Thursday, February 26, 2009

Anti Immigrant Song

Slashing the number of H-IB visas will affect the US economy badly

As THE US Congress approved the $787 billion economic stimulus package initiated by President Barack Obama on Friday, proposals by Senators Bernie Sanders and Charles Grassley placed stricter limits on banks and other firms taking taxpayer bailouts that use the H-lB visa programme. In other words, that will prohibit companies that have received bailout funds from hiring and retaining skilled foreign-born workers. This measure will disproportionately affect US-based Indians on H1-B visas.

India remains the largest provider of skilled HI-B workers to American companies. It 'is also the largest provider of foreign graduate students to America's colleges, particularly in the crucial areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. However, the. Amendment in the new law may change things as India's economy continues to grow and Congressional support for employment-based immigration erodes. Many American companies are planning to expand hiring in locations such as Bangalore and Beijing. By resorting to protectionist and anti-immigrant actions, Congress will only accelerate the current economic contraction in the US.

Consider the following facts.
According to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAB), the 12 largest recipients of bailout funds hired a negligible number of H1-B visa-holders in 2007. Bank of America employed 210,000 people in 2007 and received petitions for 66 new H-lB visa holders, representing 0.03 per cent of its workforce. Many of these H1-B employees are graduates of US universities, some have received scholarships to study in the US.

Forcing these brightest from a global workforce to leave the US not only disrupts the operations of companies where they are employed, but also forces these companies to grapple with critical skill shortages. Such anti- immigrant actions can sow fear, uncertainty and doubt among other highly skilled immigrants currently employed by healthy companies.

Highly skilled immigrants are not part of the problem but part of the solution to America's current economic woes. There are over 500,000 such legal immigrants stuck in backlogs in a multi-year waif for a green card. While these individuals remain in a bureaucratic limbo, they postpone decisions to purchase homes and consumer durables. This is a source of pent-up demand that the US desperately needs to tap ill a slowing economy.

Legal immigration of highly skilled individuals is not a zero-sum game. Many talented immigrants have started successful businesses that have employed scores of US-born citizens. Anurag Jain, a former H1-B visa-holder, has been legally residing in the US for the last 10 years. He recently launched a Seattle-based inter net company gigzee.com. "Our situation is very uncertain because of the current economic conditions. If my wife loses her job with Microsoft, gigzee.com will be forced to move over seas due to the delays in the processing of our green card applications. I am already thinking of expanding my company overseas instead of building up a stronger base in the Seattle area," says Jain.

There is a growing recognition in Congress that' something needs to be done to arrest the departure of such individuals who often take their innovations to other countries and then compete with the US. Unfortunately, attempts at reform have stalled as this issue is held hostage by those in the US Congress who need a bargaining chip for other issues.

US President Obama has stated that one of the primary goals of his administration is to create 3 mil lion jobs during its first term. His administration could use all the help that it can get from the US Congress. However, the Congress must resist the temptation to resort to nativist actions and show genuine leadership that this land of immigrants deserves.

It's not time to count the cost

EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES sometimes call for ordinary responses. The interim budget for 2009-10, by resisting the regulatory reflex to a rap­idly deteriorating external situation is the strongest signal yet that our economic managers think enough has already been done to insulate India. On current indications, the economy next year should not be too far off the 7.1 per cent growth rate it is slated to notch up in 2008-09. The fiscal deficit will, in the process, keep yawning - it will be a long climb back from the precipitous fall to 6 per cent in 2008-09. Pity our policy makers didn't fix the fisc when the go­ing was good; the economy's capacity to absorb more global shocks is shrinking with each percentage point rise in this statistic.

Having spent a fifth more than initially budgeted in 2008-09 - a year when taxes will fetch a tenth less than targeted - the UPA government's commitment to social sector spending is not in doubt. Neither is its calibrated response to the world­wide recession. Next year's spending on flagship social schemes and infrastructure, apiece, is Rs 30,000 crore higher. But tax revenues for 2009-10 are expected to stay below the budget estimates for 2008-09, reversing an established trend where the tax-to-GDP ratio has been rising for well over a decade.

The Rs 150,000 crorespurt in govern­ment spending in 2008-09 cannot be regarded as a one-off projections for 2009-10 establish that the trajectory has been moved upward. The virtue associated with profligacy will wash away once the economic crisis blows over, but the seduc­tions of a spend-and-borrow regime will be hard to cast off.

The irony of the last budget of the outgoing government is that it comes after the tide has turned. The 3 achievements the economy has notched up in each of the four preceding years is remarkable. It does the UPA credit for not succumbing to the temptation of fresh giveaways, particularly when. it would have conventional economic wisdom on its side.

The Vajpayee government handed over fairly healthy government books to Manmohan Singh. T'he next government's inheri­tance need not have a bigger hole than there is already. Con­tinuity in economic management despite a change of the political guard portends well for India.

Quota in liquor vend allowent

Excise policy: 4 pc VAT imposed, allotment through sealed bids.

Chandigarh, February 16 RESERVATION IN allotment of liquor vends, allotment by inviting vend-wise sealed bids and imposition of 4 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on wholesale licensee are some of the high lights of Haryana's Excise policy for 2009-10 announced today.

Announcing the policy in Vidhan Sabha, Excise and Taxation Minister Birender Singh said reservation in allotment of vends for Scheduled Castes and Backward Class (A) had been made to ensure their participation in the state's economic growth.

