India’s losses to minnows in World Cup Cricket

As with a lot of people around me, I’m quite absorbed with the ongoing Cricket World Cup and after having little interest in cricket for the better part of the last decade, I’ve been following each game quite closely.

The result today with Bangladesh defeating England means that India will probably play in the second quarter final with Bangladesh on March 19 at the MCG which starts at 9 AM India time.

This made me wonder if India have been upset by smaller teams often in World Cup cricket, and what’s Bangladesh record of beating better teams.

Interestingly enough, India has been beaten once by Bangladesh already in the 2007 World Cup group matches. India scored 191 in that match and Bangladesh scored 192 with 9 balls to spare, and 5 wickets remaining.

Second such instance is India losing to Zimbabwe in the group stage of 1999 World Cup in England. This was actually the opener game for India where Zimbabwe scored 252 runs and won by 3 runs. 

Just a short post with a little bit of trivia that interested me. Hopefully India will sail to the semi finals this time around.

IFCI Limited 9.50% NCDs – January 2015 Issue

This post is written by Shiv Kukreja, who is a Certified Financial Planner and runs a financial planning firm, Ojas Capital in Delhi/NCR. He can be reached at skukreja@investitude.co.in

IFCI yesterday launched its second public issue of non-convertible debentures (NCDs). The issue carries annual interest rate of 9.50% for 10 years and 9.45% for 5 years, which is 50 basis points lower than its last public issue of October 2014. IFCI plans to raise Rs. 250 crore in this issue with an option to retain oversubscription up to the residual shelf limit of Rs. 790.81 crore.

IFCI has decided to issue these NCDs for a period of 5 years and 10 years only. Last time it had the option of 7 years as well. The company has also decided not to offer the monthly interest payment option this time around. Last time IFCI offered monthly interest payment option with its 5 year maturity period. The issue is scheduled to remain open for over a month to close on February 4th.

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Categories of Investors & Allocation Ratio – The investors would be classified in the following four categories and each category will have the following percentage fixed during the allotment process:

Category I – Institutional Investors – 25% of the issue size is reserved

Category II – Domestic Corporates – 25% of the issue size is reserved

Category III – High Networth Individuals including HUFs – 25% of the issue size is reserved

Category IV – Retail Individual Investors including HUFs – 25% of the issue size is reserved

Allotment will be made on a first-come first-served (FCFS) basis.

Coupon Rates for Category I & II Investors – Like last time, IFCI has kept the differential between the coupon rates offered to the individual investors and non-individual investors as 0.10% only. I think this move would again make these NCDs more attractive to the non-individual investors as compared to the retail investors.

NRI Investment Not Allowed – Foreign investors, including foreign nationals and non-resident Indians (NRIs), are not allowed to invest in this issue.

Credit Rating & Nature of NCDs – While Brickwork Ratings has assigned a credit rating of ‘AA-’ to the issue with a ‘Stable’ outlook, ICRA has given it a credit rating of ‘A’ again with a ‘Stable’ outlook. Moreover, these NCDs are ‘Secured’ in nature and in case of any default in payment, the investors will have the right to claim their money against certain receivables of IFCI.

Minimum Investment – These NCDs carry a face value of Rs. 1,000 and one needs to apply for a minimum of 10 NCDs, thus making Rs. 10,000 as the minimum investment to be made.

Maximum Investment – Like the last time, IFCI has kept Rs. 2 lakhs as the maximum amount one can invest in the retail investors category. Individual investors investing more than Rs. 2 lakhs will be categorised as high networth individuals and there is no such cap on the investment amount for such investors.

Allotment in Demat/Physical Form – Investors will have the option to get these NCDs allotted either in demat form or physical form as per their choice.

Listing – These NCDs will get listed on both the stock exchanges, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE), within 12 working days from the closing date of the issue.

Taxation & TDS – Interest earned on these NCDs will be taxable as per the tax slab of the investor and tax will be deducted at source if NCDs are taken in physical form and the interest amount exceeds Rs. 5,000 in any of the financial years. However, there will be no TDS on NCDs taken in a demat form.

