Sunday, March 30, 2008

E-Stamping of properties - a sure way of avoiding corruption and bribery in Bengaluru

Finally I found some time to write about the new E-Stamping technique that has been introduced on a pilot basis in Bengaluru for preparing legal agreements for sale and rental of properties and many other instruments. The entire article detailing this is available here.


So one would like to know what exactly is the difference between the old method and the new method of stampings. And why in the first place is the stamp paper required itself. For starters, the stamp paper is a document that is franked with the government seal on the top of the page, which in essence signifies the legality of a certain instrumental transaction like for eg., that involving a sale or agreement etc. This used to be supplied by the government to the registrar’s offices and some stipulated banks like State Bank of Mysore used to sell it to customers. This was until a few days back. Now no more do these banks stock these bond papers as they are called. And you may not even get it in the registrar’s offices anymore.


Firstly one has to understand that the government of Karnataka has now shifted over to the e-stamping mechanism which in essence means that these franked papers are no more used from now on. Earlier there were many touts who used to procure these bond papers and make a killing by selling them at a premium to customers. This led to mega scams like the Telgi stamp paper scam, more about which you can read here and understand. This scam alone led to a 30000 crore rupee loss to the government of Karnataka which is much more than any politician even could amass in terms of ill gotten wealth.


The government of Karnataka finally woke up and has ushered in an e-stamping mechanism now whereby a company by name Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited are the official vendors of E-stamps from now on. This essentially means that you go to them now, put in all details of why you need an e-franked bond paper, give your address details, contact details, PAN numbers, property details, rental / sale details, and sale/rental value details etc. There are a multitude of things for which this mechanism can be used from now on. To know more about this company and the things you can use their services for, click here and to get the list of things you can use the estamps, click here.



Old and new Stamp paper formats - an illustration


The best thing about this approach is that SHCIL as a company will take care of taking money from you for the bond papers and stamps related instruments, and directly remit it to the government and they will create a unique franking with a unique ID generated for each transaction which is accountable at any time and can be traced to the participating parties always with the PAN numbers. And hopefully the Telgis of the new era might have to come up with something more sophisticated than this to cheat the government. So before I end this post, I am proud to say I used this method and feel more happy, satisfied and confident that my money is legitimately going to the government instead of to a tout.


The directions to the office of SHCIL I went to is in Koramangala is given in a map here for reference sake. They work between 10am and 5pm only between Monday and Friday and are closed for the two weekend days.



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Friday, March 28, 2008

Rain Rain went away ....

The past week has been wet, chilly, cold and typical Old Bangalore like. With a cyclone in Tamil Nadu, whether they got cauvery water or not, we got a lot of their rain water. So much so that there has been about 200-300 crores of loss in Tamil Nadu and Kerala because of rains during the wrong time (agriculture affected). Fantastic plans for a weekend just went bust for most of the Bangaloreans. I happened to do YOGA on top of my terrace early morning in the chillness and quite obviously starting sneezing a thousand times immediately thereafter. But my three months of exercise miraculously made my cold vanish within 2 hours even without medicine. Now this is called immunity isnt it ?

Rain Rain Went Away .....




Never Came Again Another Day !




Its back to summer as usual. So the hot days are set to continue again until May or June when monsoon begins and whole city cries for its water logging. In another related incident or news, the road above the Magic Box near BDA collapsed just for this rain. Now the BBMP is in for more flak during monsoons. One wonders if the ride to the new airport will really be so smooth!


Your guess is as good as mine.


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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Life's teachings ....

I was doing YOGA yesterday evening on my terrace when it started raining. I continued doing yoga and the skies got really dark and looked omnious. It was at this time I was wondering that we humans are mere mortals and are too little compared to the elements around us. We might have used our intelligence to achieve many heights. But that still doesnt make us immortal would it?

At one point the skies were so overcast that it prompted me to rush back inside my home, get my new Canon DSLR and take a picture of what looked so inviting. The shopping complexes are just a stone’s throw away from my house and I can see a couple of them from my terrace. I climbed atop the rear parappet wall of my house, putting my life in risk. One wrong move and I would come crashing down three floors and would be dead. All just to capture the rainy moment in this photograph.




It is only then did the irony struck me. LG - yes the famous korean consumer electronics giant stands for LIFE’s GOOD. But a good life comes with a rider, the hoarding below that read "MAX NEW YORK LIFE" which is an insurance company insuring people’s lives! Even Strangerirony is that this is an indian insurance company with new york in their name!


So Life may be good, but you still need insurance is the caption for this photograph! Oh how true.


