Five long term actions for controlling air pollution in Delhi

By Somali K Chakrabarti



China will trap its smog and turn them into diamonds. 

– World Economic Forum 


As bizarre as it sounds, this video posted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on their Facebook page claims that China will tackle Beijing’s air pollution problem by turning the carbon from smog particles into a diamonds.

If at all such a technology is practically and economically feasible then maybe it is time for our Delhi government to explore the possibility of use of such a Technology, the pollution levels in Delhi being at its highest and one of the worst in the world.


While the schools remain shut for three days, all constructions and demolitions have been banned for five days, as usual the center and the state government are busy leveling charges against each other as to who is to be blamed for the smog that shrouds Delhi. Whereas Delhi govt sites crop burning in Punjab as the major reason for pollution, the central govt says that 80% of the pollution is caused inside the city.

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Dynamic Asset Allocation Funds – strive for growth, limit loss

Dynamic Asset Allocation Funds – strive for growth, limit loss

 Buy Low, Sell High

Though, we all know that for generating reasonable returns, any investor should ‘Buy Low and Sell High’, yet, for an individual investor this is easier said than done.  It is not only difficult to track the market on a continual basis, while diversifying the risk, but it is also difficult to have the heart to buy beaten down stocks when market has fallen substantially and sentiments are running low.

Besides, with increase in losses, the gain needed to break-even also increases. Moreover, for an investor, the pain of selling a stock at a loss far exceeds the pleasure of selling the stock at an equal amount of gain. Hence, the importance of containing the downside to the portfolio cannot be emphasized enough.


That is where the expertise and knowledge of a fund manager comes into play – in selection of appropriate asset class at any given time while lessening the psychological pain of investors.

Dynamic Asset Allocation Strategy

Balancing exuberance with caution, a dynamic asset allocation strategy uses the market volatility as an opportunity for switching between asset classes to benefit from growth of equity market while reducing the volatility of returns.

With the example of ICICI Prudential Balanced Advantage Fund, I proceed to explain how a dynamic asset allocation strategy allows for capital appreciation, while limiting the impact of loses on your portfolio.


ICICI Prudential Balanced Advantage Fund (BAF)

BAF is based on the wisdom of buying low and selling high.



Using an in-house Price –to-Book Value (P/BV) Model, the fund allocates higher in equity when the Equity Market Valuation is low and reduces its equity exposure when the Equity Market Valuation is high. The equity exposure of the fund, which is a blend of large and midcap stocks, varies from 30% – 80%. A core debt portfolio is used for rebalancing.

This minimizes the role of emotions in investment decisions and helps to remove the psychological barriers (greed and fear) for its investors. The investor, thus, stands to gain more in a rising market and lose comparatively lesser when the market falls.


Alternative to Fixed Deposits

Asset allocation by individuals is driven by their risk appetite, market opportunities, and the liquidity requirement from their investment at any given time.  The most common instrument into which most retail investors in India put their money are fixed deposits (FDs).

BAF is a great alternative to FD for parking cash. The returns have been consistently higher in comparison to FDs. The fund also offers an Automatic Withdrawal Plan to manage your monthly cash requirements. Additionally, BAF generates tax savings for investors. The returns from BAF become tax free after one year while the returns from FDs continue to be taxed. 


Derivative Strategy

To qualify for such equity-like tax treatment, it is mandatory that the funds’ exposure to equity must remain at 65%. But, as mentioned above, the BAF equity exposure varies from 30% – 80%. In order to maintain the equity exposure at 65%, in rising market conditions, whenever the fund’s allocation to equities is reduced below 65%, portfolio re-balancing is done by investing the remaining amount (short of 65%) in derivatives, and the rest in fixed income securities. 


Returns in All Types of Market Conditions

ICICI Prudential BAF Returns


Though past performance may not necessarily be indicative of performance in future, it is reasonable to point out that as per MFI data in % CAGR terms, the fund has consistently outperformed both standard benchmarks Sensex and Nifty since March 01, 2013 to Sep 30, 2016, thus creating wealth for the investors.  The fund has a consistent dividend history as well.

The ability to generate good returns in all types of market conditions makes BAF suitable for investors with a moderate risk appetite, seeking long term wealth creation while limiting the downside. 


A dynamic asset allocation fund could be a most suitable investment option when the equity market valuations are not very attractive. #TarakkiTalks

Also, it helps to remember that an investment horizon of 3 – 5 years is needed to reap the full advantage of such a fund. 

This post is written in collaboration with Blogmint and ICICIPrudential.

Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully. Investors should consult financial advisors, when in doubt about the suitability of a product for them.


Five small changes can secure your family’s future

 By Somali K Chakrabarti

Festive times are full of fun and frolic. These are the times when we cherish togetherness with our family, the most, and if we happen to be away from our family, we miss them the most. Just like festive celebrations, life too is incomplete without our family. From time to time, we realize that we must do everything in our capacity to secure our family’s future. Yet, we often tend to procrastinate in buying the insurance.

If we start early, with a saving as little as Rs 535 / month (18/ day), we can secure our family’s future with an Rs 1 crore life insurance cover.

Further, small lifestyle changes can help us to easily save to secure the future of our loved ones.

If you want to find out more, please read the post FIVE THINGS YOU CAN GIVE UP TO SECURE YOUR FAMILY’S FUTURE on Life11.


Image credit#Yehbhionline

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Five things you can give up to secure your family’s future

Five things you can give up to secure your family’s future


Festive times are the times when we cherish togetherness with our family, the most. If we happen to be away from our family during these times, we miss them the most. Just like festive celebrations, life too is incomplete without our family.

From time to time, we realize that we must do everything in our capacity to keep our family happy and to secure their future. We plan for our children’s education, their career, we plan for our vacations, yet sometimes, we miss out on planning for a constant source of income for our immediate family in our absence. We know that we need to be prepared for such an eventuality, but we often tend to underplay its importance till something drastic happens that shakes us up.

Then, we go for life insurance!

The reasons to procrastinate are many – sometimes, we are not sure which insurance plan would suit us the best, at others we are not sure if we can afford to pay the premium for the policy or how much money do we need to set aside each month for it. But, believe me, it is not at all difficult.

You can buy insurance online.

Using the online insurance calculator, you can calculate the insurance premium for your chosen plan. When you click to insure, an E-Agent can assist you in the process, or you can even arrange for a call back.


The question that pops up next is that with ever increasing expenses, how you would manage to pay the premium. That, too should not be difficult provided you are willing to make small changes to your lifestyle. Here are a few such things you can cut down on to save Rs 30 – 50 per day.  

  1. Reducing your coffee at cafe – A cup of coffee at a café costs more than Rs 100. You may consider going for a walk in a park with your friends instead of catching up with your friends at a café over cups of coffee.
  2. Using public transport or a car pool – If you drive alone to office, you may instead consider opting for a car pool or for a bus or train, on some of the days. Not only will you save up a whole lot of expenditure on petrol but you’ll also have company while travelling to work.
  3. Going for morning movie shows – When you go to a theatre to watch movies, the ticket costs are comparatively much cheaper if you go for morning shows. Watching movies online is yet another option.
  4. Avoiding promotional offers – Nowadays we are flooded daily with directed promotional offers and discounts. These offers, almost like fast food, are at times very enticing and tempt people to buy things that they do not really need. A good way to avoid such impulsive purchase is not to open all emails with promotional offers that come your way.
  5. Saving electricity costs – The age old wisdom of switching off lights, turning off electronic devices that aren’t in use, using energy saving light bulbs and unplugging chargers for laptop and mobile phone help to reduce the wastage of power, and considerably reduce the electricity bill too.  


If you start early, with a saving as little as Rs 535 / month (18/ day), you can secure your family’s future with an Rs 1 crore life insurance cover.  

Sounds too good to be true? Well, then check out for yourself on HDFC Life website.

Insurance is crucial – buy it online, conveniently with HDFC Life #YehBhiOnline

Omkar Meridia – Residential apartments near BKC, Mumbai

Omkar Meridia – Residential apartments near BKC, Mumbai

In the city of Mumbai, living close to the workplace is a dream cherished by many, particularly by those who spend a considerable portion of their time commuting to work. It is not uncommon for people to spend 2 – 3 hours each day traveling between work and home, with the travel time increasing substantially during the rainy season. However, due to the mercurial rise in property prices in Mumbai each year, affordability of residential property near the workplace always remains an issue. In such a scenario, if people can  ‘Walk to work‘, they will not only cut down the long commute and evade agonizing traffic jams, but also gain sufficient time to pursue their interests.

Last week, I had received an invite from Omkar Realtors and Developers to attend an event that included a presentation by the Chief Marketing Officer on Omkar Meridia, a property at BKC Crossing. The event conducted at the property site itself, also included a visit to the sample flat. I registered for the event and reached the venue on the given hour.   