"The liquor trade has by and large remained a monopolistic enterprise. But now SCs and BCs can participate," he said at a press conference later. The policy was approved by the Cabinet earlier in the day.

Birender Singh said for the first time a reservation of 10 per cent has been made for SC members and 5 per cent for those of Backward Class (A) in allotment of country liquor and IMFL vends. The 15 per cent reservation would be district wise.

He announced single stage VAT of 4 per cent on liquor for wholesale licensees. The levy effected for the first time, will increase the cost of liquor, trade sources said.

He said the new policy was a major shift from previous policies as far as allotment of vends was concerned. For 2009-10, allotment would be done by inviting vend-wise sealed bids, like in Andhra Pradesh.

"The previous government used to auction vends and that system was followed by the present government for a year. Thereafter, it was changed to lottery system to put an end to the monopoly. The excise policy since 2006-07 has successfully achieved the path-breaking objective of breaking the cartels and unethical dominance of liquor mafia, broadbasing the trade by facilitating the entry of new players of even modest means, plugging the leakage, and optimization of revenue. The main purpose of bringing this policy is to assess the financial potential of each vend," he explained.

Singh said the new policy also has an enabling provision to renew licenses for 2010-11.
However, the criteria for renewal will be decided in next year's policy.

The Minister said 60 per cent of basic quota of country liquor will be distributed equally amongst all Haryana-based distilleries while 40 per cent shall be open quota.

For opening bars (L4 and LS), the licence fee has been fixed at Rs 6 lakh in Panchkula, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Yamunanagar and Rs 4lakh in the remaining districts.
For opening of pubs in Hisar, Panipat, Sonipat, Yamunanagar, Faridabad and Gurgaon districts, a licence fee of Rs 3 lakh would be charged but in other districts it would be Rs 2 lakh. The government has decided to stick with its 2008-09 policy decision pf pro viding licenses for 24X7 bars for four and five-star hotels.

Referring to the issue of payment to local bodies in lieu of taxes imposed by them, Birender Singh said as per the new policy panchayats would get Rs 2 per bottle, instead of Rs 1.50 earlier. Similarly, the Municipal Committees would get Rs 3 per bottle instead of Rs 2 earlier. The ratio of sharing the payment between Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishad would be 70:20:10. (Haryana Bureau)

RS 500-CR REVENUE INCREASE EXPECTED
Birender Singh said the government expects an increase of Rs 500 crore in Excise revenue i.e. about Rs 2,000 crore during 2009 10 through the new excise policy. He said this was despite the number of liquor vends having been reduced to 3,500 from 3,800 in the new policy.
Also, sale hours in rural areas have been reduced by one hour in summers (April to October) and two hours in winter (November to March).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hafed exports 240 MT of Basmati to UK

HARYANA COOPERATION Minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha today said Hafed recently exported 240-MT brown Basinati rice valuing Rs 1.55 crore to the United Kingdom. This was the second consignment ofHafed Basmati rice to the UK markets, he added. Prior to this, 240-MT Basmati rice valuing Rs 1.25 crore was export­ ed in December 2008.

Chatha said the Federation was now expecting to get regular orders of rice import from UK.

He said Hafed was also exporting Basmati rice to ~Australia since June 2007. Besides this, 550-MT Pusa Basmati rice was exported to Saudi Arabia during the current financial year.

To meet out the export demand and make its presence in the international market, Hafed has purchased sub­stantial quantity of Basmati paddy in the current year from the state mandis. To ensure genetic purity of the world famous Taraori Basmati, Hafed undertook contract farming of Basmati paddy in Karnal, Kurukshetra and Kaithal.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Managing Money

If you are thinking of changing your job, you need to do more than manage your new career-you need to take a few quick financial decisions.

Depending on what these are, you need to chalk out a financial strategy for yourself and your family;

You need to begin with tracking your expenses for a few months.

You may find that a new job and/or a bigger pay cheque can affect your spending.

Check out what your gross pay is as opposed to your net pay. Net pay is your take home after taxes, and your-spending pattern should be based on this as opposed to your gross pay.

When you change jobs, it is tempting to withdraw your provident fund. But remember, any benefits of letting that money compound tax deferred will vanish if you start at zero in your new job. Worse, you may be tempted to spend the money on things that are unnecessary.

Insurance options. Find out the type of insurance- cover being offered by the new employer.

How does it compare with what you already have?
Go ahead and strike the best deal money wise.

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What Motivates Managers?

Motivation is all about treating people with dignity

What is motivation?
Though there is no one definition of the word, it usually includes:

Desires, wants, wishes, aims, goals, needs, drives, motives and incentives.

Here are some strategies that operating managers can apply in order to create requisite 'desires' within their people to deliver their best to the organization.

Providing career growth, learning and development opportunities: What a present day knowledge worker needs is adequate opportunities to learn and grow so that he remains employable in the current competitive business environment.

Providing an exciting and challenging work environment: So that he can put all his existing skills to good use.

Appreciating good performance: A manager should feel that he is a part of the team and his contribution is being noticed.

Providing regular feedback: As Ken Blanchand, author of the One Minute Manager says, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions" i.e. they want to know how they are delivering. .

Soliciting, Employees, Opinions: In order to involve them in decisions that affects their jobs.

Opening channels of communication: Regular question and answer sessions, small group forums with the head of the organization and an open door policy are some ways that might encourage managers to speak up.

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