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You digivision launches in Bengaluru

You must be wondering why the number of articles have gone down over the past week. Well, problems with health, kids homecoming and work at office - enough to summarize whats happening?Ok so what do we have new in Bengaluru? How about a few hotels opening up newly in the city? Or the BIAL cock and bull stories? Well in my own best interests I thought of going back to my line of work - set top boxes.


Bengaluru has just seen yet another service start up. You Digivision. Here is their Ad for digital cable TV boxes in Bengaluru.





Firstly a bit of gyaan on cable set top boxes. What is the necessity of these cable set top boxes when we have so many other boxes with dish antennae that can receive signals from the satellite directly? Well these cable boxes are of a different kind. Earlier we used to get Analog signals for all our channels over the cable that we fed directly into our TVs and could tune to any channel we liked and watch it to our satisfaction and hearts content. Unfortunately world over, the well known broadcasters are now moving their service to digital signals which our TV’s (read old outdated idiot boxes) cannot receive/decode and show us what we want on the screen.


The YOU digivision box is a digital cable box (perhaps its criminal to even call it set top box) which will precisely help in decoding these digital signals sent over cable and can show you those cool channels that you always liked to see once again on your TV. This box is capable of decoding digital signals and instructing your TV to show you the decoded signal. A very nice article by Mike on this phenomenon is available here. You must read this to understand more about this technology/box offering.


So then what is You Digivision all about ? Dont we have similar boxes like that already in the market? Did you think Tata Sky, or DishTV? Well those are satellite receivers with set top boxes. I was more referring to Hathway boxes that are referred to as set top boxes! These boxes only decode digital signals sent over cable. In my locality for example, my local cable operator who runs miles and miles of physical cables all over the locality has tied up with Hathway to offer digital signal decoding as well. So does that mean if I fix a YOU DV box instead of the Hathway one, I d still be able to decode all signals and view them on my analog TV ? The simple answer is NO. Why is this? Simply because Hathway would have scrambled the digital channels so that a smart card inserted into their own box is the only one who could decode these channels and any other box within their network will simply fail.


The features advertised above are hardly of any luxury for me today as any other provider gives those as default ones with the box. For that matter this box does not even have a PVR functionality where I can record something to a hard disk! So if a box cant decode the scrambled signal given by my provider, and does not do recordings even, I fail to understand what is so great about this box that I must buy it.


So if any of my readers want to add on something to this story of your own understanding do leave me comments!


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Monday, March 17, 2008

It happens only in India

I had written about bad driving and stressed out lifestyles in my previous blog post. This post is somewhat related to it closely. If you are driving on a road and you see a lorry stopped in the middle of the road with a twig of leaves sticking out of it like as if it were a flowering plant, then what do you make out of it? Should you assme the lorry owner is relaxing on the road? Well, welcome to India.




In India such a symbol means the truck has taken a hit either with another, or has a flat tyre, or perhaps even a flat axle or engine. It also means that this truck which you see has no immediate plans of being towed away from the accident spot and it also does not say anything about how many people it killed in that accident.


Take a break and come back tomorrow, perhaps it wont be there on the street. And the driver of the truck, well he has already been recruited by another truck company to drive and crash a different truck tomorrow. This is the biggest pity in India and Benglurur particularly.


If its a small vehicle its a HIT & RUN case, if its a large one, its a HIT & DRIVER RUNS case. The occupants of such trucks walk away stealthily into the crowds even before someone understands who did what at the scene of crime. And the police have no records of who is driving the truck, the truck companies have no records of who they recruit and there are also no records of the lost lives in these accidents. Everything is conveniently put into a file which says HIT & RUN case - now closed.


So much so that the entire truck drivers association (or union or whatever nonsense you may want to call it) are against the government for asking them to install speed governors in their vehicles. Their grouse is that the vehicle consumes too much fuel if driven at lesser speeds purposely. And if driven at higher speeds, others bear the brunt of their driving and land up at hospital or even worse - HELL.


So the government and the unions are not only putting at risk many a life in the city, but also sometimes their own kith and kin by doing such immoral decisions at their own cost.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Accidents, callous driving and impoliteness - the new face of Bengaluru?

