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What is the role of Luck? Was Bill Gates Lucky?

What is the role of luck? Was Bill Gates Lucky?  I recently read the book Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten T.Hansen. At one end only luck determines results such as lotteries and roulette wheels and on the other end skill dominates such as a chess match or a running race. Most of life’s most interesting activities are in the middle of these extremes. Man can do the necessary calculations to land a rover on Mars and still things can go wrong. While there is no shortage of commentators on television telling us where the stock market is headed, experience tells us that their crystal balls are just as cloudy as everyone else’s. So what can we do to be more lucky? Was Bill Gates really lucky or are there some simple rules that he followed (and we can follow) to be lucky?

About the Book

Great by Choice,is book after  9 years of research study from 2002 to 2011, by Jim Collins and Morten T.Hansen of some of the most extreme business successes of modern times.

They asked the question Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? When buffeted by tumultuous events, when hit by big, fast-moving forces that we can neither predict nor control, what distinguishes those who perform exceptionally well from those who under perform or worse?

They examined entrepreneurs who built small enterprises into companies that outperformed their industries by a factor of 10 in highly turbulent environments whom they called 10Xers, for 10 times successPart of the answer lies in the distinctive behaviors of their leaders. How were 10Xers relative to their less successful comparisons: They’re not more creative. They’re not more visionary. They’re not more charismatic. They’re not more ambitious. They’re not more blessed by luck. They’re not more risk-seeking. They’re not more heroic. And they’re not more prone to making big, bold moves. As they say To be clear, we’re not saying that 10Xers lacked creative intensity, ferocious ambition, or the courage to bet big. They displayed all these traits, but so did their less successful comparisons.

Casual Leave, Earned Leave, Sick Leave : Leaves in India

Employees, across all industries in India, are entitled to a certain number of leaves per year aside from the holidays and days off. The number and  type of leave depends on the industry,employer and state you are in under the Factories Act and State’s shop and establishment act. Every state has different leave entitlement and leave policies which is basis for leave policy of your company. In India, three types of leaves are generally followed namely earned leave, sick leave and casual leave which an employee can avail without loss of pay.

  • Casual leave is provided to to take care of urgent and unseen matters like child has fallen down in school and you get call from school.
  • Sick leave is provided in case employee gets sick.
  • Privilege leave or Earned Leave is provided for planned long leaves for the purpose of travel, vacation etc.

General Overview of Leaves

Commencement of Leave Period is calendar year i.e 1st January to 31st December every year.  All regular employees are entitled to around 27 days leave in a year. Holiday List is provided at the beginning of the calendar year. Generally all State Legislations has common provision for leaves usually at least seven holidays for national and other festivals. Republic day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday are compulsory holidays. Employer and Employees can decide remaining national and festival holidays. Hence Diwali holiday in Karnataka is usually on Narak-Chaturdashi(second day) while in Delhi it is on Laxmi Pooja day. Minimum 7 days casual leave and 14 days sick leave is provided to employees.

Employee need to apply for each leave and take approval except in cases where approval could not be taken in advance usually for casual or sick leaves. Grant of leave shall depend upon the policies of the workplace and is at the discretion of the manager/management. There is no set rule for which leave to be approved and not approved.  Employer can refuse the leave application, if not satisfied with the reason of leave. It depends from reason to reason, manager to manager.

Prorate means in proportion. For new joinee & resigned employees one gets pro rated leaves. So if one works half a year, one is entitled to just half of leaves.

Usually All leaves with pay are  excluding weekly off and holidays. For example  if an employee take leave from Saturday to Monday where Sunday is weekly off then Sunday should not be counted as leave. Hence only 2 leaves should be counted.  If an employee is on leave for whole month (30 days) which includes 4 weekly off and 1 holiday then employee should be considered on leave for 25 days only. But then it depends on the Shop and Establishment Act of the state.


From Earned & Casual Leave in India Shop and Establishment Act of 2 states is given below

CBSE,ICSE,IB,IGCSE : Choosing the School and Various Boards

Choosing a school is so difficult these days. How do I choose a school?“, remarked my colleague. She was sharing her experiences on visit to a school fair over the weekend.  It is that time of the year when parents are busy picking the school they would like to have their child admitted.. We then had  a discussion on CBSE/ICSE, About the international schools that have come up and about the rising education costs. The next academic year is still 6-7 months away, but schools start the admission process early in the year. Let’s see some facts related to private education system in India.

  • Parents want their kids to get the best education possible
  • Indian educational institutions are not among the front ranking institutions in the world, though Indians students have done brilliantly outside India and have top positions in many organizations.
  • The number of education boards in the country has increased in the past decade, resulting in more options, but at the same time more stress, for already anxious parents. Gone are the days when a parent had just schools of state board or the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) or  Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) to choose from. Today, there is a wide range of options, including schools following the The International Baccalaureate (IB)/International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curricula.
  • Every school promises an education system, which provides an all-round  holistic education excellent infrastructure giving a positive and challenging environment for children to develop their natural talents. Children are encouraged to be creative, independent, inquisitive, and explorative. But number of schools are mushrooming? Teachers quality is debatable, and attrition rate is High. My friend’s daughter had 3 teachers in an year!
  • Education has become expensive. In our earlier article Rising Education costs!  we had shared the findings of Associated Chamber of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) survey How much does a school education for a child costs in 2011? Rs. 94,000 annually for single child on school education. This includes  fees,  books,transport, stationery, uniform,  educational trips,building fund, extra tuition and extracurricular activities. Break up of cost give The minimum outgo for an ICSE /CBSE school is Rs 50,000 to 1 lakh . For International curricula IGSCE/IB, it goes upto few lakhs. This is not just a one-time commitment, it is rather a recurring expense and it keeps rising year after year. Majority of parents spend on average more than Rs 18 lakh-20 lakh in raising a child by the time their teen graduates from high school.
  • Education in school is just not sufficient. People are enrolling their children in tuition classes, foundation courses(for IIT starts from class 7 at many places)
  • Other than school education a child goes for extra-curricular classes such as dance,music,playing musical instrument, playing games like badminton, football,cricket. And the fees of such classes are also rising.
  • If you are worrying about this sharp rise in school education expense, there’s a bigger time bomb ticking away. Higher education costs are growing at an even faster rate. Average fees of Engineering course is roughly Rs 6 Lakh today, five years down the line it would be close to double meaning Rs 12 Lakh. In 10 years’ time, it’s likely to cost around Rs 20 Lakh. There is also trend of sending children to abroad for higher studies (even undergraduate). Raising the question of should I save for retirement or higher studies of children.

