Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Property transactions valued at 50Lakhs and above add to the burden of the buyers as they have to deduct tax (TDS) from sellers and remit the same to the Government, before getting the property registered from 1st June 2013. As per Sec.194-IA of the Income Tax Act, for property transactions particularly Land and Buildings valued 50 Lakhs or more, the buyers have to deduct 1% tax from the sellers and remit the same to the Government. This provision was introduced to the Income Tax Act, in the Finance Bill for the year 2013 – 2014 in the Union Budget to garner more funds to reduce fiscal deficit. This move was taken by the central government with the intention of tracking property transactions; bring transparency in the real estate sector, curb black money and to generate funds to the Government.

            Though the Government move is laudable, the retail buyer is burdened with additional cost, responsibility and paper work on the following points –:

   Further, there is lot of ambiguity in this provision as to how the amount is to be deducted since property dealings takes place in many stages from Sale Agreement to Registration and possession. In the absence of clear interpretation and implementation of the provision the buyer will be put to lot of confusion and difficulties in complying with the said provisions under new Section 194IA.

   Normally, while buying a new property from a developer the buyer enters into an Agreement of Sale with the developer by paying part of the sale consideration. As the project progresses additional payments will be made at different stages, as per the terms of the contract with the developer. The sale transaction concludes on payment of final Sale consideration to the developer on completion of the project and getting possession of the property. The provision does not clarify from which amount the TDS has to be done, whether in part or in full and how and when the payment has to be made. Similarly, there is no clarity as to the effect of the provisions in case the property transaction does not conclude and aborted in the middle.

    The purchase of the property from secondary sellers also involves many stages. In this case also the provisions are ambiguous as it is not made clear as to when TDS has to be effected and paid, what are the implications on the buyer if the sale transactions are cancelled after entering into an agreement.

    Most of the retail buyers especially salaried employees depend on long term housing loans from financial institutions and Banks to buy properties. They are the major property buyers and a decent property costs not less than 50 Lakhs in most of the major cities and they will be the worst sufferers of this additional burden and cost. Most of the real estate projects are currently concentrated in major cities of the country. In case of purchase through Home Loans the provisions does not clarify – whether the borrower has to deduct TDS or the lending institution, in whose name equitable mortgage will be created while borrowing funds.

    Overall the provision is full of ambiguity and very difficult at the level of implementation. The authorities must clear all confusion and come out with a clear, practicable solution for implementation of the provision without causing unnecessary trouble to the buyers hurting their sentiments, which in turn have an effect on the already beaten down real estate sector.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


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Gardens andlandscaping go back centuries in time. Those like Mughal Gardens, Hanging Gardens and Lalbagh are a living testimony to the skill and creativity of their gardeners who were largely uneducated.
Most homes of yesteryear, i.e. before the invasion of urbanization, possessed some kind of garden. When you want to forget all your worries and escape from the hustle bustle of life, a garden is the ideal place to take a siesta, and for the children to romp in. You could arrange a mouth-watering evening barbecue there too.

Why not try your hand at designing your own garden? A beautiful display of flora doesn't necessarily need a lot of land. You should make a note of those areas which get more sunlight throughout the day and those that don't. All plants do not require constant sunshine. You can start planning your garden with a sketch of the place. A focal point should be determined where you could place a sundial, a tree, a bird bath, rockery, statue or possibly a gazebo. 

For a narrow plot there should be parallel side boundaries. Geometrical shapes like circles, hexagon and rectangles could be made for flower beds.
If you happen to be a novice, try going according to the flow of land rather than using straight lines. Gardening tools such as a hosepipe, sprinkler etc must be kept handy. The land can be terraced, cultivated with grass or shrubs or made into a rockery. If there is a water body present it will add quality to your landscaping. 

For a water body you should select a spot that receives at least five hours of sunlight in a day and should not be near overhanging trees. An area of 40sq.ft is best as ponds smaller than that may accumulate algae. The depth should be 20-24 inches. You could line it with concrete or obtain pre-fabricated fibre glass pools. At the same time you can get one made to order. A water tight container, plastic tubs or drums can also be utilized. You must dig a sufficiently large hole and pack the soil into gaps tightly between the hole and the wall of the pool.

You may use an underground plastic tube to conduct water to the pool. The pond area should be planted with aquatic plants, ornamental plants like water chestnut, water hyacinth etc whose leaves and flowers grow above the water surface. You could have side paths leading to the outdoor eating area from there. For an aesthetic treat, plant some grass in the paths between slabs.

It takes a lot of time to maintain a perfect lawn. There is a variety of grass available such as Japanese turf which needs low maintenance as it grows in tufts and needs no mowing. The land should be well drained and the soil racked 6 inches deep. Then fertilizer should be mixed in and spread evenly. After this you can plant the cuttings or seeds. Planted slabs can be obtained from a nursery in case you want an instant lawn. The flowerbed borders should be raised a little from the lawn level and a 6 inch channel must be kept in between for the purpose of drainage.

You have to take into account the type of soil in the garden. Alkaline soil is not good for roses and neither is wind exposure. Fertilizers are needed and also protection from insects, fungi, aphids, caterpillars and borers. Common diseases are mealy bug, black spots and rust. The bloom is made ugly by black spot and brown pustules under the leaf surface come from rust. These will kill the plant in the end. Pesticide containing copper compounds should be sprayed and malathion also is safe to use.
Plants that have become unhealthy need not be necessarily infected by pests. They may suffer from psychological disorders that cause them to wilt and shed leaves. This may occur due to under or over watering. Some other causes of ill health may be aerosols, chemicals, manganese deficiency and the environment.

