in corporations and municipalities is cumbersome. Speedy disposal should be ensured for which both corporations and municipalities must have a single window approval system.

chunk of them are already investors in two or more dwellings. And they want to dispose of their holdings and earn some profit. This, coupled with the reces-

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Thogh the depreciation of the rupee has pushed building materials prices up, the prices of apartments could not be jacked up accordingly. So there should be a system to monitor the pricing mechanism of allied products.

There is an obscure move from cement cartels to increase the price indiscriminately. The Government must intervene in it.

The floor area ratio is calculated in accordance with the width of roads beside the projects. Most of the roads are in a dilapidated condition needing immediate attention. There are certain other issues hampering development of the sector pertaining to the corporations of Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode which should be solved.

Master plans of cites are drawn by professionals instead of officials in the corresponding offices of local self- government bodies.

There should be clarity in the tax structure in the sector. Nobody is aware of the quantum of taxes and it should be clear.

Loading and unloading of building materials still remain a vexed issue, at least in certain areas. `Nokkukooli’ is rampant in certain areas despite the authorities’ claim of 100 percent eradication of the menace. The departments related to labour must be vigilant.

Asset Patio: the 30th project delivered

sset Homes, a front-row builder in Kerala, has completed Asset Patio, the luxury townhouse, which was opened by P Rajeev, MP, the other day at Cheranallur(Edappally) in Kochi. Asset Patio is the 30th project completed and delivered to the customers by Asset Homes within six years since its inception. “The pirvacy of an apartment and the facility of villa ensemble in harmony and it is the uniqueness of the Asset Patio, says its Managing Director Sunil Kumar V. Easy transport facility is the key feature of Asset Patio,” he added.

Asset Patio is situated close to Container Road and NH 17. Roof top jacuzzi, A/C health club, club house, open party area, landscaped court yard, rain water harvesting, landscaped garden, two passenger lifts, CREDAI clean city waste treatment plant are the amenities of Asset Patio.

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It is a credible achievement to have finished and delivered all projects successfully in time, said Executive Director K Anil Varma. He added that three more projects will be completed and handed over to the benefactors this year. “The new idea of townhouse in the realty sector conceived by Asset Homes has gained popularity among home seekers”, Sunil Kumar remarked. In addition to Asset Homes townhouse model in Edapally, Asset Portico at Kadavanthra was completed and delivered. Besides these, the construction of townhouses like Asset Versatile at Palarivattom and Asset Mid-Town in Thrissur is progressing”, Sunil Kumar avers. Asset Homes who carved niche in the real estate sector In Kochi, Tvm, Kottayam, Kannur,Thrissur has

been conferred with many national and international recognition for its quality building and durability. Asset Homes is the first-ever builder in the State which won the 7-StarRrating by the highest rating agency Crisil. Asset Homes Asset Signature, Asset Case Grande are the twin projects which won the 7 Star Rating


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Trinity prefers customer choice

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rinity Builders and Developers has emerged as one of Kochi’s leading builders in a short span of time. Established in 2005 by construction and business entrepreneurs, Trinity’s directors include C J Mathew (IRSretd), Roy, head of the well-known RJ Constructions, a civil contracting and engineering firm, and Louis, owner of Jos Electricals (Agencies), which runs the largest lighting showroom in South India. Though relatively young as an organization, the decades-long experience of Trinity’s directors makes it extremely effective. Positioned as a thinking builder, Trinity carefully selects and plans its projects. The company has successfully delivered six projects to date and another half a dozen are underway. Trinity’s core advantage is its speed and ability to understand customer needs, a fact that Trinity’s peers in the industry have themselves acknowledged. Customer preferences are researched extensively and these preferences are

the building blocks on which projects are designed. Trinity’s collaborations with talented architects have resulted in innovative and aesthetic living options.

This premium apartment project promises to help its residents lead a luxurious and comfortable life right near their workplace. ‘Trinity World’ offers many unique features. For instance, the

etc are amongst the best. Coming up at Seaport-Airport Road, about 1.5 km from Smart City/Infopark and only 6 km from NH bypass, makes Trinity World an ideal choice. Trinity Builder has set its other masterpiece, ‘The Garden’, a thoughtfully planned and executed villa project, at Aluva. Each home at Garden is a luxurious four-bedroom villa set in eight sprawling acres with a total of just 42 villas. Situated at Aluva, the bustling satellite city of Kochi, you are just around 8 km from the Cochin International Airport. Also, the project is very near to the timeless River Periyar which is accessible by a leisure stroll of less than five minutes.

Trinity has projects that are in diverse locations—city-centric, IT-oriented, scenic and waterfront. ‘Trinity World’, one of the most coveted projects, comprises four towers— Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury and Venus.

magnificent central atrium is one of the largest atriums in any apartment project in Kochi. Facilities at Trinity World like clubhouse, health club, swimming pool, indoor games centre, party area, business centre, home theatre, centralized gas supply, generator backup

Trinity takes pride in bringing to its customers projects that are luxurious and grand while maintaining their personal touch at the same time. Trinity’s credibility gets further corroborated by the fact that within the first three years of its inception, 270 apartments have been completed spread over four projects. Since then Trinity has moved from strength to strength, with over 1,500 dwelling units having been conceived across 13 different projects, offering superior finish at attractive rates.

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FUND MANAGEMENT

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PENNY WISE

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Heera: A household name in building industry

ncepted more than two decades ago in Goa, with diverse business activities like property development, hotel operations, civil contracting and tourism-related projects, the Heera Group later extended its operations to Kerala and other states. With more than 100 lakh square feet of built-up area to its credit, the group is now one of the most reputed builders in South India.

the construction industry. In 2004, the Gandhi Puraskaram from Mahatma Gandhi Peace Foundation went to him for excellence in the housing sector. By 2003, his fame had spread internationally. At the Indo-Nepal Conference on

Dr A R Babu, Managing Director of the group, says the steady growth of his firm is due to the three pillars of his business—quality, economy and comfort. The Heera Group is known well for completing its projects ahead of the scheduled time because of meticulous planning and rigorous quality control that have made it a household name.

Heera Constructions won the world-renowned Century International Quality Era Award (CQE) in the Gold Category for 2012 at the International Convention held on March 11, 2012 by Business Initiative Directions (BID). With the able leadership of Babu, the company gained the rare recognition of earning a Seven Star rating from Crisil for its prestigious Heera Infocity project, near Technopark, Thiruvanan-

In 2001, Dr Babu received the Vishishta Prathibha Award sponsored by Kerala Chamber of Tourism & Allied Industries for his achievement in

Kalpaka—building homes that are benchmarks

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ommitted to excellence since 2000, Kalpaka has become a globally recognized builder enjoying an unrivalled track record of consistent growth ever since. Incorporated under the leadership of M V Sunith, Managing Director, Kalpaka Builders places great reliance on quality, using only the finest materials and craftsmen to create homes that are widely lauded as benchmarks. Kalpaka homes are located at the best and immaculate locations in and around Kochi. Kalpaka has a qualified, efficient and M V Sunith dedicated crew behind its success led by Sunith. “At Kalpaka, the relationship with the clients does not end with the structure of a house. We offer the clients an array of services so essential to every homeowner. This is just to reiterate the commitment to the clients,” says the MD who is an expert in the realty field with more than 25 years of experience.

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‘India-Nepal Friendship and Economic Cooperation’ held at Kathmandu (Nepal), he was the recipient of the International Gold Star Millennium Award for superb achievements made in the construction industry. He was also given a Doctorate in Dr A R Babu Construction Management by the University of Honolulu, US.

Kalpaka Rangoli is a new offering in residential apartments near the International Stadium, Kaloor. It has all the requisite necessities and comforts to make living a pleasant experience

for the whole family. Kalpaka Lakeside Villa Project, Kalpaka Florence Apartments, Kalpaka Virndavan and Kalpaka Castle are the ongoing projects of Kalpaka Builders. ISO certification and membership of CREDAI, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Kerala Management Association (KMA) authenticate the credibility of Kalpaka Builders

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thapuram. The ratings take into account the quality of construction, legal and financial viability, innovation and sponsorship.The Heera Group was awarded the ISO 9001:2008 certification for meeting the requirements of the standard as early as 2006. The Group is highly regarded for its transparency, fair play, honesty and integrity. Heera has completed some ambitious projects like Heera Blueberry, Heera Towers, Bluebells, Heera Crescent, Heera Heritage, Heera Vastu Hills, Heera Kinara, Heera Grace, Heera Point, Heera West Court, Heera Central, Heera Castle, Heera Palace and Heera Twins in Thiruvananthapuram, Heera Plaza in Kollam, Heera Vastu Gramam in Kochi and Green Court in Kottayam. The other major projects include Heera Grandville, Heera 4 Pillars, Heera High Life and Heera Dreams in Thiruvananthapuram. Heera Breeze in Kottayam and Heera Wind Faire in Kochi are other attractions


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Nest Infratech for contemporary and traditional villas

Dr Javad Hassan

Jehangir

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Althaf Jahangir

Shameir Marickar

est Infratech is pioneering the concept of integrated townships in the name and style of its projects, ’The World’. These world-class integrated townships comprise villas and apartments, starting from Rs 20 lakh. The international model of inclusive development with Mediterranean and English styles and contemporary and traditional Kerala Nalukettu villas is its unique feature. Presently ‘The World’ concept is being launched in Aluva and Thalassery and will soon be replicated in all major cities of India.

headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia, and offices in Europe, Japan, India, the Middle East and Australia. It was after setting benchmarks in all the areas it ventured that the multi-billion-dollar conglomerate entered the realty and infrastructure sector with the launch of Nest Infratech.

Established in 1991, the Nest Group is today a multifaceted information technology company with

The Electronics City coming up at Kalamassery, Kochi, is among Nest Infratech’s projects. The first

Offering exclusive living spaces at planned locations across India, Nest Infratech is powered by the dynamic character and vision of its directors, Dr Javad Hassan, Chairman; Jehangir, Managing Director; F M Shameir Marickar, Director and CEO and Althaf Jehangir, Executive Director, Nest Group.

special economic zone in the private sector in Kerala, it is a Rs 2,500-core state-of-the-art project with two million sq ft of notified space for electronic hardware manufacturing. Another project, ‘Electro Ville’, the latest project, is a luxury apartment that takes shape at Electronics City, Kalamassery, which is one of Kochi’s most elite residential neighbourhoods.