Moreover, if these NCDs are sold after holding for more than 12 months, the investor is liable to pay long term capital gain (LTCG) tax at a flat rate of 10%. However, if sold prior to the completion of 12 months, short term capital gain (STCG) tax is applicable at the slab rate of the investor.

Interest Payment Date – Again, IFCI has not fixed any date in advance for the purpose of its annual interest payment and that is why its first due interest will be paid exactly one year after the deemed date of allotment.

Interest on Application Money & Refund – IFCI will pay interest to the successful allottees on their application money, from the date of realization of application money up to one day prior to the deemed date of allotment, at the applicable coupon rates. However, unsuccessful allottees will be paid interest @ 4% per annum on their money liable to be refunded.

Premature redemption & Call Option – IFCI will not entertain any request for redemption before the maturity period gets over. Investors will have to sell these NCDs on the stock exchanges to liquidate their investments. IFCI too will not carry any option to call these NCDs for redemption before their maturity.

IFCI NCDs vs. Bank Fixed Deposits vs. Company Fixed Deposit

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Should you subscribe to IFCI NCDs?

These were my views when its last issue came in October – “With CPI as well as WPI inflation falling sharply, Brent crude prices declining from $114 per barrel to $84-85 per barrel, commodity prices also correcting substantially and 10-year Indian G-Sec yield falling from 9%+ to 8.39%, I think the interest rates should still head lower going forward. In the present macroeconomic scenario, it makes sense to subscribe to these NCDs. Long term investors in the 30% tax bracket will do well to invest either in debt mutual funds or explore tax-free bonds from the secondary markets.”

Inflation has fallen further, both CPI as well as WPI. Crude prices have also fallen further with Brent crude trading at $57.33 per barrel as I write. Though the 10-year Indian G-Sec yield has also come down sharply to 7.88% from 8.39% earlier, I think the pace of fall should get slowed down now.

Though I think there is still some more room left for the deposit rates to fall, especially the bank deposit rates, I think the rates offered by IFCI this time are less attractive to me as compared to the last time, which is natural as well. If you are able to buy its previous issue’s NCDs from the secondary markets at a relatively reasonable cost, then you should avoid this issue. If you face difficulty in doing so, then you should still subscribe to these NCDs for your medium to long term investment. Long term investors in the 30% tax bracket would still do well to invest either in debt mutual funds or tax free bonds.

Application Form of IFCI NCDs

Note: As per SEBI guidelines, ‘Bidding’ is mandatory before banking the application form, else the application is liable to get rejected. For bidding of your application, any further info or to invest in IFCI NCDs, you can contact me at +919811797407

How to Find a U.S. Rental While Abroad

Guest Post By Jennifer Riner of Zillow

Moving to a new city is always intimidating, especially without ever visiting prior to relocating. Even more difficult is relocating across international borders to an entirely different country, complete with alternate customs, language barriers and cultural divides. While exciting, apartment hunting remotely can be complicated and somewhat intimidating.

Most U.S. residents have general knowledge of major cities throughout the country, including a city’s characteristic weather patterns, crime reputations and local economies. Luckily, international individuals can access these data points online. Once long-distance renters determine their destinations of choice, finding rentals within desired locations might be more complicated than it seems.

Implement the following strategies to ease the process of international rental searches, specifically avoiding contractual obligations with inadequate rentals.

Research Neighborhoods

Individuals from overseas should begin by researching the communities in their relocation areas. Selecting specific neighborhoods based on budget and lifestyle narrows the vast scope of options. Focusing searches reduces stress for overwhelmed shoppers who can only find future homes through limited pictures and online rental listings.

First, determine price point and scan through listings to gauge which regions are realistic based on budget. Delve into specific neighborhoods by scrutinizing accessibility, demographics and, if applicable, school ratings. For more in-depth analysis, research local restaurants, parks, fitness facilities, bars and coffee shops. If being close to these amenities is important for an easy transition, it might be worth stretching the budget to move closer to them.

