Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Free service? Banks don't do any such favours

There's no such thing as a free lunch. Banks today offer a slew of services to the customer, which only seem to increase the amount that they charge you by the day.

Let’s take stock of what you pay to avail of services for a typical savings bank account.

1. Non-maintenance of minimum balance

You must maintain a stipulated minimum balance in your account (Rs 1,000 for a nationalised bank, Rs 5000 for a private bank).

If you fail to maintain this average quarterly minimum balance, you attract a bank charge of Rs 750-1500 respectively.

You could also face fines for cash transactions at branches and ATMs.

2. Chequebook charges

Most nationalised banks provide chequebooks free as per your requirement.

Many private ones, on the other hand, charge you Rs 50-200 per chequebook, if you use up more than 2-3 per quarter.

3. Account closure charges

Some banks charge Rs 50-200 if the account is closed before six months elapse.

4. Charges for certificates

Unlike most nationalised banks, private banks charge Rs 50-250 for documents like balance certificate, interest certificate, address confirmation, signature attestation, photo attestation etc.

5. Cheque return charges

Nationalised banks fine you Rs 50-200 in case of cheque return (due to insufficient funds, signature mismatch etc), but private ones charge you Rs 100-Rs 500.

6. Cash transaction at other branches

In case of a cash transaction at a branch other than where your account is opened, 1-3 transactions are free per quarter. Beyond that, be prepared to be charged at the rate of Rs 5 per for every Rs 1000 transacted.

7. ATM charges

If you use the ATM of another bank for balance enquiry or cash, you could be charged anything from Rs 10-100 per transaction.

8. Account statement

RBI directs that all banks must send free quarterly statements to their customers. Should you require more statements (in case of loss etc), you may have to pay Rs 50-500 per statement.

9. ATM or Debit Card fees

Most banks offer ATM cards free of cost, but some do charge their customers for debit cards. For example, ICICI Bank provides a combo ATM/ Debit card, for which it charges Rs 99 per annum.

Over and above these, there are several other charges, like outstation clearing charge (Rs 50- 500), pay order/ demand draft charge (based on amount), standing instruction charges, home cash delivery charges, old records retrieval charges, activation of dormant account charge etc.

Note: Visit the bank's web site or any of the branches, for a copy of these expenses. It is mandatory for every bank to give it to you.

The author, Ketul Shah, is a Chartered Accountant He can be contacted at

Intelligent Answers ???

Q.How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
A. Concrete floors are very hard to crack! (UPSC Topper)

Q.If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?
A. No time at all it is already built. (UPSC 23 rd Rank Opted for IFS)

Q.If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in the other hand, what would you have?
A. Very large hands.(Good one) (UPSC 11 Rank Opted for IPS)

Q. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
A. It is not a problem, since you will never find an elephant with
one hand. (UPSC Rank 14 Opted for IES)

Q. How can a man go eight days without sleep?
A. No Probs, He sleeps at night. (UPSC IAS Rank 98)

Q. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?
A. It will Wet or Sink as simple as that. (UPSC IAS Rank 2)

Q. What looks like half apple?
A : The other half. (UPSC - IAS Topper)

Q. What can you never eat for breakfast?
A : Dinner.

Q. What happened when wheel was invented?
A : It caused a revolution.

Q. Bay of Bengal is in which state?
A : Liquid (UPSC 33 R ank )

Interviewer said "I shall either ask you ten easy questions or one really difficult question.

Think well before you make up your mind!" The boy thought for a while and said, "my choice is one really difficult question."

"Well, good luck to you, you have made your own choice! Now tell me this. "What comes first, Day or Night?"

The boy was jolted in! to reality as his admission depends on the correctness of his answer, but he thought for a while and said, "It's the DAY sir!"

"How" the interviewer asked,

"Sorry sir, you promised me that you will not ask me a SECOND difficult question!" and he was selected for IIM!

Monday, August 27, 2007

An assault on the soul of the nation???

I had gone to the Landmark book shop on Nungambakkam High Road Monday evening. When, I got a new 2 Rupee Coin minted in 2006 as loose change towards the balance that was payable to me, I was shell-shocked to note that on one side of this coin was the usual and familiar Ashokan Lion Capitol in miniature size (! ?) with the constitutionally approved and administratively established inscription of Sathyameva Jayathe (Truth Alone Triumphs) deliberately smudged/omitted with pseudo-secular sinister intentions. On the reverse of the same coin, I could clearly see the inscription of a Christian Cross which had replaced the map of India. I asked myself a highly saffronised and communal question: Are we living in a Catholic country like Italy or Spain or Portugal where Roman Catholicism is the religion of the State and the people? To quote the bracing and blazing words of B R Haran in this context: 'I too was literally shocked to see the Cross on the 2 Rupee coin. Some may feel that it is only a 'X' mark, but it is not true. Why should and for what reason the government of India have the 'X' sign on the coin? Whereas, the motive behind '+' mark makes sense. I am sure it is a 'Cross' and the calculated motive of the Italian-led government is only to spread Christianity in India. It is a fraud committed, not only on the so-called secularism of the country, but also on the Constitution and the conscience of our people. It is indeed outrageous and atrocious that the beautiful map of India in the previous version of the 2 Rupee coin minted in 2000 has been removed and replaced with this lousy Cross in 2006. I wonder what the opposition is doing! How it that it escaped their attention? How are we going to put an end to all this pseudo-secular drama?'