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Noel

Offers you green living space

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oel Villas and Apartments, established in 1993, has become one of the most acknowledged and credible builders in Kochi, aiming at high standards of quality in design and architecture and in the use of the latest building technology. Noel, the pioneer in green building in Kerala, is known well for eco-friendly projects conforming to the green concept, which is rapidly catching on in the building industry. It works on the philosophy of integrity, reliability and impeccable service to customers. Noel offers you a green living space where you will be calmed by the ensemble of urban refinement and suburban style. As part of this vision of creating quality life, its latest projects like Noel Serenia and Noel Greenature prom-

ise to be a green community designed for contemporary living in natural setting—a modern lifestyle in a haven of peace and tranquility. Noel Greenature is the combination of a sky-villa apartment at Kakkanad within 750 metres from John Thomas the Civil Station. The project is designed with 2 FAR, providing more space. Greenature is being constructed as a green building according to IGBC specifications. The residents of the building can enjoy improved energy efficiency, increased

Yasoram

Projects are a trail-blazer Y

asoram Construction Co started with a noble, yet highly productive dream to provide quality housing to the general public at affordable prices. With more than a quarter century of proud history behind it, A R S Vadhyar, the mastermind behind the venture, has ARS traversed a long way, both as a pioneering businessman and a visionary. His entrepreneurial skills have been marked by his determination to fight against odds and to bring in path-breaking ideas. Highly innova-

into activities that might bring positive changes in society. The extent of his social activities has cut across class and creed. Vilayil Apartments, Aluva; Valluvaserry Enclave, Eranakulam; Haridas ApartVadhyar ment, Chottanikkara; Praseeda Apartments, Gandhinagar, Kadavanthra; and Lakshmi Apartment, Kochi; are the major projects which reflect his commitment to the customers.

water saving, toxin-free materials, negative environmental impact and improved asset value and marketability. “Noel initiated the green living concept for the first time ever in Kerala by introducing Greeanture villa apartments. This green initiative is aimed at fulfilling Noel’s social and corporate responsibility in a meticulous manner,” say John Thomas, Managing Partner, and Geetha John, Executive Partner. Both are engineering graduates with over 25 years’ involvement in the building industry. With an uncompromising passion for quality, Noel has re-scripted the dynamics of the builder-customer relationship by making the aspiring client an active participant in the art of housemaking. Unrelenting commitment to providing immaculate designs and unique

projects has taken Noel a notch higher. Noel Casa Theera, Noel Ecotat, Noel Serenia, Noel Geernature, Noel Arcadia and Noel Focus are Noel’s prestigious projects.

Tanzeel

Delivering what it promises W

ell-designed and well- built structures with the best material inputs and timely delivery speak for its success. It is the pioneer in the construction field promoting relationships through transparency, timeliness and trustworthiness through its various projects.`` Closely monitoring the pulse of the people, Tanzeel makes dream homes according to its clients’ needs and tastes. Founded in 1978, Tanzeel Builders has been consistently delivering what it promises’’, say A A Nayeem and A A Nayeem Vaseem, the Directors of Tanzeel.

pany. This 2BHK, 3BHK, and 5 BHK deluxe apartments with a host of modern amenities promise to be a superior residential complex with a difference. Many Kochi hubs like Kacherippady, Pulleppaddy, Basin Road, Mullassery Canal Road and Chittoor Road are dotted with elegant Tanzeel projects. Vaseem

Various projects under this established banner with unique features and utmost security and safety in many parts of the state have stood testimony to the company’s reputation for the past 34 successful years. Tanzeel has now one more feather in its cap through its completed project ‘Chalet’ at Kadavanthra, Kochi. tive projects like Sky City are proof of his penchant for blazing a trail. Vadhyar is also famous for introducing the concept of terrace farming and gardening in India. Breaking the perceived notion about a builder, Vadhyar has forayed

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Yasoram has so far completed Thejus Apartment, Indradhanus, Jaladarsini, Pancharatna Apartments, Victoria, Sivadas Towers, Triveni, Gosreepuram, Indraprastha, Himagiri, Shanthivan Apartments, Diamond Towers and Sreyas Apartment.

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‘Tanzeel Park’, an earlier project at Chittoor Road, Kochi, is an outstanding example of its craftsmanship and calibre. ‘Ebony’ at Kakkanad, another deluxe apartment project with a slew of modern amenities, shows the distinguished workmanship of the com-

The promoters are about to announce their residential complex with modern facilities shortly in Kochi


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Johny Joseph

Biomethanation technology for safe disposal of garbage

ccumulation of garbage is a burning issue in all cities and towns in India. Currently land filling is the most common method for garbage disposal in India, but existing landfill sites are full beyond capacity. It is difficult to find new dumping yards and if at all available, they are far from city and it adds to exorbitant cost of handling and transportation. Incineration of garbage is efficient in terms of percentage solid reduction but leads to emission related issues and it also invites operating cost in terms of additional fuel required for burning wet waste. Composting is environment friendly but treatment efficiency in terms of percentage solid reduction is below 50%. Many urban users installed composting bins but many such units are abandoned by the users due to multitude of operational difficulties. Intense manual operations as well as odour, rodents and insects related problems are the major concern for composting bins in apartments. Composting bins may also become breeding ground for pathogens. Anaerobic digestion has been used successfully for solid waste treatment because oxygen is not required for the process, and inherently it is the most energy efficient method for waste treatment. Despite this fact anaerobic systems are often not very successful in India due to absence of indigenous world-class technology.

Anaerobic digestion & classification of anaerobic digesters Anaerobic digestion is a process by which a set of microorganisms break down biodegradable materials in the absence of oxygen and release energy in the form of biogas. Anaerobic digestion technology is popularly known as AD technology and it is highly advanced in developed countries. Anaerobic digesters are broadly classified into two distinct categories, such as conventional digesters and high rate digesters. Conventional digesters are popularly known as GOBERGAS plant, because it is designed to use cattle dung as feed stock. Food waste or organic fraction present in garbage may also be used as feed stock in conventional digester but it often leads to severe operational problems. KVIC digester or floating dome digester is a typical conventional digester. Corresponding fixed dome model is known as Deenabandhu digester. Very low treatment efficiency, inconvenient feeding system, poor loading capacity and severe operational difficulties are the major drawback in conventional digesters. High rate digesters are basically designed to increase loading rate, reduce retention time, prevent operational difficulties and increase treatment efficiency. KOMPOGAS, DRANCO, VALORGA, BIMA, IGT, PEARTH etc. are to name a few of recent technologies that have emerged as response to this deal.

Modular anaerobic Digesters Conventional Modular Digesters Modular or compact anaerobic digesters are aimed for disposing garbage at the source of its generation. Treatment of waste at the source is the best option to reduce the pollution load of a city. Modular digesters available in India are conventional slow rate digesters. No scientific principles are applied in its engineering design in order to improve the efficiency and overcome operational difficulties. There are more than sixty approved agencies in Kerala supplying prefabricated compact digesters. It is available with different material of construction such as FRP, HDPE, Steel or Cement but basically all are conventional digesters. The biogas generation potential reported in these small digesters is unrealistic because loading rate itself is very low for these digesters. Garbage requires chopping or grinding in order to feed larger materials present in garbage. And there is no driving force other than gravity to charge the feed into the digester. Large quantities of secondary effluent are also generated during the process. Fol-

lowing picture show a typical conventional compact digester.

a motorized butterfly valve. Power requirement for valve operation is negligible and it can be operated using a battery. Biogas generated during the process could be directly used for cooking purpose. The digester is fully safe, and it can also be left unattended without any risk. The system is completely sealed and no odour, insects or rodents related problems exist. The material of construction is mild steel and contact parts are given resin coating to prevent corrosion. Aesthetic looks and less space requirement make this design suitable for urban users. Features of high rate modular digester

High rate Modular Digester High rate modular digester is a new concept and it is based on scientific doctrine of environmental biotechnology coupled with advanced engineering principles to accomplish high treatment efficiency, superior operational convenience and trouble-free functioning. It is designed to overcome the drawback of conventional digesters. This new technology has almost 6 to 8 times more loading capacity per unit volume than conventional digester and treatment efficiency in terms of solids reduction is two times higher. Hence high rate modular digester is suitable for disposing large quantities of waste in residential colonies, apartments, canteens, hotels, food industries, slaughter houses etc. This technology is developed by CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad and field tested successfully. Currently digesters are working at housing colonies and canteens in Hyderabad and Kochi.

Working Principle Of High Rate Modular Digester The modular high rate digester is fully automatic and no technical expertise is required for its operation. It can be used just like a garbage bin. Users can drop the waste directly through a wide mouth feed tank and waste undergoes multistage digestion within the digester. There are no manual operations and no solid residue discharge as secondary effluent. Extreme high process efficiency is obtained by incorporating design features in order to facilitate multistage digestion, two phase digestion, mixing of digester contents, retention of active culture, and prevention of hydraulic shock. Differential pressure created by biogas across vertical compartments is the driving force utilized in this technology. It is controlled by

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Treatment efficiency in terms of percentage solid reduction is 80%

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Digester capacity ranges from 50 kg per day and above

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Fully automatic & segregated garbage can be directly dropped without chopping

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Minimum water consumption & negligible power consumption

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Trouble-free operation, compact design, aesthetic looks & suitable for any organic waste

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Hygienic design, no spill over, odor free, no insects and rodents

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Affordable, user-friendly, completely safe & environment friendly

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3 cu.m biogas generated from 50 kg garbage (it is equivalent to 1 kg LPG )

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Approximate dimensions of digester (50 kg/day) is 3m x 1.5m x 1.5m

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Cost of digester (50kg/day: Rs.3.5 lakhs; 100 kg/ day: Rs. 6.0 lakhs; 1 ton/day: Rs. 40 lakhs

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Material of construction: MS with epoxy coating for contact parts INSTALLATIONS

Digesters are installed at residential colonies and canteen. (Live demo could be arranged at any of these locations.) (The writer is Senior Principal Scientist, Bio-engineering & Environmental Sciences, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad. Mobile: 09347569790) Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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Real estate: The right move makes you rich

buyer. If the property is in an ideal location it can be sold easily.

