Monday, February 28, 2011


Budget 2011 Summary

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee presented Union Budget 2011 in Parliament today.

OVERVIEW: Budget estimates for 2011-12 projects Rs 9,32,440 crore - an increase of 24 per cent.

Expenditure in 2011-12 is estimated at Rs 12,57,729 crore, an increase of 13.4%.

Revenue deficit fixed at 2.3% in revised estimates of 2010-11 and 1.8% in 2011-12.

Tax reductions to result in revenue loss of Rs 11,500 crore

INFLATION: The finance minister opened his speech with reference to inflation saying that food inflation came down from 20.2% last year to 9.3% in January 2011 but it was still a matter of concern. "Government's principle concern is high food prices... food prices were high for cereals, there was a spurt in prices of onions and milk," he said. ( Inflation remains principal concern, to fall next year )

AGRICULTURE: In what may be a big relief for farmers, the FM said credit flows to farmers will be raised from Rs 3.75 lakh crore to Rs 4.75 lakh crores and the allocation under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana will be raised from Rs 6755 crore in the current year to Rs 7860 crore. ( Farm loans at 4%; credit target raised to Rs 4,75,000cr )

An additional Rs 300 cr will be provided to promote pulses cultivation in rain-fed areas and another Rs 300 cr to promote farm product cultivation.

In joy for anganwadi workers, their remuneration is being raised from Rs 1500 to Rs 3,000 per month. Anganwadi helpers will get Rs 1,500 from Rs 750, Pranab said. ( Social spending to be raised by 17% )

Old age pension to persons of over the age of 80 will be raised from Rs 200 to Rs 500.

HEALTH: 20 percent hike in health budget for 2011-2012. (Finance minister announces 20 per cent hike in health budget)

(Healthcare industry fumes at Budget)

DEFENCE: The finance minister has allotted Rs 1.64 lakh crore for defence saying that more will be given if required. (11% hike in defence allocation)Rs 9 lakh compensation will be given to men of defence and central paramilitary forces for permanent disability and on being discharged from service. (Rs 9 lakh disability compensation for defence personnel)

INCOME TAX: No change in tax slabs has been proposed. The tax exemption limit for general category has been raised from Rs 1,60,000 to Rs 1,80,000. ( Tax limit enhanced from Rs 1,60,000 to Rs 1,80,000)

No change in tax exemption limit for women.

For senior citizens, exemption age limit has been reduced from 65 to 60. Their tax exemption limit will be Rs 2,50,000.

Apart from this, a new exemption bracket has been created for those above 80 years of age. Their tax exemption limit will be Rs 5,00,000.

Surcharge for companies cut to 5 per cent, from 7.5 per cent. (Corporate Tax surcharge reduced to 5%)

A new revised income tax return form 'Sugam' to be introduced for small tax papers.

DIRECT TAX: The FM announced that Direct Tax Code will be implemented from April, 2012 and the Goods and Services Tax Bill is to be introduced in Parliament this year. ( Direct Taxes Code to be implemented from April 1, 2012 )

Goods and services tax bill in budget session: Pranab Mukherjee

SERVICE TAX: Service tax widened to cover hotel accommodation above Rs 1,000 per day, A/C restaurants serving liquor, some category of hospitals, diagnostic tests.Service tax on air travel increased by Rs 50 for domestic travel and Rs 250 for international travel in economy class. On higher classes, it will be 10% flat. ( Service tax on air travel increased )

EXCISE AND CUSTOMS DUTY: There is a proposal to introduce self-assessment of customs duty wherein importers and exporters will themselves assess payment of duty.

There will be change in excise duty. The standard rate of central exercise duty will be maintained at 10%. A 1% central excise duty on 130 items entering the tax net. Basic food and fuel and precious stones, gold and silver jewellery will be exempted and there will be no change in CENVAT rates. (Excise duty retained at 10%, more items to be taxed)

A new scheme is to be introduced for refund of service tax on the lines of drawback of duties, he announced. Also, capital investment in fertiliser production will be considered as infrastructure sub-sector, Pranab said.

Tax-free bonds of Rs 30,000 cr will be issued for infrastructure development which will cover Warehousing Corporation, NHAI, IRFC and HUDCO.

EDUCATION: A Rs50cr grant is being allocated to Aligarh Muslim University centres in Murshidabad in West Bengal and Malappuram in Kerala. Also, the government has decided to allot Rs 200 cr to IIT Kharagpur. ( 24% hike in allocation for education )

GROWTH: Predicting growth patterns over the next fiscal, Pranab said the overall economic growth in the current fiscal was expected at 8.6 %, agriculture growth at 5.4 %, industry at 8.1 % and services 9.3 %. In the next fiscal, economic growth was likely to be 9%, he said. ( Economy grew 8.2% in last 2010 quarter )

Pranab said India raised foreign institutional investor limit in 5-year corporate bonds for investment in infrastructure by $20 billion.