Ever since the UPA government under the dynastic stranglehold of Sonia Gandhi came to power in New Delhi in May 2004, it has been following a calculated and damnable policy which I have often described times without number as 'Christianity-Coveting, Islam-embracing and Hindu-Hating in stance, posture, ideology, philosophy, programme and action.'

In these columns I had exposed the anti-national designs of the government of India on 3 January, 2007. I had observed as follows about the dastardly slant of the government of India even in the very routine matter of presentation of government of India websites: I was going through the government of India websites 10 days ago. I had the misfortune of running into a government of India website relating to e- greetings under four heads: a) Celebrations; b) Heritage; c) Festivals and d) Glimpses of India. I did not find any e-greeting card for any Hindu festival. However, there were 16 cards for Christmas and nine for Eid. I could clearly see the egalitarian impact of Sachar Committee and Dr Manmohan Singh's Minority Appeasement Declaration (MAD) in concerted action even on a government of India website.'

In this context I would like to quote these immortal words of Shri Aurobindo in his last political speech at Uttarpara on 30 May, 1909: 'I say it again today, but I put it in another way. I say no longer that nationalism is a creed, a religion, a faith; I say that it is the Sanatan Dharma which for us is nationalism. This Hindu nation was born with the Sanatan Dharma, with it it moves and with it it grows. When the Sanatan Dharma declines, then the nation declines, and if the Sanatan Dharma were capable of perishing, with the Sanatan Dharma it would also perish. The Sanatan Dharma, is indeed nationalism. This is the message that I have to speak to you'. If India is held together, it is because of SANATANA DHARMA.' It is shocking that a Two-rupee coin has been issued with a 'sectarian' or 'religious' motif. This is a pseudo-secular assault on the state which vows 'pantha nirapekshataa' - neutrality as to 'religion.' This is a departure from the practice of issuing commemorative coins to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, B R Ambedkar, Rajiv Gandhi, Dnyaneshwar, 1982-Asian Games, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sri Aurobindo, Chittaranjan Das, and Chhatrapati Shivaji.

This indeed is unfortunate. Who is behind all this calculated national mischief? Is it the Congress Party and its pseudo-secular anti-Hindu allies? Is it Sonia Gandhi and her caucus with its own convoluted conduit pipes? Is it an over enthusiastic Christian bureaucrat dreaming of a Padma award or some sinecure post after his retirement? These are the questions that can be asked by every responsible and enlightened citizen in India today.

In my view, the 2 Rupee Coin issued in 2006 bearing the 'Christian Cross' resembles the Gold Coin issued by Louis the Pious (778 AD-840 AD), also known as Louis I, Louis the Fair, and Louis the Debonaire.. He was Emperor and King of France from 814 to his death in 840. He issued a coin bearing a Christian Cross which has been copied shamelessly by the Mint Master who has included the same Cross on one side of the new 2 Rupee coin issued in 2006. I am presenting below the picture of that coin issued by Louis the Pious (778-840).

Please see the Cross on the above coin on the left . There are four dots in all in the above coin, two on either side of the vertical line of the Cross. During the days of the Crusades and the Byzantine Empire, they were known a besant or besants. Besant was also called solidus, a gold coin of the Roman empire used in Europe until the 15th century. Four dots (besants) on the cross of Louis the Pious (9th century) later evolved into the 'Jerusalem Cross' which was used as a coat of arms for the Latin kingdom in Jerusalem. It was also called 'Crusader's Cross' during the Crusades. The four small dots (later small crosses) are symbolic of the four Gospels proclaimed to the four corners of the earth, beginning in Jerusalem; the large cross symbolizes the person of Christ. ( Four canonical gospels are attributed to the Four Evangelists: (Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke and Gospel of John). 'Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned' (Mk 16:15-16). The Gospel of Mark is cited as the doctrine for Dominus Jesus initiated by Ratzinger, the present Pope in the Vatican. (

There is a good possibility that this initiative was the inspiration for the Bharatiya Mint Master to produce the plagiarised masterpiece of Crusader's Cross on the 2 Rupee Coin issued by Government of India in 2006 and also for deleting the words 'Satyameva Jayate' from the Indian State Emblem on the obverse of the coin.

I am presenting below two sides of the 2 Rupee Coins issued in 2000 and 2006.

Please note the Indian Two Rupee Coin above bearing the 'Christian Cross' in the coin issued in 2006.

FIRST ROW ABOVE: Obverse and reverse sides of the Indian coin (Rs 2) minted in 2000. Please see the map of India on the right. Please see the inscription of Satyamevajayate below the Lion Capitol on the left coin.

