Starting a Composting Earthworm bin

Composting thru earthworms or Vermi composting is a fun activity especially if there are kids involved . You also get the best compost for your plants  It is a great way to dispose off ur organic waste and reduce ur garbage

Depending upon where u live you can choose the worms so u have a happy bin. Composting worms are different from regular earthworms as they live in the soil surface rather than deep underground.

Most Fresh kitchen waste or manure needs to decompose or age a bit before the worms will touch it. Heat from a compost pile can boil an egg, it will kill worms and fresh food scraps + composting bacteria = heat 

Worms generally love dark and damp beds , aged cow , goat or horse manure, semi done compost or half done compost , which wont heat up They need grit or egg shell powder or sand to digest .

Earthenware khambas,  pots , old large wooden drawers , glass fish tanks  and fine mesh bag are great home composters . plastic tubs with ventilation holes will also do the job.

Great worms for cooler places are 

1. Red wiggler or tiger worm (Eisenia fetida or Eisenia andrei)  are most used hardy worms that are favourite of most composters .

2.  European nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis)

Worms most suitable in tropical or hot and humid or sea side areas and  grow well at a temperature of 24-30 °C (75-86 °F) and can survive 36°C

Eg Most of Asian coastline , Indian coastline , Mumbai etc

3. African Nightcrawlers (Eudrilus eugeniae

4. Indian or Malaysian Blueworms (Perionyx excavatus) may be used in the tropics

The nightcrawlers which are also used as fish bait and the blueworms are more active and mobile and love to travel while red tigers are lazier. I dont reco using alabama jumpers and other invasive species

Earthworms are hermaphrodites, it has both male and female reproductive organs. Two worms join clitella, the large lighter-colored bands which contain the worms’ reproductive organs, and which are only prominent during the reproduction process. The two worms exchange sperm. Both worms may secrete cocoons size the of mustard seeds which contain an egg each. These cocoons are lemon-shaped and are pale yellow at first, becoming more brownish as the worms inside become mature. These cocoons are clearly visible to the naked eye.

Worm poop or Vermicast (also called worm castings, worm humus, worm manure, or worm feces) and worm tea or compost tea is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by earthworms.

great videos on composting

 

India Budget 2018 – What matters most !

When Lawyers become FMs the budgets are generally neither here nor there and Mr Jaitley is not so different from his predecessor .. Mr Chidambaram .

This budget is poor especially cause Pre elections 2014 , Arun Jaitley demanded Raise I-T slab to Rs 5 lakh! 

Lets start

TAX RATES 2017

Cost Inflation Index 2017

As there are more negatives than positives im just listing out things

  1. Fiscal deficit is at 3.5% of GDP at Rs 5.95 lakh crore in 2017-18 overshoots 3.2% estimated in previous budget.
  2. Projecting fiscal deficit to be 3.3% of GDP in the next fiscal likely to be overshot due to it being election year …
  3. The FM Jaitley has protected his own ie POLITICIANS with inflation linked increase in wage and incentives .
  4. Big pay hike for gaddi holders President gets at Rs 5 lakh, Rs 4 lakh for Vice President, Rs 3.5 lakh for governors.
  5. No cheer for aam admi as there is no change in slabs or rates while taxpayer pays 1% more in 4% health and education cess which will replace the education cess.
  6. No tax for super rich Crorepati agriculturalists with bentleys and mercs and swimming pools
  7. Vote bank politics : More Free gas connections in rural India . Good or bad ?. Sustainable or burden on salaried class ?  NREGA costs 45000 Cr + and there is corruption there ..India imports gas and oil… what rural India needs is biogass chulla, smokeless chulla and more efficient chulla, like philipino kalans that burns less wood or they will want free gas for life and spare time will go into increasing population !

General Points

  • Tax slab , tax rates remain unchanged .
  • You pay 1% more on everything 4% health and education cess  will replace the 3% education cess.
  • Long term Capital Gains Tax  reintroduced for gains above Rs 100000 ! LTCG of 10% without indexation for part profits earned after 1 Feb 2018 .
  • Short term capital tax at 15%, DDT at 10% above 10 lakhs dividend.
  • STT will continue to be deducted at old rates(Tds).
  • Standard deduction reintroduced only for Salary /Pensioner class of Rs 40000 in lieu of health and medical expenses (so benefit is 40 – 30 existing = Rs 10000 )
  • Standard deduction on Family pension ???
  • Excise on unbranded diesel cut by 2 rupees to 6.33 rupee/ltr, on petrol cut by 2 rupees to 4.48 rupee/ltr
  • Customs Duty on  mobile phones and televisions increased.
  • Social welfare surcharge of 10% on imported goods. Could cause food inflation as our MSP, land and labor laws make india uncompetitive in comparison to our south and south east asian neighbors !
  • All Railway stations with footfall of greater than 25,000 will have escalators.
  • 12,000 wagons, 5160 coaches and 700 locomotives being procured.