The government, he said, aims to provide Rs 201.5 billion capital infusion in state-run banks in 2011-12 and Rs 3 billion for 60,000 hectares under palm oil plantation

"I see Budget 2011-12 as transition towards more transparent and result-oriented economic management," he said adding that stronger fiscal coordination was needed.

He said that corruption continued to be deterrent in the country's development and had to be fought extensively.

Pranab Mukherjee said the government plans to create a Women Self Help Group development fund with a corpus of Rs 500 crore. There is also a proposal to increase rural housing fund to Rs 3,000 crore. ( Low-cost housing loans of Rs 15 lakh to get 1% interest sop )

He also announced benefits for Below Poverty Line families by allowing direct transfer of subsidies in kerosene and LPG for such individuals.

Also, NABARD capital base will be strengthened and Rs 10,000 cr will be provided to it as short term credit fund.

Pranab announced the formation of Indian micro finance equity with SIDBI at Rs 100 crore. Another Rs 6,000 cr will be given to public sector banks to maintain capital-to-risk assets ratio norms, he said. ( Rs 500 cr for Regional Rural Banks )

A budget allocation of Rs 100 cr has been made for Ladakh and Rs 150 cr for Jammu for implementation of projects identified by taskforce.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gold: Your 'loss-proof' investment

Gold: Your 'loss-proof' investment

Gold is the life belt for all seasons, especially the dangerous ones.

--Timothy Green

Gold and silver have been sought and prized since prehistoric times. They have also been both a cause of war and a medium of exchange.

Gold has traditionally been the standard by which the value of anything is assessed; it has also been a universally accepted medium of exchange. Silver does not lag far behind in the history of global trade. In fact, till the nineteenth century silver was actually more widely employed than gold as the standard of value.

The Indians' faith in God and gold dates back to the Vedic times; they worshipped both. Historian Pliny complained that her Indian trade drained ancient Rome's bullion resources. Indian merchants always demanded payment in silver during the times of the East India Company; so much silver was exported from London [ Images ] that East India Company teetered on the brink of financial disaster.

According to the World Gold Council Report, India stands today as the world's largest single market for gold consumption. In developing countries, people have often trusted gold as a better investment than bonds and stocks, particularly because historically these acted as a good hedge against inflation. In that sense these metals have been more attractive than bank deposits or gilt-edged securities.

Why people buy gold

Despite recent hiccups, gold remains an important and popular investment for many reasons:

In many countries gold continues to be an integral part of social and religious customs, besides being the basic form of saving. This continues to be exceptionally true in India, which is the world's largest consumer of gold. Shakespeare called it 'the saint-seducing gold'.

Superstition about the healing powers of gold persists. Ayurvedic medicine in India recommends gold powder and pills for many ailments.

Gold is indestructible. It does not tarnish and is also not corroded by acid - except by a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids.

Gold has aesthetic appeal. Its beauty recommends above all other metals for ornament making.

Finally, gold is scam-free. So far, there have been no Mundra-type or Mehta-type scams in gold.

Thus, the lure of this yellow metal continues.

On the other hand, it is interesting to note that apart from its aesthetic appeal gold has no intrinsic value. You cannot eat it, drink it, or even smell it. This aspect of gold compelled Henry Ford [ Images ], the founder of Ford Motors, to conclude that 'gold is the most useless thing in the world'.

The returns from gold

During the 1950s, gold appreciated only marginally; from Rs 99 per 10 gms in 1950 to Rs 111 per gms in 1960. During the next decade, from 1960-70, it moved up to Rs 184.

Between 1970 and 1980 came the massive rise from Rs 184 to Rs 1,330.

During the 1980s, it moved up another 240 per cent. The trend of gold prices in India in the last few years is given in Table 1 which reveals that between 1950 and 2007 gold appreciated 95-fold, an annual compound rate of return of 8.32 per cent.

Gold prices in India

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Gold price
per 10 gm



















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Gold price
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Gold price
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How to buy gold

Gold Deposit Scheme

Introduced in 1999, this scheme is managed by SBI [ Get Quote ]. Individuals, HUFs, trusts and companies can deposit a minimum of 200 gm of gold with no upper limit, in exchange for gold bonds carrying a tax-free interest of 3 to 4 per cent depending upon the tenure of the bond ranging from 3 to 7 years.