Time Searches Based on City

Depending on long-distance destinations, recommended start times for rental searches vary. For instance, Orlando apartments for rent typically aren’t listed very far in advance from their vacancy dates. Lack of down time between listing units and signing new tenants is potentially due to competitive rental markets. Renters in major metros are abundant and eager to sign leases, so high-quality apartments at fair prices don’t sit on the market for very long.

Visit Potential Apartments or Enlist Help

When budget allows, renters should visit potential residences first-hand to find apartments in optimal locations that fit their needs. Obviously, flying out for showings isn’t practical for most people who want to avoid extra expenses or endure long hours of additional travel. Lessees who can’t afford, or don’t have time, to travel to view rentals ahead of their scheduled move dates can use professionals and friends to streamline their rental pursuits.

Leasing Agent

Not only do leasing agents help narrow down standard apartment searches, their city-specific expertise is especially useful for individuals moving from foreign countries. Be prepared for agents to ask about timeline, flexibility, potential neighborhoods, budget range, size preferences, pet accommodations, parking and must-haves or deal breakers such as in-unit washers and dryers or hardwood floors.

Some agents can accommodate international applicants by facilitating the entire process remotely. After they receive information about their clients’ wants and needs, they’ll send prospective listings via email. When clients settle on one or two properties, agents can contact property managers to take pictures, collect floor plans and determine final pricing based on availability. Unemployed renters should prepare to list cosigner(s) who are citizens of the continental United States. Property managers considering international lessees will also inquire about visas and citizenship before moving forward. To simplify the entire process, international apartment seekers can electronically sign their applications, offer letters and leases for most properties; otherwise they must mail notarized documents, depending on property policies.

Friend

Networking with existing residents benefits initial searches and helps new residents get acclimated thereafter. Residents have insight on their current housing and location, and can potentially attend showings, take high quality photos and provide unbiased descriptions of units on non-nationals’ behalves. Ask distant relatives or old associates for help, provided they currently live in the targeted region. Those relocating for work who don’t know anyone might want to ask new coworkers for their help, or join online communities dedicated to linking newcomers.

Sublet or Rent Short-Term

After exhausting all resources, sometimes searches fail to yield appropriate results. Temporary housing is a good option for renters in a bind, at least until suitable dwellings hit the market. Leasing agents can often set their clients up with sublets to consider. If searching solo, online classifieds feature extensive roommate-wanted advertisements, but be weary of the potential dangers of living with strangers, especially when strong language barriers exist. Websites including Airbnb and VRBO offer vacation rental listings to users, but also provide monthly rentals within popular metro regions. Individuals can narrow their searches based on estimated durations and see if owners offer extended-stay housing.

Staying alert throughout the process is the best way to avoid scams or other issues. Most scams come from users in distant countries who claim to be landlords that are renting out a home. Be wary of claims from people who are communicating from abroad because they are missionaries, U.N. workers or in the military. Always be wary of giving personal information, financial information or payments of any kind to unfamiliar people.

Although it presents increased risk, renting apartments from a distance can be simplified – as long as prospective leaseholders use available resources to the fullest degree.

Shriram Transport Finance 11.50% NCDs – July 2014 Issue

This post is written by Shiv Kukreja, who is a Certified Financial Planner and runs a financial planning firm, Ojas Capital in Delhi/NCR. He can be reached at skukreja@investitude.co.in

Shriram Transport Finance Company Limited (STFC) is launching its public issue of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) from tomorrow, July 2, 2014. This will be the first public issue by the company in the current financial year and the same will remain open for three weeks to close on July 22, 2014.

Though the base size of this issue is Rs. 500 crore, the company has filed the draft shelf prospectus for Rs. 3,000 crore. So, even if the company gets a demand of more than Rs. 500 crore for these NCDs, it will retain the oversubscribed portion to the tune of Rs. 3,000 crore.