Measures for Senior citizens 

  • Exemptions in income of Rs 50,000 from Banks and post office FD  Rds etc
  • No no TDS on Fixed Deposits and Post Office deposits upto Rs 50,000.
  • Under Sec 80D. Senior C MEDICLAIM Exemption now Rs 50,000
  • Under Sec 80DDB Senior C Exemption now Rs 100,000
  •  8% Interest bearing LIC / Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana investment limit doubled to Rs 15 lakh.

Bloombergs analysis 

 

How to opt out of the HDFC Bank Preferred Banking Programme

HDFC bank uses underhand tactics which are unethical, to boost its revenue and to extract money from its account holders.

  1. Search –  Welcome to HDFC Bank Preferred Banking Programme! in ur email
  2. open that email
  3. Opt out of that program
  4. write an email to Talktous@hdfcbank.com and to ur RM and to ur bank manager.

u can also write a letter in duplicate and get a stamped copy if they dont comply .

hdfc.jpg

 

Canon Inkjet Printer troubleshooting

DONT DO THIS IF UR PRINTER IS UNDER WARRANTY … Just get it serviced by Canon

It works on most CANON Inkjet printers

Problem  The printer doesnt print properly ie character misalignment  / there are streaks or smudges if u switch on the printer after a while.

Solution: in Printer Properties / Maintenance go for a print head alignment and follow instructions  or try cleaning / deep cleaning and nozzle check.

CLEAN IT : What always works is  to use isopropyl alcohol with a cotton swab / tissue on the head and chip or keep the cartridge head in hot water for some time to free up the dried gunk … dry properly and then reinstall cartridge in its bay .

Canon printer error codes for technical errors 

4x orange 1x green or 8x orange 1x green : Problem printer absorber full

Solution: See if u can get the absorber sponges cleaned or replaced and Reset the printer using iptool115

5x orange 1x green or 7x orange 1x green : Cartridge not properly detected

Problem or Error : Black or Color cartridge not detecting / improperly installed / Black or Color cartridge is empty

Remove the cartridges, turn off the printer and clean and reinstall the cartridges. Switch on after some time. Then you can continue printing. Sometimes this doesn’t work. Printer cos make money on cartridge and losses on printers

When the color cartridge goes dry the printer sometimes stops detecting it and forces u to buy a new one which can be bypassed by resetting the chip on the cartridge.

Use IPtools 115 or any other specific tool.  FOLLOW EXACT SEQUENCE for results

  • Driver should have been install correctly and printer should be detected.
  • Connect USB cable. Disconnect power cable
  • Press and hold power button down then connect the power,green gets lit
  • Dont release the power button , press resume button for 2 times then release both power and resume button. Printer will start
  • Run  IPTOOLS115 , It will detect ur printer and show ink levels
  • Check if the correct printer series is detected and set it
  • Do what is neccessary ie reset ur black or color cartridge or reset waste ink counters or service the printer head or rollers
  • Now check if the ink levels are reset
  • Switch the printer off and turn it on after half a minute … and your printer should be working …

Indian Budget 2016, What matters most…

There were many an expectation from the Narendra Modi Govt ! The govt won on promises such as minimum government maximum governance but has been unable to change anything much on ground other than reducing corruption and improving administration in bits and pieces , and the fault lies squarely at its door as much as it does at the doors of the Opposition. .  the opposition parties with their obstruction tactics are no better as are the state Govts which want to pursue their own agendas don’t pretty much care about the economic interests of the nation. Thanks to the Pay commission and OROP hikes, which time will tell if the govt can afford..the fiscal situation even after big drop in oil prices is very tight

The Economic climate world over is bad as Govts push for negative rates as they lack cannon fodder to boost or pump up their economies , while there has been back to back droughts in India. Watch the govt expenses and fiscal and monetary deficit figures.

Lets see what this budget brings to us !