Passline News Service

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property deal proposal suggested by a friend of my father’s nearly 18 years ago is still green in my mind. The five-acre plot for sale was near the Thiruvananthapuram Engineering College, situated on the slope of a hillock. It was an arduous task journeying to the other end. By the time we reached there my father had become very tired. This and the fact that the caretaker was living in a hut on the plot made my father decide not to buy it though the price demanded was only Rs 1,000 a cent. He feared that he might have to lose a portion of the property for the caretaker’s ‘evacuation’. The attraction was that Technopark was proposed to be built a few kilometres from the area and that land prices around would shoot up. At Rs 1,000 a cent, the property would have cost Rs 5 lakh. My father said he would pay not more than Rs 2.5 lakh. Even during those times no land was available in the city below Rs 1,000 a cent. The owner cme forward with his final offer - Rs 900 a cent. My father did not agree and, needless to say, the deal fell through. Later he wanted to buy two cents of land in the city at the offer price of Rs 7 lakh. I opposed the suggestion as the formalities for getting sanction for construction were cumbersome. Besides, it was a busy junction with hardly any parking facilities. That plan was also shelved. Recently, while in Thiruvananthapuram I came to know that land price near the five-acre plot we saw earlier had mounted to Rs 6 lakh a cent! That means the earlier plot would cost Rs 30 crore now and the two cents we saw in the city Rs 2 crore! Pondering over the incidents I felt that it was a huge mistake that we failed to buy the five-acre property. This is certailny not my experience only; many people may have had such experiences. That is real estate. Sometimes it can make you rich if you wait for some time, say six or 12 months, by which time you can find a genuine

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Making money through a shortterm investment was my father’s motive; mine was to make profit from a long-term investment. In the 1990s no one would have anticipated that Technopark would one day become such a great establishment. Usually to transform investment in real estate into money is a time-consuming process. A majority of realty deals are executed below the notified price of land. If the Government-notified price of land is Rs 50 lakh it is shown as Rs 15-Rs 20 lakh in the registration deed in order to save on stamp paper cost. Land deals are another way of converting black money into white. The difference between the real price and the amount shown in the title-deed will be given in cash. By this the buyer need not declare the source of income and the seller is happy as he/she saves tax. If the buyer is a law-abiding person dealing through bank accounts it is very hard to find a seller. Reason: the seller will always demand a portion of the amount to be paid in cash. Loans are made available according to the price shown in the title-deed. This is the same as the seller obeying the rules. If he/she demands all transactions to be done through bank accounts, finding a buyer complying with the demand for mentioning the notified price in the deed will be difficult. One should buy a piece of land or property which is as close to one as possible to facilitate frequent inspection lest someone should seize it. I remember an incident in Bangalore. A person bought a property there. He soon went to America. After a few years, a broker built a house on the plot with forged documents and rented it out. Eight years later when the owner came back he was dumbfounded. When the initial fire and fury waned he realized that there were umpteen legal formalities to retrieve the property. He had to pay the man a huge amount to redeem his own property! Compared to other assets, owning real estate is more expensive. Stamp duty, brokerage and other charges will

Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

amount to 12% of the total cost. High cost, low liquidity, role of realty mafia, black money deals - all these hinder investment in the sector. Availability of land diminishes in proportion to the rise in population. This results in higher demand and price. New projects and developmental activities jack up land cost. Hosur near Bangalore is not a big town. Almost everybody there has surplus land. But there is little water for cultivation. SIDCO was mulling an industrial township there, and its residents became rich overnight. SIDCO acquired their land at fair prices. An IT couple in Bangalore, an acquaintance of mine, had no serious financial planning except one thing - they bought two house plots for Rs 78 lakh eight years ago. Now there are three years more for their children’s college education. Their decision was appreciated by many. At the time of the children’s college admission the property will fetch them Rs 2 crore. Lack of details is the main problem faced by financial planners. It is difficult to prepare a portfolio in real estate. At the same time the spirit for investment in realty should not be doused. If there is disposable income for investment, experience says that it is advisable to buy residential plots for benefits after 10-12 years. Roadside plots with electricity and water facilities are ideal. Such properties will attract demand later and are easily disposable. Some people doubt whether owning a flat is a worthy investment. No doubt it is also a good investment. In five to seven years it will bring you a fair price. more attractive than flat deals. For the salaried class, if they already own a house they can think of buying another with a home loan if they want to add to their wealth. They can earn extra income by renting it out. Banks sanction 85% of the cost as loan. To buy a 2BHK flat costing Rs 30 lakh one can get a loan of Rs 25.5 lakh. The applicant has to take only Rs 4.5 lakh. For 25 years at 12% interest the EMI will be Rs 26,857. Sanctioning of the loan depends on your eligibility. A monthly income of Rs 50,000 or above is enough for eligibility if the bank is convinced that you have no other loans. While buying a house for residence, you should be aware of the tax burden. Tax exemption is available for interest up to Rs 1.50 lakh of the loan amount. Tax deduction under Section 80cc of the IT Act is also applicable up to Rs 20,000 of remittance towards the principal amount. Concessions are more for the house bought with a loan and which is rented out. Thirty percent of

the rent is liable for deduction. This is treated as the expenditure for conserving the property. There is no need to pay municipal tax. Tax on Interest on loan will be waived during the period of loan. A housing loan against salary will be burdensome for the initial few years which will result in high negative returns. The Tax Act stipulates retrieval of the negative returns from the salary. Certain other liabilities in stock trading and consultancy losses are not liable to be forfeited from the salary according to IT regulations. If your take-home pay is Rs 6 lakh a year you should pay tax Rs 32,000 at the current tax rate. Let the EMIs for 12 months be Rs 3.23 lakh. During the first year Rs 3.05 lakh is credited to the interest account. Only the balance will go towards the principal. If the rent is Rs 7,000 a month, for 12 months it will be Rs 84,000. Of this, 30% is standard deduction, but Rs 7,000 can be gained as municipal tax. The balance is Rs 58,800. Deducting the total interest on the loan, the remaining Rs 2.46 lakh is the loss. This will be deducted from the salary of Rs 6 lakh. Tax will be levied on the balance Rs 3.54 lakh. There is no tax for income of Rs 1.80 lakh. Tax at 10% on the balance amount is Rs 17,373. If there is no loan you would have to pay Rs 42,000 as tax. The amount of Rs 24,627 saved as tax plus the rent of Rs 84,000 deducted from the remittance amount of Rs 3.23 lakh running to Rs 2.21 lakh is paid from the salary. In short your EMI accounts for Rs 18,421. When the rent goes up yearly by 5%, the EMI will still be lower. If your asset value scales up at 10% a year the price of your property will be worth Rs 77.80 lakh 10 years later. The loan due will be Rs 22.38 lakh. If you sell the property after closing the loan you earn Rs 55.43 lakh. Till now your expenditure may be Rs 24.18 lakh. By this transcation your gain is Rs 31.25 lakh equaling a net advantage of 17.58% a year. There are other gainful investment proposals like this. The income tax burden for the HNWI (high net worth individual) group is very high. Their annual interest rate on loans is 12%. For them loans for houses/flats are not viable for the purpose of children’s education, marriages in future. Money may not be available at hand in times of urgent needs. Investment in shares will be risky with the grequent ups and downs of the market. There will be no such situation in real estate. (Courtesy: `Dhanikanaakaan Oru Margarekha (Malayalam) by G Sanjeevkumar)


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Insurance for construction and contract work risks

P

B.R.Pillai

roject Insurance refers to the whole gamut of Construction and Contract works risks, exposures and Insurance coverages. Project Insurance is crucial to India’s Infrastructure Development, The construction industry is quite complex with high degrees of risk and potential liability. The sheer size, scope and timing of today’s projects pose significant risk management challenges including identifying risks, determining the allocation of risks among the parties involved and developing risk mitigation plans. Investors, lenders, contractors and sponsors of projects are exposed to a wide range of risks which may:

• Impact the asset base • Interrupt the revenue stream •

Affect repayments to lenders and investors

As a result, today’s construction & power projects involve an intricate mix of contractual and physical risk exposures that require expert advice and tailor-made insurance plans. Risks in the construction industry may be broadly classified into 4 categories:

Conventional Risks: such as fire, lightning, explosion, etc.

Catastrophic Risks: such as storm, flood, hurricane, cyclone,earthquake, landslides etc.

Liability risks: Third party property damage or bodily injury arising out of faulty workmanship, faulty design, faulty materials, negligence,fraud, errors & omissions, pollution etc.

Other Risks: Loss of profits, delay in completion, terrorism, etc.

The main focus of this article is on traditional risks and the corresponding insurance coverage available for risk transfer. In drafting the insurance requirements of a construction contract, the owner, architect/engineerand con-

tractor must clearly understand project work scope and project risks, as well as the proper allocation of liability and property damage exposures and costs Please find below an overview of the Construction works Insurance coverages

Contract Works Insurance (CAR, EAR, CPM, ALOP) The Risk Infrastructure is created through construction and erection of new projects and facilities across industry segments to promote economic development and growth of the nation whether through private finance initiative or promoted by the government. New Projects and investments present great opportunities, but they involve a high degree of risk as well. Construction of Industrial facilities, building of mega structures and commercial establishments involve sophisticated as well as complex technical skills. The risk further increase when the projects have to be completed in tight deadlines for various economic reasons. Such projects therefore, face an array of unforeseen risks and exposures. Despite the care and skill employed in execution of these projects, unforeseen events can happen which may result in financial losses, costs and time overrun. Countless possibilities of human error, technical mishap, equipment failure and

natural catastrophes can prove to be disastrous for the project. You therefore need insurance protection for contract works to protect assets, capital and investments, entrepreneurial spirit and provide stability. Which are the Contract works that need Insurance? Airports, Bridges, Hospitals, Schools, Colleges, Hotels, Commercial and Residential buildings, New Production lines, Warehouse, Ports, Power generation plants, Roads , Refinery, pipelines, water treatment plants, pumping stations, compressor stations, up gradation and renovation of existing facilities, additional downstream facilities, public utilities, and mass transportation systems etc. Who has interest in Insurance of the Project? Project companies, construction companies, independent power producers, financial institutions & lenders, project management companies, contractors, suppliers, design and consulting engineers have an interest in the safe execution of the project and protection of the capital and investments. Against what risks are insurance covers required?

