Mildwave

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Report

VRL Logistics IPO Oversubscribed 74 times!

Tthumbhe initial public offer of VRL Logistics, a transport firm, received an overwhelming response and has been subscribed nearly 74 times at the end of its three-day IPO window.

The IPO received bids for over 1,20,41,97,865 shares as against the issue size of 1,62,69,006 shares, data available with the BSE & NSE showed. Besides the company has allocated shares worth Rs 140.36 crore to anchor investors, at the higher end of the price band.

The final break-up for subscription in retail, qualified institutional buyers and non institutional investors category are as follows:

The portion allocated for qualified institutional buyers saw 58.22 times subscription. The non institutional investor portion witnessed an even better response with 250.86 times subscription.

The category for retail individual investors was subscribed 6.61 times.

The price band for the transport firm’s initial share sale was fixed at Rs 190-205 apiece.

The logistics company, on April 13, received Rs 140.36 crore by issuing 68.5 lakh equity shares to 15 anchor investors like Franklin India Smaller Companies Fund, ICICI Prudential, Eastspring Investments India Equity Fund, DSP Blackrock Small & Midcap Fund, Birla Sun Life etc.

The equity shares of the company are proposed to be listed on BSE and the NSE. The global coordinators & book running lead managers to the issue were ICICI Securities Limited and HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Private Limited.

The IPO, which opened on April 15, closed today.

INOX Wind IPO subscribed 18.6 times!

logoThe initial public offer of Inox Wind, an integrated wind energy firm, has been subscribed nearly 19 times at the end of its three-day IPO window.

The over Rs 700 crore IPO (Read: Inox Wind – IPO: Should you subscribe?) received bids for over 43,15,65,435 shares as against the issue size of 2,32,01,121 shares, data available with the BSE & NSE showed. Besides the company has allocated shares worth Rs 306 crore to anchor investors, taking the total issue size to over Rs 1,000 crore.

The final break-up for subscription in retail, qualified institutional buyers and non institutional investors category are as follows:

The portion allocated for qualified institutional buyers saw 35.68 times subscription with bids received for 23.68 cr shares as against the 66.37 lakh share allocation. The non institutional investor portion witnessed a like response with 35.38 times subscription with bids for 17.04 cr shares as against the 48.18 lakh share allocation.
The category for retail individual investors was subscribed 2.15 times with bids for 2.41 cr shares as against the allocated 1.12 cr shares.

The price band for the integrated wind energy firm’s initial share sale has been fixed at Rs 315-325 apiece.

Inox Wind, earlier this week, had announced that it would allocate a little over 94.25 lakh shares for Rs 306 crore to anchor investors. The public issue consists of a fresh issue of shares and an offer for sale of 1 crore equity shares (including anchor portion).

Goldman Sachs India Fund, Swiss Finance Corp (Mauritius) Ltd, Indus India Fund (Mauritius) Ltd, IDFC Infrastructure Fund and Sundaram Mutual Fund A/C Sundaram Equity Multiplier, are among the anchor investors.

The IPO, which opened on March 18, closed today.

INOX Wind – IPO : Should you subscribe?

400_F_41712869_srTcgPy5XKDyzk1ghRgi7H8njQO3mDPVInox Wind Ltd. is coming out with an initial public offer (IPO) which will be opening on 18th of March. The Co., promoted by Gujarat Flourochemicals Ltd., part of Inox group of companies, is one of India’s leading wind power solutions providers. The Company manufactures wind turbine generators (WTGs) and provide turnkey solutions by supplying WTGs and offering services including wind resource assessment, site acquisition, infrastructure development, erection and commissioning, and also long term operations and maintenance of wind power projects.

Co manufacture the key components of WTGs in-house while it manufacture nacelles and hubs at its Una Unit, located in Himachal Pradesh. Also, co’s rotor blade manufacturing facility and its tower manufacturing facility are housed in Rohika Unit, located in the Ahmedabad district of Gujarat. Through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Inox Wind Infrastructure Services Limited (“IWISL”) and Marut-Shakti India Limited (“MSEIL”) company provide turnkey solutions for wind farm projects. The objects of the issue mainly involves expansion and up-gradation of the above existing manufacturing facilities; meeting long-term working capital requirements; investment in its subsidiary, IWISL, and other infrastructure development.

Factors to consider:

Promising growth opportunities: As was evident from the Budget 2015, renewable energy is one of the key focus areas of the new government, and its vision is to multiply the capacity of the renewable energy sector. Under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), the Government of India has set a target of having 15% renewable energy in the electricity generation mix by 2020, implying a total installed base of approximately 100GW of renewable energy generation capacity.

Access to superior technology and project execution capability: IWL has a perpetual and exclusive licence from AMSC to manufacture 2-MW WTGs in India and a nonexclusive licence to manufacture outside India. This gives huge technological competitiveness to IWL and in future the company could look out for business opportunities outside India too. Moreover, it stands out on the basis of the execution capability of its management demonstrated in the past. (It is to be noted that AMSC has recently run into some financial difficulties and accordingly, the Co. carries a risk in the licence.)

Strong order book and earnings potential: IWL intends to use part of the IPO proceeds to invest in new equipment at the Una unit to optimise the capacity of the nacelle and hub manufacturing facility. Combined with the strong order book it carries (approx. 1,258MW) and the expansion plans, the company is expected to deliver a healthy revenue growth ahead.

Valuation: The issue is quoted at price band of ₹315-325 (Incl ₹15/Sh discount to Retail & Employee) at p/e multiple of 29-30 on post issue 9MFY15 annualized EPS of ₹10.76.

Past listing performance: Inox Leisure – Issued at ₹110 and listed at ₹185 in 2006, achieved a lifetime high of ₹245 and is currently trading at ₹180.5

The issue opens on March 18th and closes on the 20th. The company plans to sell up to 1 crore shares held by the current promoters along with a fresh issue of 2 crores equity shares of ₹10 each. The issue is expected to garner about 700 crores. The price band is fixed at ₹315-325 per share. Retail investors (those investing less than ₹2 lakh) can get a discount of ₹15 on the issue price.

The company with its robust financial performance, well recognized promoter group, healthy order book & strong business potential looks promising for an investment. In addition, with its listed domestic peer Suzlon Energy, struggling with massive debts and profitability issues, IWL would emerge as a quality player in the renewable energy industry and attract scarcity premium. Therefore, this will be the issue to look out for in 2015 so far. We recommend, “Subscribe” on this issue, both for listing gains as well as long term earnings and growth.

Adlabs Entertainment – IPO : Should you subscribe?

400_F_41692549_x60kcjqp86BfYo8wrqSNKmPf74TRWq9JInvestors usually subscribe to an IPO for one of the two reason; Listing gains or Long term potential. Since the Company is operating in a line of business which has seen another company receive massive response to its IPO, it makes sense to analyse the Company by keeping into mind its competitor.

The IPO scenario for 2015 has been lukewarm with only two Cos. hitting the primary markets with an IPO, out of which one had to call off the issue for lack of subscription even after an extension and the other had to cut down on the issue size to complete the offer.

If you are a risk averse investor, you should avoid the the initial public offering of theme park operator Adlabs Entertainment. Expensive valuation, limited operating history, high ongoing capital requirement as well as operating risks make the offer unattractive.

The company owns is currently operating two amusement parks — Imagica and Aquamagica — near Mumbai and revenue is primarily from park entry ticket sales, with food, other retail sales and rentals accounting for a fourth of the revenue. The company’s EBITDA for the first six months of 2014-15 was ₹4.6 crore. At the lower end of the IPO the valuation is at a high premium and depends a lot on the potential growth and success story of the Company.

