Monday, March 28, 2016

Importance of Fitness in the 21st Century

Picturize this – It’s 6 o’clock in the morning. You wake up and peep through the window. What’s the most common sight you’ll get to see? Apart from the winter fog, you’ll see an army of uncles and aunties, grandpas and grandmas walking briskly up and down the alley or the nearby jogger’s park. They do this mostly in hopes of “losing weight“. But, how much have they changed ever since they started their “morning walks”? 

Most often than not, these morning walks are usually touted as “the tool” for getting fit. Next one is yoga. However, “practitioners” still don’t achieve their goals. So let’s find out what are the effective ways to get fit. Oh wait, lets understand fitness first. 

Fitness - the way we see it

Fitness is a concept that’s majorly misunderstood and every individual seems to have his/ her own definition of this concept. What we need to understand is that fitness isn’t just one thing but a combination of five components. If you want to get fitter, you need to improve these five components within yourself.

It doesn’t matter who you are as an individual (housewife, corporate executive, athlete, actor, teenager or geriatric {Senior Citizen} etc.), physiologically all human beings are the same. Hence, there isn’t a single category of people who wouldn’t need to work on all the components of fitness.

So what are these five components of fitness? Let’s have a look:

1.       Cardio-vascular Endurance: the ability of the cardiovascular and the respiratory system to transport oxygenated blood to the working skeletal muscles for an extended period of time without fatiguing.

2.       Muscular Endurance: Ability of a skeletal muscle or group of skeletal muscles to continuously contract at submaximal levels for an extended period of time without fatiguing.

3.       Musculoskeletal Strength: It is the combined strength of muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. It includes muscular power which is defined as the ability of a skeletal muscle or group of skeletal muscles to perform maximally against load/ resistance in a given timeframe.

4.       Flexibility: it is the ability of the body to sustain full and complete range of motion (ROM) around joints.

5.       Ideal Body Composition: It is the ability of the individual to maintain the ideal ratio of adipose tissue (AKA Fat under the skin) to lean body mass. A man should have a body fat percentage of no more than 15% and a woman’s body fat ratio shouldn’t go beyond 20%.

So how do we work around the 5 components?

These five components are all inter-related. When you take a walk around the park or go running or rigorous dancing or even swimming, you’re only addressing one aspect of fitness – cardio-vascular endurance. Yoga is best for flexibility alone- these postures do not give musculoskeletal strength or cardiovascular endurance. Resistance training will make you strong. And, in spite of doing these three types of activities, if you don’t watch your food habits, you’ll still not be called fit because bad food habits will add to fat in your body.

After all, yoga won’t make you better at lifting heavy household items when the maid bunks work. And neither will your morning, evening or even afternoon walks let you do that. Remember, fitness is an integral part of life today. The fitter you are, the more productive you will be in office.  

Prosenjit Sarkar,
Student, INLEAD

Jan 2016 batch, INBM

Hotel Management Information System

Technology is making deep inroads into the hospitality industry, and hotels across the world are looking to use technology to make operation smooth and efficient. The quest for performance and efficiency in the hospitality industry has given rise to the development of a host of hotel management systems. In order to keep our Hotel Management students in with the changing technological trends in the industry, INLEAD recently organized an Industry Expert Workshop with Mr. Tarun Dua - Associate Director HRD & Training, Country Development & Management Services Pvt. Ltd.

Mr. Dua talked about the various issues that are connected with the MIS for hotel services, the intricacies involved and the precision required in maintaining the same. The main agenda was to make the students aware about the importance of quality and maintenance of MIS in hotel and help them assess the amount of time and energy spent towards data management and the precision involved.

Mr. Dua led the students through the basics of MIS and also shared some very insightful and real time reports from his hotel and explained about the concept of MIS in detail. He mentioned about the 5 elements of MIS -- Timeliness, Accuracy, Consistency, Completeness and Relevance, and with the absence of even one the report generated will not hold any value. He further stated that for any hotel, room is a highly perishable product and Room Sales is of utmost importance on a daily basis. Rooms generates 70 – 80% profit margin on sales and is also the most expensive commodity for a Hotel.

He also explained how with the growing competition in the industry, it’s important for a hotel to understand the needs of their guest, for example, things like what gets sold most, what guests demand for most, what food material get used least and results in loss and how a good hotel management software, allows hotels to do just that.