Here are some of the features of the issue worth considering:

Credit Rating of the Issue – CRISIL has given a rating of ‘AA’ to the issue with a ‘Stable’ outlook, whereas CARE has assigned a rating of ‘AA+’, which is a notch above the rating of the NCD issue of ECL Finance. Moreover, this issue is ‘Secured’ in nature, unlike the ECL Finance issue which was ‘Unsecured’.

Categories of Investors & Allocation Ratio – The investors have been classified in the following four categories and each category will have the below mentioned percentage fixed in the allotment:

Category I – Institutional Investors – 10% of the issue is reserved

Category II – Non-Institutional Investors – 10% of the issue is reserved

Category III – HNI Individual & HUF Investors investing more than Rs. 5 lakh – 30% of the issue is reserved

Category IV – Retail Individual & HUF Investors investing Rs. 5 lakh or below – 50% of the issue is reserved

Allotment will be made on a first-come first-served (FCFS) basis.

Coupon Rate & Tenor of the Issue – Individual investors, including HNIs, will be incentivised to invest in the issue with the company offering them an additional coupon of 1.15% to 1.35% over and above the base coupon rates applicable for the non-individual investors. These NCDs will be issued for a period of 36 months, 60 months and 84 months.

For 36 months, 60 months and 84 months, the individual investors will earn 11%, 11.25% and 11.50% per annum respectively. Apart from the annual and cumulative interest payment options, this time around the company has decided to offer monthly interest option as well. But, the monthly interest payment option will not be there with the 36 months maturity period.

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Additional Coupon for Senior Citizens – Like some of the fixed deposits, senior citizens will get an additional interest rate of 0.25% p.a., but only the first allottees. If any of the senior citizen investors buys these NCDs through secondary markets post the initial public offer, he/she will not be entitled to this additional 0.25%. For monthly interest payment option, this rate would be 0.23% extra. For Series VI, VII and VIII, senior citizens will get Rs. 1,377.29, 1,723.87 and 2,177.70 respectively at the end of the tenure.

Minimum Application Size – STFC has fixed Rs. 10,000 as the minimum amount to invest in this issue. So, if you want to invest in this issue, you need to apply for a minimum of ten NCDs worth Rs. 1,000 each.

NRIs Not Allowed – Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and qualified foreign investors (QFIs) among others are not eligible to invest in this issue.

Demat/Physical Option – Investors can apply for these NCDs either in physical form or demat form, whichever they are comfortable with, except for Series IV and Series V NCDs i.e. NCDs which offer to pay monthly interest. Series IV and Series V NCDs will be allotted compulsorily in the demat form.

Taxability & TDS – As these are not tax-free debentures, the investors will be liable to pay tax on the interest income as per their individual tax brackets. Also, though the interest income is taxable, NCDs taken in demat form will not attract any TDS.

Listing, Lock-In Period – These NCDs will get listed on both the stock exchanges i.e. Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) as well as National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the listing will take place within 12 working days after the issue gets closed.

Also, there is no lock-in period with these NCDs i.e. as and when these NCDs get allotted, the investors can sell their holdings on any of the exchanges whenever they want.

Conclusion

As compared to the NCD issue of ECL Finance which offered an effective annualised interest rate of 12.68%, the effective interest rate of 11.25% for 60 months seems a bit unattractive to me, despite of the fact that Shriram Transport Finance is a big company and quite superior fundamentally and even as these NCDs are ‘Secured’ in nature.

Having said that, STFC is a good company fundamentally. All those investors who could not invest in the past NCD issues and are willing to park their money for long periods of 36 months to 84 months can consider investing in this issue. These NCDs are way superior than company NCDs in terms of liquidity, safety and returns.

If I were to park my money in this issue, I would have opted for a tenure of 60 months with the monthly interest payment option or for a tenure of 60 months with the annual interest payment option.