Physical Damage: Insurance against physical damage from any

cause to the contract works, the contractors plant, machinery, equipment and temporary structures.

Third Party Liability: Insurance against liability for damage to property of third parties and death and/ or bodily injury to third parties.

Delay in start Up

The Insurance Solutions

• • •

Contractors All Risks Insurance

Advance Loss of Profits Insurance

Erection All Risks Insurance ontractors Plant and MachinC ery Insurance

Annual Policies

CONCLUSION Project Insurance thus allows Contractors to protect themselves from unforeseen incidents while also allowing them to transfer their risks to the Insurance Co. On the whole it is a winwin situation for all the project owners, contractors and sub-contractors, architects and lenders, it’s good for the economy too. All these elements help greatly in building the country’s Infrastructure . (The writer is General Manager -AIMS Insurance Broking Pvt LtdKochi,can be reached @brpillai@aimsinsurance.in,M-9562022700)

RBI sets eligibility criteria for banks to be insurance brokers

T

he central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), is allowing banks to become insurance brokers in order develop the insurance sector in the country. Under the new rules, banks can offer policies from different insurance companies to their customers apart from their own insurance subsidiaries’ products. But the apex bank has also set an eligibility criteria for banks those wish to enter the arena. Banks must ensure transparency and disclose remuneration received from various insurance companies and also require the net

worth of the bank to be at least INR5 billion (US$80.3 million); the capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of the bank should not be less than 10 percent; the level of net non-performing assets should not be more than 3 percent; the bank should have been profitable for the last three consecutive years and the performance of the bank’s subsidiaries or joint ventures should be satisfactory. Banks have to apply to RBI for approval to be insurance brokers and a licence is renewable every three years. In addition, RBI forbids any bank which

carries out insurance broking to accept corporate agency or insurance referral business, so as to avoid any conflict of interest. However, banks may not be enthusiastic about obtaining an insurance broking licence. Firstly, they would be reluctant to give up their corporate agency licence to become insurance brokers. For instance, for the life insurance sector as a whole, the bancassurance (corporate agency-bank) channel accounts for 30 percent of total new business premium collection. Secondly, an insurance broker faces more risks

than an agent without a substantive increase in remuneration. According to a spokesperson in new generation bank “The additional benefits of becoming a broker would have to be weighed against the responsibilities of being one. Bank staff would have to be trained to sell the products of multiple insurers. The bank would be subjected to additional regulatory scrutiny and its operational complexity would increase. The systems of multiple insurance companies would also have to be integrated with the bank’s systems.”

Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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26Tourism

26

Abin K I

B

irding tourism is a form of eco-tourism in which one travels to birding destinations in search of birds to sight, explore and experience them. Normally one who is engaged and interested in birding activities is an ornithologist. A majority of birding tourists are ornithologists and they are both wanderlust and backpackers. The best time to spot high density of birds is early mornings and evenings. Birding tourism is currently an emerging trend in Kerala. The state has great potential and resources for developing birding tourism because of the presence of diverse forms of ecosystems both terrestrial and aquatic which are the authentic habitats of both migratory and resident birds. Winter is the arrival time of migratory birds in their thousands to tropical India to escape from the harsh winter at their native soil. Kerala has diverse terrestrial and wetland winter resorts for them and the winged visitors have already checked in to all of them. The arrival of birds has been traditionally abrupt especially around the wetlands and its surroundings. Bird watchers say that the migratory birds usually arrive during the night following certain signs that are part of their genetic heritage. According to P O Nameer, State Coordinator of the International Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) and Associate Professor of the Kerala Agriculture University, 152 species of migratory birds halt in Kerala including about 80 water birds. He says the birds are coming from Eurasia regions like Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and areas north of the Himalayan regions. Some birds are also arriving from the Himalayan region. The major species of migratory birds arriving in the state include godwits, terns, ospreys, golden plovers, seagulls, Asian open

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billed storks, herons, several species of ducks and waders like sandpipers and plovers. The counting of the birds in the state is done by the Asian Wetland Bird Survey with support from the IBCN under the supervision of the Bombay Natural History Society. The annual Vembanad waterfowl census is conducted by the Kottayam Nature Society and Forests and Wildlife Department. Besides this, several other famed bird censuses are also held in the state by Cochin, Malabar and Travancore Natural History Societies. The bird race event provides a platform for enthusiastic bird watchers to spend an entire day spotting and identifying birds in an effort to record Wetlands in Kerala are situated on the Central Asian-Indian bird flyway. The major wetland destinations of the migratory birds in the state are Vellayani, Ashtamudi, Sasthamcotta, Vembanad-Kuttanad belt, the charcoal fields of Thrissur, Bharathappuzha belt, Kadalundi, Kattampally and Chempallikundu wetlands in Kannur, the Kawai kayal land, Neeleshwaram Thaikadappuram of Kasargod and Nooranad in Alappuzha famed as the bird’s village in the state. as many species as possible and also to create awareness of birds and their importance to human beings and the eco-systems. The prominent bird sanctuaries in the state are located at Thattekkad, Kadalundi, Kumarakom, Choolannur and Mangalavanam. In addition to the bird sanctuaries there are birding spots located throughout them and at Thalankara estuary, Pakshipathalam, Gavi, Valapattanam river basins, Valiyaparamba backwaters, Chamravat-

Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

tam, Nila, Chaliyar and Periyar river basins, Chettuva estuary, Nooranad, Thrissur-MalappuramKole lands, Kuttanad paddy fields, Biyyam Kayal, Kuttampuzha, Velliyamkallu, Padinjarekkara and Vallikkunnu beach, Puzhakkal, Wadakkanchery, Ollur, Irinjalakuda Kole lands, Nedumbassery Kole lands, Dharmadam and Pathiramanal islands, Veli, Akkulam, Peechi, Athirappilly, Thumboormuzhy etc. Major birds sighted in the state includes house sparrow, Malabar grey hornbill, Siberian cranes, Nilgiri wood pigeon, white-bellied tree pie, Malabar parakeet, grey-headed bulbul, hill myna, peacock, peafowl, pigeon, rufous babbler, broad-tailed grass bird, Ceylon frog mouth, Brahminy kites, grey-breasted laughing thrush, Nilgiri flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit, sunbird, whimbrels, sandpiper, common redshank, curlew sandpiper, white-bellied blue fly catcher, red and yellow pigeon, owl, bats and yellow bird. The coastal areas of the state have a high concentration of water birds and shore birds. The long stretches of coastal zones and their associated backwater and brackish water bodies are habitats for many wetland birds. Wetlands in Kerala are situated on the Central Asian-Indian bird flyway. The major wetland destinations of the migratory birds in the state are Vellayani, Ashtamudi, Sasthamcotta, Vembanad-Kuttanad belt, the charcoal fields of Thrissur, Bharathappuzha belt, Kadalundi, Kattampally and Chempallikundu wetlands in Kannur, the Kawai kayal land, Neeleshwaram Thaikadappuram of Kasargod and Nooranad in Alappuzha famed as the bird’s village in the state. All the major wetlands from Purathur near Bharathappuzha estuary in Malappuram to Manjeswaram in Kasargod have various categories of eco systems. They include sea shores, estuaries, tidal mudflats, mangrove

swamps, backwaters, brackish as well as fresh water marshes, ponds, reservoirs, river banks and paddy fields which are hot spots for bird watching. A good number of water birds in the state are sighted in the estuaries and wetlands. Birding spots require adequate facilities such as watch towers, interpretation centres and assistance of guides to cater to the requirements of bird watchers. Spots should clearly mention the names of the birds and their photographs including both migratory and indigenous. The major challenges faced by migratory birds visiting the state are diminishing forest cover including mangrove cover due to human encroachment, diminishing paddy fields including wetlands, severe reduction in the water level in water bodies like lakes, ponds, farms, rivers, canals, backwaters, excessive waste disposal and pesticides in water bodies. As the coastal areas and Western Ghats regions (Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area) of the state are an important stopover for birds migrating through the west coast of India all the above are threatening factors for migratory birds. Guided bird watching and trekking trails should be launched in the birding spots by the Forest and Wildlife Department to attract tourists. Awareness campaigns, proper documentation of migratory and indigenous birds and attractive bird watching tour packages of diverse duration should be introduced jointly by the Forest and Wildlife Department and the Tourism Department linking eco-tourism spots to entice tourists. Kerala definitely has potential in this emerging form of tourism and it is the right time to take advantage of it by developing the required infrastructure and amenities


27 27

Afforestation no substitute for prime ones By Monika Hellstern

E

very year 13 million hectares of forest area are lost worldwide. This loss has an enormous impact on both the climate and human wellbeing. Even though deforestation rates are declining slowly, more forest protection is urgently needed. Almost one third of the earth’s landmass is currently covered by forests—more than four billion hectares. Just 8.000 years ago, there were 35% more forests. Forests serve as reservoirs for drinking water and as protection against erosion, avalanches and floods. They stabilize eco systems by regulating water supply, offering a habitat for biodiversity and protecting the climate through carbon storage. Moreover, they provide forestry products such as wood or medicinal plants. Forests only began to shrink when large portions of the human race began to settle and develop agriculture. In past centuries, Europe and Asia witnessed dramatic deforestation as huge volumes of wood were used to build fleets of ships and woodlands were cleared to make space for fields. Today, forests are disappearing from Africa, North and South America too. Only one third of Earth’s forests are untouched primeval forest. Every five years, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)publishes its Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA). The edition of 2010 pointed out that tropical forests had decreased by 40 million hectares since the year 2000. That vast loss of forests has serious consequences. Forests sustain complex ecosystems that provide habitats for a multitude of plant and animal species. These delicate sys-

tems are lost if human interference tips their balance. Even little changes may result in a loss of biodiversity. That can even be the consequences of selective felling, a practice that does not clear entire areas, but only cuts down individual trees. Biodiversity is of priceless value, however, for instance in regard to medicinal plants. Today, felling and clearance is threatening the rainforests of Southeast Asia, South America and Central Africa. Governments tend to grant exploitation permits with questionable generosity. Making matters worse, companies do not always uphold standards. All too often there is simply no rule of law in forests.

