General

Interview with Howard G Buffet, son of Warren Buffet!!

Posted on July 2, 2008. Filed under: General |

We all have heard so many things about legendary investor, Warren Buffet. His investment insights, annual reports with wit and humour and at the same time lot of meaning, his generous contribution to charity etc., But his personal side is not that much explored! ( I dont know if it is a right word to say). Warren Buffet has three children and one of them is Howard Graham Buffet, named after Warren’s father Howard and Warren’s mentor, Benjamin Graham. Naming your son after your father’s name is a unique thing to Tamilnadu (particularly Southern part of Tamilnadu, I guess) but Warren Buffet has also followed that!!

Howard Buffet still lives in Omaha and he loves farming. He has 850 acres farm where he cultivates soya and corn. He says that his life as the son of world’s richest person has been no different from any body else. Howard Buffet is engaged in charity work in Latin America and other developing nations. He has been tipped to become the Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway after Warren Buffet. It is really interesting to see that successor to Warren Buffet is from his family. Corporate America also follows the Indian way of succession planning or what??

You click the link here to read an interview with Howard G Buffet, the second son of Warren Buffet and President of Howard G Buffet Foundation.

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Vehicle Number Watching

Posted on June 19, 2008. Filed under: General |

I have a curious habit of following the registration numbers of vehicles which are in front of me on the road while driving. I dont know how many of you have that habit but I have been doing it for years now. I cant remember when I started this. When I look at the number my immediate reaction is to total the sequence. No.. No.. I am not a numerologist as well.

The other aspect to this number watching is I get excited when I see a bike or a car which carries a registration number of my hometown, Tuticorin. Tuticorin’s registration number starts with “TN 69” and I really get tempted to find out who is on the wheel. I realise that my affinity towards my hometown has not diminished a bit even after started living in Chennai for more than 10 years now. My experience shows that I could not identify the person who drives the vehicle with TN 69 registration on 99.99% of the times, but still the habit lingers on.

Thanks to this habit, I have also found out that there are more number of vehicles on the Chennai road with registration numbers starting with TN 36, TN 37 and TN 38 (relating to the Coimbatore region), TN 59 relating to Madurai and TN 72 relating to Tirunelveli region compared to other places of Tamil Nadu.

Next to that of TN registrations, I find more cars/bikes carrying KA (Karnataka) registration.

The below link gives you an idea of the entire list of RTO (Regional Transport Officers) districts in the country with the registration numbers applicable to particular city or town. Click here.

Do you have any similar very odd but funny habits?

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Due dates and relevant forms for tax filing

Posted on June 10, 2008. Filed under: General |

The due date for filing income tax returns is fast approaching for various kinds of assessess. The following are the various types of Income Tax Return Forms which needs to be used by assessees for filing their return of income for the Assessment Year 2008-09 (Financial year ending 31 March 2008).
ITR 1 – For Individuals having Income from Salary/ Pension/ family pension & Interest
ITR 2 – For Individuals and HUFs not having Income from Business or Profession
ITR 3 – For Individuals/HUFs being partners in firms and not carrying out business or profession under any proprietorship
ITR 4 – For individuals & HUFs having income from a proprietary business or profession
ITR 5 – For firms, AOPs and BOIs

The due dates for filing return of income is as givine below:

I Where the assessee is a Company – 31st October of the Assessment year.
II Where the assessee is a person other than a company :-
a) where accounts of the assessee are to be Audited or 2.a working partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited under the Income Tax Act or any other law – 31st October of the Assessment Year.
b) Where the return has to be filed under the one-by-six criteria – 31st October of the Assessment Year.
c) Any other assessee – 31st July of the Assessment Year
For the salaried employees the due date for filing return of income is 31 July 2008.