Application Form of Shriram Transport Finance NCDs

Note: As per SEBI guidelines, ‘Bidding’ is mandatory before banking the application form, else the application is liable to get rejected. For bidding of your application, any further info or to invest in STFC NCDs, you can reach me at +91-9811797407

Composition of UPA II

A few days ago I had a short exchange with Tejus Sajwani on Twitter (who by the way you should definitely follow) when he asked the following question:

Without AAP, if Modi hadn’t done well in coming elections, he would have lost his raison d’être. But now, even if BJP doesn’t do well, Modi can still stick around, saying that BJP was jilted at the altar by an errant bride that ran off with AAP! So perhaps then, we have a cobbled up coalition for a few months, which perhaps ends up giving BJP a better chance in a 2nd election in say 1.5-2 years? Plausible??

This was my initial response:

 

I’m embarrassed to say that at the time I didn’t realize that the current UPA II government has 276 MPs which is just one more than the 275 MPs required to stay in power, and also a little confused because the Lok Sabha website itself gives a different number.

PartiesAccording to Lok Sabha WebsiteAccording to Wikipedia
Indian National Congress204206
Nationalist Congress Party99
Rashtriya Lok Dal55
Jammu & Kashmir National Conference33
Indian Union Muslim League23
Kerala Congress (Mani)11
Sikkim Democratic Front11
All India United Democratic Front11
Outside Support
Samajwadi Party2222
Bahujan Samaj Party2121
Rashtriya Janata Dal34
Total272276

After checking with a few people, I feel that the Lok Sabha website is incorrect, but please leave a comment if you have any insight on this.

Going back to the original question, I think it is quite possible that the scenario Tejus mentioned plays out because AAP is planning to contest about 300 seats, and winning even 20 of those will give them significant sway over BJP which is expected to win the most seats.

This will create any coalition very difficult, and a distinct possibility for a re-election which the market never likes. I think this view is only beginning to gain momentum in the popular press now, but I feel it won’t be long before it gets a lot of attention, and rightly so.

Finally, it is worth mentioning here that I like AAP and although I frown upon many of their left leaning policies, overall, I think they are much better than the alternatives, and if nothing else, I feel that this is the best bad idea we have sir, by far.

How to watch Indian TV Channels Online in the USA?

In the last few years, there have been vast improvements in the quality, pricing and availability of Indian TV channels in the US.

A lot of these have been made possible with the ability to stream Indian TV channels online, and I feel the online options are the best in terms of price and quality.

Here, I don’t mean the free pirated streams which in addition to being illegal are crappy feeds and ruin your whole experience but rather paid services that are legitimate and provide a good experience.

In this post I’m going to list down some options to watch Indian TV channels online, and discuss some pros and cons of them.      

1. Indian TV Channels from Comcast: A lot of people already have a Comcast cable connection, and if you want to temporary add a few Indian TV channels to that connection, you can get the Comcast South Asia package.

I think this may perhaps be the most unpopular way of watching Indian channels in the US because the options are really very limited, and they aren’t exactly cheap either.

2. YuppTV: YuppTV is a very popular option to watch Indian channels online and on your TV. It is fairly cheap, and some channels are even free to air as well. It has channels in 8 languages, and has a lot of options, but I don’t think it has any channel that shows IPL which is a big demand for a lot of Indian customers. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this, but as far as I can see, they don’t have any option to support that.

 The great thing about Yupp is that YuppTV is compatible with a lot of devices, and has apps on some of the major selling Smart TVs also, so if you have a Samsung Smart TV, you can just download the app on that and start using that without having to buy anything extra.

3.  Dish TV: Till sometime ago you had to get into a 2 year contract and get a dish installed if you needed access to Dish TV. All that has changed now with internet streaming and you neither need a dish nor do you need to get into a contract.

You can just download the Dish TV app on your phone, tablet or PC and start watching Indian channels without the need to buy a separate device.

You can connect your TV to your computer and watch the channels online on your TV as well, or you can buy a Roku device and install the Dish TV app on that.

I think Dish has the highest number of Indian channels of all operators and also has IPL streaming through its Willow cricket channel. The quality is good, and you don’t see any lag at all while connected to the TV using your Roku box, and there is certainly no lag while watching it on Mac or PC.

4. Jadoo TV: Jadoo TV is similar to the Roku device but is quite a bit more expensive than it. You can stream Indian channels on it but I really don’t see a lot of appeal in this option. If someone is using this option, please leave a comment on your experience.