SECOND ROW ABOVE : Obverse and reverse sides of the 2 Rupee Indian coins minted in 2006.

IN THE OBVERSE SIDE OF THE 2006 VERSION ABOVE : Note carefully the 'Christian Cross' which has replaced the national symbol of the three lions. The National Symbol of India (The 3 lions from the hoary Ashoka Chakra) has at long last been crucified!

Ashok T Jaisinghani ( has asked the following relevant questions which will be fully endorsed by the patriotic Hindus of India numbering over more than 800 millions and in absolute majority:

How many Hindus have noticed the new two-rupee coins bearing the 'Christian Cross'?

* Is the secular government of India openly using the sign like the Cross on Indian coins to encourage the spread of Christianity in India?

* Is the UPA-led government of Manmohan Singh favouring the Christian community just to keep the Italian Christian Sonia Gandhi in good humour?

* Is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acting as a mere puppet of Sonia Gandhi who is behaving like a de facto Empress of India?

I have cited the example of Christian Cross to be seen in the coins issued by Louis The Pious (778-840) which has been used by government of India on the 2 Rupee Coins issued in 2006. The pseudo-secular anti-Hindu leaders of India of New Delhi can say that the example of Louis The Pious is no longer relevant today in 2007!! To such Hindu-baiting people, I would like to give the following examples / samples of Christian Crosses from a modern website of AmeriYank's Christian Crosses:

In the second row above , the Cross on the extreme right looks almost similar (if we exclude the ornamental ends on the four arms) to the Cross on the 2 Rupee Indian Coin issued in 2006.

Today in India, tragically a Hindu has only one parichaya, only one name by which he is known. He is known as a communalist. Islamic ideology, Christian ideology, Communist ideology � very humane and very civilized according to the Minority UPA government� have all made such inroads that a Hindu is being called a communalist in his own land. This is the 10th wonder of the world.

(The writer is a retired IAS officer)

e-mail the writer at


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

MBA-grad mints money from garbage management


New Delhi: Manik Thapar, an MBA graduate turned his business into a mission and vice-versa.

"When I was studying in the US people used to ask me how could I live in a dirty country. That's when I decided that I need to clean up,” says Thapar.

It was then that Thapar decided to set up shop in garbage management and collection in Noida two years ago. And the idea he had back in college in the US is now a money churner. Thapar's Ecowise Waste Management collects garbage from nearly 20,000 households, as well as a few malls and hotels, in Noida. This is then converted into almost 60 tonnes of compost or manure every month, and then sold in the open market.

“The waste is segregated and then divided into bio-degradable and non biodegradable waste. The Biodegradable waste is then converted to compost,” says Thapar.

Wet waste, which is primarily kitchen waste is then converted into organic and vermiculture compost. This sells for Rs 40 a kilo, while the organic manure is sold at Re 1 per kg. And it's not just about making money - Thapar says his venture saves Noida Authority, which produces around 350 tonnes of garbage every day, around Rs 9 lakh a day. Also, the men working under him are each paid Rs 5,000 per month and are given medical insurance. And Thapar plans for more!

“Future plans include expand work to cities like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Kerela. And crush PET bottles and supply these to Reliance and turn them into fibre optics,” says Thapar.

Thapar's also an advisor on the MCD's solid waste management committee. And while he's certainly making money, he says what drives him is also the will to make a difference.

Via: IBNlive

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Turn of Fortune: Mexican is world's richest man

"BILLIONAIRE'S CAUSE: Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim with former US President Bill Clinton." - below

Mexico City: Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim has overtaken Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the world's wealthiest man with riches of $59 billion, according to Fortune magazine.

Fortune, which tracks the performance of the world's top companies, said Slim has increased his net worth by $12 billion so far this year based on the market value of his companies listed on stock exchanges.

In an online profile of Slim, 67, Fortune said he had a fortune of $59 billion based on the value of his public holdings at the end of July. Gates, the Microsoft founder and perennial No. 1, had a net worth estimated to be at least $58 billion, the magazine said.

Slim, the son of a Lebanese immigrant, owns Latin America's largest cell phone company, America Movil. Fortune said Slim's companies, ranging from a restaurant chain to a bank, made up a third of the Mexican stock market and his family's holdings represented more than 5 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product last year.

In July, a respected Mexican financial journalist announced that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world's richest man but the magnate said he did not care.

“It's water off a duck's back to me,” the cigar-smoking Slim told foreign correspondents last week. "I don't know if I'm No. 1, No. 20, or No. 2,000. It doesn't matter."

Gates and billionaire US investor Warren Buffett, who was the second-richest person in the world until Slim overtook him this year, have been giving more of their money to charity in recent years.

Slim also backs philanthropic causes and last week announced a $300 million plan to build 100 schools in Mexico, but says he does more good by creating wealth and jobs through his own companies.

- Via: IBMlive

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sensitivity Training - 13+

Here is what goes on at sensitivity training at a coed college.

Sensitivity Training - A funny movie is a click away