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Lack of central KYC hinders market participation

Harsh just spent an idyllic week trekking through south west france. His tour organiser could put this together so well because the basic infrastructure already exists. Things like complete Geo marking of every square meter, availability of licensed hotels and taxi services who actually follow the licensing conditions & general cleanliness allowed them to build and deliver excellent packages on top. His article in the Business Standard drawing an analogy to an investors journey where the lack of a basic infrastructure like a centralized KYC has meant that 20 crore indians are involved with crypto/online gaming platforms with real money, but only half as many have demat accounts, and less than a quarter invest in MF.

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Inheritance tax: An idea doomed to failure

The idea of an inheritance tax or estate duty is bandied about from time to time. It is in human nature to rejoice at the suffering of those who are better off than themselves. Hence it is attractive for political parties that think short term (are there any political parties that are otherwise??) since it impacts a tiny fraction of the population only. Harsh’s article in Business Standard on why it is an idea that is doomed to failure.

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Retirement: Embrace holistic planning

There is more to retirement planning than ensuring enough monetary corpus to last out a long retired life (almost as long as the working career itself). Unfortunately, even corporate executives nearing retirement, do not think about retirement at all and the few who do, concentrate on the monetary resources required for retired life. As the example of my friend Yogesh shows even a well planned retirement plan can have it’s twists and turns but is better than none at all. Harsh’s article in the business standard. Your comments and suggestions are welcome as always.

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Insurance: High surrender charges deter exits

Most people reading this article would have experienced the bank’s “relationship manager” trying to (mis)sell a life insurance policy to them. Harsh’s article in Business Standard on the economics that push the bank to cannibalise on their own deposits and convert them into Life Insurance premiums. Comments/ disagreements welcome.

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Usher in transparency, not price controls

Hon’ble Supreme Court has asked the Union Health Ministry to coordinate with the states to roll out of a common pricing structure for hospital services across the country. This is impractical for many reasons – Real estate prices – which is a significant part of the cost of hospital services – vary widely from location to location, the quality of equipment and personnel also vary widely making availability of hospitalisation services within a standard price range impractical. Harsh’s article in Business Standard on how enforcing transparency on pricing of hospital services might be a better first step towards achieving the goal of similar pricing across the country. Disclosure : Harsh is not connected to the medical services industry/hospital sector in any manner.

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Balancing act: Knowing when you have enough

There can be a heavy price to pay when we confuse “Being Fit” with “Being healthy”. Harsh learnt this the hard way when he had to undergo a coronary heart bypass surgery recently despite being super fit physically and being extremely careful with his diet as well. This article in Business Standard is about the lessons learnt. Its also a tribute to his friend CA Dr Rajendra Jain who paid the ultimate price for this confusion between “fitness” and “healthy”. Have seen similar confusion between “Being rich” and “being happy”

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Does your loan fulfil the AA criteria?

5 minute read – When can you consider a Home Loan or a Car Loan as a “good” loan” and how can you avoid getting taken for a ride while taking a loan by following 3 simple rules – read Harsh’s full article https://bit.ly/49Oq9ZM . For those who prefer watching a video – here is a link to a 20 minute video on the same content – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-tzdVNrwOo

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Simplifying nominations can boost financialisation

Indian securities market regulator SEBI has recently sought public comments on a consultation paper that seeks to comprehensively revamp the entire process of transferring assets to the nominees on the death of the investor. It seeks to remove hurdles and standardise the process so that the transfer to nominees can happen in a few weeks (the dream is the transfer happening in a few days of applying and God willing even that will happen eventually as the system stabilises). The paper also deals with providing access to the investor themselves in case of their incapacitation (unfortunately many such cases are coming up as longevity of Indians increase due to advances in medical science) . This is a giant step towards making Investments in Indian securities market convenient and easy and will aid in spurring the ongoing process of financialisation of household investment assets.

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How to make tax return scrutiny less stressful

Centralised data collection by the Income Tax Department (ITD) has widened the tax base & led to higher tax compliance. Tax payers also benefit as more than 90%+ have their returns (and refunds) accepted within weeks instead of years earlier. The National Faceless assessment scheme (NaFAC) and the National Faceless Apellate Scheme (NFAC) were rung in by the ITD with lofty aims of simplifying the tax administration for those assessee’s whose returns were selected for detailed scrutiny (which remains a large number). Harsh’s article in the Business Standard on how a combination of stiff tax collection targets, overbearing and antioquated attitudes of the ITD officials and a complete lack of accountability had given a bad name to NaFAC and NFAC which otherwise might have taken their place among the host of population scale technologies such as Aadhar, UPI, Account Aggregator and ONDC that have been introduced by India in recent times.

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Unclaimed assets: Create searchable databases

Give a gift worth lakhs to your loved ones this new year without costing a penny to you. Visit iepf.gov.in, click on “Search unpaid/unclaimed amount” under the “Services” tab, and enter their names in the search box and discover unclaimed shares in their name on the #IEPF website. The probability of discovering lost treasures for your loved ones is much higher if they are born before 1970.
IEPF has recently changed its search functionality to display potential unclaimed amounts/shares based on the inputted name without requiring any more information. Unclaimed shares/dividends worth Rs. 52,000 crores are with IEPF. Similarly large amounts (bank deposits – Rs. 35,000 crores), Insurance-Rs. 25,000 crores, Inactive/unclaimed Mutual Funds (Rs. 18,000 crores) , Provident fund/Small saving schemes (amounts unknown) exist throughout the financial sector. The Finance minister has already announced an integrated portal to ease the process of searching and claiming such amounts.

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