He concluded the session with a very valuable thought; he said “always remain focused in life if you want to achieve your goal.” 

Monday, March 21, 2016

INLEADers @Columbia Asia Hospital — Palam Vihar, Gurgaon

INLEAD recently took students of HEAD to visit Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon.  We were taken around the huge hospital’s premises and were given an extensive tour of its various facilities.

Here’s our bit about our visit:

The visit began at around 3pm with the HR Manager of Columbia Asia hospital acquainting students with the history and  foundation of the hospital. He thereon took us for a floor tour. The hospital offers a wide range of clinical services such as Obstetrics & Gynecology, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Urology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery, Cardiology, Orthopedics, Neuro & spine surgery, Pulmonology. Qualified and experienced medical personnel and technicians ensure healthcare delivery of the highest standards. He explained how the wheels of every department be it kitchen, OT, cafeteria, billing in tandem to snsure smooth working of the hospital day in and day out. 

The hospital began its services in July 2008 and has already become a preferred healthcare service provider for the residents and corporate entities of Gurgaon. The hospital has international standard infrastructure and follows globally benchmarked standards of medical, nursing and operating protocols and is rapidly becoming the preferred healthcare destination for International Patients. The hospital is NABH accredited.

The hospital offers a wide range of clinical services such as Obstetrics & Gynecology, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Urology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery, Cardiology, Orthopedics, Neuro & spine surgery, Pulmonology. Qualified and experienced medical personnel and technicians ensure healthcare delivery of the highest standards.

In perseverance of maintaining its uniformity all over Columbia Asia Hospitals worldwide, this hospital also has the same interiors, colours, patterns and designs as the others along with the same dress code which is distinguishing and appreciated by both national and international patients as well as staff.

Moreover, the in-house cafeteria which is a rarity in Indian hospitals is worth noticing. There is a separate kitchen area dedicated to IPD patients where each menu of every patient admitted to the hospital is cooked separately and supplied to their room accordingly. Furthermore, the staff gets an additional discount. Everything is prepared in this kitchen from scratch with no outsourcing.

There is a 24 hours emergency, radiology and pharmacy facilities provided and special clinics like Bariatric Surgery Clinic, Knee clinic, Asthma Clinic, Cosmetic Clinic, ENT Clinic and 8am to 8pm Outpatient clinics is also there.  A comprehensive electronic medical records system forms the core of the hospital information system (HIS) that supports clinical decision making.

Columbia Asia provides excellent care at affordable prices. Their transparent rate structure for medical procedures allows patients to know in advance how much their care will cost. There are no hidden or extra charges.

In the future, all hospitals will be like Columbia Asia facilities: clean, modern, with the latest technology and designed to deliver efficient care to patients near where they live and work. 

By Iman Ikram, Sakshi Sharma, Lincy Sarah John
July ’15, HEAD

INLEADers @Parle-G Industry Visit

INLEAD recently facilitated an Industry visit to Parle G plant in Neemrana, Rajasthan, which is Parle’s largest manufacturing unit in India, for the students of International Business Management and International Hotel Management, Batch Jan 2016. The visit proved to be an extremely interesting and exhilarating experience for the students. The drive along the highway, a tour of the magnificent plant leaves students with enough to mull over.

A visit to Parle G plant in Neemrana, Rajasthan begins with a great drive from Gurgaon to RIICO Industrial Area. The anticipation starts from there itself. The visit commenced at around 1 pm with the HR Officer, Ms. Usha, conducting a factory tour for the students, wherein they first took a tour of the biscuit manufacturing unit. They understood the baking process, the packaging process and the processes followed by every worker within the factory. The students were also able to view the entire baking and packaging process through a glass window, and even saw the imported machines that were used for colouring the biscuit wrappers.

This tour was followed by a presentation in the company auditorium about the history of the Parle G brand and how it has evolved from just one brand to the current 89 brands. She also explained the students about the logistics behind the Neemrana factory and the reason behind the success of the spread of their brands into the national as well as international market. 

Thereafter, students visited the candy plant and took a tour of the plant that manufactures Melody and Kaccha Aam candies. The entire industry visit was conducted over 3 hours at the manufacturing unit.

The Industry visit proved to be a great learning experience for the students where they got  a practical view of all that  they had studied inside the classrooms. 