The discussion with the CMO centered not only around the property but also around Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), which is an important business hub in the Mumbai suburbs, and the office destination for lakhs of people.  Though there are many commercial establishments and government offices in BKC, at present, there are not enough modern residential developments in and around that area. As a result, majority people who work in BKC do not reside in and around the location, and some have to commute for long hours.

Here I enlist the key points about the property. 


Walk to work is the mantra behind the project

Omkar Meridia located at BKC crossing is at an arm’s length from the city’s main business district. It could be an option worth considering for those who work at BKC, and commute from distant suburbs. Proximity to workplace would drastically cut down their commuting time, and thus leave them with sufficient quality time for themselves and their family.




Social Infrastructure

There are some good schools such as Arya Vidya Mandir, Orchid International School , Mt Litera International School in the vicinity of Omkar Meridia. Health facilities such as Asian Heart Institute, Gurunanak Hospital, Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre are in a 3 km vicinity. Phoenix Market City, is one of the largest shopping malls in Mumbai, too, is close by.



The property offers locational advantages such as proximity to the Bandra station, domestic airport, proposed metro station, both Eastern and Western Express Highways, and easy access to Santacruz Chembur Link Road. A proposed 13.4 metres DP Road parallel to the apartment is expected to vastly improve the accessibility, in addition to the upcoming Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro line. 


Design and Amenities

The cozy and compact flats with modern finish are suitable for small families. The size ranges from 695 sq. ft to 1260 sq. ft. (1/2 BHK).

The sample flat we saw was a 3 BHK. Interior specifications of the flat included AC’s in living room and bedroom, modular kitchen cabinets with counter, imported marble flooring in the living room and passage, laminated wooden flooring in the bedrooms, sanitary fixtures and ceramic tiles in bathrooms.  Other common amenities include a fully equipped health centre, swimming pool, rooftop jogging track and a play area for children.


Attractive Price Point 

While the real estate inside BKC is skyrocketing, being located in a pocket at a stone’s throw from BKC, Meridia is priced attractively, with 1 to meet the rising demand from office going buyers working in and around BKC. There are 1BHK units of 695 sq ft available at Rs. Rs 1.19 crore (plus taxes), 1.5 BHK and 2BHK flats of 900 sq ft area priced at Rs 1.46 crore (plus taxes),  and Rs 1.65 crore  (plus taxes) respectively, and a grand 2BHK of 1260 sqft at Rs 1.96 crore (plus taxes). 

The moderate size of the property (under 200 apartments) also contributes to the attractive price point.


Early Possession and loan Options

Omkar Meridia offers an early possession in mid-2017. The property has a clear title. Financing options are also available from leading banks and financial institutions that offer home loans.


Investment Opportunity

The CMO mentioned that BKC has seen a very high appreciation in the Capital values during the past two years, and the capital and rental values are slated to grow sharply in future as well.

According to recent reports, MMRDA plans to develop BKC as a “smart city” in order to strengthen its brand value. Besides, the State government is considering extending the BKC Eastern Boundary to accommodate the International Financial Services. The real estate projects in the vicinity would benefit substantially from these developments.  The location is expected to appreciate by 100 % or more in the 2-3 year window says JLL India Report, Jan 2015. 

For the executive class, having disposable income in hand, the property could also be considered as a great investment opportunity.


For more details, please visit the website of Omkar Meridia (


This is a sponsored post, written is association with Blogmint and Omkar Meridia

Image source : Omkar Meridia

If you believe that any image used on this site infringes your copyright, please inform and it will be removed.

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Celebrating Friendships with Yaaron Ki Baraat

Celebrating Friendships with Yaaron Ki Baraat

 By Somali K Chakrabarti

The story goes back to the late seventies and eighties when gizmos and gadgets were not yet a part and parcel of our lives. That was the time when landline phones were a rarity, mobiles and laptops were unheard of, we would wait for a whole week to watch a movie on the Black and White TV, and  we met people only in person, not virtually. Friendship meant strolling around, playing on the ground, flying kites on the terrace, exchanging books and chatting with friends on topics that would never end.

Every summer, I went to Lucknow with my grandma, to visit my uncles and aunts and spend my vacations with my cousins. I don’t remember how it started, but it had become a yearly routine for a couple of years. I always looked forward to those annual trips for a number of reasons which included living for two months with a bunch of cousins, reading a whole lot of story books, gorging on ice creams, savouring papdi chaat, batasa (paanipuri/ golgappe), watching movies, gushing over our favourite stars, and sometimes even squabbling over them.

