Tag Archives: India

New PF (Provident Fund) Norms Announced For Expats/International Workers

There is some bad news in the offing for all Expats/International Workers, who are currently employed in India, by the EPFO(Employees Provident Fund Organization), which handles provident and pension funds for the organized sector employees in India. The existing norms have been tightened a bit. Earlier, contribution to PF (Provident Fund) and EPS (Employees Pension Scheme) was 12% of the monthly pay, this contribution was made mandatory by Indian Government in 2008. Withdrawals from these PF (Provident Fund) were permitted at the end of an expat’s employment in India. But according to these new regulations, now Expats/International Workers would be permitted to withdraw their accumulated balance only after they turn 58. Now, withdrawals are permitted only in case of Permanent Disability and Total Incapacity to work or in case of these suffering from three major diseases, Cancer, Leprosy and Tuberculosis.

However, an exemption has only been made in case of employees from three countries, Belgium, France and Germany, with which India has signed Social Security Agreements. Further details are available at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/New-PF-norms-leave-expats-in-lurch/articleshow/7439380.cms

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ICICI Bank New Home Loan Scheme Launched

Festive season has come, but the great reason for our happiness is that the ICICI Bank which is country’s largest private sector lender, has come into festive mood and introduced a 1 year and 2 year fixed cum floating interest rate scheme for home loan.


The new ICICI schemes at a glance:

Loan Amount

Fixed Rate of Interest (%)

Upto 25 lakh

10.50 – 1 yr

10.75 –  2 yr

25 – 75 lakh

11.00 – 1 yr

11.25 –  2 yr

Above 75 lakh

11.50 – 1 yr

11.75 –  2yr

The  current base rate for ICICI bank home loan is 10% but the problem for customer is it’s increasing day by day, so these both schemes are very lucrative.

1 Year Scheme:
In this scheme, Interest Rate will be fixed for first 1 year, after completion of which which it will be same as current market rate.  Interest rate also depends upon the home loan amount. For loan amount up to 25 lakhs  the fixed rate of interest is 10.50% and for 25 to 75lakhs the  interest rate is 11% whereas for above 75 lakhs loan amount  it is 11.50%.

2 Year Scheme:
It is similar to 1 year scheme. In this the interest rate for loan amount up to 25 lakhs is 10.75 % for 2 year and 11.25 % for 25 to 75 lakhs whereas it is 11.75 % for the above 75 lakhs.

If we compare the interest rate across both these schemes, interest rate is more than current market rate, but we should also keep in mind that, rates are not steady and in fact are increasing gradually, so Fixed Interest Rate will help you save your money.

But some financial advisor as Suresh Sadagopan, principal planner, Ladder7 Financial Advisors has said “Borrower should definitely go for One Year fixed Rate Scheme, as there will not be any significant shift of rate cycle in the next one year. However, the Two Year Scheme does not look very lucrative for a home loan buyer. Rates may fall below fixed rates in next two years, as rates are expected to come down after a year, after witnessing a year of unprecedented interest-rate hikes”

So celebrate your festival and save your money by availing these attractive Home Loan Offers 🙂

Trip To Nandi Hills,Nandi Hills:Reviews,Tourism,Tourist Places,Travel Guide

Are you staying in Bangalore and feel stressed because of its traffic, pollution or your hectic schedule@Work Place ?? If so, this is the time to take a small break from your life and go for a trip. If you want to enjoy your outing as you would like to being in Shimla , but unfortunately don’t have time to go there, then the best place for you is Nandi Hills, a place filled with breathe taking scenic beauty, laced with mountain, dew,fog, strong wind and offers a pleasant climate on economized budget for  honeymooners. Previously, its name was Ananda Hills, meaning a place of happiness and it indeed is a place where you can happily unwind yourself. Interestingly, its present name is based on the shape of hill which resembles a sleeping bull.


Location:
Nandi Hills is located in Chikkaballapur District of Karnataka State, which is 60 kms from Bangalore city and situated 4851 feet above sea level.

How to reach there ??
Bus : Government buses runs from Bangalore, Chikkaballapur and Nandigrama. It takes 2 hours from Bangalore and 1 hour from Chikkaballapur to reach Nandi Hills.The hills has an 8 kilometers road from all the way to the top. But it is preferred that you take your Personal Vehicles. To reach there, from Majestic start towards Chikkaballapura on NH-7. After about 10 kms from the Airport crossing, turn towards left towards Nandi Hills. Google Maps for the location available here

Timings:
As it’s name suggests, it is a hilly area with strong wind blowing across and that too at high altitude laced with dew drops and mist. The best time for visit is from sunrise time(typically around 6 AM) to 10 AM (when the fog starts disappearing pretty fast). There is an entrance gate leading to Nandi hills and is  open from 5:30 AM to 6:00 PM, on all seven days of a week.