My Internship experience at Cox & Kings

Cox and Kings is a travel company that traces its history to 1758, when Richard Cox was appointed as the regimental agent to the Foot Guards. It is now the longest established travel company with its headquarters in India. It is the leading holidays and education travel group with operations in 23 countries across four continents. In India Cox and Kings has presence in 149 cities. Their core activities is now the sale of packaged holidays for leisure travel, with a particular focus on cultural and adventure tourism. Historically, Cox and Kings has been army agents, travel agents, printer & publisher, news agents, cargo agents, ship-owner, bankers, insurance agents, and into dealing of several travel related activities. They are a premium brand in corporate travel, education and activity travel, meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions, (MICE), trade fairs, visa processing and foreign exchange.

My experience

Getting to Intern in a company such as Cox & Kings, which is globally renowned is really a prestigious thing for a student like me/us. It is fairly a huge company where different work agendas has been divided into different sections out of which MICE division is one. My internship was circled into only this one division (MICE) which on the outside may sound like a small section but when you actually see the work on the inside it is a tremendous work going on in this department itself. MICE has again different teams working together as one and they are; Sales, Operations, Visa and Airlines. The team I got to work with was the Sales Team and the things that I learned from working with them comes in a lot of different areas, namely:

1.      I got to renew my MS Office skills.
2.      Built up on my personal traits like being patient with clients, remaining calm and composed in a difficult situation, on handling certain unfavourable circumstances, handling client meetings on calls, also how to not undersell or oversell your brand.
3.      Corporate work process in an Organization.
4.      Conducting outdoor meetings with clients.
5.      Preparing itinerary for the clients.
6.      Making and sending invites to the clients on special events.
7.      Maintaining clients for a long term.
8.      Selling the products by turning from Why’s to Wow’s.
9.      An impressive PPT always a must for selling of the products in a travel company, and
10.  A little bit in managing events.

Apart from the points that are given above I also learnt that Sales in the MICE division of a Travel Company is all about the clients/customers. Whatever they do or say should attract the clients and make them happy. In short, it’s all about customer satisfaction. Also a lot of probing is being done in sales. Given the fact that there are lots of other brands competing in the market out there, what we are giving them should be exceptionally good and different and that should be the reason for them to like and choose our brand. Also finding out why and in what ways are we lacking that we aren’t able to reach out to them is again another vital aspect that is acquired in my learning venture. Lastly, I would like to add that a team needs to work together as one in spirit in order to run the organization smoothly and soundly. That is only when goals are actually achieved not only just as an employee yourself alone but an organization as a whole.
In the whole process of my internship from the beginning till the end, there was only one challenge that I faced. And that is, modulating your character and behaviour and language according to the kinds of clients that we dealt with.  Well, that makes it three. 

Overall, it gave me immense pleasure to have got a chance to work with them. The people that I worked with from the Sr. General Manager to the Executives have all been very kind and supportive and it was a very encouraging and an inspiring 3 months for me. The time management was good, employees were friendly to assist with anything and even open to suggestions, and although it was a corporate company the manners and etiquette and even the clothing were very casual so there was a little pressure suspended because of that.  All in all, it was a tremendously amazing experience for me and I am more than eager to put my experiences and learnings out there for the betterment and development of any which company I choose to work with in the future.

-Wonchibeni Lotha
 Student INLEAD
 INBM, July 2015

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Success Story called Airbnb

 What would have been just a drifting thought couple of years back is now a reality. Technology and innovation has taken imaginations of people into the virtual world. The Airbnb was also a creation of an imagination.

Airbedandbreakfast was invented in the year 2008 by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia when they converted their living room to accommodate three guest offering them bed and homemade breakfast. By doing so they could pay off their rent which they were finding it difficult to afford. Nathan Blecharczyk joined as the co-founder in February 2008. The officially launched the site on August 11, 2008. The name was shortened to Airbnb in March 2009 and also included homes, apartments, castles, boats, tree houses, igloos, tipis, private islands other than air beds and shared spaces.
In order to accommodate the newly added manpower, a year later they moved to its first office space. The company continued to grow at a rapid rate. In June 2012 they announced 10 million nights booked and of these 75% came from markets outside U.S.  Ashton Kutcher, actor and partner has a significant investment in the company and also is a strategic brand advisor for the company.