Reforestation does not replace lost primeval forests, as new forests are usually monocultures. Wood tends to be exported as a commodity. As a consequence, the countries of origin do not add value when the resource is used for manufacturing or building purposes. Private sector interests are not limited to timber however. Some companies use cleared areas to cultivate crops—such as soy or palm oil and other monocultures—or for grazing cattle. To access the land faster, some companies resort to slash-and-burn methods. The local people generally do not benefit from the change of land use. Reforestation is a strategy to stem the global trend. Today, secondary forests account for seven percent of the woodlands on Earth. The share is growing, as secondary forest areas in Europe, Asia and North America are expanding. China, in particular, has been planting large amounts of forests

to protect its northern regions from desertification. China’s `green wall’ is the biggest reforestation project in the history of humankind. Since the 1980s and 1990s, reforestation efforts have slowed down the loss of global forests. According to the FRA of 2010, the annual net loss of forested area was 13 million hectares from 2000 to 2010. In previous decades, it had been 3 million more hectares. Net loss means that reforested areas are factored in to compensate for deforested areas. In truth, deforestation affects more than 13 million hectares. Reforestation does not replace lost primeval forests, as new forests are usually monocultures. While secondary forests are no real substitute for primary ones, they do reduce the pressure that the timber business puts on rainforests. However, they offer little protection against the selective felling of rare exotic woods like mahogany in virgin forests. Climate change is closely linked to deforestation. WWF experts estimate that about 15% of the greenhouse gases that are emitted by humanity result from deforestation. In a vicious cycle, these gases cause global warming which is speeding up deforestation. In North America, for instance, dryness is making forest fires more frequent and more devastating. They even endanger nature reserves such as, quite recently, Yosemite National Park. Internationally, only four per cent of forest fires are started by lightning or other natural phenomena. In most cases, human beings cause the blazes, either on purpose or by accident. In Southeast Asia, for instance, slashand-burn practices are almost always the reason. In Indonesia, in particular, huge forests have been destroyed this way.

Better protection Forests need a stronger lobby. International agreement, such as the UN Convention on Biodiversity or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES) have to be enforced more vigorously. In practice, the provisions to protect forests and species are only slowly being implemented into national law. Only 13% of the world’s forests are currently protected as national parks or nature reserves. The WWF emphasizes that the quality and implementation of these provisions differ greatly from country to country. In some cases, nature reserves only exist on paper. In April 2001, the UN Forest Forum(UNFF) adopted an agreement to protect forests worldwide. It is not legally binding, but it did spell out four goals to achieve by 2015. They are

• • • •

to contain worldwide deforestation through sustainable forest management, to ameliorate the way forests are exploited in economic, social and environmental terms, to expand forest reserves, and to prevent cuts in the official development assistance that relates to forest protection.

The FAO’s next FRA will show to what extent these and related goals are achieved. Forestry scholars Jurgen Blaster and Hans Gregersen expect the uncontrolled destruction of rainforests to continue over the next 50 years, because of the wood and raw materials found in virgin forests, the trend could be stopped, however, if forest protection was enforced rigorously today. The world’s forests could then regenerate over the next 300 years---Third World Network Features. (Monika Hellstern studies political science and is a free-lance author)

Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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28 REVERSE brain DRain

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

By Aissata Haidara

Africa’ s skilled labour returns

M

ariam Kone left Canada five years ago to start a business consulting firm in Bamako, the capital of Mali. As her client base grew steadily, earnings from her company, Kone Conseil, also increased. Business has been great, she says. Although her previous job as an industrial engineer at a consulting firm in Montreal, Canada, was stable and the pay was good, Ms Kone wanted a new challenge in her home country. Her return to Mali was risky and audacious, but it has paid off. “I used to work for others, but now I am working for myself and also hiring people,” she says. “And I have no regrets.” The International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental body that provides services and advice to migrants and governments, acknowledges the trend. Tauhid Pasha, an IOM senior specialist on migration and human development based in London, told Africa Renewal in an interview that his organization has helped 150 doctors and nurses return to different countries in Africa. Ms Kone is one of many young and skilled African immigrants who have gone or are going back to their homelands, mainly from North America and Western Europe. If the 1980s and 1990s were characterized by the brain drain phenomenon—when skilled Africans went abroad in search of greener pastures—these days they are going back home. The new term is “reverse migration,” or “reverse brain drain,” explains Elizabeth Chacko in an article,” From Brain Drain to Brain Gain.”*It happens when professionals return to “their home country to take advantage of new growth and employment opportunities.” The International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental body that provides services and advice to migrants and governments, acknowledges the trend. Tauhid Pasha, an IOM senior specialist on migration and human development based in London, told Africa Renewal in an interview that his organization has helped 150 doctors and nurses return to different countries in Africa. These professionals have in turn trained more than 15,000 local health workers under IOM’s Migration for Development in Africa programme, which started in 2001.

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According to Mr Pasha, post-conflict countries like Somalia have been the biggest beneficiaries of IOM ‘s diaspora return programmes. “ With their skills they are being placed in government to restructure the civil service and even enter into high levels of government,” he said.

In May of last year, NEPAD organized an African Diaspora Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, to encourage Africans in the diaspora to support economic integration and development on the continent. That was a thinly veiled invitation to skilled Africans abroad to return to help their countries.

In addition, IOM has assisted about 2,000 skilled people from 41 African countries in returning to their homelands under its Return and Reintegration of Qualified African Nationals (RQAN) programme, which began in 1983. While IOM’s repatriation programmes have served only a small fraction of the African migrants living in the West, an increasing number of Africans are finding their way back home without official assistance.

Apart from the improving African economy and the decrease in civil conflicts, the going-back-home phenomenon appears to be driven, at least in part by family reasons,``To migrate or not to migrate remains an intimately personal decision,” writes Chofamba Innocent Sithole, a Zimbabwean journalist and political analyst who lives in the UK. For Michal Asiimwe, a Tanzanian and global service manager for Vodacom, a mobile phone company in Kenya, a yearning to be with his family forced him to return. He had spent six years in the UK and the US before moving back to Tanzania. “It became too much for me to take,” Mr Asiimwe told Africa Renewal. “ So many big occasions were missed, weddings, funerals, birthdays of family members, just because it was too far and too expensive to travel back and forth.”

The tide slowly turning Analysts believe that most of those returning to Africa do not get into the IOM’s repatriation programmes, and Mr Pasha acknowledged that figures on those returning on their own are difficult to quantify. However, with Africa’s rising economy and decreasing conflicts, African immigrants have found incentives. A 2010 IOM report found that about 70% of East African migrants, mainly Ugandans, Kenyans and Tanzanians in the United Kingdom, were willing to return home permanently. A survey by Jacana Partners, a panAfrican private equity firm, of African students at the top 10 American and European business schools, showed similar results---that more than three in four hope to work in Africa upon graduation. Many South African professionals who emigrated because of rising crime rates, bad labour policies and employment practices that favoured particular groups in a post-apartheid South Africa have now started returning. Kom Huis Toe-veldtog (Come Home Campaign), an organization that assists skilled South Africans in returning home, says it has so far helped about 6,000 people. “Life abroad is not necessarily moonshine and roses. People who leave the country, unfortunately, often only realise this when they have already paid the huge emotional and financial price attached to emigration,” the organization writes on its website. The continent’s political leaders also appear to have arms open to receive the returning Africans. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Union’s economic development organ, even created an African diaspora programme that it says is strategically important to Africa.

Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

Tough working conditions abroad also force Africans to consider go-

ing back home. Ms Kone now works only six hours a day, down from the 11 hours she used to work in Canada. “In the West you work a lot and life is highly material It’s all about buying material stuff,” she says, adding that in Mali she has struck a better balance between work and leisure. Entrepreneurs like Ms Kone may feel welcomed back, but those who hope to get into public service are confronted by the harsh realities on the ground. Government salaries can be a fraction of what they used to make abroad, and working conditions can be poor. Many face drastic changes

in their lifestyles: constant power outages, bad roads, poor health care systems, lack of safe drinking water, corruption, crime and the high cost of doing business. Ms Kone told Africa Renewal that it took about five years to get her business to its current level. The bureaucracy in Mali makes it difficult to make quick decisions, she says. “I wasn’t used to this in Canada. “Those who return are often equipped with innovative ideas but soon discover that they have to deal with the daily challenges of doing business in a harsh environment. Despite such daunting challenges many of those who have made the journey back home feel they made the right decision. “Those who are on the ground now will snatch the best opportunities first,” says Ms Kone, “I cannot predict the future of Mali, I am still here and I have invested so much already. “Not even the current conflict in her country has weakened her resolve to continue business there. Across Africa, from Mali to Tanzania, from Senegal and Somalia to South Africa, the story is the same: Africans are coming home from abroad— for patriotic or family reasons, or simply

because of the continent’s increasing opportunities. Brendah Nyakudya, editor of The Afropolitan, a South African magazine, says, ``These young lions returning have been dubbed the `repatriation generation’ and are fast growing subculture of African émigrés”. Their return is now Africa’s gain after the earlier pains of brain drain.---Third World Network Features. *Elizabeth Chacko: ``From Brain Drain to Brain Gain: Reverse Migration to Bangalore and Hyderabad, India’s Globalizing High Tech Cities.” (Aissata Haidara writes for Africa Renewal)


OPPORTUNITY

K

Vinodh Ninan

erala’s industrial growth is hampered by the dismal work culture of the labour, the lack of large free land area for setting up of industries, the left- leaning thinking of the officers in the government departments, and the activism of the general public on matters of environment mostly based on half baked perceptions. The slump in industrial growth has severely affected revenue growth for the government and as also has curtailed job generation so much so that our entire younger generation practically has to work now outside the state.