In contrast, Wonderla Holidays, a listed player in this space, had its price band 115-125 at a P/E of about 16.08 – 17.48 and its EPS trades at around 15 times EBITDA and is also profitable at the net level. Wonderla also has a long operational history — its park in Kochi opened in 2000. As opposed to it Adlabs started its operations in only November 2013 and it goes back again to rest on the high operational uncertainties. The price band of ₹221-230 appears expensive, given that Adlabs is yet to generate net profits since its incorporation.

However, it needs mention that in the span of operations, the company has ramped up its operations well. In spite of ticket prices being at the high-end (compared with other parks in India), both Imagica and Aquamagica attracted over a million visitors in its first year of operations.

Risks:

Profitability: Revenue may get a boost as the first phase of its hotel is expected to be operational by March 2015. Other revenue sharing JVs such as the planned snow park in the same location could aid the sales growth. While the company’s revenue is growing, profitability remains a concern. Due to the high fixed cost, depreciation and interest cost, breakeven will take at least a couple of years.

High Debt: Having ramped up its operations in a small span of time, resulting in large capital expenses, Adlabs has racked up high debt. Its total debt was around ₹1,278 crore as of December 2014, mostly in long-term borrowings from banks. Loan servicing expenses (interest rate of around 13 per cent) was ₹54 crore in the first half of 2014-15.

The company plans to utilise the IPO proceeds to repay ₹330 crore of debt. Debt-to-equity ratio is expected to be around one time after the listing. However, in the next two-three years, debt may increase due to planned expansions in new locations such as Hyderabad, leading to higher leverage levels.

The issue opens on March 10 and closes on 12. The company plans to sell up to 20 lakh shares held by the current promoters along with a fresh issue of 183 lakh new shares. The price band is fixed at ₹221-230 per share. Retail investors (those investing less than ₹2 lakh) can get a discount of ₹12 on the issue price.

This is a high risk-return investment that could make or break wholly dependent on the market conditions in the next couple days. Wonderla received a terrific response to its IPO and has risen over 184% at its high of Rs.355 from its issue price of Rs.125. So one can expect decent listing gains assuming the shares get listed on a day when the market is not looking any adverse conditions. Also another factor to consider would be the fall in the share price of Wonderla since the announcement of Adlabs IPO. It means there is some interest in this counter and it could be worthwhile to take a risk.

If you are a long term investors not looking at listing gains, it is advisable to see how the listing plays out and get in when the interest in the stock cools down. It has a huge potential in the long term.

Follow up edit:

As was expected, the IPO received a lukewarm response with the issue being subscribed for only 20% of the total issue which has forced the company to not only extend the period by also slash the price band. The issue has been extension by three working days and is now open for subscription upto 17th of March and the revised price band is 180-215. It is evident that the company has a lot riding on the success of the IPO and the revision in the price band should infuse some interest in the issue.

As of 13th March, the portion allotted for QIBs has been subscribed for at 19%, NIIs at 11% & Retail investors at 42%, there by the total issue received a bid of only 20%.

Bday bash! (@akshy8)

The dude and others, with a wrong number ;)

Work in process ;)

The day for him, 8-May-2011.

A quiet silent beast, absolutely harmless, except for his looks. Of course there is the inherent risk of material mis-statement included, which means unless this post gets audited, I am absolutely 100% safe :)

Ok. The dude grows old and we find another reason to have some fun. Rather, we dare.

There is nothing to beat the midnight celebrations, but there are some cases wherein you need to take calculative risks and smart that we are, we knew very well to recognize such situations. Not that it could materialize even if we wanted, for we were rotting some place waiting for our chance to accrue the prepaid expense. Anyway by the time we managed to put together a little show, evening was ready to wish us.

We arrive at ground zero led by @nits4ever, yeah he probably thought he was going in for an ambush. The dude is somewhere in the maze, so our captain rings the house siren as if with a high amount of impatience, only to seek refuge when the dude finally lurks out. Formalities become history, the dude sense conspiracy and wishes to finish off the remaining business back inside, but our captain succeeds in luring him out. A landmine look alike stood atop a silver base, decorated with white toppings waiting for it to be cut apart by the dude. Cutting apart aside, the dude finds himself constantly in the look out for the conspiracy he expects. We feel no point in delaying the honor and our battalion launches itself upon him. A brave young lad, dares enough to bring in grenades, white little, fragile ones, and wastes no time in blasting them. Although a little in experienced, he manages to do pretty well by missing only thrice in the process. It is soon followed by a fusillade of chilling liquidized CO2, the last of the weapons. To finish things off, the victory team gets a snapshot.

PS: The brave young lad finds himself threatened for a counter attack of grenades, very soon. The team members thank their stars for not attempting the booting attack:D

Post ceremony

Bday bash..

@nits4ever post ceremony!

Its ok, we will agree he is sober. Don’t go by his face. P.S: I am not sure what @mukeshkini is indicating!

The day that was, 14-Apr-2011.

A human friend of mine, nithesh a.k.a @nits4ever, happened to become a 20 year old antique, an occasion that calls for some celebration and as a friend I couldn’t just resist visiting the relic, for one.

A weekday meant @mukeshkini out on work and as it so happened even @akshy8 was into busy times as well. Matter of fact-ly, I am no free wanderer either, hell! yeah! I was busy with something as well. So the celebration was called for on the auspicious or not auspicious time at 10 that night. Off we went, a cake in the hand and some slyness under our sleeves. We reach his place only to find the bday boy out babysitting 😉 err..  whatever! he came back a while later set the stage for the desert chopping all single handedly, the job including an erroneous task of getting a plastic stool and a little knife. The cake was snapped at, so that we could remember what originally lay on that little piece of silver covered cardboard. Everybody was filled due the celeb being a post lunch session and hence there was no urgency whatsoever in cutting the cake. To add to it, there was a little antics show by the local top cat who had laid his/her, god knows which’s eyes on the cake and was ready to go to any extent to get it. We witnessed a little circus show and as in the circus the animal was given a tidbit for its performance. Anyway, it was cut, a little piece offered to each one of us, a little light chit chat and it was time to head back. Well of course there was the little package of birthday bumps he was offered, which was immensely enjoyed by everybody but himself, not that he was meant to enjoy anyways. It was only after returning that I came to know that the number of bday bumps had to be corresponding to the age attained. A pity, he got a away by a very big margin, quantitatively alteast.

Right. We didn’t put on those conical hats, nor did we blow any balloons, nor burst them. There wasn’t any of those shiny little stuff falling from the sky, nor anything else that usually exists. There wasn’t any music or dance to follow, nor any games. A dinner was probably on cards, but since we already were done with ours at home, we had nothing to do but come back. 😀

Yeah, that story ended. You can leave as well. Ciao.

Dhobi Ghat, a view

I have been wanting to do this little thing for quite a while now, and I guess I have a beautiful opportunity to do it with the movie, Dhobi Ghat. I wouldn’t call it a critic in the least, its nothing more than an opinion, better put, my take on the movie. I don’t believe in the star stuff, so there ain’t going to be any stars, just plain bland text to bore those who are free enough to read further. So here goes…

I landed up for the movie on the last day of its running, the thursday for a morning show, which meant I gave up some of my precious sleep for the sake of it. Not that I was disliking it or something, I did want to watch the movie anyhow, but you know, just for the sayings sake. Ok, whatever, the theatre was more than almost empty, but for we few people and that said something. I took a seat and as if on cue, the movie began.