Gone are those days when you thought this city is a pensioner’s paradise. Or for that matter even a Garden City. With the winds of change come necessities for better connectivity, transportation of essentials day in and out to the city and a whole bunch of people from all over the country entering this city daily on one pretext or the other. Today all you have are zipping cars, slugging trucks and buses, whizzing cyclists on the wrong sides of lanes, and struggling two wheelers managing to find their space in this ocean. I am so ashamed to see that I myself have been driving my vehicle faster than what I did say 5 years back. I am not sure why the urge to do so, but I do so. And thats bad. Perhaps its the state of mind after or before office. Perhaps its just plain attitude. Whatever it is, it does sound like an irreversible change this city’s state has made on me.


What is this all pointing to? Well one for sure is IMPOLITENESS. Today we are always of the notion that ONLY the other guy is WRONG. Have you ever thought about whether you can be wrong as well? No, right? Well I do so. And I am happy that I do so. It gives me a chance to correct myself and be more calmer on the roads. I give way for pedestrians even now. I give way for vehicles who are in a tearing hurry. I apologize if I did a manouvre which might have been wrong on that road at that instant; to whoever suffered because of me. I have borne a few scratches on my car, just to let a weary cyclist go home in haste. Are others behaving the same way towards me? The one word answer is - NO. And it hurts that people have become insensitive. To everything around them. I mean what is the hurry in life? Where do we all want to go? Die soon? Whats gone wrong with us that we dont allow children and elders cross the road while we wait in peace for that to finish?


The animal instinct in us is more than the human one. Do you know what happens if you just touch some two wheeler or someone who is walking by, at 80-100 kmph in your car? Well the other person can easily die. A death he never wanted, never imagined will come to him - all because of our urgency. Add to that our rudeness and callousness, and what are we giving the people we hit and run? - Only salt on their wounds.


Sorry for becoming a bit sober. But the life I had was so good and I feel bad it cannot be the same for others being born today. Are gated residential enclaves the solution to this? Well heck, no! Change in our attitude is. The our includes the government too. The business leaders too, the LEAD INDIA’s too.


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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

LED lights on Bengaluru streets!

You must be wondering why my articles are dwindling on this site. Well I ll let you in on a secret. I ve been into many things of late. Lots of useful work at office, 30 minutes of Yoga in the morning and 45 minutes of Yoga in the evening, 15-30 minutes of acupressure during the day, and the usual phone breaks, lunch breaks and the two hour commute into and out of office. Enough to keep myself occupied. But that did not prevent me from enjoying the interesting things that Bengaluru provides. A couple of days back, I had lot of time to kill at a signal light near Sony World, Koramangala. I was always interested half heartedly in the knicknacks that the beggars sold at this signal. Well they aren’t exactly beggars, perhaps street urchins or jobless people would be a better word to use.


The person for the day was trying to entice me to buy an LED desk light. It looked powerful and intuitive too. The top portion had about 8 LEDs of white colour and the power source was from a mouse shaped based (in fact its a mouse lets say!) holding 3 AAA batteries. In between these two was a flexible cord which could be bent in any way desired.




"Esthu?", i asked (how much).


"120", came the reply.


Agreed I haven’t really seen something like this for Rs.120 anywhere around Koramangala. But still for a moment I felt its too high.


I looked a bit disinterested when the girl asked me "Kitna dega saab?" (how much will you give sir)


I said "50".


"Less 20 bucks and give me 100", she said


I stuck to my stand : "50"


She nodded her head and walked away. For a moment I believed that this light wont be mine. It is useful here to say I had bought the same light at the same junction from another person earlier in the week for the same amount that I quoted. But he was desperately hungry and it was almost the end of the day, past 9pm. So he had no choice but to take the fifty bucks. On the other hand this girl was neither hungry, nor was it the end of the day with scores of potential customers yet to come.


I felt doomed with this item. I let her go. The signal light was still red. She went around and I observed out of my rear view mirror that no one wanted that light except me.


After a while I got a knock on my left window. Rolled it down and she said "70". I took out a fifty buck currency note and held it in front of her. "If you want to give it, give it, else walk away" I said.


She said 60 bucks atleast. I just gave her the fifty, and took the light. Period. I won the battle for this second light. Although at the bottom of the heart I still know maybe that the light itself costs say 25-30 bucks only. As a product it can consume quite a lot of batteries in a short time, but then the light it gives can put any other branded emergency light to shame.




So my street shopping continues .....


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Monday, March 3, 2008

Crazy Bengaluru - One early summer morning?

I headed out to my office on a clear summer’s day to get a whiff of fresh air and what I got is this



The temperature pattern in Bengaluru is becoming more and more unpredictable as each day dawns. Its a storehouse of surprises each day. The fog just lasted for a bit of inner ring road and then it was the usual clear day again ahead. How BIZZAIRE!


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