Wednesday, May 23, 2018

15 Great Fuel Economy Tips

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Maybe you’re looking for tips to improve your car’s fuel economy, or maybe you want to decrease your ecological footprint. Whatever your reasoning, the outcome is the same, you will save money. 

Below you’ll find 15 great ways to improve your fuel economy.
A- Vehicle Maintenance
1. Keep Your Air Filter Clean
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Air filters should be changed every 12,000 miles or so. Dirty filters restrict the flow of air to the engine, making it consume more fuel as it works harder to run.

2. Check Your Tire Pressure and Balance Regularly
Making sure your tires are inflated properly makes a huge impact on improving fuel economy. Under-inflated tires can actually decrease efficiency by up to 10% by creating extra drag between the road and the tire.

3. Grease Your Wheel Barrings
Properly greased wheel barrings help to prevent friction as your wheels turn, decreasing drag and increasing your fuel economy.
 B- Vehicle Modifications

4. Consider Converting to Manual Transmission
Manual transmissions get better mileage than automatic ones since the driver controls when to switch the gears. Obviously, switching to a manual transmission is a big undertaking, but you should keep this in mind when shopping for a new car or replacing an old transmission.

5. Look into New Body Modifications
Some drivers, especially those who travel long distances frequently, have added body modifications such as a tail cone, skirt, or grill box to make the vehicle more aerodynamic, thus improving fuel economy.

6. Install an After-Market Air-Filter
The filters can increase the air flow to the engine, helping it run smoother and more fluidly to increase fuel mileage. You will need to know your vehicle’s make and model so you can buy the air filter that fits your needs.
 C- Simple Commuting Choices
7. Avoid Bad Weather
It’s not always possible, but when it is, it’s best to avoid driving in snow, rain, or high winds as this will impact your driving (making you drive slower) as well as the flow of traffic.

8. Skip Things Like Drive-Thru Windows
Even if you’re the only one at the window, you’ll still spend unnecessary time idling and using more fuel than if you park and start back up again.

9. Listen to Mellow Music
This may seem insignificant but listening to heavy music gets you driving faster and more aggressively. Calmer music helps you to slow down and drive easily – just another step in improving your fuel economy.
 D- Driving on the Highway
10. Reduce Drag by Closing Your Windows
Leaving your windows open creates more drag than using the AC or opening the air vents for the fan. This drag will slow you down, decreasing your fuel economy.

11. Use Overdrive
This changes your transmission into its highest gear as soon as possible, which is beneficial for your fuel economy.

12. Use Cruise Control – Sometimes
This is great for when you’re traveling on flat roads or if you’re breaking the habit of having a lead foot. However, for hilly roads, when you can coast down and use the momentum for the next hill, cruise control will get in your way of improving fuel economy.
 E- While Driving in Town
13. Shut Down the Engine When Feasible
Some people do this any time they have stopped for longer than a few seconds. However, this can cause hazardous in traffic and possibly lead to burning more fuel on starting the engine if you don’t have to wait too long. But, at long lights, or in traffic accidents where you’re at a standstill, shift into neutral and turn the engine off to save fuel.

14. Find the Best Route
When it comes to improving fuel economy, your route matters a lot. If you can take a route with fewer hills, stops, and traffic, you will save fuel because the conditions are better to increase fuel mileage.

15. Accelerate Slower
Gassing it when the light turns green burns more fuel than necessary. Instead, allow yourself to let off the brake and slowly accelerate up to speed.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

How to live happily after retirement?

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This is an interesting article on Retirement and how to face retirement based on the Speech by  Mr.P.P Ramachnadran who worked in Reserve Bank of India for 40 years .I reproduce below a portion of his speech which is very interesting and useful to persons who are going to retire:

In the times of our fathers and grandfathers, retirement was not much of a problem.

There are three reasons for this.

First, Life Expectancy.

Fifty years ago, the life expectancy at the age of retirement fixed at 55--was 60. 

A study of Government records revealed that very few people enjoyed pension for more than five years at that time. 

Most people died before sixty and consequently spending five years after retirement did not pose any major problem.

Today Life Expectancy at retirement at 58 or 60-- is 75 years which means half of your working life is still left after retirement.

To give you an example two Senior Officers of RBI died at 93 years—35 years after retirement.

The second reason is the change in the family structure.

Half a century ago most people were in a joint family. The day you laid down office, you still had a large family around you. 

Surely, in a large family there was always something you could do that was meaningful and made you feel you were contributing to the family.

Today the family has become nuclear—husband, wife, children. By the time one retires, the children have gone away. 

In good old times, daughters used to get married and promptly go away. Nowadays sons get married and shift on and for First Night itself !

What is left is the old couple—You for Me and Me for you. This is not particularly easy to accept and adjust to after retirement.

The third reason is the problem of “Roots.”