The Good

NO CHANGE IN FISCAL DEFICIT @ 3.5%

NO CHANGE IN LTCG TAX

Gains on a listed security attract no income tax if it is held for the long term i.e. at least a year. But if it is sold within a year of purchase, the transaction attracts 15 per cent tax.

Multiple changes / reforms in tax mechanism to reduce litigation and discretion to tax officers.

U/S 87 Rebate of Rs 5000

  • For individuals having total income upto Rs 5 lakh (Up from Rs 2000)

U/S 80GG  Rebate of Rs 60000 for house rent paid.

(big lollipop that hardly benefits anyone considering conditions set)

  • Deduction is available to Individual Assessee only. (Up from 24000)
  • He has not received HRA(house rent allownace ) from his employer if he is a salaried person otherwise he should be self employed.
  • He has paid house rent for his own residence.
  • He or his spouse or his minor child or HUF(of which he has a member) should not have a residential house where he ordinarily resides or performs duties of his office or employment or carries on his business or profession;
  • He should not have a house owned by him, which is under his occupation and value of that is not being taken as nil under section 23(2)(a) or 23(4).
  • A declaration on Form 10BA should be submitted .

First time home buyers to get additional deduction of Rs 50,000 on interest for loan upto Rs 35 lakh

Withdrawal from NPS on maturity made tax-free upto 40%

A New Health Protection Scheme to provide health cover up to Rs.1 lakh per family announced National Dialysis Services Programme to be launched 3000 Stores to be opened under Prime Ministers Jan Aushadhi Yojana during 2016-17

The Bad 

NO CHANGES IN TAX SLABS !

EET ON EPF withdrawals

  • Lower amt set for Bank recapitalization at 25000 Crores
  • Vague on funding Pay commission and OROP.
  • Increase in tax on Cigarettes but not Biddis which is lopsided and helps politicians and cronys who own biddi factories.
  • The securities transaction tax (STT) on cash transactions has been maintained at 0.12 per cent. But STT on options trading has been increased to 0.05 per cent from 0.017 per cent earlier.
  • The Union Budget introduced a surcharge rise to 15% for incomes over Rs 1 crore
  •  The Budget proposed that in addition to the DDT paid by companies, tax at the rate of 10 per cent of gross amount of dividend will be payable by big recipients, such as individuals, HUFs and firms receiving dividend income in excess of Rs 10 lakh per annum.
  • 1% additional tax will be charged on luxury cars above Rs 10 lakh
  • The FM has proposed to cess of 1% on small petrol and CNG cars, 2.5% on diesel cars and 4% on SUVs and other high-end cars.

The Ugly

In a major upset to the middle class dependent on its pension funds for retirement as there is no Social Security net in this Nation is the EET Bomb on Pension funds.

This includes EPF , NPS and PPF ? wherein 60% of your deposit from April 1 2016 is to be taxed on withdrawal

This is a good budget for agri and farm sector if only money reaches them.

This is a bad or so so budget for middle class as the OROP and Pay commission hike will be inflationary for all and increase of tax free income for common man up to 3 lakhs and 4 lakh for seniors  was anticipated badly.

Infocus M2 vs Moto E2 vs Redmi 2 vs Lenovo A 6000 vs Yu Yureka

Infocus M2 specifications  Rs 4999 (limited offer snapdeal)

Moto E2 specifications               Rs 6999 on flipkart

 Lenovo A6000 specifications   Rs 6999 on flipkart

Redmi 2 8gb specifications        Rs 6999 on flipkart 

Yu specifications                         Rs 8999 on amazon.in

  • All these phones are Chinese Built and use good quality components
  • Specs and purchasability including screen size, Ram, processor etc generally improve as you go down the order. You could choose between yu and redmi2 16gb whenever it comes out
  • Infocus has the best selfi cam as it has a 8mp front cam with led and is built by the pc component maker foxconn.
  • Moto E2 is a Motorolla phone now owned by Chinese Pc maker Lenovo which also makes A6000.
  • Moto is a pure Android phone s0 you could get the fastest updates.
  • Lenovo A6000
  • Redmi2 also called Xiaomi Hongmi 2  is from xiaomi amongst the fastest growing Chinese Phone cos.
  • Yu is a venture by  Micromax owners
  • Yu has the best hardware on paper including camera, on the android platform using cyanogen mod it may have heat issues while gaming.

India Budget 2015, What matters most!