Its a movie involving three characters, well no, there is another in fact, uh, as an after thought everybody is a character in it! Well, whatever. It begins with an art exhibition where one of the character Arun (Aamir khan), a heavy smoker, an artist, who happens to be a silent sort of person,  prefers to stay away from his own exhibition crowd ( err.. why would you want to exhibit, if you didn’t want to interact? Ah, money.. but you could get it by selling without an exhibition too, no? whatever) and as a result happens to meet the other character Shai (Monica Dogra), an investment banker type who comes down to India to pursue her interests in photography, and things happen over night, and morning sees her being dumbed already (it wasn’t all that literal as the way it sounds, well the jist was that) She then finds a dhobi, the third character, Munna (Prateik Babbar), who literally turns out to be her guide. He happens to nurse a dream of becoming an actor and hence asks her to shoot a portfolio of his. While she goes on about shooting mumbai, this artist fellow happens to shift his house into a new area and finds some tapes, featuring a depressing story filmed by Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra) narrating her life story and the place, mumbai. That’s about the ingredient part. For the salad, all you need to do is toss it up, well and good. Enzoi 😛

I don’t think I made much sense there, but well, the movie was only that much and some little make-up, if you know what I mean. For the first half an hour or so, I didn’t know what to expect of the movie and was deciding on my options, sleep or walk out! The music that inspired Arun to paint somehow seemed very disturbing to me, probably because I was already confused and it only added to it. I decided against both options and I chose well. I liked how the video had a sort of retro feel and the wonderful rural Mumbai showcased made it the buck’s worth. The black and white stills showcased included some marvellous shots and as a person interested in photography, it was a point of light to me.

Apart from that, the story actually doesn’t lead anywhere, if that’s what you were looking for. Its only of those unconventional movies where you have a story despite not having one. Its about those people whom you meet accidentally, spend some time along with, and move on. Those little, unconventional moments is what makes the movie stand out for me. To each his opinion, I would probably expect a mumbai-kar to feel he has wasted his bucks and the more precious time. Even the non-mumbaikars might feel so, for there isn’t the conventional ending that you have in other movies. But for those others like me, you will like it!

Everything apart, Prateik does well in his role as a dhobi, rat-killer and guide. Aamir as ever gets on with his role like being his very self. Monica did her job well, except for the part of dubbing her dialogues. Her first time you see, so a little lag, well.. happens.  Kriti does her job well enough for a person shooting mumbai for the first time 😉

The movie itself ran only for 95 mins, so you can’t expect me to go on and on..

Let me know what you thought of it, if you dared to watch it in the first place, of course!

Photography – Camera modes

Cameras are wonderful objects with a all the assortment of wonderful features. In order to get the best from your camera it becomes important that you know what your camera features. Every time I discovered the usage of some new feature on my camera and told my mother about it, she used to say, ‘That’s why i always tell read the manual first’. So here is a sort of basic manual about the different kinds of shooting options available in almost all the digital cameras.

Broadly classifying, there are two categories into which the camera modes can be put under. Automatic and manual. As the words go, those modes that come under the automatic mode are preset to perform certain functions and you will have nothing to do with the controls whereas those modes that come under the manual include some or almost all controls requiring adjustment by you.

Automatic Modes:

Automatic Mode

I suspect no one will need any introduction to this mode (as it seems everybody use this to the maximum extent). Auto mode tells your camera to use it’s best judgement to select shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focus and flash to take the best shot that it can. With some cameras auto mode lets you override flash or change it to red eye reduction. This mode will give you nice results in many shooting conditions, however you need to keep in mind that you’re not telling your camera any extra information about the type of shot you’re taking so it will be ‘guessing’ as to what you want. As a result there might chances when you wanted to focus on one thing but the camera had a mind of its own, where you wanted twilight, the camera thought ambient light better and so on.. Having said that, you would only be a fool to not use it at all, for in times of urgency, you wouldn’t have time for all the settings and by the time you are done, the shot is gone.

Portrait Mode

What the portrait mode does is, it sets a large aperture(small number, in case you find the terms confusing) which will help to keep your background out of focus, thus giving attention to your subject. This mode works best when you’re photographing a single subject so get in close enough to your subject so that your photographing the head and shoulders of them. Also if you’re shooting into the sun you might want to trigger your flash to add a little light onto their face.

Macro Mode

How many times have you tried to shoot a heavy close up shot and found that the focus wasn’t as you wished it to be. Macro mode lets you move your closer into your subject to take a close up picture. It’s great for shooting flowers, insects or other small objects. When you use macro mode you’ll notice that focusing is more difficult as at short distances the depth of field is very narrow (just millimeters at times). Keep your camera and the object you’re photographing parallel if possible or you’ll find a lot of it will be out of focus. You’ll probably also find that you won’t want to use your camera’s built in flash when photographing close up objects or they’ll be burnt out.

Landscape Mode

This mode is almost the exact opposite of portrait mode in that it sets the camera up with a small aperture (large number) to make sure as much of the scene you’re photographing will be in focus as much as possible. It’s therefore ideal for capturing shots of wide scenes, particularly those with points of interest at different distances from the camera. As it uses a small aperture, you might also want to use this feature to shoot images in which you want the whole of picture in sharp focus.

Sports Mode

Photographing moving objects is what sports mode is designed for. It is ideal for photographing any moving objects including people playing sports, pets, cars, wildlife etc. Sports mode attempts to freeze the action by increasing the shutter speed. When photographing fast moving subjects you can also increase your chances of capturing them with panning of your camera along with the subject and/or by attempting to pre focus your camera on a spot where the subject will be when you want to photograph it. In other words, you can use this mode for all purposes which need a fast shutter speed.

Night Mode

Probably the most innovative of the automatic modes, this is a really fun mode to play around with and can create some wonderfully colorful and interesting shots. Night mode (a technique also called ’slow shutter sync’) is for shooting in low light situations and sets your camera to use a longer shutter speed to help capture details of the background but it also fires off a flash to illuminate the foreground (and subject). If you use this mode for a ’serious’ or well balanced shot you should use a tripod or your background will be blurred – however it’s also fun to take shots with this handheld to purposely blur your backgrounds – especially when there is a situation with lights behind your subject as it can give a fun and experimental look.

Movie Mode

This mode extends your digital camera from just capturing still images to capturing moving ones. Most new digital cameras these days come with a movie mode that records both video but also sound. The quality is generally not up to video camera standards but it’s a handy mode to have when you come across that perfect subject that just can’t be captured with a still image. Keep in mind that moving images take up significantly more space on your memory storage than still images.

There might be those other modes too, such as sunrise mode, sunset mode, fireworks mode, snow mode, food mode etc. etc.

Semi-automatic Modes: What they basically do is, give you control on a certain feature and adjust the other features accordingly. Semi-automatic coz, in spite of having some control, you still don’t actually control the exposure.

Aperture Priority Mode

This mode is really a semi-automatic mode where you choose the aperture and your camera chooses the other settings (shutter speed, white balance, ISO etc) so as to ensure you have a well balanced exposure. Aperture priority mode is useful when you’re looking to control the depth of field in a shot (usually a stationary object where you don’t need to control shutter speed). Choosing a larger number aperture means the aperture (or the opening in your camera when shooting) is smaller and lets less light in. This means you’ll have a larger depth of field (more of the scene will be in focus) but that your camera will choose a slower shutter speed. Small numbers means the opposite (ie your aperture is large, depth of field will be small and your camera will probably choose a faster shutter speed).