In halcyon days, people used to have a “native place” and an “ancestral home”. 

They looked forward to going there and settling down after retirement. Today except for Leave Travel Concession purposes, there is nothing left in terms of native place. People often are confused as to where to settle.

These three problems make retirement planning a crucial item. If you have planned for retirement you can anticipate and tackle these problems. People are not accustomed to the idea of staying by themselves. If one asks an audience of prospective retirees and their wives “How many of you expect to stay after retirement with your children, hardly one hand goes up. If some husband raises his hand, his wife immediately slaps it down saying, “I’ll be damned if I am going to stay with my daughter-in-law!”

So it is a tough problem to think about old people staying—just the two of them. This makes planning all the more significant.

The most difficult problem that we face after retirement is the Psychological one.

When an executive retires, he is at the peak of his career—his status, prestige and financial acumen. 

The moment he lays down office, all these desert him. He discovers that “Everything becomes Less and Less”. 

The first thing he notices is the way his status and prestige are affected. Even at home, the retired person is no longer the important person. If he demands of his wife an early breakfast, she will promptly admonish him, “You are retired now. So take it easy. Let those employed go first !”. He is no longer “Numero Uno”.

A friend of mine who was a Senior Executive in RBI was getting 500 Greeting Cards and Diaries for the New Year. After one year of retirement it dwindled to fifty and this year he got ten. Greeting cards and diaries are surely an indicator of the respect you are held in.

The most immediate problem on retirement is time-arrangement.

We all have twenty four hours at our disposal, whether we like it or not. When you are a Senior Executive you work for ten, twelve or even fifteen hours and you feel “Suppose I had two hours more how nice it would be!. Life would be easier.”

After retirement we have twenty four hours and nothing to do! Result – misery and this is one thing one likes to spread! No man wants to be miserable alone. He will make as many people miserable as he can. A man who has nothing to do will harass people around him. Turning on head the Benthamite principle of maximization of welfare—maximisation of ill-fare!.

There are two solutions to this problem.

i)One is to continue to do the same work one was doing at the time of retirement.

The first option is very convenient but where is such an opportunity for the majority? There is the temptation to wangle out an extension but this does lead to compromising principles which many succumb to regrettably. I have seen Senior Officers accepting jobs as liaison officers and standing outside the cabin of their subordinates and seek favours from them. But how long-lasting is the solution. Extension merely postpones the problem. It crops up again quite swiftly.

ii)The second option is to do something different, i.e., option to get another job.

An executive can get another job provided he is willing to sacrifice self-respect. Generally jobs are given by the previous employer’s suppliers. Cases are legion where army, navy, air force officers are caught for espionage in such employment.

In commercial organizations Officers are employed to get orders and collect bills speedily from their erstwhile Employers. 

So you will agree that this is no solution.

Post-retired life. 

The retired official is likely to fall into four dysfunctional time options.

The first is “Withdrawal”.

Many retired people, the day they retire from Office withdraw from Life and within a few months they just pass away. 

When you ask a Doctor he will tell you I can give a Medical term but this is case of “simple lack of will to live”.

The second time management option is “ritual”.

A person can create a ritual for himself. He gets up at a specific time, does different activities at a specific time and this invariably results in misery for others if that specific time frame is not adhered to. While he has in essence nothing to do, he is trying to make his activities meaningful. This leads to a meaningless ritual.

The third option is Pastime.

Many people get together and embark on a combined ritual which is called pastime. This too does not add to the meaningfulness of life.

The last option turns out to be even mischievous. It is playing games—

Not physical ones like badminton, tennis but psychological ones where you try to manipulate people, get into their problems, complicate them and generally enlarge the tension around you. Many a respectable person indulges in this and creates problems where none existed.

The alternative to these are Functional options.

The first is become a Consultant.

Lurking inside every executive is a Consultant. But for this considerable expertise is required. All are not Consultants.

The second option is to start your own Business or industry.

But this calls for entrepreneurial qualities which an executive may lack. Many are the cases where lakhs of rupees have turned into thousands!.

The third option is to involve oneself in professional activities.

For this one must build up one’s position even before retirement. Many cliques operate to prevent outsiders from encroachment.

The fourth is to get into spiritual activities.

While nobody is required between you and God, nowadays, we find more and more godmen, swamijis, pseudo Gurus some even US returned. There is a temptation to follow some Swamiji or even become one yourself. This is a very slippery slope. Beware –there are more hoaxes in the religious field than anywhere else!.

The last and most meaningful option is to cultivate a Hobby.

Use your creative abilities and do something that you enjoy doing. You should start this even while in service.

One can even take up a hobby that is financially productive. As time passes one learns.


Some basic qualities one must cultivate.