I had not built up too many hopes on the FM , for very good reason

Budget 2015 from FM Jaitley, to me has turned out to be a damp squib considering all the pre-elections talk by Mr Jaitley . Cost of life for the middle and lower middle class goes up while the slab rates don’t really change in accordance with inflation and price rise.

Worse the Senior citizens and small investors will suffer the effects of  the TDS and tax scrutiny monster. Just hope that there is no tax inspector raj and small man is not harassed by the taxman in desperate attempt to garner more revenue for the revenue.

FM has indulged in some minor tinkering with exemptions. This is not going to boost personal spending in any way whatsoever.

The FM does not have what it takes to increase tax base by taxing the rural super rich, neither has he made a serious attempt at  taxing the land mafia and the builder mafia many of whom are politicians or politically connected. No wonder he picks on the meak ie salaried class and retirees.

First  the lollypops :-

1. MEDICLAIM u/s 80 D

In view of continuous increase in medical expenditure, it is proposed to increase the limit of deduction under section 80D from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000. In case of senior citizens, the limit of deduction is proposed to be increased from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000.

A deduction to the extent of any payment made on account of medical expenditure but restricted to Rs. 30,000 under section 80D, for very senior citizens not covered by Mediclaim. Awaiting the fine print . A  minor surgery costs Rs 50000 or more in a low cost private hospital these days, so this is not going to bring real respite to very senior citizens or to govt run general hospitals which are in a bad shape due to overcrowding and apathy.

ie Mediclaim costs + medical expense limited to Rs 30000.

2.  Increase in limits of deduction under Section 80DD and 80U for disabled person from from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 75,000. It is further proposed to raise the limit of deduction in respect of a person with severe disability from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 1.25 lakhs.  This while hospitals mark up annually at least by 10 to 15 %.

3. Rebates

Overall limit of deductions under Section 80C, 80CCD and 80CCC still capped at Rs. 1.50 lakhs as per existing provisions of Section 80CCE.

Investment in Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme to come under Section 80C – Also the interest accruing on deposits in, and withdrawals from this account will be tax exempt.

4.  The limit for contribution to a pension fund u/s 80CCC up  to Rs 150000 from Rs 100000.

5. The FM has attempted to promote the NPS among the upper middle class with more disposable income, by introducing an additional deduction upto Rs. 50000,   in respect of any contributions made by any individual assesse under the NPS. which is still Exempt Exempt Taxable at maturity.

The Good

  • A very basic attempt to simplify and streamline tax system.
  • No more Wealth Tax , but 2% increase in surcharge instead for the super rich earning over a Crore.
  • 10% TDS Introduced For EPF Withdrawal Before 5 Years if amount is above 30,000 (move against tax evasion)
  • Service tax hike of 2.4% for non-economy class air travel
  • Excise duty on mineral water & aerated drinks increased to 18%
  • PAN compulsory for transactions above 1 lakh.
  • Gold monetization scheme (aim to disclose gold holdings + bring gold into the system) ? bound to fail ? time will tell!
  • To provide incentives for debit/credit card transactions (more power to visa and mastercard ?)
  • Exemption of transport allowance doubled to 1,600 from 800. Considering an avg BEST bus or metro ticket cost of Rs 20 per day this is a joke on the salaried taxpayer.
  • TDS on Recurring Deposit implemented (earlier individual had to file tax)
  • Co-operative banks to also deduct TDS now

The Bad

  • Service tax, previously at 12.36% now 14%
  • Excise duties, which were at 12.36% now 12.5%
  • Govt to impose additional swachh bharat cess of 2% on services
  • NREGA still continues….. when the govt revenues are down quite considerably.

and The Ugly :

  • TDS on OVERALL interest earned above 10,000 in a bank and not branch.(That is so ridicuously low, the same as the Section 80TTA Deduction) ( Terrible news for retirees)
  • DDT Increased From 19.99% To 20.36% in FY16

This means , please invest in property or file ur form 15 H and G. or spend on filing your returns and wait patiently for that refund ! Govt finances are a mess and  the small and senior citizens are bound to suffer as govt wants to extract the maximum in TDS from the most week and defenceless.

Imagine if a senior citizen who earns 250000 from FD interest in banks forgets to file form 15 will have to spend approx Rs 1500 to 5000 on an accountant to file his returns to claim his tds in refund.

Imagine you a small investor with 100 Reliance shares, getting a dividend of Rs 950, will pay the same tax as Mukesbhai Ambani whose dividend is in crores .