Furthermore, these bonds are free from wealth tax and capital gains tax. The principal can be collected back in gold or cash at the investor's option.

Buying gold bars and coins

You can now also buy gold coins or bars/biscuits from various authorised banks and dealers. So, if you too are touched by the yellow fever, well, you could satisfy fascination by keeping some gold coins and bars with you.

Incidentally, don't be mistaken into thinking that buying ornaments is the same as investing in gold. In practice, gold converted into ornaments is rarely sold. Thus, though gold ornaments are a liquid asset their sale usually entails a heavy loss. The making charges are a total write-off. Then, too, your jeweller may take undue advantage of your predicament and buy back the ornaments at a discount.

Gold exchange-traded funds

The modern international method of investing in gold is via gold mutual funds. India should soon be catching p in this area.

In his Union Budget for 2005-06, Finance Minister P Chidambaram [ Images ] had proposed that Securities and Exchange Board of India should permit mutual funds to introduce Gold Exchange Traded Funds (Gold ETFs) with gold as the underlying asset.

According to the Budget proposals, the scheme would enable households to buy and sell gold in units for as little as Rs 100 and such units could be traded in the same manner as units of mutual funds.

Gold Exchange Traded Funds are a relatively recent phenomenon even in the American market where the first Gold ETF--StreetTracks Gold--made its debut in the New York Stock Exchange in November 2004. Each unit of the StreetTracks Gold ETF represents one-tenth an ounce of gold.

In Gold Exchange Traded Fund, the underlying asset is exclusively gold bullion, and not a basket of stocks as is the case of equity ETFs. Gold ETFs are shares or units of gold that are owned by investors and are fully backed by gold bullion bars held by a custodian.

Like other ETFs, they are traded on a stock exchange.

Gold ETFs will allow investors to buy gold in small increments. In the global market, one unit represents one-tenth of an ounce fine gold (1 oz-28.35 grams). If an investor in the fund holds 100 units, the fund must have physical gold worth 10 ozs.

The value of the unit will move in accordance with the price of gold. Just like mutual funds, the value per unit will be the total value of the gold held, divided by the number of units, minus the expenses of the fund. Gold ETFs, like any share, can be traded and bought by the investors through their stockbrokers.

They can be used for speculating in the short-term for betting on the price of gold, or it can be used for long-term investing. Just like the ETFs, Gold ETFs can be open-ended funds or closed ended funds.

In India, the ETF structure may be particularly suitable for a gold fund because of the unavailability of a highly liquid, organized market for gold or gold-backed securities.

Tax implications

Since there is no income as such from holding gold, there is no liability of income tax. But bullion and jewellery are subject to capital gains tax and wealth tax, without any exemptions whatsoever.

While determining the value of gold ornaments for the purpose of wealth tax, making charges should be ignored, unless the ornaments are studded with precious stones. The value of gold contained in the ornaments can be reduced by 15 to 20 per cent because the dealer invariably deducts 15 per cent of the ruling rate of standard gold when ornaments are sold in the open market.

The prospects for gold

Many contemporary investors forget that when gold price went up during the late 1970s, the metal was just trying to catch up with prices of other things, which had already gone up.

In 1970, when the price of gold was $35 an ounce (due to the gold standard then followed in usa), it was unquestionably undervalued. When gold hit $850 an ounce in January 1980 it was again, unquestionably, overvalued.

If the increase in gold price had kept the same pace in 1980s and 1990s as it did in 1970s, it would have become $20,000 an ounce by 2000. With a number of Central Banks selling off huge chunks of their gold reserves, the international price of gold has come down in the last few years.

Timothy Green, a well-known gold expert, reminds us of a historical truth: 'The great strength of gold throughout history has not been that you make money by holding it, but rather you do not lose. That ought to remain its best credential'.

A research study on gold established a remarkable consistency in the purchasing power of gold over four centuries. Its purchasing power in the mid-twentieth century was found to be nearly the same as in the middle of the seventeenth century.

You can safely invest in gold. But take care to keep your jewellery in bank lockers. You can also raise loans on gold for your other portfolio investments. If the Indian economy continues to be liberalised and unshackled fast, several new options may emerge for investors to invest in gold bars, gold coins, gold funds, gold mining companies and gold options.

It will also lead to the eventual equalisation of domestic and international prices.

N J Yasaswy is a Founder-Governor of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India and ICFAI Business School and has written several books on finance and investments.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saving tax with L&T Infra Long-term Infrastructure Bonds

Invest in L & T Infra Bond and Save Tax under 80CCF (Max 20000),excluding 80 C 1 Lac Limit with upto 8.30 % Interest compounded annually issuecloseon7 March 2011-jinendra

Saving tax with L&T Infra Long-term Infrastructure Bonds

Here’s a defined structure of interest rates and tax deduction under these bonds.
You have 4 options you can pick and choose from as per your requirements.

