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Showing posts from February, 2010

Does the Budget Really Matter? Yes!

Mahesh Murthy argues here that the budget does not matter any more - especially not to entrepreneurs. He laments that the booty being promised for special focus areas is not meant for genuine entrepreneurs but for those who are politically connected. While I may not disagree with Mahesh on the fact that most funds outlay on Govt. schemes benefits the big co's and politically connected, I don't agree a wee bit with him that the budget does not matter to an entrepreneur. For example, here's how this year's budget announcements may help entrepreneurs: Now you can hire an individual for upto 1.6 lakhs and forget anything about paying taxes to the Govt on his behalf - that's substantial admin cost savings for a small firm If you are a bootstrapper, funding your business with your salary or of a spouse/friend - you have a little more cushion for your startup If you are selling a service to end consumer, you know know that they have a little more money in their hands to i

New Tax structure paves way for DTC next yr

Budget Update:   From: FM prunes tax rates: Income up to Rs 1.6 lakh - nil Income above Rs 1.6 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh - 10 per cent Income above Rs 5 lakh and up to Rs 8 lakh - 20 per cent Income above Rs 8 lakh - 30 per cent. New tax rates would offer relief to 60 per cent of taxpayers, the finance minister said. Additional deduction of Rs 20,000 allowed on long-term infrastructure bonds for income tax payers; this is above Rs one lakh on saving instruments allowed already. Investment linked tax deductions to be allowed to two-star hotels anywhere in the country. With simplification of the Tax regime proposed above by the FM in this budget, a way has been paved for a Direct Tax Regime - which the FM has confirmed will go live from next year (April 1, 2011). What is Direct Tax Code (DTC)? .

How Tolstoy inspired Gandhi's method of non-violence

Here are quotes from Leo Tolstoy's " Letter to a Hindu " written to Mahatma Gandhi: If the English have enslaved the people of India it is just because the latter recognized, and still recognize, force as the fundamental principle of the social order. In accord with that principle they submitted to their little rajahs, and on their behalf struggled against one another, fought the Europeans, the English, and are now trying to fight with them again. A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand men, not athletes but rather weak and ordinary people, have subdued two hundred million vigorous, clever, capable, and freedom-loving people? Do not the figures make it clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians, but the Indians who have enslaved themselves? When the Indians complain that the English have ensla

When (the online) God failed its followers

Its just a coincidence that Google and God both have the same starting letters - but sometimes for computer illiterate users of the Web, it is as much a fact. Millions of people in the world do not know about the Web before Google. For them Google is not just a search engine but the window to the web - to permit some exaggeration - the web itself. (Doesn't that remind you of Krsna's quote from the Gita - I am the world ..) So some such people were a couple of days back trying to log on to Facebook. Their modus operandi was search "facebook login" in Google, click the first link available. Even my father - who comes into the category of users who learnt surfing only AFTER Google - used to reach my blog. (If you thought this was incredulous, you are either a geek or a old-timer on the web who still relies on remembering URL's of sites you visit to reach them) With my father, this had once lead to an amusing situation when he was not able to locate my blog as it had

What's wrong with innovation programs?

Whether its TCS, Infosys or IBM - companies have at different times set up innovation cells and programs to encourage innovation. However, hardly any new innovations come out of such programs - leave alone transformational ones. The reason for failure of these programs - started with the most well meaning intentions - is highlighted in a talk by Google's CIO Douglas Merrill on Innovation at Google (video below). The video is not about these companies, or a criticism of innovation management practices. It simply is about defining innovation and then describing how innovation is managed at Google. The key highlight is towards the middle of the video when Douglas explains that innovation at Google is primarily chaotic. There are no committees to assess projects, no formal budgets, no approvals nothing! Here's what they do (PS: this is not a quote from the video): Google simply lets its engineers spend 20% time on their projects - thereafter it monitors these projects based on si

Democracy imperfect

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time" - Winston Churchill, 1947 This Op-ed in the Times by Paul Krugman could as well have been written for India. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Polish legislature, the Sejm, operated on the unanimity principle: any member could nullify legislation by shouting “I do not allow!” This made the nation largely ungovernable, and neighboring regimes began hacking off pieces of its territory. By 1795 Poland had disappeared, not to re-emerge for more than a century. Today, the U.S. Senate seems determined to make the Sejm look good by comparison. Whether its a regional movie like Jhenda (also remember protests against Ashutosh Gowarikar's Jodha-Akbar) or a comment by SRK on IPL, any political party or son of a politician objects and brings half the nation's media to attention and sometimes even holds the Govt's policy decisions to ransom. Just explains that dem

Blogger FTP shutting down

Following Google-Blogger's 22 January announcement that blogger will be pulling the plug for websites/blogs published via FTP through blogger, there has been a furore on the internet. Without getting into criticism myself, I am trying to analyze the repercussions on sites using this service. For more details on who's impacted and blogger team's efforts to ease the load, go here . Impacted Websites i.e. those using the FTP publishing feature like , now have two options: Move their Site to Blogger's hosting via the custom domain functionality or Start using a different blog management software like In both cases you will have to perform a migration activity, but as far I have studied, neither migration is going be any more or any less painful than the other. In both cases some functionalities will have to be recoded. Moving to Blogger Custom Domain Pros Hosting on Google's servers - no hassles of hosting provider Blogger platform for

Who is fighting for Mumbai?

As I picked up the newspaper today expecting more information on what more steps the outgoing RBI Governor Subbarao would take to curb inflation, I was greeted to my utter distaste by a synopsis of the verbal duel between MNS-Sena-Congress. For all the heat being generated in this Mumbai-for-Marathis and Mumbai-for-India debate, no one in particular is actually fighting for Mumbai's own cause. The MNS-Sena is fighting for rights of Marathis in Mumbai, Congress-RSS for rights of non-Marathis in Mumbai. But no one is addressing the problems of the average citizen in Mumbai - Marathi or non-Marathi! The BMC announced its annual budget yesterday - a news which got buried, thanks to the cacophony on Marathi Manoos issue [probably raised on purpose by the Sena to avoid attention to the budget]. The budget at best can be described as 'barely essential' if not insufficient. The budget of Rs 20,417 crore has shown an increase of merely 4 per cent in comparison to last year’s budge