Shutter Priority Mode

Shutter priority is very similar to aperture priority mode but is the mode where you select a shutter speed and the camera then chooses all of the other settings. You would use this mode where you want to control over shutter speed (obviously). For example when photographing moving subjects (like sports) you might want to choose a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion. On the flip-side of this you might want to capture the movement as a blur of a subject like a waterfall and choose a slow shutter speed. You might also choose a slow shutter speed in lower light situations.

Program Mode

Some digital cameras have this priority mode in addition to auto mode (in a few cameras Program mode IS full Auto mode… confusing isn’t it!). In those cameras that have both, Program mode is similar to Auto but gives you a little more control over some other features including flash, white balance, ISO etc. What it basically has is some pre-determined exposure programs. A certain aperture value with a certain shutter speed. There are different combinations available for choice of your liking.

Manual Mode:

Manual Mode

As the name goes, in this mode you have full control over your camera and need to think about all settings including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash etc. It gives you the flexibility to set your shots up as you wish. Of course you also need to have some idea of what you’re doing in manual mode so most digital camera owners that I have anything to do with tend to stick to one of the priority modes.

This is in brief what the camera mode does. Even though your camera does not feature manual control, you could use the automatic modes to your advantage. For example where you need shallow depth of field, you could use the portrait mode, while a wide depth of field would mean landscape mode. If you wish for fast shutter speeds, you could go for sports mode, while for slower ones you could go with the night mode. Thus its about using the control to your advantage that matters in the end. You could even get wacky and try different moods for different other purposes and see the effect they bear on your final image.

Hope the next time you are out shooting, you will find these modes more flexible to use and end up giving you better shots. Until next time, enzoi shooting.

Photography – Choice of camera

What does one require to be a photographer? A camera, an eye and a finger.

Its as simple as that. All you need to create photographs is a camera. With the advent of competition, there are various companies in the market which produce digital cameras with various controls functions and all the stuff. So for a person who wishes to take up photography the first problem comes in the form of the choice of camera model. To make it easy, here are a few notes to consider:

Budget: Its a key and plays a major role in the choice of model. In other words it helps cut down the choices to a minimum. So if my budget were to be rs.10,000 I would not be required to look at cameras costing above it. Hence the first step in deciding on a camera is to fix your budget.

Requirements: Once the budget is set, decide on what you require. In today’s competitive market, the cameras are filled with so many options, most of which you may not need or never use. So deciding on your requirement becomes quite important.
1) Control: The amount of control that you wish to have helps cut down your choices by more than half. If you wish to take up fine art photography, then you will require manual controls such as aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual mode in your camera. Most of today’s point and shoots dont offer manual control so you might need to search for the one that does.
2) Genre: You would probably not know what interests you right now, but know it could help in the choice of your camera.
3) Usage: Today most of the camera come with Li-ion batteries which have longer life as compared to the AA where in you will be required to have back-up. So if you intend to shoot for longer period choose the ones that use li-ion battery. Having said that AA is nowhere a don’t pick choice. One of my favourite point and shoots canon Sx120IS uses AA and the back-up is pretty good.
4)Brand: Strictly speaking its not an option, but liking towards certain brands can definitely have a say on your choice of model. Say, you need manual control, the nikon coolpix doesn’t have any model which offers it, so you will be required to look out for canon or fuji or some other brands which do.

The best camera: How many times have you felt that moment when you thought, I wish I had my camera right now. There isn’t a single day when I don’t feel it (Don’t judge me by that statement. We will deal with it some other day). Its of no use if you have the best in the field when you hardly take it out. The best one is the one which suits your style and more importantly the one which you bother to take along with you almost everywhere. There is no reason the tiny camera in your cell phone could not be the best one for you. As the famous saying goes, It ain’t the camera, but the man behind it that matters. (women folk, no offence, you are included in it. *wink*)

Here are a few cameras reviewed as best in their range by the team of BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY.

Below Rs.20,000

1) Fujifilm FinePix AV100 – Rs.4,499 (12.2MP)
Who: Casual users and families who want to shoot a lot of video too.

2)Canon PowerShot A495 – Rs.4,995 (10MP)
Who: For hobbyist and families who are tight on budget.

3) Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 – Rs.14,990 (12.1MP)
Who: Point and shoot users who do not need manual control, but want a fast AF system and great image quality.

4) Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 – Rs.9,999 (14MP)
Who: Serious hobbyists who want an all-in-one budget camera.

5) Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD – Rs.14,999 (12.2MP)
Who: Those who want extra zoom but do not mind carrying some extra weight.

6) Samsung WB650 – Rs.17,990 (12MP)
Who: Travel enthusiasts and wanderers.

7) Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX7 – Rs.17,990 (10.2MP)
Who: Fashion-conscious youngsters who love to shoot video and panoramas.

8) Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR – Rs.17,999 (12MP)
Who: Hobbyists who want the advantages of a compact body, but need better results in contrasty light.

9) Olympus STYLUS TOUGH-8010 – Rs.18,995 (14MP)
Who: Adventure enthusiasts who indulge in a lot of trekking, mountaineering, rafting or swimming.

Rs.20,000 – Rs.50,000

1) Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR – Rs.20,999 (12MP)
Who: Enthusiasts who want the flexibilty of zoom with the advantages of the EXR sensor.

2) Canon EOS 1000D (Kit) – Rs.25,295 (14.2MP)
Who: Advanced amateurs who on a tight budget.

3) Canon PowerShot S95 – Rs.26,995 (10MP)
Who: Pros who want a pocket-able camera that produces high-quality images.

4) Nikon D3100 – Rs.27,250 (14.2MP)
Who: Anyone who needs a fantastic entry-level DSLR for shooting stills and video.

5) Canon PowerShot SX30IS – Rs.28,995 (14.2MP)
Who: Wildlife lovers who do not mind compromising on quality for additional zoom.

6) Olympus PEN E-PL1 (Kit) – Rs.29,995 (12.3MP)
Who: Those who need superb, high-quality photos but do not like the bulk of a DSLR.

7) Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ100 – Rs.34,990 (14.1MP)
Who: Those who want a super zoom camera with every possible still and video frame.

8) Sony Alpha NEX-5 (Kit) – Rs.34,999 (14.2MP)
Who: For those who want an efficient still-video DSLR in a small size.

9) Fuji Real 3D W3 – Rs.39,000 (10MP)
Who: Those who are willing to pay a premium to use 3D technology.

10) Nikon D90 – Rs.43,450 (12.3MP)
Who: Serious hobbyists who lay equal emphasis on both handling and performance.

11) Canon EOS 550D – Rs.45,295 (18MP)
Who: Pros who need a light backup body and film-makers.

12) Sony Alpha 55 (Kit) – Rs.49,990 (16.2MP)
Who: Anyone who wants to shoot high-quality action photography on a budget.

Rs.50,000 – Rs.1,50,000

1) Canon EOS 60D – Rs.65,295 (18MP)
Who: Film-makers who want tilt-and swivel LCD for shooting videos.

2) Nikon D7000 – Rs.74,450 (16.2MP)
Who: Hobbyists who want tons of still and video features, or pros who want an excellent backup body.

3) Canon EOS 7D – Rs.87,995 (18MP)
Who:  Sports and wildlife photographers.

4) Nikon D700 – Rs.1,39,950 (12.1MP)
Who: Pro shooters who want outstanding quality in low light.

5) Canon EOS 5D Mark II – Rs.1,41,995 (21.1MP)
Who: Landscape photographers and videographers.