Sadly his move on increased DDT is pro rich and regressive and will hamper investor culture as the small investor who may be in the 10% tax slab will end up paying @ 38.8% (Tax @25% + ECess @2% + SHEC @1% & DDTax @17% + EduCess @2% + SHEC @1%).

The way he has treated small shareholders of PSUs to balance his budget eg COAL INDIA, GAIL and ONGC was an early indication of things to come.

Mr Jaitleys policy on Taxing a companys  small shareholders is regressive and anti Long term Equity investments culture . Small investors who will be incentivized to exit short term and pay 15 % STCG.

SLAB RATES for your reference :-

For ASSESSMENT YEAR 2016-2017
RELEVANT TO FINANCIAL YEAR 2015-2016

TAX FREE INCOME :

INDIVIDUALS: Upto 2,50,000 – Nil

INDIVIDUAL RESIDENTS 60 TO 80 Yrs: Upto 3,00,000 – Nil

INDIVIDUAL RESIDENTS 80 Yrs +: Upto 500,000 – Nil ?

TAX SLABS

I. Upto 5,00,0000  {10% of the amount exceeding Tax free Income}

II. Upto 10,00,000 –  {I + 20% of the Income over 500000}

III. Above 10,00,000 –  {I + II + 30% of the Income over 1000000}

CAPITAL GAINS

LONG TERM EQUITY  1YR + : NIL (after STT)

SHORT TERM EQUITY  1YR – : 15% (after STT)

LONG TERM DEBT  3YR + : 20% (after STT)

Deductions and Rebates

Sec 80 D MEDICLAIM : MAX Rs 25000 / 30000 for Senior Citizens

Section 80 TTA: MAX Rs 10000 on Savings Interest.

80DDB :relating to treatment of chronic diseases :Upto Rs.40,000 / Rs 60000 Senior C :Deduction limit increased to Rs80,000 from Rs60,000 with respect to the medical treatment of certain chronic and protracted diseases such as Cancer, full blown AIDS etc., in case of senior citizen.

Section 80DD and 80U for persons with disability and severe disability: Rs.50,000 (Rs.1,00,000 in case of severe disability) :Additional deduction of Rs25,000 allowed for medical treatment differently abled dependant.

Maximum overall Deductions allowed u/s. 80C, 80CCC & sec.80CCD(1) is Rs. 1,50,000*

Sec 80 C :

 Life Insurance Premia, PF, PPF, NSC, ELSS, Units of Mutual Fund referred to u/s.10(23D), Tuition Fees(max. 2 Children), Repayment of Principal of Housing loan, Bank Fixed Deposit of 5 yrs period, notified Bonds of NABARD, Deposit in an account under Senior Citizens Savings Scheme rules, 5 year time deposit in an account under Post Office Time Deposit Rules, 1981 etc.

Sec 80 CCC : Premium paid towards approved Pension Fund (like LIC’s Jeevan Suraksha) Max Investment. 1.5 lakh.

Sec 80 CCD : NPS  Max Investment now Rs 150000 * + 50000

Sec 80 CCG: Rajiv Gandhi Scheme : 50% of the amount invested subject to a maximum of Rs.25,000 (failed scheme)

The deduction is available to a new resident retail investor whose gross total income does not exceed ten lakh rupees.

REBATE U/S.87:

Rebate of Rs 2000 for individuals having total income up to Rs 5 lakh

  • Rebate is available only to Resident individuals and not available to Non Residents.
  • Rebate available to both Male and Female assesses
  • If the total tax payable by is less than Rs. 2000/-, rebate is restricted to “total tax payable”.
  • Rebate is allowed before levy of Education Cess, SHE Cess & Surcharge.
  • Rebate benefit is available to all category of Individuals but not to super senior citizen, since he is already fully exempted up to Rs. 5 lakh.

Beware of Shopclues website

As online brands have proliferated people blindly buy online because one gets great deals.

But in case of defective product , some websites don’t even bother to address the problem properly.

Shopclues is one such site, Whose customer service is horrible .. it is almost non existent. Im waiting for 2+ months for a return of a damaged product i purchased on their site

http://www.shopclues.com

http://www.shopclues.com/contactus

Their chat doesnt work , they never reply to emails or to messages on their site.

Next time you buy anything over Rs 50 u better pay on delivery and give the box a good shake to check if u have a damaged product.