Sunday, May 24, 2009

IPL becomes SIPL

Yeah!!! Indian Premier League (IPL 2009) has become South Indian Premier League (SIPL 2009) with the loss of Delhi Daredevils in the first semi-final. An innings like that of Gilchrist is always going to be a match winning one against any team in any terms. Now, with the end of the second semi-final the finalists of IPL 2009 are decided.

The Grand final is going to be between Royal Challengers Bangalore Vs Deccan Chargers. The first semi-final was made one-sided by Gilchrist's innings. The second semi-final was made one-sided by Dhoni's innings. We are yet to see a hamdinger in the big stage.

Gilchrist scored 85 runs in 35 deliveries and the other captain's innings was 28 runs from 30 deliveries. This tells the complete tale.

The best team performing today will be the winners. The teams that got the semi-final berth in the last league matches have entered into the finals. Last year, these two teams got to the last two places in the points table. Now its going to be exactly reverse. My vote would be for Bangalore Royal challengers for the champs this year. We will see today :)

Let me know your comments on this year's IPL.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ant - Class org.apache.tools.ant.taskdefs.ConditionTask doesn't support the "else" attribute.

This post is all about this error and on how to resolve this error.

Just to give some background:
Apache Ant is a Java-based build tool. For more information on Apache Ant, you can visit Apache Ant. The recent version is Apache Ant is Ant 1.71 and can be downloaded from here.
We can add a else attribute in the conditionTask for making a choice.

Coming back to the error that you have encountered:
Class org.apache.tools.ant.taskdefs.ConditionTask doesn't support the "else" attribute.

This can happen if you have Apache ant with a version less than 1.65
So, Make sure to update your ant to a version more than 1.65. Recent version, as I mentioned is, 1.71.

Does this fix the problem that you encountered with ant?
If yes, Great.

No, then continue reading. We have other fix available for Class org.apache.tools.ant.taskdefs.ConditionTask doesn't support the "else" attribute.

If you get this error even though you have the ant 1.65 or more, then the following information may be helpful.
-> Check whether the file is marked executable.
You can check the permissions of the file using "ls -l /ant"
->when you don't have execute permissions, mark the file as executable for you/your group.
->Then continue to run. It should run now.

you can mark the file as executable by executing the command,
"chmod 777 \ant" - "rwxrwxrwx" - universal writable.
or
"chmod 775 \ant" - "rwxrwxr-x" - only owner and the group can write.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Avail the benefits of Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)

We have many mutual funds in the industry with varied products and options. There is no doubt you can be in a dilemma on what to choose and what not to and there are so many sites to guide on that front. This post is not meant for that.

This is about Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) that gives you the advantages of mutual funds with the liquidity of the market.

one kind of product given by Mutual funds is Index Fund and it tracks the index closely. The Annual Maintenance Charge for such a fund will be as low as 0.75% (compared to 2.25% in all other mutual fund products). Other than that there will be few more charges. ETFs can be compared to these products in Mutual fund arena.

Exchange Traded Funds are the mutual funds traded in the exchange (ex., Nifty Stock Exchange (NSE)) and it gives you the following benefits on availing it.
Absolutely no Annual maintenance fee.
Great liquidity.
No Exit fees or lock-in period.

There is absolutely no AMC for these mutual funds. It is considered more like a stock where you need to pay your brokerage and can buy or sell at any point of time.

NIFTY BEES is a particular ETF from Benchmark Mutual fund and it is actually tracking NIFTY so closely with its own automatic algorithm. So, If you think Nifty is going to go high, then you can put in your money and buy NIFTY BEES. This has the benefits of mutual fund as the risk is distributed across all the sectors that NIFTY consists of.

There is one ETF called LIQUID BEES and it is also a product from Benchmark Mutual fund. This is actually a debt fund that invests in various debt opportunities available and gives about 5-6% returns. It will be credited to you as shares and the share price remains the same. Each share costs Rs. 1000/- now and you can buy / sell at any point of time. This was introduced to get interest on the money which is left without being invested for the short term but present with the brokerage firm.

