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Income tax return

Just a small tip regarding filing IT return:

In the Total salary calculation, deduction under section 10 for HRA is to be calculated, and the subtracted amount is to be entered as salary. Professional taxes if any paid are also to be deducted before salary is entered.

The total deductions under Section 80C can only be a maximum of Rs 1,50,000. (AY 2015-16)

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Jothydev’s 3rd Annual Diabetes Conference

I attended the Jothydev’s 3rd annual diabetes conference at Taj Vivanta on 8-9 August 2015. It was a very exciting conference, being attended by the stalwarts in the Diabetes world. There were lectures, orations, workshops and discussions about various aspects of the Diabetes mellitus. A talk by Dr V.Mohan from Mohan’s Diabetic hospital was most heartrending.

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Star Health insurance policy fail

Medical insurance by private companies is a farce. Take the example of Star Health’s Star Wedding Gift and Star Comprehensive Insurance which specifically covers pregnancy related hospitalisation expenses.

The terms under this policy are hilarious.

1. You can take the policy for a pregnant woman, but the delivery will be covered only after 3 years. I’m sure that Star Health is quite aware that the average period of gestation for a human female is 9 months.
The specific term is “A waiting period of 36 months of continuous coverage under this policy with Star will apply.”. How exactly do they want the carrying lady to wait?
2. Delivery and New-Born Cover: (Maximum 2 deliveries)
3. For the second claim for delivery expenses a waiting of 24 months will apply.

So, if a couple decides to take this policy, they would effectively be letting Star Health dictate when exactly they wish to have the baby.
All of the other Star Health policies exclude pregnancy relates expenses from its coverage.
IRDA should be doing its job of regulating such ridiculous terms by these companies. It would be much better if such a policy weren’t offered at all.

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Updating encashment details in Spark

You have to update Encashment details of previous month before Spark allows you to process Salary for this month.
Menu option:
Salary->SDO Salary->”Update Encashment Details”

Bill Number: Enter as YYYY-MM (Eg: 2013-08)
Date of encashment: Date on which treasury credited it to your account, or you received it as cash.
Cash/TSB Amount: This is the net amount (i.e Gross amount minus Deductions)
Cheque/Bank amount: 0
TC Amount: Total deductions (i.e ‘Bill Gross’ minus ‘Bill Net’)
POC No: 0
Gross Amount: Autocalculated if you entered everything correctly.

Click on Confirm.

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Myntra.com digs its own grave

MWSnap005 2015-05-17, 10_07_36On 15th May, Myntra.com one of India’s forerunners in the online shopping scenario began to painfully dig its own grave.

I was one of the earliest adopters of Myntra.com, swayed at the time by their lip smacking offers, like “Get Rs 1000 off when you shop for Rs 2000” or something similiar. I forget exactly what. It’s been more than a couple of years. Myntra quickly shot to fame, and became trustworthy and a household name. I remember that at the time I would recommend Myntra.com to close friends who asked for recommendations of a trustworthy site,. Many were wary of providing credit card details online. Mytra was known for its ‘Easy returns’ policy, and friendly customer service. MWSnap004 2015-05-17, 10_07_20One could easily order any clothes without worrying overtly about whether it was a perfect fit. If it wasn’t the right fit, Myntra.com would easily replace it. They even had pickup facility. I lost track of the number of items my brother and I have bought from this store. It was so easy to order reliable branded clothing and shoes because of this store.

But with the announcement on 15th May, 2015, Myntra.com may very well have dug its own grave. It announced with great pomp and fanfare (first page on The Hindu newspaper) that it was taking down its website and going app-only. What the hell?

One can easily come up with reasons why this is such a bad idea..

Rupesh Pradhan at Myntra.com, in response to my mail, had this to say:

I certainly understand your concern regarding our move towards the mobile app only.We provide a better shopping experience on our app than we could through any mobile browser. Our app learns you better with time, and allows us to give you a high quality personalized experience across all supported platforms.
We’re making a bold move with an aim to better your experience. We’re confident that those customers who unfortunately can’t migrate with us will join us in the near future as technology also adapts to this shopping revolution.

We hate leaving anyone behind, and won’t stop until we’ve found our way back to all of them.

It may be a better experience than a mobile browser, but it’s certainly worse than shopping on a PC with a large monitor, or a smart TV for the matter. I hate to see Myntra regress in this manner. What was wrong with offering customers a choice of both a website and app like all other sane companies do. Myntra was at the forefront of the shopping revolution in India. With this move, you will have effectively alienated a huge segment of users, who may now be using the app because of promotional offers, but will lose interest in the long term.