These are some of the popular options that I’m aware of and in these, I feel that the Dish TV option is the best one if you don’t mind the monthly subscription, the next best is YuppTV which is priced much lower but has fewer Indian channels too.

If you know of any other ways to watch Indian channels in the US, please leave a comment and I will update the post. Please don’t leave   links to sites which are streaming content illegally, as I will remove those comments anyway.

Update: Mr. Rajagopalan sent in the following email on this post:

Dear sir,

I am at present in U.S. My daughter got me Yupp T.V. connection.  The service is very bad. If you are lucky you may get 5 min. of continuous streaming.The viewing experience is disastrous
N.K.Rajagopalan

Lakhs to millions conversions calculator

I had created a crores to millions calculator some time ago, and on that post someone commented that a lakhs to millions calculator will also be useful because some companies report their results in lakhs, and then you have the need to convert them into crores or millions USD to compare it with other companies.

With that in mind, I created this handy little calculator that converts lakhs to crores, millions in INR and also in USD, so you can input a number and get the other numbers.

For quick calculations you can remember that 100 lakhs is a crore, 10 crores is approximately 2 million USD, a 100 crore is a billion, and if you need it, then a lakh crore is a trillion.

Enter Lakhs
Exchange Rate

In Crores of INR
In Millions of INR
In Billions of INR
In Millions of USD
In Billions of USD

New Feature: Pin it and Send Email

It only took me four years to realize that I should tap into readers to add new features to the site. For some reason in the past I’ve just made changes on my own and not really cared about communicating them to readers, but that’s going to change now.

This change came about because of three things that happened in quick succession. First, Shiv asked me to setup something that allows you to send emails to multiple people from the post itself, and that feature was implemented today.

At the bottom of the post, you can now see an option to share the post through Facebook, Twitter, Email, StumbleUpon etc.

Second thing that happened was someone used Pinterest to pin a OneMint post. I had thought about adding a Pinterest option but then dismissed it because I thought who would want to use Pinterest for something like OneMint? How wrong I was.

That option has also been added.

Thirdly, Anil Kuppa suggested that Disqus be used to manage comments and I’ve toyed with the idea a few times but never implemented it because using Disqus will give the control of the comments to Disqus and I didn’t want that. However, this has certain benefits like being able to see all the comments you ever made, and I think I can assign a few comment moderators apart from myself which will be good. Disqus hasn’t been implemented yet, but it will be very soon.

These three things that happened in quick succession made me realize how big an opportunity I’m missing when I don’t seek feedback for features. So, if you have any suggestion for features, please leave a comment on this or any other post and I’ll respond to you.

Finally, I’m going to talk about new features in a post from now on so that people understand the rationale behind why I made a certain change and then either use the new feature to their benefit, ignore it if it doesn’t appeal to them or give me feedback for improvements.

Most of the content here is driven by reader’s comments and interaction, so I can’t understand why it took me so long to use reader feedback for features, but I guess it’s better later than never.

Finally, I want to thank Kim who does all the WordPress work behind the scenes on OneMint, and she probably doesn’t realize how big a contribution she makes to OneMint, and without her I’m pretty sure OneMint would’ve never reached the scale it has. Thanks a lot Kim, and if you ever have any WordPress related work that you needed to get done, I highly recommend contacting her.

EPF e-Passbook – Check Your Employee’s Provident Fund Balance Online

This post is written by Shiv Kukreja, who is a Certified Financial Planner and runs a financial planning firm, Ojas Capital in Delhi/NCR. He can be reached at skukreja@investitude.co.in

India is the second fastest growing economy in the world and despite continued global economic slowdown, India has remained one of the most attractive destinations for the foreign investors and thus has been able to generate enough employment opportunities for our predominantly young working population.

People change jobs, move to newer places and with many other new things, get new EPF accounts also. They either get the previous balances transferred into the new accounts or withdraw the balances completely. Not many people know that withdrawing EPF balance is illegal. But that is not the central point of this post.