Choice of Curriculum : ICSE, CBSE, IB, IGCSE or State Board

The debate between concerned parents and educators on whether a CBSE or an ICSE system is better has been going on for years. With the increasing numbers of schools offering the International Baccalaureate, International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) from University of Cambridge International Examinations and the Waldorf system; the debate has widened, providing both stress and options to parents.

Number of Schools offering  ICSE, CBSE, IB, IGCSE or State Board

UAN or Universal Account Number and Registration of UAN

Till Oct 2014 every employee had a  Provident Fund (PF) account number which was associated with the employer. Change of job meant another Provident Fund number. It involved transferring from one account number to another. Multiple account numbers have been a major area of concern as a majority of grievances of employees are related to transfer of funds from one account number to another. To address this problem EPFO has launched a Universal Account Number (UAN) driven Member Portal to provide a number of facilities to its members through a single window. Member has to activate his registration to avail various facilities such as UAN card download, member passbook download, updation of KYC information, listing all his member ids to UAN, file and view transfer claim. It is a major improvement by EPFO. In this article we shall focus on what is UAN number, what are advantages of having UAN number,how to check if UAN number is allotted to you, how to activate UAN registration,how to login using UAN,how to download EPFO Passbook, What is UAN Card.

What is Universal account number or UAN?

The UAN is a 12-digit number allotted to each Employee Provident Fund member  by the Employee Provident Fund  Organization(EPFO) which gives him control of his EPF account and minimises the role of employer

How will UAN help you?

  • No need for fund transfer: Earlier, transferring  EPF account from one employer account to another was a tedious process. But the UAN will do away with the need to transfer your funds at all. All you have to do is furnish your UAN and KYC details to new employer. Once the new employer verifies these details, the money from the older account will get transferred to the new account. But for old accounts (opened before the allotment of UAN), you still need to apply for funds transfer either in digital or physical form.
  • No employee involvement in withdrawals: At present any request for EPF withdrawal has to be signed by your previous employer and then sent to the EPFO.  There would be no need for transfer requests as money lying at your previous account would automatically get transferred to your new account once your present employer verifies your KYC details.
  • Receiving monthly SMS alerts: Every month when you and your employer contribute to your EPF account, you will receive an SMS alert from the EPFO. This will be similar to the SMS alerts you receive every time your bank account is credited or debited. You can even check your total balance by downloading the EPF passbook. However, this facility is not available to employees of exempted establishments at present.
  • Better utility of employee pension scheme: Due to the tedious process of transfer of fund from one account to another, members preferred to withdraw (which is an easier process) their EPF money. When you withdraw your PF money you also withdraw the fund contributed to Employee Pension Scheme. This affects the pension that you ultimately receive after retirement. With UAN, your EPF money along with that under EPS is automatically transferred. Transferring the money instead of withdrawing will result in better pension money when you require it most.

Understanding ELSS Funds or Equity Linked Saving Schemes

Equity Linked Saving Scheme or ELSS Mutual funds offer a choice to investors of providing equity exposure along with tax deduction benefit under Section 80C but come with a three year lock-in. These funds are an alternative to other tax saving instruments like NSC, PPF and fixed deposits. Let’s understand theELSS Funds in detail.

What are Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS)?

Equity Linked Saving  Schemes or  ELSS  are diversified equity mutual funds(it invests more than 65 per cent in equity) in which investments are eligible for tax exemption under section 80C of the Income Tax Act.  Under Section 80C, you can invest up to Rs 1.5 lakh in a set of investments, one of which is ELSS funds. In Equity funds it is suggested to remain invested for long term. This long-term imperative is compulsorily enforced because under the tax laws, investments made into these funds are locked in for at least three years. ELSS Funds offer you a simple way to get tax benefits, while aiming to make the most of the potential of the equity markets. They offer the twin benefits of tax deduction and capital appreciation.

You can find information about the ELSS Funds from Valueresearchonline Equity Tax Planning  or Moneycontrol ELSS Funds

What is the lock-in period of ELSS Funds?

All tax-saving investments have lock-in periods which range from 3 to 15 years. ELSS funds have a lock-in period of three years, the shortest among all Section 80C investment options. While this reduces liquidity and prevents the investor from making changes, it can be a blessing in disguise. It also means that redemptions are not a worry for the fund manager and he can take long term investment decisions.

For the investors who take the SIP route, each monthly instalment is treated as a separate investment and gets locked in for three years. So, the SIP started in Oct 2014 will be eligible for withdrawal in Oct 2017. Similarly, the SIP invested in Dec 2014 will be open for withdrawal only in Dec 2017.

What is the taxability of ELSS Funds?

ELSS funds fall under the exempt-exempt-exempt (EEE) category.

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