Discover a new way to bank by dialling *99#

Bank on the go even without an internet connection on your mobile phone. Presenting the new USSD (*99#) service, through this, you can check your:

To know more, click here

Please note: the USSD service is not restricted to Kotak Bank alone. All accounts of different banks linked to your registered mobile number can be checked through this service using the bank’s IFSC. The USSD service works only on GSM mobile phones and with select telecom operators. Kotak Mahindra Bank does not charge any fees for this service. However, call charges as applicable may be levied by telecom operators.

Suggest repair cost share for old building owners, tenants: HC

The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the Mhada to suggest a formula for sharing cost of repairs to tenants and owners of old dilapidated buildings in Mumbai.

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai heard a petition by two residents of one of five ground-plus-two-storey buildings owned by the H B Wadia Fire Temple Charity Fund. The petitioners said the landlord-Trust and (Mhada) have cited financial inability. The total expenditure estimated by the court appointed architect is around Rs 75 lakh.

Subsequently, residents’ advocate Raju Moray and the Trust’s advocate Khushroom Davierwalla told the court that their clients are ready to share one-third cost of repairs. Mhada’s advocate said it could contribute only Rs 22 lakh. The judges directed the Trust to take approval for reimbursement from Mhada before appointing a contractor and begin work under a structural engineer. The petitioners said they had also requested the Bombay Parsi Punchayet to look into the matter as the residents are Parsis.

Disposing of the petition, the judges said there are several old buildings in Mumbai which are occupied by tenants and are likely to collapse if not repaired. “We feel that the Mhada should also make such suggestion where it is not able to bear the cost of repairs. The costs can be shared and the building can be repaired,” they concluded.

India’s coal rush could make Climate Change irreversible for the world

The deeper they dig, the likeliness of irreversible climate change heightens… and they don’t seem to be stopping.

In Dhanbad, India, the heart of India’s coal fields has seen decades of strip mining, desolating the landscape and sickening the residents. So, you would think that they would stop right? Maybe rethink this extreme exploitation of land? But no, instead they dig deeper and deeper into a coal rush that scientists deem irreversible climate change will be the outcome, and make India’s already extremely polluted cities even more uninhabitable.

According to The New York Times, “If India goes deeper and deeper into coal, we’re all doomed,” said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and one of the world’s top climate scientists. “And no place will suffer more than India.”

These coal mining plans may interfere with any hope of a global climate pact to be negotiated at the Climate Change Conference in Paris next year. The United States, China and Europe have all pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, however, India is the worlds third-largest emitter, and has shown no inclination of carbon emissions targets.

The New York Times quotes India’s power minister, Piyush Goyal, at a recent conference in New Dehli,

“India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate changes many years in the future, The West will have to recognize we have the needs of the poor.”

In fact, Mr. Goyal has promised to double India’s use of domestic coal from 565 million tons last year to more than a billion tons by 2019. The government may denationalise commercial coal mining to accelerate extraction.

It is estimated that 37 million Indians could be displaced due to rising sea levels by 2050. India’s cities are among the hottest in the world. Their traffic is the deadliest in the world, and will increase with new mining activities. Climate change will effect India forcefully, and they are a major obstacle in trying to reverse these effects!

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Plastic shopping bags make a fine diesel fuel

Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.

The conversion produces significantly more energy than it requires and results in transportation fuels – diesel, for example – that can be blended with existing ultra-low-sulfur diesels and biodiesels. Other products, such as natural gas, naphtha (a solvent), gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils such as engine oil and hydraulic oil also can be obtained from shopping bags.

A report of the new study appears in the journal Fuel Processing Technology.

There are other advantages to the approach, which involves heating the bags in an oxygen-free chamber, a process called pyrolysis, said Brajendra Kumar Sharma, a senior research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center who led the research. The ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Instituteat the University of Illinois.

“You can get only 50 to 55 percent fuel from the distillation of petroleum crude oil,” Sharma said. “But since this plastic is made from petroleum in the first place, we can recover almost 80 percent fuel from it through distillation.”

Click Here for the full news item

5 Indian companies in global A list of green firms

The list reveals which companies around the world are doing the most to combat climate change. It has 187 companies from across the globe that illustrate that a low-carbon future does not mean low profit.

The Indian companies that made it to the list — CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014 — are: Essar Oil, Larsen & Toubro, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.

“Awarded an ‘A’ grade for their performance, they (the companies in the list) earn a position on the first global ranking of corporate efforts to mitigate climate change”, said the organization in a statement while releasing the report comprising the names of the companies and the parameters\methodology followed on Wednesday.

Click Here for more details

Pune Municipal Corporation not to penalize Citizens for lapses of Builders

Pune Municipal Corporation has given relief to flat owners who are paying 3 times property tax because their builders failed to obtain Completion Certificates for their buildings. They have proposed a special scheme which will allow the flat owners to complete the necessary formalities, after which they will be exempted from penalty.

Click Here for the Times of India report.

Times of India 18Nov14

‘Any Branch Banking” – For whose benefit?

While the banks have considerably benefitted from the introduction of CBS, the customers of banks have yet to reap the benefits

How banks have benefitted from introducing the core banking solution -CBS?

With the introduction of CBS, the cost of servicing customers went down considerably for banks, besides helping them to improve their capability to service a large number of accountswith minimum cost as evidenced by the following facts and figures.

Table: 1- Growth of business of all scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) and their employee position for fifteen years from 1983 to 1998 (before introduction of CBS)

As stated in the tables above, while the business of banks grew exponentially, the number of employees went up marginally, thereby saving them huge manpower expenses with attendant benefits of lower capital cost on infrastructure. The banks, however, needed to invest onhardware and software on a regular basis, but this was much less compared to the total savings in work force cost on a continuous basis year after year.
On the other hand, customer service started deteriorating slowly, and the biggest casualty of CBS is the personal relationship between banker and customer. For every hiccup in service quality, banks started blaming computers and expressed helplessness in servicing customers across the counters.

Click Here for the full story at MoneyLife


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