Starting July 25th this year, Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has started providing online information of EPF balances to its active subscribers by issuing them “e-Passbook”. Here is the EPFO Circular (Sample e-Passbook attached) dated July 20th, 2012 carrying announcing the same.

e-Passbook is an online version of an employee’s provident fund records, in which all the transactions are recorded month-wise and date-wise. With the help of this passbook, you can now check your EPF balance online as and when you want to.

Here is what to do to access your EPF e-Passbook:

Step # 1 – Visit the EPFO members’ portal – http://members.epfoservices.in/

Step # 2 – Click on the Register >> button at the bottom of the page or Click here to Register button under the LOGIN box to reach the Registration page.

Step # 3 – On the Registration page, you are required to enter your Mobile number, Date of Birth, Email id, a six-alphabet unique text character and one of the below mentioned eight documents with its unique number and your name as on the document.

  1.  PAN Number
  2. AADHAR (UID)
  3. NPR (National Population Register)
  4. Bank Account Number
  5. Voter ID Card
  6. Driving License
  7. Passport Number
  8. Ration Card Number

Once all fields are filled up, click on “GET PIN” button and you will get a four-digit Authorization PIN on your mobile instantly. The message would read like this “To complete your registration on member portal enter PIN: XXXX”

Enter the PIN in the box provided at the bottom of the page besides “Enter Authorization PIN”, tick the “I Agree” box and click on the “Submit” button to complete the registration. On successful registration, you will get a confirmation message on your mobile “Your Registration on Member Portal is successful. Your PAN Number is XXXXXXXXXX and date of birth is XX-XX-XXXX. (date of birth is not required).”

Step # 4 – Once registration is complete, you can enter the members area by selecting your document, entering the document number and your mobile number that you entered on the Registration page and clicking on the “Sign In” button.

Please note that there is no need to create and remember any user id and password. You just have to use your mobile number and the identification proof number to login into the system. Once login is successful, you will see your name on the right hand side of the page.

Step # 5 – You can now download your EPF e-Passbook by clicking on the “DOWNLOAD E PASSBOOK” link on the top of the page. You can edit your mobile number and other details also on this page.

You need to select the state where your establishment/company is covered and then the EPFO office name which is applicable to you. There are a total of 120 state offices of EPFO in 35 states and union territories of India.

In case you do not know the EPFO office under which your company is complying or which is applicable to your account, then you can use either of these establishment search facilities to get the details of the office and also the code number of the company – Search Establishment Code – 1 or Search Establishment Code – 2

Establishments under old Office Code – It is EPFO office code and works state-wise
Establishments under Office – It is EPFO office code and works EPFO office-wise
Show all estt. under this PIN Code – It will show all the companies under the entered Pin Code
Old Office Code – It is EPFO office code and works state-wise
Establishment Code – It is your company’s code

Step # 6 – Once the state EPFO office is selected, you need to enter your EPF Account Number which would look something like this one – GN/GGN/28544/999 or GN/GGN/0028544/000/0000999.

Understand your EPF Account Number

GN is the Region Code.
GGN is the Office Code.
0028544 is the Establishment/Company Code and cannot be greater than 7 digits.
000 is the Extension Code and in most cases it is 000.
0000999 is the Account Number.

Now enter your name exactly as per EPF records, a six-alphabet unique text character and click on the “Get PIN” button to again get the four-digit Authorization PIN on your mobile. You would again receive a PIN on your mobile. The message would read like this “To download Member Passbook from Member Portal please enter PIN XXXX”

Again, enter the PIN in the box provided besides “Enter Authorization PIN”, tick the “I Agree” box and click on the “Get Detail” button to get your required e-Passbook. You will get a link for the passbook to open or save for your reference. You will see month-wise transactions made in your EPF account from the year for which the annual accounts of your company were updated since computerisation of the concerned field office.

But, if you had left the company prior to March 2012, then the information will not show up immediately. In that case, a message will be displayed “Your e-Passbook not available”. You would be required to click on the link “Send request to get your e-Passbook” and then “OK”.