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Raising petrol prices

Posted on May 27, 2008. Filed under: General |

I used to buy fuel from Shell outlets even though it was couple of rupees more a litre. Recently, I noticed that the price differential between Shell outlets and other PSU outlets have increased to Rs8 per litre of petrol. Typically I fill 30 litres of Petrol and if I fill in a Shell outlet, I have to spend an additional Rs240 per filling. For that Rs240/- I can buy further almost 5 litres of petrol. Of course, I know there is a question mark on quality but the additional 5 litres will help me to get that additional mileage. From being a loyal customer of Shell, I have started buying petrol from other outlets.

I am also seeing the once “always busy” Shell outlets almost vacant nowadays. The patronage of Shell outlets have fallen to very low levels in chennai city. With a very high cost differential between PSU petrol pumps and Shell pumps, Shell is finding it difficult to sell retail fuel in India. The Government owned outlets are selling fuel at a lower price and incuring huge cash losses but they are compensated by the Government in the form of oil bonds. Reliance Industries, which has close to 1400 outlets in India, tried its best to get the Government subsidise the private retailers as well but Government has not accepted their request. It is very unusual to see a Reliance’s request turned down by the Government in India. Reliance has taken a very bold and drastic decision that it would close down all their 1400 outlets across the country since it cant continue to subsidise petrol to end customers when it doesnt get any subsidy from the Government in the form of oil bonds.

Soon Shell may also close their retail outlets. Already I have seen couple of outlets in Chennai which are completely ready but not opened by Shell due to the adverse price situation in the retail market. I dont think Shell owns these outlets. These outlets are run on a Franchisee model similar to PSU outlets. Imagine the plight of a franchisee who has invested couple of crores of rupees in obtaining a Shell Franchisee but left in the cold.

There are newspaper reports already indicating that the Government is actively planning to increase the petrol prices as well as reduce the duty structure to enable the oil marketing companies to reduce their losses. You cant really blame the government for increase in the price of petrol. The crude has moved beyond 130 dollars a barrel and we still continue to enjoy a litre of Petrol at Rs49.51, the rate which was fixed by the Government when the crude was quoting at 85-90 dollars a barrel. I personally prefer the rates for Petroleum products to be determined as per the market prices rather than being administered by the Government. When we talk of liberalisation and opening up the economy, then we should also allow the prices to be determined by the market. It would be tough on me as person but lets accept the reality. Bad times ahead for consumers!!

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Two advertisements which caught my attention

Posted on May 22, 2008. Filed under: General |

Recently while watching TV, I came across two interesting advertisements. One is from a high profile company and other one is from an educational institution.

The high-profile ad:

The advt is that for Hyundai Accent car. For a long time, Hyundai Accent is considered to be in the phase out stage. That is, Hyundai will stop producing the cars. On that pretext probably, Hyundai also donated 100 Hyundai Accent cars to Chennai Police in 2007. At that time it was written that Hyundai is clearing off the unsold stock and at the same time earning some brownie points from the Government. It seems Hyundai continued to manufacture Accent and sold it throughout 2007. Now it has started a high decibel ad campaign in TV media for the same old car and it is priced at Rs4.99 lacs. I guess, Hyundai would have phased out Accent but for the successful launch of Mahindra Logan, Swift Dzire and Indigo LS from its competitors in the same or lesser price. Hyundai would have probably felt that it is not having a Sedan to offer to the customers at this price range while the competition is going gung-ho about “low cost sedans”. I believe considering the proven design and engineering, Accent stands a better chance to succeed in this price segment if Hyundai reduces price by another Rs50,000/- or so.

Ad by an educational institution:

The second advt is from GKM Engineering College. It is for the first time in my life that I have seen a commercial for an educational institution. Since it is the time for admissions to engineering colleges, GKM Engg college has come out with an advertisement. Though the advt doesnt talk about what advantages it has compared to other engineering colleges, it conveys the message that it is very important to choose the right college.

NB:
After a quiet thought, I realised that I have seen advertisements for Amity University as well before in T.V.

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Getting high with acting!?