Many anecdotes of those days are still vivid in my memory and bring a smile every time I recall them.

kids-playing-summer-clipart-free-clipart-images1Image credit:

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Catwalk- A Haiku

Catwalk- A Haiku

By Somali K Chakrabarti


impeccable grace

perfected over nine lives

nimbly the cat walks!


© Somali K Chakrabarti

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I am my own Hero

I am my own Hero

By Somali K Chakrabarti

Image Source


No means No,’ the message has been conveyed sharply and clearly in the movie ‘Pink’. Thankfully this time it has caught the fancy of viewers. The theme of gender and consent has often remained ambiguous or has been construed differently by different people, though lately we see that the message is being sent out and reinforced through plays, street art, and movies.

The above picture is of a mural at a Railway station in Chennai on the theme of Gender and Consent. Here’s is a poem based on it.


She emerges
from a jasmine sea
the lovely, lissome Padmini
and captivates the spunky Shivaji;
— they are the golden pair
of Tamil cinema of the yesteryear
She is dressed in vines and petals
He, in the dazzling warrior gear,
Perceiving a petite maiden,
he moves ahead to save
the damsel in distress
Into his strong arms,
he must, must
sweep her away…
With a gentle gesture of hand,
she shoves him and there she stays
Looking at him in his eyes,
she gives an assuring smile
‘I am my own hero,’
Ms Padmini says.

© Somali K Chakrabarti, 2016



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‘Making Friends with the Crocodile’ by Mick Canning

By Somali K Chakrabarti


Prejudices, biases and gender inequalities have always existed in our society, and from time to time these come to the fore front. But, when such points are raised by foreigners, there is always a risk that the writer may succumb to temptation of stereotypical or caricaturish portrayal of the characters or the culture of a country.

Making Friends with the Crocodile, written by Mick Canning is a book that highlights gender inequalities prevailing in a North Indian village. Steering clear of stereotypes, the book depicts lives of people in a normal village family, and the conditions that not only dissuade a woman from reporting an assault, but also subjugate her further by holding her responsible for it.


Making friends with Crocodiles is available on Amazon. 

Here’s a bit about the author. Mick Canning is an Englishman, who has traveled extensively in North India, Nepal and the Middle East. Mick finely captures the essence of these places in words and in pictures in his blog that goes by his name. I have always enjoyed reading his posts on Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Sarnath, and Punjab. While I had been intending to read his book since quite some time, I managed to do so during this weekend.

In his book, Mick has delved into the mind of a middle- aged woman living in rural Bihar (I have no  idea how he managed to analyse and portray the sensitivities) and has beautifully sketched the love – hate relationship she shares with her daughter in law.

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Camel Bus – Social Innovation for desert transportation

Camel Bus – Social Innovation for desert transportation

By Somali K Chakrabarti


“Innovation opens up new vistas of knowledge and new dimensions to our imagination to make everyday life more meaningful and richer in depth and content.”

~ Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

While most people know about camel rides in the deserts of Rajasthan, not many would have heard about a bus that it is driven by a camel.

The idea of the camel driven bus was conceived by a school teacher late Radhey Shyam Mishra , as a means of safely transporting students to and from school through the desert.  His friend, Mewaram Jangid, who was a skilled carpenter developed the bus in 1972, which provided an affordable solution for mass transportation in rural desert areas.

Camel Bus, Rajasthan

Seven such buses are still used to transport over 400 students to Bhanwarlal Kala Bal Mandir School in Churu, Rajasthan. According to the school principal, the school has developed a distinct identity because of the Camel bus and other schools in the area have also followed suit. Buses currently used by the school are still based on the same design.

The Camel Bus is a simple, affordable, and efficient local solution social innovation developed by creative individuals for solving a local problem.

The Center of social Innovation, Stanford Business School defines Social Innovation as:

A social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than current solutions. The value created accrues primarily to society rather than to private individuals.

Many times, these innovations from the informal sectors of our country remain localized. As such, their potential growth gets constrained, and the benefits are confined to a small section. To overcome this challenge and support the social change agents, volunteers of Honey Bee Network scout, spawn and sustain such frugal innovations at the grassroots level.

This instance of social innovation was spotted by the Honey Bee Network, and it was appreciated in National Innovation Forum, a body which works towards promoting creativity and social innovations at grassroots.

More examples of grassroots innovation are given in the post Frugal Innovation – bringing Grassroots creativity to the Global stage.

In the words of Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, Chairperson, Governing Council National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad

“The purpose of innovation is to create a new value for an individual, team, organization or for society at large.” 


References and Image credit:

  1. National Innovation Foundation, Rajasthan Innovates


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