You will get this message “Your e-Passbook request has been accepted. You shall be intimated on SMS when the same is available. You can check back after 3 days.”

If your account is inoperative due to non-receipt of any contribution for more than 36 months or if it is settled or has a negative balance, then the passbook will not be made available online. Whenever you have an active account, you should apply in Form 13 to get the earlier account(s) transferred to the active account.

Some other important points to remember:

This facility at present is available only for the employees for whom the employer has uploaded the Electronic Challan Cum Return for the wage month of May 2012 onwards.

If your organisation is not covered under the EPF Scheme 1952, you will not be able to access this facility.

One mobile number can be used for one registration only. But, you can edit your details subsequently.

A registered member can view only one account details under one establishment. In case you are having more than one account under one establishment, you need to apply for transfer of your old account balance into the new account through Form 13.

One member can view up to a maximum of 10 accounts under different establishments. All of the accounts can be viewed any number of times. You can get your old accounts transferred to the current one by using Form 13.

e-Passbook facility is a welcome move by the EPFO and will facilitate the employees in managing their EPF accounts in a better manner. EPFO should take more such steps to introduce other online services so that people can easily track and consolidate their accounts working anywhere in India.

How can Goa manage to reduce petrol price by Rs.11?

I was amazed to read that Mr. Manohar Parrikar has promised to reduce the price of petrol in Goa by Rs. 11 and I was really curious to see how he managed this, and how big a hole this will put in the State’s finances.

The way he has managed this Rs. 11 reduction is by abolishing (almost) the VAT on petrol which used to be 20%. This is now only 0.1% and it has not been brought down to zero so as to maintain sales records.

The thing that amazed me most was that this step will not lead to a revenue loss but the Goa government is actually projecting an increased realization of Rs. 470 crores from VAT, Entertainment Tax, Luxury Tax, and Entry Tax!

The source of this information is the budget speech document (pdf) and I don’t know how far these projections have been accurate in the past but they have raised the rates on a whole host of other things in order to plug the loss from the reduction in VAT.

From the budget document, here are the things on which taxes have been increased.

Value Added Taxes

195 VAT on IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) and Beer to be increased from 20% to 22%.

196 VAT on Carbonated beverages (Coke, Pepsi etc.) increased from 12.5% to 20%.

197 VAT on junk food and fast food increased to 20%. (Not mentioned how much it was earlier)

198 Levy a tax rate of 15% on cars and SUVs sold at more than Rs. 15.00 lakhs. Same thing is applicable on bikes that cost more than Rs. 2 lakhs.

199 Levy 5% VAT on textile fabrics.

200 Entry tax on Naptha increased from 12.5% to 15%.

202 Tax on cigarettes increased to 22%.


Entertainment Tax

211 Entry fee on casinos reduced from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 500 but the license fee increased to Rs. 6.5 crores – these two measures are expected to net themselves out.

213 Entertainment tax on casino games to be increased from 10% to 15%

Luxury Tax

214 Space being rented out for use of commercial activities to be brought under the ambit of luxury tax at the rate of 5%.

215 Services provided in a beauty parlor or spa to be covered under luxury tax of 10%.

Entry Tax

218 Raise the rate of entry tax on coal and coke to 2%.

219 Increase the rate of entry tax on SUVs and bikes which exceed Rs. 15 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs to 15%. I’m not quite sure whether this is in addition to the 15% VAT.

Conclusion

220 The effect of all this is that they expect to raise additional revenue by Rs. 470 crores.

Please note that this is not a complete list of all the items and I’ve excluded some other items like Gensets – the rates on which have also gone down. I’ve done that because I was primarily interested in seeing what rates they have increased to manage this extra Rs. 470 crores.

I must emphasize again that these are the only numbers I’ve seen, and this is the first time I’ve seen such a thing so it is possible that I may have missed an increase mentioned in the document which turns out to be quite important. Also, I’ve not seen the absolute numbers for any of these items as it was last year so it is hard for me to say how realistic this additional realization really is.

If you have any knowledge on that – fire away!