Posted on April 13, 2008. Filed under: General |

Over the last two days I was in a workshop and one of the things we did was to enact a play for 10 minutes. I acted in one of the plays and I enjoyed acting. Actually, more than anything, I felt really high when I was in the stage acting. Acting gets you high which is very different. When people walk up to you and say that you did well, it is the height. You start feeling lovely.

I can imagine how full-time actors would feel after one of their films becomes a big hit. Now, I can understand why actors behave very differently from others.

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Gone are the days!!!

Posted on March 27, 2008. Filed under: General |

I enjoyed reading the long poem(!) below. Hope you also enjoy it.

Gone are the days!!!
When The school reopened in June, and we settled in our new desks and benches!
When we queued up in book depot, and got our new books and notes!
When we wanted two Sundays and no Mondays, yet managed to line up daily for the morning prayers.
We learnt writing with slates and pencils, and progressed to fountain pens and ball pens and then Micro tips!
When we began drawing with crayons and evolved to Color pencils and finally sketch pens!
When we started calculating, first with tables and then with clarke’s tables and advanced to calculators and computers!
When we chased one another in the corridors in Intervals, and returned to the classrooms drenched in sweat!
When we had lunch in classrooms, corridors, playgrounds, under the trees and even in cycle sheds!
When all the colors in the world, decorated the campus on the Second Saturdays!
When a single P.T. period in the week’s Time Table, was awaited more eagerly than the monsoons!
When cricket was played with writing pads as bats, and Neckties and socks rolled into balls!
When few played “kabadi” and “Kho-Kho” in scorching sun,
While others simply played “book cricket” in the confines of classroom! Of fights but no conspiracies, of Competitions but seldom jealousy!
When we used to watch Live Cricket telecast, in the opposite house in Intervals and Lunch breaks!
When few rushed at 3:45 to “Conquer” window seats in our School bus!
While few others had “Big Fun”, “peppermint”, “kulfi”, ” milk ice !” and “sharbat !” at 4’o Clock!
Gone are the days of Sports Day, and the annual School Day ,
And the one-month long preparations for them.
Gone are the days of the stressful Quarterly, Half Yearly and Annual Exams, and the most enjoyed holidays after them!
Gone are the days of tenth and twelfth standards, when we Spent almost the whole year writing revision tests!
We learnt, We enjoyed, We played, We won, We lost, We laughed, We cried, We fought, We thought.
With so much fun in them, so many friends, so much experience, all this and more!
Gone are the days when we used to talk for hours with our friends!
Now we don’t have time to say a `Hi’!
Gone are the days when we played games on the road!
Now we Code on the road with laptop!
Gone are the days when we saw stars Shining at Night!
Now we see stars when our code doesn’t Work!
Gone are the days when we sat to chat with Friends on grounds!
Now we chat in chat rooms…..!
Gone are the days where we studied just to pass!
Now we study to save our job!
Gone are the days where we had no money in our pockets and still fun filled on our hearts!!
Now we have the ATM as well as credit card but with an empty heart!!
Gone are the days where we shouted on the road!
Now we don’t shout even at home
Gone are the days where we got lectures from all!
Now we give lectures to all… like the one I’m doing now….!!
Gone are the days
But not the memories, which will be Lingering in our hearts for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever …..

Gone are the Days…. But still there are lot more Days to come in our Life!!
NO MATTER HOW BUSY YOU ARE, DONT FORGET TO LIVE THE LIFE THAT STILL EXISTS……….

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Why Saarthi has made his blog available for readers by invitation only?

Posted on March 12, 2008. Filed under: General |

One of the blogs I regularly visit is http://saarthi.blogspot.com/. He analyzes and comes up with very good reports in a very concise manner. I am a fan of his blog. But unfortunately for the last two days or so, his blog is not accessible for all. It is available for readers only by invitation. I don’t know why Saarthi has done it that way but I guess there should be some reason.