Above Rs.1,50,000

1) Canon EOS 1D Mark IV – Rs.2,59,995 (16.1MP)
Who: Sports and action shooters who want the extended reach of a 1.3x sensor.

2) Nikon D3S – Rs.2,89,950 (12.1MP)
Who: Sports photographers, photojournalists and wildlife photographers.

3) Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III – Rs.4,12,995 (21.1MP)
Who: Those who wish to use canon glass to make wall-sized prints, but also need pro-level autofocus and built.

4) Nikon D3X – Rs.5,24,950 (24.5MP)
Who:  Professionals who need to make giant-sized prints with incredible detail.

Having said that, there are other great models out there which you might need to look out before you make your choice.
I hope it helps you choose better. In case you have any queries kindly contact me so that I can be of some help.

Get that camera ready so that we can get down to some shooting stuff soon.

Re-living destination Sirsi! (Part-III)

Day 3: Sunday, 28th February, 2010.

09:30 am “My legs are on fire! Damn! Looks like all plans are going to be cancelled taking into consideration the current situation we are in.”

From about 8, lay on the bed doing nothing but assessing the pain.. don’t know how many times I heard myself saying, kal itne josh dikhane ki kya zaroorat thi. Well covering 15-20 kms in a matter of few hours can be tiresome even for the fittest, after all we stiff people were bound to fall a prey to it.

Breakfast consisted of dosa with something called as jhula, if I got it right. I was beginning to see ghee and liquid gur was a habit there. After breakfast were lazing around deciding whether or not to go out. Then decided to visit a nearby lake, and a falls further along the way. The way to the place was no less than a track for bike racing, with extra bit of ups and downs, a steep curve here and there. Reached the place. Walking was tough. The water was low, so waded through the water for a while, then went down stream where the others got down to swim while relaxed.

We found a sturdy tree bark to sit upon, with our legs in the water, it was really soothing. Also got free pedicure thingy from fishes down there 😉 WE then went further to the place of falls. Its named keppajoga. Its supposed to be the place where the pandavas stayed during their exile. There are a lot of clear signs of it. Everything out there be it carved scriptures, or space to have lunch, or offering to god, everything was in fives. It was a great place, very serene, must say it would make an excellent place for meditation and for seekers of peace. Wanted to go further, but walking downwards was such a pain that gave up on it.

The return journey was rather interesting. Myself and @nits4ever were on one bike, and we were far ahead of the others. This fella, don’t know what got into him, suddenly took a left at the first opportunity and we waited there for the others to pass by. I thought he was going to go full on force once they passed and surprise them but as it happened he had other plans. We waited for about five minutes after they left and then started. That was no the end of it. Soon after he began some sort of spiritual discourse, and I had no other option but be its victim. Finally we reached home, and I was saved from the lecture 😉 Was about 4 on the evening when we reached back. Had lunch and then it was time to relax. Needed it as much as possible. Watched TV all the while. Gotta know that network was available uphill a little ahead of the house. So went up the hill in search of the network. Had tea after returning back, chit chatted with our guide friend’s father and mother. Real great village gossip it was, that we never realised how it was already time for dinner. Had dinner, all filled, which meant it was time to relax yet again.

Although there was not much of activity that day, it was still tiring more because of the back log of the previous day! A bit of music, little idle chat, some bollywood movie, saw us wrap up another day. Peace.

Day4: Monday, 1st March, 2010

Dint realize what time the day began. Lay on the bed for a long time, very long time. Breakfast was idli and bhaji. After that roamed around the place for a while and it was time to get packing. Had cane juice before beginning, had all the exchange of pleasures with them after which it was time to leave. There was only one bike and we were four of us, so decided would go in twos, but as luck would have a little ahead the bike got punctured! We had not other means of transport and had to walk all the way until the bus stop in the hot afternoon! Found a bus to back to the city, couldn’t find a seat though. Having reached the city, caught a bus to Kumta. That took another few hours, most of which was slept sleeping, and the rest on a hungry stomach. Caught an auto to the railway station, found the train was scheduled for 4.45 which meant we had two hours before the train was due. So went to nearby hotel to have lunch. Lunch was good. Went back to the station at about 4 and more than that it was simply great to be back with network. *bliss*

The journey back was great. We found seats this time round, but still preferred the the seat by the door. The wonderful feeling was back. Even had sugarcane…

Reached Udupi at about 7.15pm, thus putting an end to the wonderful Sirsi outing!

I feel there was still a lot of things we could have done, lot more places we could have visited, but we had our constraints, and making the best of it was all we could have done, which I believe we certainly. Maybe the next time I go there, I am sure I can visit those places all by myself. Within a few days the place had become so close, and as I am writing this, I still can feel the wonderful time we spent there. Looking forward to a visit there as soon as time permits. Until such times, wrapping up the series. Cheers!

Re-living destination Sirsi! (Part-II)

Day 2: Sunday, 28th February 2010.

Day two saw me up at five. It was damn cold and I couldn’t imagine my state had there been a fan, switched on of course. Had a tour around the place. Got a feeling I could certainly spend a few weeks exploring the place without any repetition for sure. The urge for a documentary was trying it best, but had to be suppressed for the time being.
Breakfast consisted of a combination liquid gur & ghee, chutney, chutney powder, along with dosa. If I continued with the food for a week I would be sure to put on some weight. And it was a grand beginning to the first day Sirsi!

The first stop happened to be at a place called Sahasralinga, and as the name suggests it was a place with lot of “lingas” carved upon stones, amidst a flowing river. Its an awesome place, can say a very popular tourist spot. Fortunately for us there was hardly any crowd on the day of our visit. We reached there sometime in the early mid-morning and the first thing we did on reaching there was call @nits4ever, for he was join us that day, and guess what the idiot was already nearing Kumta when we contacted him. He was planning to surprise us. I am still curious as to how he had planned to surprise us without knowing where to go, what with no network at all. So having giving him directions we went down to explore the place a bit. The current was high and the river bed consisted mostly of pebbles and as I tried to cross, I almost had a fall. Thank goodness I didn’t or would have given @akshay’s cam a holy wash!. From there we went on to some old temple. The architecture out there was really commendable. No repetition anywhere around the temple. It also happened to be a incomplete one, a incomplete one it would remain too. There was a average sized pond nearby it, fully covered by lotus plants, making it look a green patch of land. Interestingly the temple seemed totally uninhabited, and i was busy clicking pics around the place, it was only when I clicked the picture of the deity there did I realise the priest was actually there and within moments of our arrival, a pooja was on! Luckily we had network out there and got to know that @nits4ever was almost at Sirsi, so one of our friend went down to pick him up while we stayed back. We had lunch at a modest roadside hotel. Lunch for me was Idli with chutney. Now that the missing dude was in, the journey begun again, this time to destination Shivaganga falls.