DR & D—Kerala can be a power house

86,740 crore which is 42.59 % of the total estimated Defence Budget. India is already the world’s largest importer of arms and the quantity will go up substantially in the near future as we try to maintain defence capability parity with that of China. We can conservatively expect an annual growth of 10-12% in the value of imported arms. The offset policy formulated in 2006 stipulates that 30% of the indicative cost in the ` Request for Proposal (RFP)’ where

slots where potentially the work required to be done is large and will be rewarding. As an example we can look UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). The UAVs, or drones in common parlance, was effectively used with devastating effect in the Afghan theatre. All defence forces in the world are in the process of having a whole set of UAVs for a variety of activities and there is even talk of pilotless aircraft playing very important roles in defence. The programming of

Finding avenues for growth within the above referred constraints is of paramount importance. The government has rightly identified tourism, medical services and education as growth areas. Tourism is one area where the government seems to have focused its perspective rightly. A generous blessing from the gods in the form of granting us a `God’s Own Country’ status has been handled with gratitude. Medical services have been identified as core growth area but unimaginative policies of the government in the form of high taxes are a damper. In spite of this, we see fairly good growth percentages in this area. Education is bogged down in the never- ending clash between managements and the political parties on the issue of generating the profit and the share of profit for the promoters of the institutions. A large percentage of the offset requirement will be met by offset work done in research and development areas as these facilities can be set up quickly. It is also difficult to ramp up full scale manufacturing facilities with manpower trained in high precision and sophisticated manufacturing techniques. It is in this area of Defence Research and Development (DR&D) that Kerala can target to become a power house. It is, therefore, essential to find a potential growth area that will be able to survive in such an environment-- a potential growth area that will be relatively insulated from such external pressures. Our Defence Budget estimate for the year 2013-14 is Rs 2,03,672 crore and it works out to a tiny 1.79% of the GDP. Of this estimate, projected expenditure on capital items is Rs

the indicative cost is Rs 300 crore or more be sourced from India either in the form of manufactured sub systems or by doing design and development works for arms or related equipment. This clause has been incorporated with the explicit intention of giving a boost to defense production and the development of indigenous capability in India. At 30% of imports we are looking at is approximately Rs 9, 500 crore annually and this figure will increase annually at a rate of 10-12%. The projected figures are truly gigantic.

these vehicles is a typical example of how technology that is available in the open domain is being effectively used for high end military activity. Another such example is `The Digital Soldier Project’ budgeted around Rs 40,000 crore has just been kicked off by the army. This project when completed will project our army as fully digitally connected. The Generals will know the precise location of every soldier and weapon and weapon system

29

with real time exchange of reports, data, verbal and written commands. Most foreign weapon suppliers will be looking at meeting their offset requirement by carrying out backend work at Indian locations. The above phenomena are just a few examples and there are several other projects where we are in a position to contribute. This is the wonderful opportunity opening up before Kerala. We cannot expect to get the private sector to invest in these high risk areas. It is here that the Government has a role to play. Most state governments have supported the industry at the take off stage. Examples are the contribution of the Karnataka state government to the IT, Biotech and aviation fields and our own state government’s support to the ISRO facility. There is the need to build a culture for research and development of cutting edge technologies. This capability is not and cannot be built up in a short time. A large reservoir of knowledge has to be built and a momentum created. This can only be done by the government by making investments with no concern regarding Return On Investments (ROI). Kerala has approximately 150 engineering colleges that can be channelized to become the link in the Research and Development chain. The government must utilize this low cost base of knowledge to develop a reservoir of capability. This will then deliver, in the near future, the spring board for the growth knowledge industries in our state and in turn generate revenue and jobs for Kerala.

A large percentage of the offset requirement will be met by offset work done in research and development areas as these facilities can be set up quickly. It is also difficult to ramp up full scale manufacturing facilities with manpower trained in high precision and sophisticated manufacturing techniques. It is in this area of Defence Research and Development (DR&D) that Kerala can target to become a power house. Research and Development is a kind of large area to be the driver of growth. In this large area, focus on some specific Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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30

INSURANCE

Life insurance policies to give higher benefits as per new regulations W

hen private life insurers started operations, there were lots of expectations. They were supposed to bring in innovative products priced competitively against LIC of India. The government expected to increase the life insurSanjeev Kumar G ance penetration so that majority of the population will get covered. The financial resources required to start and operate a life insurance company was huge. They had to recruit and train agents, set up office networks and had to lock in huge amount of money to meet solvency requirements. They were not supposed to make any profit in first 7 to 8 years of operations.

returns in the long term and life insurance being a long term product, people were shown that ULIPs can give better returns than traditional policies offered by LIC. It was a great idea. There was flip side to this. It was nothing but the greed of the life insurers. As they found they have a killer product they went all out selling it. They recruited agents left right and advertised heavily. Their sales managers raised the targets and pushed hard. They offered huge commissions to agent and brokers and took them for foreign trips. They got into a wrong belief that they could break even in a lower period that the initial estimates of seven years of more.

take the money after that. In fact 3 years was the minimum period to make the policy paid up. On the other side they were shown stupendous returns from equity markets camouflaging the fact that the equity investments in the short term are risky. When policy holders went to take back their investments after 3 years, they found that they could get only 50% or 30% of the total premiums paid. They were in a shock. Many people put hard earned money kept aside for goals like daughter’s marriage believing that they will get decent returns good enough to meet their goals. Literally, they lost everything, lock stock and barrel. Thousands of complaints reached IRDA and IRDA made drastic changes on the ULIP structures. They restricted the first year allocation charges (the technical name for agency commission) to 10% of the premium and increased the minimum period to 5 years. If a policy holder discontinues the policy before that, then the fund value has to be transferred to discontinue policy fund and he should be paid 3.5% interest per annum till the policy completes 5 years. There were more rules which made ULIPs attractive to the policyholder but less profitable for the agent. Once bitten, twice shy, people still are suspicious about ULIPs. Greedy agents stopped selling ULIPs. Life Insurance companies came up with new strategy. Focus on traditional policies. The agents became happy as the commissions could be as high as 40%. IRDA has understood that again mis-selling spree has started, but this time in traditional policies category. So they have decided to put up 2 new regulations to regulate the life insurance policies. They are IRDA (Non-Linked Insurance Products) Regulation, 2013 and IRDA (Linked Insurance Products) Regulation, 2013. From 1st January 2013 all life insurance policies have to adhere to these regulations. As a result all life insurance companies including LIC have to withdraw all existing policies by December 31st 2013 and introduce new policies from January 1st 2013.

Major Changes as per new regulations Let us look into the major benefits these regulations offer to the policy holders. Non linked insurance products are the traditional policies like endowment and money back and linked insurance products are ULIPs. Minimum Sum Assured All those who promoted life insurance companies were quoted in media that they expect it to be a long term business proposition. The first issue they faced was the high bonus rates offered by LIC on their traditional plans. New insurers were not in a position to declare bonus until they make profits. In order to avoid direct competition with LIC, they brought up Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) which were not popular till then. In the case of ULIPs the risk premium is separated from the investment premium. The policy holders were given the freedom to decide where to invest their money. As equities give higher

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Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

All these were at the cost of policy holders. There were policies in which 100% of the first year premium was considered as charges and not a single paisa was invested against the policy holder in the first year. Most of the case the investment made in the first year was less than 50% of the first year premium paid. Not only this, the policies were sold as short term investments. Due to sales pressure and lure of easy money agents and brokers told customers that they need to pay premium for 3 years only and they can

There were traditional policies which offered sum assured lower than the total premiums to be paid. As per the new regulation the minimum sum assured for a policy holder below 45 years has to be highest of, 10 times the annualised premium or 105% of all the premiums paid as on date of death or minimum guaranteed sum assured on maturity or any absolute amount assured to be paid. If the age is above 45 years then it is 7 times instead of 10 times. This regulation indirectly restricts the maximum premium that could be charged per unit of sum assured. In the case of ULIPs with regular premium payment term, the minimum sum assured is restricted


31 to 10 times the annualized premium or half of the total annual premiums, whichever is higher. Death due to Suicide Earlier no benefits would be paid if the insured suicides within 12 months from the date of inception of the policy. As per the new regulation, in case of death due to suicide, within 12 months from the date of inception of the policy, the nominee of the policyholder shall be entitled to at least 80% of the premiums paid or from the date of revival of the policy, the nominee o f the policyholder shall be entitled to a minimum of the surrender value / policy account value, as available on the date of death. In the case of ULIPs, if death due to suicide occurs within 12 months from the date of inception of the policy or from the date of revival of the policy, the nominee of the policyholder shall be entitled to the fund value / policy account value, as available on the date of death. Minimum Policy Term The minimum policy term for individual non linked products, shall be at least five years. Except single premium policies the minimum premium payment terms should be more than 5 years. The same is the case with ULIPs. Agency Commission The following is the prescribed commission structure for non linked and ULIP products from life insurance companies which are in existence for more than 10 years. Premium Payment Term

First year Commission

Subsequent Year

5 years

15%

5%

6 years

18%

5%

7 years

21%

5%

8 years

24%

5%

9 years

27%

5%

10 years

30%

5%

If you wish to reduce the cost of policy, it is better to select a lower premium payment period from January onwards. The cost of ULIPs will again go up. Guaranteed Surrender Value

render value shall be at least: i) 30% of the total premiums paid less any survival benefits already paid, if surrendered between the second year and third year of the policy, both inclusive. ii) Subject to (iii), 50% of the total premiums paid less any survival benefits already paid, if surrendered between the fourth year and seventh year of the policy, both inclusive. iii) 90% of the total premiums paid less any survival benefits already paid, if surrendered during the last two years of the policy, if the term of the policy is less than 7 years. What this means that the insurance companies will have to pay more to the policy holders in case of surrender also and hence has to reduce the cost of marketing the products. This will bring down the agency commissions from the prescribed maximum limits. In case of ULIPs if the policy is discontinued during the first 5 years then the fund value will be moved to discontinued policy fund which will invest in government securities and money market instruments. The minimum returns to be given is 4% per annum till the policy completes 5 years. The returns can be more if the discontinued policy fund gives higher return. Every year the insurance company has to intimate the details about the surrender value to the policy holder. Service Tax Service tax will be collected from the policyholder separately as over and above the premium. Benefit Illustration All insurance products shall provide the prospective policyholder a customized benefit illustration, illustrating the guaranteed and non-guaranteed benefits at gross investment returns of 4% and 8% respectively. Currently the insurance companies show benefit projections using 6% and 10% returns respectively. Difference in Gross Yield and Net Yield In case of ULIPs the regulations have put a cap on difference in Gross Yield and Net Yield. The net reduction in yield at maturity for policies with term:

Currently for all non linked policies minimum 3 year premiums have to be paid to acquire surrender value. The guaranteed surrender value was calculated as 30% of total premiums paid excluding first year premium.

i) less than or equal to 10 years shall not be more than 3.00% and

As per new regulations, for products with a Premium Paying Term of less than 10 years, if all premiums have been paid for at least two consecutive years, the policy shall acquire a guaranteed surrender value. This 3 years for policies with premium payment term of 10 years or more. The surrender value calculation has also changed in favour of the policy holder.