Airbnb is an online portal that connects people looking to rent their homes with people looking for accommodations. Airbnb users include hosts and travelers n 192 countries worldwide. According to an article in Investopedia last year Airbnb raised $1.5 billion in funds that brought the value of the company to about $25.5 billion. This made it worth more than the Chicago based Hyatt Hotels Corp (NYSE:H) and the Parsippany-Troy Hills, N.J.-based Wyndham Worldwide Corp (NYSE:WYN), respectively.

Travelers looking for accommodation can search for properties available in the listings, but have to create an Airbnb profile to book. Once the reservation request is submitted and payment details are entered, they get a confirmation from the host. Travelers pay a guest service fee of 6-12% towards customer support and the Host Guarantee. Airbnb takes a 3% service fee from the host for each reservation to cover the cost of processing the transaction.

Airbnb can benefit both hosts and travelers, while the host can meet people from around the world while making a little extra money, travelers can often stay for less than the cost of a hotel room. While there are benefits, there are concerns for both hosts and guests. The biggest risk for hosts is that their property can get damaged. Airbnb in " their Host Guarantee program” "provides protection for up to $1,000,000 in damages to covered property in the rare event of guest damage, in eligible countries."

The short-term accommodation industry in India is heating up with new and existing firms such as Stayzilla, Zostel, OYO Rooms and Guesthouser. Airbnb has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities in 190 countries.

-Bindu A Menon
 Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

The Story of Make in India

Make in India campaign commenced a day after India’s manufactured satellite Mangalyaan was successfully put in the Martian orbit, showing the world the processes, technology, science and innovation. On the day of launch Indian prime minister said “over the decades, the trust and confidence in government and policymaker’s have been lost and need to be regained” this shows his commitment towards making India a manufacturing hub.

Currently manufacturing contributes 15% of national GDP and the aim of this campaign is to grow this to 25% by 2022. Indian government is trying to make India a manufacturing hub by encouraging FDI, which can create employment opportunities, aiming to create 100million jobs by 2022. Its focus on Skill India, Startup India and Digital India may boost the “Make in India” campaign; they in fact can be termed as branches of same tree named Make in India.

How will Make in India succeed?

There were lots of doubts in the minds of economists and other industrial experts that whether India can compete with China in the manufacturing sector. China is the biggest competitor of India amongst all the other nations. But considering present situations, with the labor costs in China increasing, bank interest rates have also increased, the Government of China has been trying to push industries which are in the coastal line to the inside areas. In other words China wants to get rid of its “zombie factories”. And the manufacturing units are looking for a substitute country, like India. This is an opportunity for India and one such example is the factory that has been set up by FoxConn in India.

World is looking to invest in Asia, places with high demand, and this may be a very positive opportunity for India to attract investments.

What is the excitement with respect to FDI?

While talking about Foreign Direct Investments, on an average every developing country has contribution of F.D.I at 30%of G.D.P where as in India we have F.D.I only 12%of G.D.P, it is said that each 1% increase in F.D.I adds 0.4% of a country G.D.P growth.

There are many opportunities in India especially with its 65% of population which is less than 35years age, and a huge market with skilled work force. Talking about the Infrastructure, licenses, ease of doing business, etc. we are making steady inroads in all these aspects. Indian government is showing the whole world that India is the best place for investment and a Red carpet for foreign investors has been laid down. Single window clearance system has been put in place by FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) which lead India to jump by 12 places in Ease of doing business, from 142nd position to 130th.

Other requirements for success of Make in India:

Land acquisition bill and GST bill play a prominent role for India in attracting Investments from foreign players. The basic major cost of business is towards land, labor and raw materials. There is a need for Indian government to pass the above mentioned bills, as also increase the number of Special Economic Zones within our country.  In India we have often witnessed lack of cooperation and synchronization between the central and state governments, primarily because of multiparty system. They have to be brought together to ensure success of the Make in India campaign.

As a citizen of this country, I really do wish this campaign succeeds and creates the benefits we expect from it.

Manohar Reddy
Student, INLEAD

INBM, Batch July 2015

Are we smart enough to build Smart Cities?