Apps are definitely a poorer experience than huge screens which most homes have. Is it easier for a family to look at shopping choices and make opinion, looking at the big screen, or squinting at a tiny mobile screen. Small may be better in some cases, but not all. Will the developers of your app consent to code their application on their mobile phone or tablet alone? Sometimes apps have issues with payment gateways.

The app may “learn with time”. The same is possible for a desktop program equipped with the same algorithms. Once it is customized for the user who logged in, there is no difference between an Android app and a web application. Or is Myntra suggesting that the app installed on my smartphone is actually, and without my consent, tracking my online activities and my location, thereby improving Myntra’s marketing, at the risk of being akin to spyware? Come on, that’s paranoid even for me. Heaven save Myntra.com, if they’re too stupid as to do that.

Hopefully Myntra.com has in it to reconsider before being left behind. It’s alright to adopt technology. But foolish to be overwhelmingly blinkered. If I’m proven wrong about this in the coming years, I’ll eat my hat.

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IMA’s Medical Millenium event

Yesterday I attended IMA’s Medical Millenium conference at Kovalam. It was a much hyped event conducted at Hotel Udayasamudra and Hotel Samudra, two reputed resorts at Kovalam from 7-9 November 2014.

After participating in the KENTCON 2014 conference at Perinthalmanna, what struck me immediately was the lack of hospitality on the part of the organizers. In short, the humane touch was lacking in this event organized by doctors from Trivandrum. Maybe it’s a reflection on the much talked about decline in empathy among present day doctors.

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Reaching the venue at 9:15 am, I had to spend half an hour getting a parking spot at the venue. There was such a parking mess. The organizers had clearly put no thoughts into parking arrangements.

After registering, I tried to enter the Food court for breakfast. I was stopped by three organizing commitee members blocking the way to the menu. They informed me curtly that “Breakfast was over”. On enquiring the reason, I was told that they had announced over the mic that breakfast would be over by 10 am. I looked at my watch. It was 10:04 a.m.

Feeling that this was taking efficiency a bit too extremely I went to the IMA helpdesk to vent my ire. Three helpdesk commitee members were basking in comfy chairs. After waiting half a minute to get their attention with more than a couple of “Excuse me sir”s, finally I tried to explain to them that I had reached the venue well in time, and the reason for being apparently late for breakfast was because I had to wait for the reception commitee members to provide my reception package. However my plea fell on deaf ears. The sheer callosity of the helpdesk members was appalling. It was in stark contrast to the organizers of KENTCON 2014 at Perinthalmanna, where there was a universal warmth in attitude towards guests, from organizers.

On trying to enter the inagration ceremony, like many others before me, I found that it was impossible to enter the tiny hall with a seating capacity of around 500. How 5000 people could be expected to squeeze into that tiny hall is best left to your imagination. I’m sure the organizers weren’t expecting the Russian circus.

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The food provided in the banquet was also nothing to write home about. There was a distinct lack of variety. For an event that was touted to host 5000 doctors from across the country, it was too unappealing to the palate.

Maybe the Medical Millenium organizers should look to their Northern siblings and learn how to organize events. Shame on such a shoddy performance!

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Kerala ENT Conference (KENTCON) 2014

I presented a Case report at KENTCON 2014, Perinthalmanna

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Onam celebration at ENT Department, SGMC

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Indian railway tatkal booking

The Tatkal scheme of Indian railways is an option which allows customers to book a ticket a day before the actual journey, buy paying a premium price, after normal seats are exhausted. Previously Tatkal booking online used to be possible from 8am three days prior to journey. But recently Tatkal booking has been changed to allow booking only on the eve of the journey, and only after 10 a.m. What this implies is that Tatkal booking from the comfort of your homes is no longer a viable option when tickets are a scarcity. It is quite likely that tickets are exhausted by the time booking opens online.

It is not uncommon to see long queues of people outside railway booking counters even as early as 5 a.m. Scenes like below are quite common:

long-tatkal-queues-at-railways-booking-counter

Unfortunately, Indian railways are not helping remedy the situation by enforcing restrictions on Tatkal booking online.

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Elections

Tomorrow, it’s general elections in Kerala. Since our college had decided not to grant a public holiday, I’ll have to exercise my fundamental right late evening tomorrow.