But there is something you need to look for while buying LIQUID BEES. Some brokerage houses don't charge any brokerage for it and only then it is beneficial for you. The advantage is it gains interest for you even for two days. Please have a chat with brokerage house and find out whether they really don't charge any brokerage for buying LIQUID BEES. For one, I know, Sharekhan does charge brokerage for this LIQUID BEES. Then its worthless to consider those 5-6% p.a interest for brokerage percentage and its better to avoid this in that case.


There are many Exchange traded funds coming in the market and its due to get popular among the masses inspite of its various advantages.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Are agents your friends?

Now-a-days I am able to see agents for everything. we will see about the finance agents here. Certainly, they will get some commission for being an agent, because they have knowledge.

From 1% for PPF account to big fat percentage of your premium amount in insurance policies. The maximum percentage is given for opening an ULIP account, if I am not wrong.

I have money. I want to save tax. The deadline is nearing and I get a call from *tax saving* agent. I am saved. Are you really saved?? -- Read on.
He explains about the benefits of the most *Hot* plan in the market and I am certainly excited to give the money to him in no-minute. I'd tell the *Hot* plan is *Hot* in the market, not because it is a great product, but because it is a great marketable product.

A great marketable product will have one or all of the following properties:
(1) A good percentage for agents every year(Most of the cases)
Why should one give you his valuable time/money for lesser gains? Think!!
(2) Alluring returns
You can easily see that this comes with high risks or only in paper.
(3) Extreme safety with less returns
Great stress on safety to such extent that you are contended with very small percentage of returns without any risk.

Lets see what you'd do if you were a agent. You know how much is my commission for every product. You know what are advantages and dis-advantages in each product. (Most of them actually doesn't even care about the products that they don't want to sell but are supposed to sell). So, you'd explain the great benefits of a marketable product which gives high commission rather than high returns to the investor.

There would be relatives and friends immediately after you joining the company. Just spend few minutes before you invest for years. Search about the product and your real requirement in the Internet (great source of information, Believe me!!!) and what ever you finalize, you put it through the agent/friend.

One more thing, now there is no Agent commission to be given by you, if you invest your money directly in any of the mutual fund company. Do you think your agent will ever tell this to you?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

HRA - House Rent Allowance - Demystified

If you are a salaried person, you'd have seen a HRA component in your salary.
Also, you'd have known that you can save tax on whatever rent you pay.

Once you have the rental receipts from your house owner, you can fill in the following excel sheet to know how much you can exempt tax from your income.



Please edit only those in the yellow color and you can find the other details getting modified automatically.

If you enter your basic, your HRA is also modified for the first time. This is because most of the time the basic and HRA are inter related. It is mostly 40% of your basic pay.

In the example shown above, the basic pay is Rs. 8000/- and Rent paid is Rs. 5000/-
But, It is not worth showing more than Rs.4000/- as it doesn't affect your tax exemption in any way. Also, you will be eligible for exemption only if you pay rent for more than Rs.800/- in this case. In this case, the tax excluded is 3200/-, in which case, you save the tax on that amount based on your tax slab.

You just enter your basic, HRA and Rent paid and see the modification in other places.
If you are living with your family and want to claim HRA, you can do so by putting the house owner as your father or your mother. Most of the companies just ask for 3 month rental receipt.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The IPOD story

Kotak Securities had announced a referral scheme during the October 2008. I was a customer with Kotak then and they sent a mail to me as well about the referral scheme.

Actually, at that time, two of my friends were also interested in opening a brokerage account and I helped them in getting one in Kotak. There was a big hurdle for one of them while opening, but still managed to open the accounts successfully during the period mentioned in the mail.

As per the mail sent to me, I was supposed to receive a IPOD for referring two friends. But I got a call recently confirming my gift is packed and sent to my address and they say my gift is 'Ferrari RED perfume' (How funny!!).

On further enquiry, I found that they didn't include the second person's referral because his initial opening amount was Rs.20550/- and not above 50000. This came as a surprise to me and I found that they have included this clause after sending a mail to the kotak account holders to refer.

My perspective:
I have helped two of friends during their referral scheme period in opening an account with them. I have the perquisite to demand the IPOD from them.

Hope, this would be their perspective:
Modify the Terms and conditions if it doesn't favor us (them). This was the reason why they introduced the Rs.50000/- clause, which was not there when they send a mail to me.

So, Always keep an eye on the TERMS and CONDITIONS clause when you are eligible for the offers.