Climate:
Here the climate is moderate so we can enjoy the trip anytime but specially from June to August because of intermittent rain, we can experience little bit problem. The temperature is 25 to 28 centigrade during summer and 8 to 10 centigrade in winter. You can also choose to go at the time of Dussehra, during which a number of devotees pay homage at the temple situated on hill-top.

Prior Preparation:

  • It is very important to take proper winter clothes and snacks items in bag, as you will be taken by surprise by the temperature on hill-top, if you go unprepared.
  • Start your journey at proper time to reach the Nandi hills as early as possible in order to be able to see the sunrise on it.

Entry Ticket:
Entry fee is 5 Rs per person and 60 Rs for parking the four wheeler and 15 Rs for two wheeler.

Precautions:

  • We should be careful with  monkey and dogs on the hill (You can be sure there will be plenty :-))
  • We should take care for driving the car or vehicle also because there is only one road to the top and you can expect vehicles coming from the other side as well, that too amidst dew and fog. There are around 40 sharp curves in the way so one has to be extremely careful while driving both ways.

Accommodation:
There is only one hotel on top that is Mayura pine which is run by KSTDC (Karnataka state tourism development Corporation). It is  very basic one but its location is fabulous. It is situated at one edge of the hill and you can enjoy to see deep down into the valley .On the other hand there is one Nehru house also which has more than 15 rooms ,in which you can enjoy ancient world.

Places Of Interest:

  • Temples:There are temples for Sri Bhoga Narasimha, Sri Ugra Narasimha and Sri Yoga Narasimha .
  • Tippus Drop:During Tippus empire the prisoners were pushed down from this point to death.
  • Rivers:Arkavathi river originated on the south-west of the hill,Palar river on the eastern side and Pennar river also originated from it but most of the sources have dried.
  • Tippus Residence:This was used as Tippus summer residence but now it’s not open to public.
  • Amruth Sarovar:It’s a beautiful water lake decorated with plants.
  • Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple:It has beautiful carving and also has a beautiful Kalyana Mantapa.
  • Secret Passage : A secret passage which was built for the Kings to escape during unforeseen attacks.

So what are you waiting for ?? Go, pack your bags and visit Nandi Hills 🙂

Track Your PF Provident Fund Account Balance Online

As you already know, it is too difficult and involves a lengthy process to enquire about your own PF (Provident Fund) Account. I have already mentioned it at length in one of my earlier blog posts. But, finally some good news for PF account holder. After first announcing it almost 2 years back, EPFO (Employee Provident Fund Organization) has finally said that starting 1st July 2011, PF (Provident Fund) Account related information is just a mouse click away from you, as it will be available online via an SMS to your mobile. PF(Provident Fund) related information will also include the latest transaction regarding your PF account like settlement/transfer-in/transfer-out, your current balance, employer’s contribution etc. However, this facility will be available only for a certain region of the country, at present it is available for Delhi North, Delhi South, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Laxmi Nagar (Delhi), Faridabad and Karnal.  Although, they have announced that very soon this service will be available for remaining PF offices as well.

For knowing the PF account details, please follow the following set of steps.

  • Go to site http://www.epfindia.com/MembBal.html.
  • Select the regional PF office, where your account is maintained.

  • Enter the establishment code (maximum 7 digits), extension field and account number(maximum 7 digits). If there is no extension it can be left blank.
  • Now enter the name and mobile number and submit. Once done, all the relevant information with regards to your PF (Provident Fund) Account will be sent to you by SMS.

Hopefully, this initiative will please the PF Account Holders, who for long have been crying for more transparency and accessibility from government offices, in this case EPFO (Employee Provident Fund Organization)

SBI (State Bank Of India) Increases Home and Personal Loan’s Rate

Are you planning to take a home loan or a personal loan ?? When it comes to selecting your preferred bank, the first name that comes into your mind is SBI (State Bank Of India) which is India‘s largest bank. We also have in our mind that it may take “some” time to get your loan approved, but one thing is for sure, You will get it at very low interest rate.