It was a long journey, the weather out was scorching and the tears coming down the eyes due to the speed got evaporated burring the skin. It was terrible, that. Had to park our bike and walk due to roughness of the road, a kilometre or two before we were at the mouth of the mountain. Our destination lay at the feet of the mountain opposite to where we currently were. Simply put, the journey down was fast and furious. The path of approximately five kms, was steep, slippery at places, rocky 90% of the time. Was as good as literally getting down a mountain. Got down the mountain only to see that the falls was still another mile away! There was that walk which was rather an acrobatic ride, before we finally reached to the base of the falls. It was only after about fifteen minutes after I and another friend, Vinayak reached, that the rest of the party joined in. Must say the troop was really exhausted. But there was the falls in all its beauty to make it up. We were there for maybe an hour and half or two. Then came the point of going back up. The water supply was done with. No sooner did we begin climbing the mountain, than our @nits4ever and @akshay felt their throat shout for water. For that matter, I believe it was so with each of us, only that a few could bear it while the others couldn’t. The thirst was such that they even drank the water that was falling off from various places. We met a troop of college students who asked us how further down it was to the falls, and having told the directions the one question I had was if they had enough supply of water. They did. Half way up we realised that we would have a real hard time getting back up and looking at @akshay’s state we knew it was going to be easier said than done. So myself and vinayak sped ahead to get some water or anything available nearby. Walking back up I felt maybe this was one task the roadies should be asked to do. We could feel the dehydration doing its thing. To add to it, I had my bag along, adding to my weight. Somehow we reached our bikes and sped ahead in search of the nearest hotel. Maybe about 10kms or so away we finally found a hotel. Stopped by had our fill of water, filled the water bottles we had, got some soft drink and got back to our waiting friends. Carrying 7 bottles wasn’t an easy task to do on a bumpy road when the rider was riding at no less than 50-60kms/hr. When we reached, the others were near the bike all set to ride back. Seeing the cold drinks was maybe the best feeling they would have for a very long time. The bottle was gone within few seconds. Life was back. Rode back. Stopped at the hotel once more for another round of drinks, soft of course. The tiredness was settling… Set back home. Needed a long rest before setting out again, but that was not to happen.

“Toggu rullavu kartasanchi. Bhari pormbolu yettas. (They are preparing a snack down stairs and its smelling great!) @nits4ever here has gone nuts. He is practising a mixture of ballet and item number 😉 #nowplaying My happy ending.”

After a round of snacks, headed to Sirsi again. Rode from half way down. The bike, a real specimen it was. No idling at all. Got switched off every time you slowed down. The weather was cool, the ride was good. Was it the road, was the bike, I wouldn’t know, but the bikes really ran fast, at 100-120kms/hr we were at ease, rather the bike was too. Reached the city, roamed around for a while, clicking few pics here and there. Then tiredness began taking its toll. Decided to go for dinner. Two hotels and nothing available. As luck would have it, our guide friend didn’t know his city too well. It was getting close to midnight and options were running out. So we asked him to enjoy, saying we would find dinner and would meet him later. So the trio set out in search of a hotel providing dinner, anything edible for that matter, in a stranger city. I still remember the banana we had before setting out. A few minutes later we found a hotel. Chef’s special it was. Whew! that was really a huge relief, for apples were back at home, miles away! Had burger, for nothing else seemed good enough. Was okay. Had some idle chat for about and hour and returned. Reaching the place where we were supposed to meet, we found that guy was still out enjoying somewhere and it was only about half an hour later that he returned. The mid night ride was splendid. Clocking more than 100kms/hr most of the times we were freezing in the cold weather. Yet there was a thrill to it.

“2:30 in the morning now. Still feeling wide awake. But the situation calls for sleep. Need to be up early. Wrapping up maybe one of the longest days in my life. Until sunrise, peace it shalt be.”

Re-living destination Sirsi! (Part-I)

“Its been a very tiresome day. 12.50 in the morning now. Started @ 4.15 in the evening. Dint know what I was thinking when I expected to find a seat, maybe I was expecting a reservation. All the same, you don’t get a seat in the general compartment, surely not on the train to Goa, never ever on a Friday, unless of course you got lucky. So it had to be standing journey. All I had since evening was a masala dosa which I had at a hotel nearby the railway station and a cool drink to wash it down.”

So it was, Friday, the 26th of February, 2010, De-Day. Had been planning for the trip, from quite sometime and finally it was taking life. There I was sitting in the doorway, ear phones plugged in, enjoying the tune of Linkin Park. Winds lashing on my face, my feet inches away from the ground when the stations passed by, darkness hitting hard at the sight of tunnels, kids waving from open fields, passing by life at several miles/hour, those little things always make my day. Always as in from dreams to reality. Never realized hour the four hour journey went by, or was it three? I am not sure.
As we reached the Kumta station, the sun had long set. We had to walk maybe a kilometre, or so I felt, before we caught sight of a hotel to hear the call of our stomachs. To think that was a short cut, I don’t want to think about the other route. With the baggage it was certainly more tiring. With hunger put to sleep, we had another journey to make before we could reach our destination. According to our guide friend, it was festival time and hence there would be buses very frequently, but as it happened, it was a theoretical statement. The buses to a destination was houseful and we were in the least mood to take another two hour standing journey. There were about 10-15 of us all together, and somebody said we hire a cab, but it was easier said than done. We found cabs, but the drivers were missing. And not everybody was keen to go together, so few left, and finally we were only five or six when we found seats. Its a different point that it was in the last row.

“Its twilight all around me. The temperature is down considerably. Can’t deny I am feeling the chill. My hungry eyes are feasting upon the twilight magic hungrily. In moments of glimpses that my eyes are able to catch, I was a witness to a photo-shopped alchemy. Every now and then my guide friend is butting in with the worldly description while I am lost in the other part of it. Sleep is hard to come with the bumpy ride I am on, yet a power nap would be a good idea. Btw on a govt bus on the way to Sirsi from Kumta. Going to lose myself in the twilight again..”

So it was maybe after almost 45 minutes after leaving the hotel, we were on another journey aboard a government bus which didn’t know what speed meant. No, better put, it could only dream of speed.

“Eyes catch the sight of a wonderful couple of houses, the dream house of every artist, a thatched roof, blue hue… To add to it, the twilight.. hmm… The day today, is totally going to be consumed by the twilight, wonderfully for me to savour the beauty. The bus had stopped for a while. Back to the bumpy track now…”

The road mostly consisted to ghat section, the sky was bright, it was dense rows of trees on both sides of the road, or so it looked in the darkness, the weather was getting terribly cold. As luck would have it the window wouldn’t budge. So I was taking shelter behind my bag, enjoying the beauty around me. There was no network through out, so no tweeting. Most of the crew was fast asleep, and maybe I was the only one awake. Not that I could catch sleep with the cold, anyway. After what seemed like a few hours, we finally reached Sirsi. Its was considerably colder when compared to Udupi. A part of me was glad that the travelling came to an end while the other half still wanted the bus ride to continue. It was carnival time and the city was buzzing with activity with no time to take a peak at the clock. It was decided that we would roam around for a while before leaving, but with the luggage it was pathetic moving around. Gave up on roaming plans. Dinner was tough to find with all hotels filled. Decided was better to head back. On the way to the bus stop we found a small Chinese food stall. Stopped to have some food. Ordered a Gobi Manchurian, it tasted ok. Got noodles parcelled to save time. When we finally reached the bus stop, Surprise! no bus. Found there was going to be no more for the day. It was about 11 then. Found a cab, after negotiating for sometime hired it. The journey was nothing less than going into the jungles. I was so damn tired, I could hardly keep my eyes open, but finally when we reached I was rejuvenated, or maybe the writer within was. The house which stood in front of our eyes was just WOW! Almost amidst the jungle. The house is typical village house, too good to be true. Felt was surely going to etch it into my memory before I left. It was more than 12 in the morning when we reached. Had a few chickoos and Kshaya. The hospitality was touching.

“Maybe for the first time in my life I don’t have a fan over my head. Interestingly I am not feeling the need for one either. There is no network here. So I am alone. Time to call it a day.. A long day ahead tomorrow.”

I was staying at Ravindra’s house. It was just the duo now, myself and @akshay, @nits4ever couldn’t make it due to some work. The first day was only a warm up.