The equation of value concerning the gross premium paid by the policyholder and the maturity fund value shall give the effective net yield per annum. The gross yield is the investment returns of the funds invested. This means that the total cost should be restricted as mentioned above. In case difference in yield is more, at the time of maturity, the insurance company has to make additions good enough to reduce the difference to prescribed levels.

The minimum guaranteed surrender value shall be the sum of guaranteed surrender value and the surrender value of the any subsisting bonus or guaranteed additions, as applicable, already accrued to the policy. The guaranteed sur-

ii) above 10 years shall not be more than 2.25%.

(The writer is Managing Director and Principal Financial Planner, Progno Financial Planning Systems (P) Ltd)

LIC outperforms Pvt sector rivals combined L

ife Insurance Corporation (LIC) has outperformed the private sector as a whole by recording a 7.26-percent growth in premium collection during the first half of the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. LIC saw premium income rise to INR 379.06 billion (US$6 billion) during the six-month period ended September 30. In comparison, the 23 private-sector players’ combined premium income grew by 4.55 percent to INR 121.5 billion during the period. Several large private-sector insurers, including ICICI Prudential, HDFC Standard Life and SBI Life, witnessed a decline in premium collection during the April- September period compared to the same period last year, according to Press Trust of India. The data released by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority also show that the performance of several small private sector insurance companies, including Sahara Life, Edelweiss Tokio and Future Generali, has been muted. In the private sector, Reliance Life performed comparatively better, with premium collection rising by 80 percent to INR 10.22 billion from INR 5.7 billion for the same period last year, mainly on account of an increase in group premium

Regulator plans to allow sub-broking in insurance

I

nsurance brokers may be allowed to expand into small towns and cities through sub-brokers so that the non-life insurance needs of retail customers can be better served, under a plan currently being finalised by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). “We are in the process of finalising a proposal to allow sub-broking to increase insurance penetration, particularly in retail lines of business, as currently most of the business done by insurance brokers is corporate,” a senior IRDA official told .“To make sub-broking a viable business proposition, we are also considering a demand to allow sub-brokers to sell other financial products such as mutual funds,” he said. Brokers are independent intermediaries, selling products of multiple insurers. Currently, there are around 300 active brokers, present mostly in urban centres. The subbroking proposal, first mooted in February faces some opposition from public sector general insurers which are concerned that their wide network of agents may opt to become sub-brokers and sell policies of multiple insurers. In addition, insurance broking firms consider the cost of training prohibitive. It costs around INR50,000 (US$810) to train a person who has to undergo 100 hours of mandatory training. Brokers are also wary of putting up the minimum capital of INR10 million for a broking unit, particularly in small towns where the volume of business may not justify the investment Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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CDB initiative to help farmers and save the sector

ime was when coconut cultivation was considered prestigious in Kerala and acres of land were possessed by reputed traditional families engaged in it. Their courtyards were filled with heaps of coconuts and the size of the heaps indicated the wealth of the landlord who was supreme in the locality.

days, farmers are currently able to harvest only once in three or four months,” says T K Jose, CDB Chaiman. “Despite our effort to train the youth, many are reluctant to enter this field because of occupational risks and ardous labour involved in climbing the tall coconut trees. There has been an array of coconut palm-climbing devices which are

along with other agencies including NGOs and self-help groups.The training consists of coconut climbing techniques, coconut harvesting and crown cleaning aspects, spraying and pest control work, pollination and hybridization techniques, plant protection measures and identification of tender nuts, mature coconuts and seed nuts. It will also cover development of leadership, communication and entrepreneurship skills and savings management. “We insist that a minimum 30% of trainees should be women. The age group of applicants is 18-40. They should preferably be underemployed

Gone are those days. Thanks to quick and unchecked urbanization, the fall in the price of coconut and, most importantly, the dearth of workmen due to the high literacy rate in the state, the product and its cultivation lost their glory. However, the Coconut Development Board (CDB) has taken the initiative to address the problem of shortage of coconut pluckers and workforce in the sector. It has started imparting training to unemployed youth in palm climbing under the banner of ‘Friends of Coconut Trees’. “The scarcity of labour disrupts harvesting cycles thus causing loss of income to growers. As against the general norm of harvesting cycles of 45-60

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claimed to be safe and easy to operate developed by different agencies. In spite of all this, there is still an acute shortage of trained palm climbers for harvesting and workers for plant protection activities. In a serious attempt to tackle this problem, the board will conduct a massive programme to train about 5,000 unemployed youth in developing special skills and confidence in coconut palm climbing and plant protection activities,” he adds. The board’s initial task is to find unemployed youth needed for the purpose. The scheme, according to Jose, will cover 10 major coconut-growing districts in the state and will be implemented with the help of Kudumbasree units under the local bodies concerned

Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

healthy individuals, free from any disability. The minimum educational qualification is up to the seventh standard. The training will be imparted to people in batches of 20 for a week, include residential, technical, managerial and practical sessions. Our basic objective is to develop a professional group of youth under the banner of ‘Friends of Coconut Trees’ for the well-being of coconut growers by providing them with skilled coconut climbers and workforce for farming and plant protection activities”, says Jose


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NEWS

Premium Ferro Alloys wins award

P

remium Ferro Alloys Limited (PFAL) Eloor, near Kochi, has been awarded a memento and a certificate for successfully implementing energy efficient technologies by the Ministry of Steel, Government of India, in association with United Nations Development Program (UNDP)/ Global Environment Facility (GEF). This is part of their project on “Energy Efficiency Improvement in Steel Re-Rolling Mill Sector in India”. PFAL has also been recognized as a model unit under the project. The project has successfully

largest producer of steel. Typically associated with high levels of pollution and inefficient resource use, these units consume one percent of energy consumed in India. The partnership between the Ministry of Steel and UNDP has demonstrated that units which have adopted a series of measures to improve energy efficiency can save energy costs by 25-30 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. PFAL with its registered office at

Gadgets in the market Google Nexus 5

T

he Nexus 5 is finally launched in India by Google via Google Play Store. Nexus 5 is available in two models - the 16GB model at Rs 28,999, and the 32GB variant at Rs 32,999. Google Nexus 5 is the platform lead device for Android 4.4, which notably brings a new dialer that automatically suggests people the most likely call while Caller ID by Google matches an incoming phone number to a business even if that number isn’t stored in the contact list. By the unified Hangouts app, the users can send and receive all text messages directly, and location sharing is also supported by Hangouts for Android

Inkjet printers

S S Agarwal, Director, M/s Premium Ferro Alloys Pvt Ltd, Cochin, receiving the award for PFAL being the model unit for energy efficiency improvement from Sayeddin Abassi, Jt Secretary, Ministry of Steel, Government of India & National Project Director, UNDP/GEF Project (Steel), in the presence of Alexandra Solovieva, Deputy Country Director, UNDP-India & A C R Das Consultant, Ministry of Steel, Government of India & National Project Coordinator, UNDP/GEF Project (Steel). been able to implement energy efficient technologies in a number of steel re-rolling mill units across the country. These steel units have been recognized as ‘Model units’ by the project. Small-scale steel re-rolling mills produce 65 percent of long steel products in India which is the world’s fourth

Kochi has been into manufacturing of Mild Steel Ingots and TMT Bars under the registered trade mark “PREMIUM” at its modern factory at Edayar Industrial Development Area, Ernakulum for nearly three decades. The company has about hundred qualified and experienced staff to man the organization

Kerala Tourism gets new website K

erala Tourism’s official website has been relaunched with a responsive design optimised for viewing on multiple devices, including mobile phones and tablets. The website, www.keralatourism.org , has been rebuilt with HTML 5 which offers a far superior browsing experience for users than before, and an interface that automatically gets customised for the device accessing it, be it a laptop, desktop, a smartphone or a tablet.

C

anon launched three new cloud-enabled inkjet printers, the flagship Pixma MG7170 (Rs 20,495), the Pixma MG6470 (Rs 13,495), and the Pixma MG3570 (Rs 6,495), as well as two reasonably priced inkjet printers, the Pixma MG2570 (Rs 4,150) and Pixma MG2470 (Rs 3, 950). All five printers are specially designed for home user, and will be available in the market in November. The new Canon Pixma range comes in a variety of colours, which can go with consumer’s home décor

Rebranded as MixRadio

N

okia has rebranded Nokia Music, its music streaming and download service, as MixRadio, which is completely free of advertising and requires no subscription. The app

can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store on Nokia Lumia devices .The MixRadio revamp changes the focus of the service to music streaming, from being a music download destination, allowing users to help find and personalize music to their liking. It’s worth pointing out that Nokia offers Unlimited Music subscriptions to users in India with a number of its Lumia phones allowing users to download music tracks for free. This is different from the Nokia Music+ premium service that it offers in some other markets

HTC One Max

S

martphone maker HTC has launched its highest price handset for Indian market, HTC One Max, for maximum retail price of Rs 61,490. HTC One max has largest display from HTC’s stable. This phone comes with stylus, insurance for theft, liquid damage and the option to be purchased in monthly installments. The phone will be available at market offered price of Rs 56,490. HTC has jumped to 5.9 inch display screen with HTC One Max from 4.7 inch screen size phone model

Karbonn Titanium S7

K

arbonn is all set to enter the full-HD smartphone fray with the release of the Titanium S7 in India and is now listed at ecommerce website, Flipkart and can be pre-ordered at Rs 14,999. It is a dual-SIM device with support for GSM+GSM. The smartphone features 5-inch full-HD (1080x1920) display with OGS Technology. It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and also houses a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The Titanium S7 comes with 16GB inbuilt storage, expandable up to 32GB with microSD card.

Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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DUA to organise ‘Partner Kerala’ in Kochi

erala’s Department of Urban Affairs (DUA) is organising a massive investors’ meet with the objective of developing basic infrastructure in major cities through public-private partnership. The two-day ‘Partner Kerala’ Urban Development Meet, to be held at the Le Meridien Convention Centre in Kochi on December 19 and 20, is an attempt at mobilising resources for cash-strapped corporations that are unable to keep pace with the rising demand for amenities in rapidly expanding cities. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy unveiled the logo of the event at a function in Thiruvananthapurm on November 20,2013 in the presence of Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali. Hundreds of potential investors from around the country and overseas, and within Kerala, are expected to take part in the meet which will showcase investment opportunities across

a number of areas, Manjalamkuzhi Ali said. These include necessities such as waste management, sewerage, flyovers, bridges and parking lots, bus terminals, comfort stations and markets; amenities like shopping complexes, convention centres and multiplex cinema halls and amusement parks, besides parks, town beautification, street lights and hoardings. Projects best suited for the layout, density and geography of each city Manjalamkuzhi Ali will be presented at the event. Kerala has already set an example for other states in resource allocation and strengthening local self-governments through decentralised planning. However, the biggest challenge facing local governing bodies today is the lack of funds to upgrade and modernise infrastructure, Ali averred

Elite launches two special cakes

E

lite group has launched two new special cakes -Black Forest and Ginger-Honey cakes as a part of Christmas. Black forest is a dark chocolate buttery cake enriched with

fruits and nuts where as Ginger-Honey cake is rich with subtle taste of ginger and goodness of honey. ‘These cakes are fat free and are nutritionally rich having high calories,

protein, vitamins and minerals. This year we are also introducing a new initiative “cake on wheels” which would spread the message of Christmas all over Kerala and also the importance of cakes while celebrating Christmas. The consumer will have a direct opportunity to see the full range of Elite Cake Products being made available in market during this season,’ said Sabu Jose, Joint CEO of Elite Group. ‘The “cake on wheels” has been flagged of from Kochi and will be conducted over the course of 18 days from December 7 to 24,’ said Sajan George, Technical Head of Elite Group

‘She Taxi’ launched

The Government of Kerala introduced a first-of-its-kind, safe, 24X7 taxi service owned and operated by women entrepreneurs for women travellers. ‘She Taxi’, the first off-campus project initiated by The Gender Park has been flagged off in the state capital by Minister for Panchayats and Social Justice M K Muneer, actress Manju Warrier & K Muralidheeran, MLA.

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Tourism: UNESCO backs Spice Route K

erala Tourism’s ambitious plan to bring the ancient Spice Route back to life for helping modern day travellers tread the path used by traders and explorers two thousand years ago has received strong support from UNESCO.

31 countries along the ancient route. The initiative is expected to bring in a substantial number of foreign tourists to Kerala to trace the historic journey. The Spice Route initiative of Kerala Tourism had also received the support of the United Nations.

UNESCO’s backing for the Spice Route Project initiated by the Kerala government came after two days of meetings and presentations at the UN agency’s headquarters in Paris last week. The meetings were led by India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UNESCO Vinay Sheel Oberoi and Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa.

Meetings were also held with Ambassadors to UNESCO from China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Oman, Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka and

Billa, who made a presentation on the Spice Route Project at the UNESCO headquarters on November 14, also met its Assistant Secretary-General (Culture) Francesco Bandarin and ambassadors of several countries that are part of the Spice Route. “We are delighted to receive the support of UNESCO for the Spice Route Project,” said Kerala’s Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar. “I am sure it will help the revival of Muziris, which was the beginning point for the spice route,” he added. The Spice Route Project is aimed at sharing the heritage among the

Suman Billa with Bandarin Bangladesh besides with representatives of Kazakhstan and Turkey. “There was a positive response to the project from all the countries,” said Billa, who was invited by the UNWTO in July this year to make a presentation on the Spice Route Project at a fourday conference held in Dunhuang, China.

AIPMA plans Plastic Park A

ll India Plastic Manufacturer’s association (AIPMA) has been conducting talks with the government of Kerala and Kinfra to set up a plastic park. The proposed park will be on a 40- acre land in Kannur and the works are in an advanced stage. The envisaged investment for the project is Rs 2,000 crore. “Companies in the plastic manufacturing sector across the country would come to invest in this project.

AIPMA will act as a catalyst to draw more investors for the plastic park and State’s infra structural company, Kinfra would provide basic infrastructure for the project. Currently plastic parks are proposed in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat”, said Hiten Bheda, committee member of AIPMA.

ing which accounts for 50% demand, infrastructure and agriculture comprising 25% demand and consumer goods and healthcare accounting for remaining 25% of demand, he added.

“In Southern states including Kerala, plastic consumption is increasing and there is a good scope for medical plastics in Kerala. In South, polymer consumption is approximately about 2.5 million tons per annum with a growth rate of about 10%. Polymer consumption in south is spread over three major segments, namely packag-

“The ninth edition of ‘Plastivision India-2013’, AIPMA trade fair, will be held in Mumbai from December 12 to 16. The fair in which 1,000 exhibitors from 30 countries will participate, will display latest innovations and technologies in the plastic world”, says Hiten.


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Prof Abraham Koshy Federal Bank Chairman

P

rof Abraham Koshy has been appointed the Chairman of the Federal Bank Ltd. Prof Koshy joined the Board of the Bank in May 2007, as an Independent Director. He started his banking career in 1976 in Union Bank of India. After a short stint there, he opted for an academic profession and joined the School of Management Studies, Cochin University and thereafter moved to the Centre for Management Development, Trivandrum. Since 1989, he is serving as Professor of Marketing at prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. A PostGraduate in Business Administration

from Cochin University, the professor took his doctoral degree with specialization in Marketing from the IIM, Ahmedabad.

co-authored and co-edited three books and authored several research papers published in leading journals and contributed chapters in management books too. His papers were presented in National and International Seminars. Currently, he is also privileged to serve as a visiting professor of various European business schools/ universities.

Prof Koshy has coauthored a book on Marketing Management: A South Asian Perspective along with the legendary marketing guru, Prof Philip Kotler. He has also

Prof Koshy has conducted executive programs in 14 countries besides India benefiting top teams of corporates engaged in varied lines of activities around the world. He is a consultant to many domestic and inter-

Abraham Koshy

Federal Bank wins Finnoviti Award

F

ederal Bank wins the Banking Frontier’s Finnoviti 2013 award for its innovation in virtual Accounting system(VAS) ranking first among the winners.

Abraham Chacko, Executive Director and Sunny K P, DGM and Head-IT & Operations of Federal Bank receiving the award at a function held at Mumbai in the presence of other officials.

C

VAS is an e–collection product developed in-house by Federal Bank. The application is designed to streamline online remittance of funds by the clients of its institutional customers. The facility is available for multiple payment channels like RTGS, NEFT, Net Banking, Cheques and for cash remittances..

national companies in developing new product strategy, brand management, and competitive marketing strategies. He is a member of the Advisory Committee for Investor Protection and Education Fund of SEBI and the trustee member of the Consumer Education and Research Centre, Ahmedabad, besides being in the board of various companies. He is listed among “Living Legends: 100 Eminent people from Kerala” in the publication Destination Kerala sponsored by the Government of Kerala in 2012.

Federal Bank-AMAI tie-up

F

ederal Bank has entered into an agreement with Ayurveda Medical Association of India (AMAI) for offering various banking facilities on liberal terms to the members of AMAI. Surendran A (GM, Retail & International Business, Federal Bank) and Dr Vinod Kumar (President, AMAI) exchanged the MoU in a function held at Federal Towers, Marine Drive, Ernakulam.

This is the second award for innovation, the bank bags during this fortnight.

Coir Board Delhi Meet spurs export potential

oir Board expects an export target of Rs 37 crore after it interacted with 52 delegates from 24 countries who evinced keen interest in buying the diversified products and modern machinery of the government-allied organisation. In a recently held meeting. A reverse buyerseller meet that the Kochi-headquarterd organization held in the national capital as part of its ongoing diamond jubilee celebrations saw as many as 40 new parties meeting higher Coir Board ofG Balachandran ficials face-to-face and seeking the prospects of importing new-age commodities of the host. “The new-found enthusiasm was mainly owing to our diversification strategy. There has been massive demand for our coir wood, pith and geo-textiles, besides handicrafts,” according to Coir Board Chairman Prof G Balachandran. The Board collated the expected business turnover estimated from the inter-face with the foreign delegates. “We have got enquiries from the US for buying our household articles cus-

tomized for the climate and aesthetics of that country,” he added. “We have succeeded in our aim to provide the potential buyers with an opportunity to interact with the exporters around the world,” the Coir Board chief said, adding that the session had close to 30 exhibitors and 20 buying executives from the domestic segment. The delegates were then divided into groups and taken for rounds at an exhibition of sellers of various coir products besides machinery. They had come from countries such as USA, Germany, Bulgaria, Panama, Italy, Israel, Malaysia, Uganda, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. At the start of the meet at Vignyan Bhavan, M Kumaraswamy Pillai, Officer on Special Duty with the Coir Board, gave a presentation to the delegates on the organisation’s recent innovations and the capabilities of India’s coir sector. The business, of late, is not just about conventional products such as doormats, mattresses and gift articles. “We have non-conventional stuff such as coir wood, pith and geo-textiles, besides machinery,” he added. The other top Coir Board officials who facilitated the interaction were P R Ajithkumar, Director (Market), and C M Unnikrishnan, Development Officer (Export)

Surendran A & Dr Vinod Kumar displaying the MOU on the day of the agreement in the presence of Antu Joseph (DGM, SME Business, Federal Bank), Dr Rejith Anand (General Secretary, AMAI) and Babu K A (AGM, Retail Business, Federal Bank) By this MoU, AMAI members will be eligible for special offers in Housing Loans, Car Loans, Loan for setting up clinics and purchase of equipment etc. Specially designed Savings Bank and Current Account schemes are also extended to AMAI members. These special offers and concessions are available at all Federal Bank branches.

Mobile towers are not a cause for cancer

A

ccording to experts of Environment and Child Health Group of Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), electromagnetic radiations emitted by mobile phones and towers are not injurious to health. “We conducted a study on the radiation hazards and health related issues due to emissions from mobile towers and ended in a conclusion that the radiation emitted from the tower is nonionising, which is harmless. For the past few years there has been a serious concern over mobile phones and towers. Thermal impact is the only problem with mobile phones as it gets heated up when used continuously for a long time,” said P Ramakrishna, an IAP member . Dr. R. Ramesh Kumar, National Ssecretary of IAP Environment Chapter, says that WHO has also found that there is no such evidence that using mobile phones can cause brain tumours Dec 15 - Jan 15, 2014

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Dec 15-Jan 15, 2014

RN 65561/94 Reg. No. KL/EKM/116/2009-2011

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