But there is a bad news coming for SBI’s loyal customer base, which is bound to affect all its present as well as future borrowers. SBI (State Bank Of India) has just hiked its Base Rate and Benchmark Prime Lending Rate(BPLR) by 25 basis points each. This change will be effective from 25th April 2011. However, the Interest Rate on Term Deposits has been left unchanged.

For people who know nothing about these financial terms(that include us as well :-)) BPLR(Benchmark Prime Lending Rate) is the Interest Rate, at which Commercial Banks charge their most credit-worthy customers. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) committee, which reviews the Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR), has recommended the BPLR nomenclature to be scrapped and in stead a new benchmark rate — known as Base Rate — be put in place.

But, there are enough reasons not to worry. Even though the Base Rate for SBI’s loans is increased, it’s interest rate is still the lowest in Banking Industry. The Base Rates of most other public sector banks are in the range of 9-9.5 per cent whereas for State Bank Of India (SBI) the revised Base Rate is 8.5 per cent. No wonder, SBI remains the preferred first-choice lender for most of us, provided we get one !! They have set pretty stringent norms in place for granting home loans. I think, they should be more lenient in their home-loan-grant and should also cut-down on their processing time.

Instant Inter-Bank Funds Transfer Using IMPS (Inter-Bank Mobile Payment Service)

Did you know, you can transfer funds instantly across banks using your mobile ?? National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a facility called Inter-Bank Mobile Payments Service(IMPS) on 22nd November, 2010. At present in India, there are close to 60 crore mobile users which is much higher than bank account holders that is 30 crores so allowing funds transfer by mobile will really make a lot of sense for the customers. This blog post will describe at length how to make use of this facility and what are its main features and current limitations.

One natural question arises as to How is it different from NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer) and other transfer facilities like RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlements) ??

  • NEFT(National Electronic Funds Transfer) : As of now, we all can use National Electronic Funds Transfer(NEFT) for Inter-Bank Funds Transfer but it is not a real time service. It usually takes up to 48 hours to get the funds transferred. Hence the main drawback with NEFT is the time-lag.
  • RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) is another service, which can be used for Instant Inter-Bank Funds Transfer. Unfortunately it is not designed for common man. Here the minimum transfer amount is 2 Lakhs and this service is  available only during banking working hours, but the good thing about RTGS is its an instant service.  So you could say Special Service for Special People (Read Rich) 🙂
  • IMPS (Inter-Bank Mobile Payment System) is designed keeping rural India in mind, where mobile density is pretty good compare to banking sectors’ penetration. So now even common man (of course with less than 2 lakhs 😉 in their account) can transfer funds across banks instantly  IMPS (Inter-Bank Mobile Payment System) is 24×7 fund transfer service and its instant,automated,real time and simple to use as well.

Transfer Process:
At first a mobile customer has to register with his bank to activate mobile banking by installing a special application available at

Even if you phone is not supporting these applications, there is no need to worry. You can complete the transaction via SMS as well. After that a bank account holder will have to get a unique 7 digit number called MMID (Mobile Money Identifier).

What is MMID (Mobile Money Identifier):
Mobile Money identifier(MMID)
is a  7 digit number offered by IMPS by which we can send money instantly from our savings bank account using our mobile number.

Steps involved in transferring the money:

  1. Enter beneficiary’s 10 digit mobile number
  2. Enter beneficiary’s 7 digit MMID number
  3. Enter the amount you wish to transfer
  4. Provide bank authentication (user/customer ID and MPIN).
  5. Once your details are authenticated, the money is transferred instantly from your account.
  6. You will also receive an SMS with the transaction status

Steps involved in receiving the money:

  1. To receive money to your account via instant money transfer you will need to share your mobile number and MMID with the payee

Complaint:
In case of any problem you can register your complaint by placing a call to Call Center/Customer Care Toll-Free Number 1800 22 22 44. You can also register at the respective branches.

What all banks offer this facility ??
You will be happy to know that currently this service is available for customers having an account in Axis Bank,HDFC Bank, State Bank of India,Bank of India,Kotak Bank,Union Bank of India,Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank,Yes Bank. Soon, it will be made available to other bank customers as well.

Limitation:
The Maximum amount that can be transferred in a day has been set as Rs 50,000.

The most important part is this service IMPS (Inter-Bank Mobile Payment Service) is free till March 2011 an. Although nothing to loose sleep over, even after that NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) will only charge 25 paise per transaction, which is fairly nominal.

So no need to have passbook or to go to bank ,just have your mobile and you can pay anyone like shopkeeper,auto man etc,if you have money in your account 🙂