Cannons of Taxation

Tax, a mere three letter word is capable and does bring about tension on faces of people. We come across quite a lot of people who prefer not to understand the term for the simple point that it is complicated. So it is necessary that we know what tax is, before getting into other things.

In simple words or to say in a lay man’s language,  tax is nothing but the payment made by a person (individual, firm, company, trust, etc.) to a regulatory authority, i.e. the government. It could be either the central government or the state government. Tax is divided into two types – direct tax and indirect tax.
Direct tax is the tax which is paid directly to the government.
e.g. Municipal tax, Income tax, etc.
Indirect tax is also tax paid, not directly, but indirectly.
e.g. Suppose a person purchases a pen worth five rupees, a small amount of it, say twenty paisa would constitute indirect tax which he pays along with the price of the pen. Now the retailer pays a part to the wholesaler, who in turn pays it to the manufacturer who in turn pays it to the government. The point here is that the tax is paid. But unlike direct tax, it is paid indirectly.

The Income Tax Act is not just framed to squeeze out money from people, which is unfortunately the common notion among many people, even today. It is formulated on certain principles based on which tax is levied. These principles are known as Cannons of Taxation.
The Cannons of Taxation was first introduced by Adam Smith in the 18TH century in his famous work, Wealth of Nations. According to him, there are four cannons viz. equality, certainty, convenience and economy. But with the passage of time, the cannons increased which now includes elasticity, flexibility, simplicity and diversity.

CANNON OF EQUALITY

The cannon of Equality is based on the principle that all subjects are equal in the state. Hence it is necessary that all subjects support the government in their endeavours equitably. Equality means equity i.e. the proportion of their ability to pay as also income they earn. So it goes without saying that higher the income would attract more tax and also higher income would be taxed at a progressive rate. In simple words, equal people should be treated equally and unequal people, unequally.
e.g. For the Assessment Year 2010-2011, rates of Income Tax taxable on Taxable Income is as follows
Income below 1.6 lac – NIL
Income between 1.6 lac to 3 lac – 10%
Income between 3 lac to 5 lac – 20%
Income above 5 lac – 30%
Now a question may arise as to whether the slab rates mentioned above forms equality? Yes, they certainly do. It certainly is an obligation on the part of the rich to pay for the welfare of the other sections too. So the basis of taxation is to share, and share equitably.
Even in case of a woman assessee  and a senior citizen, the concept of equit comes into play. The basic exemption limit for woman assessee is 1.9 lac and a senior citizen, 2.4 lac.

CANNON OF CERTAINTY

This cannon talks about tax being certain and not arbitrary. The time, quantum and manner of payment should be clear and certain. Smith: “The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain, and not arbitrary. The time of the payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid ought all to be clear and plain to the contributor and to every other person. Where it is otherwise, every person subject to tax is put more or less, in the power of tax-gatherer, who can either aggravate the tax upon any obnoxious contributor, or extort, by terror of each aggravation, some present or perquisite himself.” Certainty is needed not only from the point of view of the tax payer but also from that of state.
Income tax amendments are proposed on the budget day (28th Feb) so that when the Previous Year as per the I.T. Act begins, there is clarity and certainty in the minds of the people as to the I.T. propositions applicable for the P.Y.

CANNON OF CONVENIENCE

The Cannon of Convenience is based on the principle of being readily and easily assessed, collected and administered.
Assessment includes computation of tax and submission of Returns to the Regulatory Authorities. Income Tax is computed on Taxable  Income earned in the Previous Year and is paid in the Assessment Year. In cases where the tax liability is greater than Rs.5,000 it is payable in three instalments i.e. on or before 15th September, 15th December and 15th March in the Previous Year. The administration is through the Income Tax Department which also looks after the process of assessment. If due to any reasons out of the assessee’s control, if he is unable to pay tax or does not pay tax, an interest/penalty will be payable.

CANNON O ECONOMY

This cannon means that the tax ought to be contrived as to take from the people as little as possible and bring most of it to the treasury for the purpose for which it is meant. It is in some one or the other ways that taxes are frequently so much more burdensome to the people than they are beneficial to the sovereign. IT is in some one or other of these four different ways that taxes are frequently so much more burdensome to the people than they are beneficial to the sovereign.
e.g. A popular opinion is that, though the state collects a significant amount from the vehicle owners as road tax, the purpose does not seem to be met as the roads don’t seem to get any better.

We now see a few cannons which have come of late based on passage.

CANNON OF ELASTICITY

This in simple means the tax system should be elastic and flexible and not rigid. Same amount of tax irrespective of income is a rigid tax which would bot be favoured by the people. The rates of tax which can be increased or decreased through the union finance budget every year is an example of elasticity.

CANNON OF FLEXIBILTY

The cannon of flexibility is built from the point of view of the government. The flexibility is in a manner that rates, rules etc. can be changed every year through the finance budget. The tax is collected on the requirement of the government. It may increase for a few assessees and not for all.

CANNON OF SIMPLICITY

This cannon talks of tax being simple. The famous KIS model, meaning keep it simple. There should be a mix of both direct and indirect tax.
e.g. The rates of income tax payable by a corporate assessee is 30% on taxable income plus surcharge plus educational cess @3% on the sum. In simple words it is very simple!
The moment the tax system gets complicated the door of corruption and tax evasion tends to open.

CANNON OF DIVERSITY

The taxation system should be well diversified to include both direct and indirect taxes. They should be approached in a variety of ways. At the same time it should include a large number of taxes which are economical. It should be seen that the people who can afford to pay should be made to do so as it is for a cause.
e.g. A cess on purchase of petrol for the cause of tsunami.

To conclude it is always seen and felt that the people at large dislike the very fact of being taxed through tax. Under such a circumstance an indirect tax is very much suitable as people feel the pinch very less. But then, indirect taxes, many a times may not serve a few cannons. A direct tax then is disliked by many though it serves many a cannons of taxation. A blend of both – direct and indirect taxes in such a way that the tax payer pays it happily and the state deploys it to the best advantage.

This happened to be the matter for my first ever seminar, all thanks to Mr. Sridhar Kamath for the wonderful opportunity.

Why can clearing CA exams be difficult??

“Days back, the memories freshly watered,
a thirst to convey, deep hunger to vent out,
the break, as if cool breeze blowing around,
taking along with, the experienced words;
now, weaved, stale though seemingly fresh.”

You have about two months after PUC before the exam to prepare. As you glance by the syllabus you feel most of it is dealt in PU, so its hardly a big deal. Moreover its a multiple choice questions! Just need 100 out of 200! The probability seems quite near to 1!

Why then, do you end up flunking?

MCQ yaar!:
Multiple choice questions aren’t as easy as they seem. You might feel; answer toh wahi pe hoga, bahut aasaan he! But once you see the options, everything seems correct unless you are absolutely sure. Further, every option would be related to the question, so an oversight might as well make you mark the wrong answer, and you thought you had got it right!

Writing off a subject:
Its a common practice for you to write off a subject as ‘chalega’. You ask a non-maths student how is he finding maths, his reply would be I am not reading maths, just about 25 marks, so wont be a problem. He fails to conceive the fact that he isn’t a master in the other subjects (accounts, law, economics and stat)

Negative marking:
I have answered 160 questions. I will surely pass. WRONG! You tend to over see the fact that there is a negative marking for every question you have bluffed! You lose a mark for every four wrong answers, which could as well be the reason for you ending up below 100, where you could have actually passed!

A few things to be noted so that, these can be avoided!