  • There are two ways to look at every situation in life. Is the Cup half empty or is the cup half full. One man was not worried about his becoming bald. He declared “I have less hair to comb!”. Another man in identical situation moaned, “I have more face to wash !”.
  • Always remember that you are loved, even when it does not seem like it.
  • Believe in yourself and your values. Don’t sell out when things go wrong. Don’t let anything get you down. Always bounce back.
  • Set goals for your future and never settle for anything less.
  • Realise that there are others in this world with bigger problems than you. Appreciate the good things of Life. Sunrise, Sunset, Flowers, Birds. Be thankful for the good times you have with your loved ones. Spend more time with your family and friends.
  • Appreciate the simple things of Life and don’t get caught up in the material things of life. Be an Optimist and see the Cup as being Half Full. Before long your attitude will rub of on others. You can make the world a better place to live by simply making yourself a happier person.



Saturday, May 5, 2018

Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA)-Important Guidelines

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The Indian real estate industry, particularly the residential sector, was in the past rightly characterised as being unregulated and unorganised with unreasonable project delays and poor quality of construction being definitive aspects.
The arrival of the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) in March 2016 brought in a paradigm shift in the sector and metamorphosed it into a more mature, systematic and regulated one.
RERA came into force on May 1, 2017, and is meant to be a buyer-friendly regime targeted to address their grievances and promote transparency, efficiency, financial discipline and accountability in the sector.
Indeed, buying a home is not only the most cherished dream for many Indians but also one of the biggest long-term financial commitment in the buyers’ lifetime.
Considering this, there are 14 important guidelines incorporated in the RERA umbrella:

1. Timely delivery

In case of project delays,buyers have the right to — (i) Seek withdrawal of booking (the developer is liable to refund the entire amount along with interest) and (ii) Go ahead with the project (with the condition that developer will pay interest for every month of delay until the property is ready for possession). The maximum time for refunding the buyer’s investment is within 45 days of it becoming due.

2. Checking reg. number

All builders have to mandatorily register their projects under RERA with the respective state regulatory authority and obtain a registration number for every project. Without this, developers are not allowed to sell the project. The project details, construction progress, commencement/occupation and other certificates, sales details, etc. must be updated on the single-point information window i.e. RERA portal, at regular intervals.

3. Escrow account

Investments can be considered safe, as RERA obliges developers to deposit at least 70% of the buyers’ money received for a particular project into an escrow account. This prevents the developers from ‘rolling’ these funds into other projects. The rolling of funds was a major reason for project delays in the past.

4. Verifying track record

Buyers can now opt for properties only from reputed developers who are complying with RERA norms and have a good track record and financial stability, which can be verified by buyers.

5. Transparent ads

Builders can now promote a project only after registering it under the Act. The unique RERA registration number has to be published with every advertisement/brochure, or in any kind of project promotion at all.

6. Carpet area clarity

The hitherto conventional practice of developers charging buyers on the basis of the super built-up area no longer works. Under RERA, the quoted price has to be mandatorily based on the carpet area of the property. What you see is what you get (and buy).

7. Altering norms

Around 2/3rd of the buyers’consent in a particular project is necessary in case the developer intends to modify the building or layout plans/specifications/liabilities in the project.

8. Payment plans

Home buyers can do due diligence before opting for a particular payment plan, a variety of which developers now offer — including flexi-payment, down-payment, possession-linked and construction- linked plans.

9. Cap on booking amount

Developers can only take 10%of the total property cost as a booking amount while the sale agreement is drafted at later stages.
RERA prohibits developers to acceptmore than this. If guilty of charging more than 10%, the developer potentially invites a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years.

10. Register brokers

As service providers to realestate consumers, property brokers are also liable for all deliverables committed by the developers they represent. Hence, they must register themselves with their respective state Regulatory Authorities.

11. Reliable redressal

The Act provides a strong redressal mechanism to consumers by imposing a penalty on developers/brokers for any breach of obligation. Buyers can file complaints against developers/ brokers which will mandatorily be resolved in a span of 60 days from the date of the complaint.

12. Structural defects

In case of issues within the building or apartment, such as inefficient plumbing, visible cracks, etc. in the initial five years after possession, developers are liable to rectify the defect in less than 30 days or else give compensation to the buyer.

13. Title documents

These vitally important documents were, more often than not, inaccessible to buyers before RERA. Now, they can scrutinize documents related to a project’s land title ownership on the RERA website.

14. End to prelaunches

RERA has put a complete halt to soft launches, pre-launches and any other interpretations of selling something which doesn’t exist as yet. As a result, speculators have now been pushed out and the market has turned extremely buyer-friendly.
While the progress of RERA implementation across states, barring a few, is going at a slower pace than predicted, it is definitely regaining the trust of buyers by consolidating the sector and doing away with unscrupulous players.
Courtesy:The writer Mr.Anuj Puri is Chairman, Anarock Property Consultants