The specific terms of the instrument:

Series 1 2
Frequency of Interest Annual Cumulative
Buyback Facility Yes Yes
Buyback Date First Working Day after 7 years from the Date of Allotment First Working Day after 7 years from the Date of Allotment
Interest Rate 8.20% p.a. 8.30% p.a. compounded annually
Maturity Date 10 years from the Date of Allotment. 10 years from the Date of Allotment.
Maturity Amount (Rs.) 1,000 2,220
Buyback Amount (Rs.) 1000 at the end of 5 yrs./1000 at the end of 7 yrs. 1490 at the end of 5 yrs./1748 at the end of 7 yrs
Buyback Intimation Period The period commencing from 6 months preceding the corresponding Buyback Date and ending 3 months prior to the corresponding Buyback Date
Yield of the Bond on Maturity* 8.20% p.a. 8.30% p.a. compounded annually

* * As per 80CCF Notification, the Yield of the Bond (to be paid by the Issuer) shall not exceed the yield on government securities of corresponding residual maturity as reported by the Fixed Income Money Market and Derivatives Association of India (FIMMDA), as on the last working day of the month immediately preceding the month of the issue of the bond.

The investment made in these bonds will be eligible for tax benefits under Section 80 CCF of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The Table below provides the yield to the investors on maturity (with tax benefits) and the yield to the investors on buyback (with tax benefits) for the applicable tax rates

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Monday, February 7, 2011


Reliance Gold Saving Fund NFO Start 14 February and closes on 28 February SIP Start @ Rs.100 P.m.-Contact Now-Jinendra 9829353219

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Even a bad sip is a good bet

Wouldn’t you pity someone who invested in the Taurus Discovery Fund 10 years ago? It has been the worst-performing equity fund since January 2001, moving lethargically when other equity funds have whizzed past and created wealth for investors. Well, save your pity for those who chose not to invest in equities 10 years ago.

Despite being the worst-performing equity fund in the past 10 years, Taurus Discovery has churned out 8.99% returns, which is higher than what a debt instrument would have earned during the same period.

The difference becomes stark when we look at SIP returns. The 10-year SIP returns of Taurus Discovery are over 15% (see table), much higher than what a debt instrument can offer. We looked at 10-year SIP returns of equity funds during different time frames and found that except for one instance, even the worst-performing equity fund had given significantly higher returns than monthly investments in debt options (fixed deposits, NSCs, PPF).

Most investors already know that in the long term, equities have the potential to churn out the best returns among all asset classes. But many don’t realise that in the long run, SIP investments work best for them. “SIPs are an excellent tool for investors starting off in the age group 21-35 years as that is a wealth creation period,” says Partha Iyengar, founder, Accretus Solutions. During the early phase, individuals do not have too much to invest.

For them, SIP is the best way to build an equity portfolio. Reliance Growth has given the highest SIP returns in the past 10 years. A monthly investment of Rs 1,000 started in January 2001 is now worth Rs 13.15 lakh, an annualised return of 38.17%. To see how SIPs work over different market cycles, we also looked at 10-year SIP returns at the end of 2008 and 2009. The results were not surprising. SIPs do work across market cycles as well, which means that a systematic investor need not worry about missing the bus or catching the tide.

“SIP is an all-time product. It scores over a lump-sum investment since you invest irrespective of the market condition,” says Sankaran Naren, Chief Investment Officer, Equities, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund.

In other words, you can never go wrong while investing in equities if the method you choose is right. As our research shows, long-term SIP returns of equity funds have always been higher than those of debt instruments. This may not have been possible if the investments were made in lump sum.

What is important, however, is to keep an SIP running over the long term and especially during downturns. There is no point in running an SIP for only a year or stopping it when the market tanks. “We recommend investors to do SIPs in diversified equity funds for long periods of time, typically more than five years,” says Vishal Dhawan, founder, Plan Ahead Wealth Advisors.

Another mistake which most small investors make is close their SIPs when markets fall. “Stopping SIPs in bad market conditions defeats the very purpose of systematic investing,” says Anup Bhaiya, MD and CEO, Money Honey Financial Services.

SIPs have evolved significantly since they were first introduced by mutual fund houses more than a decade ago. Now you can have SIPs in different intervals (daily, monthly, fortnightly or quarterly). The minimum amount of the SIP has also come down to Rs 500. But one basic feature of the SIP remains unchanged: For the small investor, it remains the best way to invest in equities for the long term.