The current Govt. true to its pre poll promises has taken up some initiatives that will in the long run be those initiatives which Indians would be proud owners of.  One such initiative is construction of Smart Cities. A project if successful, will serve as a model modern living concept.

What is a Smart City?
There are many definitions of Smart cities. While we will tackle that later, let’s look at some initiatives that the Govt of India has taken up in its Smart cities Mission. The mission is expected to set examples that can be replicated both within & outside the smart city.

According to the website the core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include:
i. Adequate water supply;
ii. Assured electricity supply;
iii. Sanitation, including solid waste management;
iv. Efficient urban mobility & public transport;
v. Affordable housing, especially for the poor;
vi. Robust IT connectivity & digitalization;
vii. Good governance, especially e-Governance & citizen participation;
viii. Sustainable environment;
ix. Safety & security of citizens, particularly women, children & elderly; and
x. Health & education

Smart cities are aimed at improving the quality of life, provide employment opportunities, encourage  green living and especially create inclusive cities that look after its Have nots (i.e. poor, elderly, disadvantaged) and the Haves alike.

Choosing Smart Cities in India
There are 100 Smart cities in the pipeline that have been distributed among States & Union territories on the basis of equitable criteria. The formula gives equal weightage (50:50) to urban population of the State/UT and the number of statutory towns in the State/UT. This has resulted in all States & UTs having atleast 1 smart city, with Uttar Pradesh having a maximum of 13, followed by Tamil Nadu with 12, and Maharashtra with 10 such cities.

Monitoring of Smart Cities
The Union Ministry for Urban Development is responsible for implementing this mission. A total of Rs.70.16 billion has been allocated for this mission. National level monitoring will be of two types: Apex Committee & National Mission Directorate. These committees will develop strategic blueprints, coordinate across center & states, oversee capacity building, and approve the release of funds based on progress in implementation. The first smart city under construction is at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

To conclude lets define Smart City:
To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development-institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. With these smart cities we will be able to boast of modern facilities & a quality of life comparable to western standard of living. It will be symbolic of a culture that needs to be fostered & inculcated such that a sense of discipline & timeliness becomes an integral part of our lifestyle.

Monica Mor
Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Madness & The Magic in Event Management

On day 1 of classes, I always ask my students this question, “ Why did you choose Event Planning as a course?"

The answers bring alive the most multifaceted perspectives of the industry from clean and unbiased minds.

Some of the responses are:
  • I want to become famous by doing events.
  • It is a very glamorous industry
  • I want to learn about new trends in the event business
  • I want to know all about new fashion & attire
  • I want to meet celebrities
  • I want to become an expert with the basics, work for 10 years and then teach like you mam to encourage others to be event managers.
  • It will make me travel everywhere in India and abroad
  • Meeting lot of different people and make new friends
  • It is creative & fun
  • After working for an event company for 2 years, I want to open my own event management firm.
All the reactions above have two key underlying themes:

a) Aspirations & b) Opportunity.

That is the biggest USP of the trade. Event Management embraces the vastness of dreams and the development of skill to bring them alive.  The high experiential value makes this extremely global, creative, young, dynamic, fast growing & lucrative trade a real bliss to be a part of.
Event Management is now an extremely structured industry due to it’s high demand. Today’s generation entering the profession is a lucky one. There are institutes offering courses to initiate prospective event managers smoothly into this profession. The foundation of anyone entering the business after having studied it always gives him or her an upper hand over another candidate without the necessary event educational base.  The curriculums spread out over a year or two, are well balanced between theory and practical training. That gives people a real quality entry to at least do an initial elimination of choice to be in it or not.  

The mystical world of events is not just a ‘job’ or ‘career’. It is a really cohesive journey of growth of various aspects of life at large.  We as event managers shoulder various really key responsibilities such as:
  • Learning the real definition of teamwork and living it on a daily basis.
  • Interacting with people at various levels and amicably molding our behaviors to create comfort for everyone who we are working with.
  • Dealing with individuals from diverse educational & domestic backgrounds & from small and large cities and countries & highly skilled in specialized tasks.
  • Brainstorming to bring alive some creative brilliance.
  • Collaborating talent to create an impactful experience for all stakeholders with the power of creativity.
  • Event managers identify heroes and design platforms to bring them to the forefront.
  • In this profession one gets the autonomy to perform and lead with humble conviction. 