There is also no mention about how to get yourself invited to the blog also. I am waiting to know how to get access to http://saarthi.blogspot.com/. If anyone of you have already been invited, please let me know.

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Chidambaram’s budget gives a salary hike!!

Posted on March 10, 2008. Filed under: General |

The Chidambaram’s budget has been a good one for the middle class. By way of tax cuts, it has given a good salary hike to every one and for people particularly employed in the IT/ITES industry as they are fearing a salary cut due to raising rupee and the US recession. The tax cuts in the form of enlarged income slabs has really helped people to save a substantial sum of money on a monthly basis. If you take a typical middle income family with an income of Rs600,000/- per annum, the tax savings per month would easily amount to Rs4000/- per month. The tax cuts are a pleasant surprise for most of the salaried class and you cant ask for more!! Now they have more money in their hands to spend, which is exactly what Chidambaram wants. He expects that the consumption lead economic activity in India from automobiles to garments would propel the economy to sustain or improve the GDP growth.

This was more evident when I visited the Mega Mart retail showroom at Valasaravakkam yesterday to pick up some shirts. As usual with Mega Mart, there were good discounts on select brands like Arrow and Park Avenue. For Arrow shirts and trousers, they were offering a straight 40% discount and for Park Avenue they were offering 50% discounts when you buy two. I think these are real good bargains!!

I spent close to couple of hours and one thing which caught my attention was the constantly increasing crowd in Mega Mart. There was a good influx of crowd during the two hours I spent and when I finally left, the car parking was full, two-wheelers were asked to park in the road outside as 2 wheeler parking was also full. Mind it, this is not a peak season for buying clothes as there are no festivals coming in the near future. Inspite of that, people are visiting outlets like Mega Mart to buy clothes.

The other area where I think the tax savings would flow would be electronic consumables like computers. India has a very low peneteration on home PC’s and I believe households would look at buying computers to help their kids sharpen their skills. Telecom would be another major beneficiary due to the higher disposable income.

Watch out www.ideas2wealth.blogspot.com for knowing how to prudently invest the additional money you have now!!

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Chidambaram’s budget gives a salary hike!!

Posted on March 10, 2008. Filed under: General |

The Chidambaram’s budget has been a good one for the middle class. By way of tax cuts, it has given a good salary hike to every one and for people particularly employed in the IT/ITES industry as they are fearing a salary cut due to raising rupee and the US recession. The tax cuts in the form of enlarged income slabs has really helped people to save a substantial sum of money on a monthly basis. If you take a typical middle income family with an income of Rs600,000/- per annum, the tax savings per month would easily amount to Rs4000/- per month. The tax cuts are a pleasant surprise for most of the salaried class and you cant ask for more!! Now they have more money in their hands to spend, which is exactly what Chidambaram wants. He expects that the consumption lead economic activity in India from automobiles to garments would propel the economy to sustain or improve the GDP growth.

This was more evident when I visited the Mega Mart retail showroom at Valasaravakkam yesterday to pick up some shirts. As usual with Mega Mart, there were good discounts on select brands like Arrow and Park Avenue. For Arrow shirts and trousers, they were offering a straight 40% discount and for Park Avenue they were offering 50% discounts when you buy two. I think these are real good bargains!!

I spent close to couple of hours and one thing which caught my attention was the constantly increasing crowd in Mega Mart. There was a good influx of crowd during the two hours I spent and when I finally left, the car parking was full, two-wheelers were asked to park in the road outside as 2 wheeler parking was also full. Mind it, this is not a peak season for buying clothes as there are no festivals coming in the near future. Inspite of that, people are visiting outlets like Mega Mart to buy clothes.

The other area where I think the tax savings would flow would be electronic consumables like computers. India has a very low peneteration on home PC’s and I believe households would look at buying computers to help their kids sharpen their skills. Telecom would be another major beneficiary due to the higher disposable income.

Watch out www.ideas2wealth.blogspot.com for knowing how to prudently invest the additional money you have now!!

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