– Don’t underestimate MCQ’s. Get your basics strong, for that is what you will be tested on. Before you look at the options, think about the answer. Once you are sure about the answer, look for it in the options. If its present, done. If not, you know you are wrong.

– Never write off any subjects as irrelevant. Study as much as possible. You might be a non-maths student, or non-economics student. That’s not an excuse to write it off. Its any day better to get something by studying, instead of getting nothing, by not studying.

– Avoid as much bluffing as possible. You might feel chal yaar mila to ek mark milega, ek do galat hua toh kya farq padta he! Don’t be in such a state of mind. Failing costs you six months! Bluffing could as well be the reason for above 100 to fall below 100. Bluffing to a certain limit is allowed. Only to a certain limit.

– Tuition/coaching is not actually necessary, but that totally depends on the person in concern. Don’t go by others words. If you feel you cant understand studying by yourself, then you need coaching. Also by going for coaching you can be sure of completing the portion. How useful it is depends on how well you comprehend.

– Pile of reference books, notes, etc isn’t necessary. Follow a single book. Reading too much will only confuse you. Say, two books contradict each other, which do you believe?

– A few months of “dedicated” study is enough to get you through CPT.

CPT toh aasani se clear kiya par ye IPCC!!

Preparation v/s non-preparation:
What generally happens is that when a student clears CPT, he will be high on spirits, decides to write both groups. But then, the nine months spell works its magic on him, making him decide on one group, and in the end his preparation would be at such level of readiness that he ends up writing the exam for the sake of writing it. There are also those others, who write to see what they are up against. They fail to realize that every experiment of theirs would cost them six months. Being prepared and feeling tensed on seeing the paper is one thing, being unprepared and feeling tensed on seeing the paper is a whole different thing all together. For one thing they are unprepared. In addition to that the paper comes with expertise to make even the well prepared, sweat. When the actual exam comes, they would be facing double pressure, one, as a result of their previous experience, the second being, its no longer a practice paper! Hence its important that you decide well in advance how you will be going about with the study and stuff. Its always advisable to clear in the first attempt. In CA, failing is not at all an issue coz its very common, but failing can prove costly, if it adds to your fear of clearing.

Pre-conceived notions:
A student’s usual adaptation is that  questions usually appear the way they usually did, a pre-conceived notion based on the previous questions that this would be what I am up against. WRONG! CA exams are an exception to it. Never expect a question to be simple. Never expect a question to be like you have learnt it. Never expect a question to be like it appeared before. In fact never expect a question. Never expect a particular patter. Never expect anything…

Theoretical approach:
The other thing that usually students are used to is theoretical approach. Of course, that’s what happens else where but for CA exams! They are an exception to everything. It will be the most practical paper you can ever think of. Even a theory subject will seem practical after facing a CA exam. If you are still in the world of question and answers, then stop dreaming. Wake up! “The question paper setter’s thinking begins where yours stops.”

Time & efficiency:
The questions set would usually would be such that an average student would be able to complete answering the paper within the allotted time. Doesn’t work so with CA exams. The paper is usually set at such pace that even if you know everything you wont be able to solve them. The paper doesn’t provide for time to think. No time to understand the problem. You are expected to know everything. 100% efficiency would be insufficient to finish the paper. You can expect your fate. You challenge the paper, you will always end up losing. It wise to be smart in answering the paper.

History v/s relevance:
Its usual practice of students to write the whole story where the climax is asked. What is expected is, to-the-point answers. You write history, you only end up wasting time that you don’t have. The other dis advantage of writing lengthy answers is that in the process, you tend to miss out what is actually required to be mentioned. History doesn’t mean anything to the evaluator. He knows better than you. If he doesn’t find what he seeks, you don’t get what you want.

A few DO’s/DON’Ts:

– Its a professional exam:
As soon as you have decided to write IPCC, make it clear to yourself that this ain’t your semester paper, where you wake up on the day before your exam, and still come out with a distinction. Plan your course well ahead, keep enough space for uncertainties. You never know when something might crop up.  As far as possible, try to avoid writing for the sake of it.

– The paper will never fail to surprise you:
Again as said this ain’t your semester paper wherein you could as well have become the paper setter, for, you already know what you are up against. No matter what anybody says, never assume anything if its going to make things seem easy! Yeah, coz that’s never gonna happen.

– Practical approach:
Right from the beginning take a practical approach, theory subject is no exception! It will help to a very great extent.

– You are half dead before the exams begins:
Each day seems like ages, you wait for the exam to approach, nah! not so soon.. the anxiety and wait will half kill you. (Course, the exam does the rest of the job ;)) Get over it.

– Avoid discussing topics with people knowing more than you:
Discussing with others is not at all bad, no doubt, but not on the day of exam. What generally happens is, you go to somebody with a doubt, he, already knowing it, says its quite simple, its like this, this, this.. What then happens is he raises a question over and above your doubt. Lo! your went with one doubt, you return with two! You are already carrying enough burden, you don’t want more! Also its important to remember not to discuss about a paper after its done. “What’s done can’t be changed, but what’s to come can be done better.”

– Have your own way of dealing with things:
Just because somebody is doing something some way, it doesn’t mean you need to go the same way. Going the same way isn’t a problem. The problem is that it might as well not work for you! You have nobody else to blame but yourself.

– Pressure:
One thing that a CA student knows properly inside out is, what is pressure. Learn to handle pressure. The more cool you remain, the better for you. Seeing the paper you feel you know nothing, or maybe you just have 30mins to go and you have completed only two/three questions.. many such situations might arise, where in if you can’t keep your cool, you end up making a mess of everything. Not just that, it has an adverse effect on your confidence! The sooner you realize that the first paper is just the beginning, the better. For one paper, you cant afford to screw other papers. It will be very costly. More than time loss, what matters more is the confidence loss! ” What is past is lost, you can’t bring it back. What you can only do is let it haunt you.”

– One or two good reference material will suffice:
The more books you refer the more chances of messing up yourself. Its important to bear in mind that solving more numeric problems correctly will not necessarily mean superior conceptual knowledge. Its important that you concentrate on conceptual study. Problems are nothing more than applications. If you are not sure of what is what, you will never be able to solve problems. Its advisable to dig deep, rather than digging wide.

– Nine months of time is sufficient to study enough, to clear the papers easily, provided the study is done in accordance with the requirements.

Started with the thought of covering IPCC, but then thought inclusion of CPT too might be helpful.. anyway in the end its an opinion and doesn’t necessarily require your agreement. Hope it is of some help to those other aspirant CA students like me.

An extract from Sridhar Kamath’s comment mentioning some valid points that I missed out! (Mr. Kamath is a practising CA.)

-Time management: I’m one of those who wrote the old-fashioned CA Foundation paper. Have always thought the MCQ version is better than the traditional four-exams-over-four-days deadly combo(20% pass-out then v. 34% now says it all!). I think students seldom strategise. Writing model exams and effectively planning your time during the exam plays a key role. I know of students who started by attempting 50 Qs in the first 1.5 hrs only to end up marking 50 Qs in the last half-hour. You don’t plan your time well, you are bound to panic and get unnecessary negatives.

-Baggage: Another psychological point which you might have missed is baggage. Your reputation in the class-room, among your relatives, you sitting up to late nights and impressing your neighbours, your baggage of bagging 1st rank in the local BCom exams, always standing first in the class since you were in nursery –> all this goes to the trash-can in CA Exams.

What matters in the end is how good your basics are and how confident you are on exam days, both points you’ve beautifully brought out in your blog. Well written.