An individual who selects the above career is being constantly pushed mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually to keep raising the bar.  The result is a very solid human being.
Event managers develop high levels of emotional intelligence, are bustling with energy and positivity, are strong willed by always being solution providers, learn with an attitude of gratitude and develop great leadership skills. They get groomed in to managing themselves by understanding the importance of ‘me time’, relationships with colleagues & clients, friends and family and time management with detail and precision.

In the end, event managers with a lot of hard work, grit, glory, fun, long hours, persistence and a smile put various pieces of the puzzle together to create a really dreamy bespoke ensemble.  We make dreams of our guests come true, bring a smile to their faces and become a memorable spec in their life forever.

So I tell my students this; ‘the love for such a highly demanding world of events is like being pregnant! You either are pregnant or not. Similarly you either love events or you don’t. There is no middle ground”. The only way to find out is to immerse yourself in to this ocean of opportunity. All the above responses will surely make sense.

The high that one feels by seeing your mind come alive in the form of an event set is nothing but truly intoxicating. The backend and backstage madness takes center stage in a manner, which is magical.

 - Ms.Kanika Sethi Babbar
   Faculty, Event Management and PR 

The Budget Gravy Train of 2016

A budget that was met with tons of cynicism resulted in a plunge in stock prices of some companies & the shedding of close to 200 points in the Sensex on the 29th of Feb soon after the presentation by Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance.  A day after however, the Sensex surged ahead as a result of confidence shown by business houses in the pro farmer budget. The flop show curtailed primarily by our Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha, who called the budget a “Vikas ka Budget”.

In a nutshell, it’s a budget that angers the salaried class, pacifies the startups, cajoles the farmer & nurtures the poor. So here’s presenting a quick run through on what’s in this budget for citizens of the Republic of India:

For the Farmers:
The Finance Minister has rolled out several sops for the farm sector with a focus on doubling farmers’ income in 5 years. An ambitious plan by all means, which clearly asks the nation to bring BJP back in power in the general elections of 2019. And with the upcoming state elections in UP & West Bengal which are typically agriculture driven, the Govt. aims to come to power there. In fact our service tax has risen to 15% (wef June 1), up by 0.5% (a new Krishi Kalyan Cess), clearly pointing to the importance of generating funds for the farming community. A dedicated long term Irrigation Fund with an initial corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore in NABARD has been created. In totality, the target for Agricultural credit in 2016-17 is 9 lakh crore.

Sops for the poor:
Jayant Sinha said that “Garibon ki Unnati”, or upliftment of the poor, would be government’s foremost priority. A unified social security programme which would be linked to Aadhar will identify & target the poor to provide them with food, shelter, sufficient income support, health cover, life insurance, pension & access to various credit facilities.  The Govt. has allocated Rs. 38,500 crore for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) this year. In addition, there will be a massive nationwide roll-out of ATMs & micro-ATMs in Post offices to ensure credit availability at all accessible points in the rural areas.

For the startups:
Not a very exciting sector, in terms of budgetary provisions this year. Rs. 500 crore has been allocated for Dalit & women entrepreneurs. There will be 100% profit deductions in 3 out of first 5 years for companies set up between April 1 2016 & March 2019.

For the salaried class:
This class is often the most stretched & penalized every year, ironically for paying their taxes! They would hereafter have to pay more for fine dining, movies, a visit to the gym or beauty salon, telecom services, electricity & mobile bills, amongst many other services which have been adversely affected by the hike in service tax. To top it all, their Provident Fund savings are also going to be taxed. It would be on the amount of the interest earned on the PF withdrawn if it’s greater than 60% of the total amount held.

The Digital twist:
Some positives, some negatives; multiple opinions are being posted on this year’s budget.  The budget, I must concede has one big positive, and that’s the huge Digital India flavor. It’s extremely tech-heavy other than being farmer-heavy. The finance minister has proposed establishing a land information management system, a financial data management center, an online agricultural marketing platform, a digital food grain procurement system, a website connecting dairy animal breeders & farmers, automation in 3 lakh fair price shops and a data-mining platform to nab tax evaders.

Well the train has moved from the Fiscal platform, let’s see where its stops, where it rolls back, where it derails & where it catches speed. Keep watching this space for more inputs & for any modifications that may happen as time goes by.

- Ms. Monica Mor
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

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