Gardens can be made into a riot of color by growing flowers like asters, anthirrinums, marigold, begonia, calendula, larkspur, cornflower, poppies, petunia, verbena, zinnia and salvia in the middle and for the border. Orchids such as slipper orchid, nun orchid and crucifix orchid are good when the seasonal flowers fail to bloom. Color can be added through beds of eolia and ferns. Using peat and compost for mulching keeps weeds away and saves soil moisture. Poorly growing plants should be replaced with thriving ones.
Enjoy your garden in the company of the flowers, birds and bees. Your labor will be rewarded by many rapturous hours spent amidst luxuriant beauty.

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Managing Shopping Malls

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The Indian retail industry no longerconsists of irregular family run efforts but has evolved into an organized wellmanaged business. It is of critical importance that this beginning be properlychanneled in a coordinated way so that it grows. This sector has much potentialfor growth as only 4% ofIndia's retail industry consists of the organizedsector unlike Malaysia where it is 55%, Thailand where it is 40% and 20% inChina. Consumers however have now shown tastes and preferences for an enjoyable shopping experience along with this growth. Now there is more than 40 million sq ft of retail space operating over 130 malls in this country. Within the next 3 years this development would be more than 100 million sq ft in the fast growing organized retail and within the next 5 years it would average 200 million. The success of development now depends on the factors of differentiation and convenience as there is such a large scale of mall supply.

The condition of development of malls is well summed up in the words of the famous General Georges. Patton - 'If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking.' There would be a peculiar set of challenges in the operation of each development incumbent depending upon size, location, ownership patterns and positioning. There would be sharp competition among these malls and the ability of a mall to adjust to the needs of the consumer and provide the needed experience and merchandise to its customers would decide its survival.

The efficient management of the business would decide the success of malls. Just as airline passengers choose which airline to fly according to the services provided, developing a mall is also akin to establishing a business unit. There are many aspects to the management of retail space beginning with the planning, design, infrastructure, trade mix and tenant mix, operations, planning peak hours and seasons, safety, preparing for emergencies and marketing. The success and sustenance of the mall depends on each ofthese.

First of all the development has to be rightly positioned and it is necessary to pinpoint the personality of the development and specify the target audience with their requirements. Retailers should be given the benefit of right spaces for them in the mall and consumers should be given an outstanding shopping experience. The customers should be given enough reason to make them walk through the mall and each zone in it should be exciting and enjoyable for them. This would keep the cycle of retailer attraction and customer satisfaction going. A mall of an average size would produce INR 6 billion annually and give employment to 800-1000 people. The activity behind the scenes should be well-planned so that it does not interfere with the experience of the customer. Chaos can be avoided by planning services and back end infrastructure in advance. Time spent by the consumer in parking should also be reduced to the minimum by careful planning on the part of the retailer.

A mall should be well-planned so thatit can take care of the hardware of the mall development and should carefullychoose the trade and tenant mix because it helps in the day to day aspects ofthe shopping experience. A very patient approach is needed while keeping retailers in the mall. The time factor must always be kept in mind by the developer and the best retail formats should be brought in. Economic activity in the catchment area must be foreseen and leases planned with different retailers in a way that will be flexible for repositioning the mall in the days to come.

The whole purpose of the mall operating efficiently is to meet the needs of the shoppers and make way for the success of the retailers who are the business partners. The peak and non peak business hours or days have to be planned and the malls need special staff for meeting the needs of the shoppers during peak hours and the festive season for the convenience of the public. The benefit of the retailers lies in the maximum amount of time spent in the mall by the customer. There should be an effective plan for any emergencies in this business centre to ensure the safety of the customers. There should be regular safety drills and the mall and retailer's staff have to be trained to assist shoppers at such times. 

All mall operations should be efficient, effective and transparent. Provisions for the Common Area Maintenance (CAM) must be made by the retailers who run their shops in different malls or they should pay the service charge as it applies to them. The CAM charge should not be different each month and a budget for the service charge should be planned properly. Provisions should be made for major repairs well in advance by the operator of the mall and a yearly budget should also be prepared for the operations. This will bring in discipline to the functioning and give improved control. 

The time when the shopper decides to enter the shop and not when he enters it, will be largely influenced by the retailers' treatment. Factors in a high street shop such as the signage, neat footpath, parking ease and entrance into the shop are the initial steps the cus- tomer takes in relation to the retailer. While selecting and designing the store it is necessary to consider these points. The retailers must make sure that there is good signage and clear corridors in the mall. Once the customer is in the shop what is important is the interaction with the customer, the easy possibility of looking through the goods and the appearance, display and feel of the store. The layout of the store is the first introduction of the brand to the customer. The brand's image can be made or broken through this and therefore needs to be carefully planned. Buying on impulse is likely to be more frequent in a warm and organized atmosphere.

This kind of organized retail shopping malls is still a novel idea in India. Few professionals are available with experience in the field to manage it. There is lack of exposure to the finer aspects of retailing and managing retail realty. It is hard to employ retail professionals with experience for both retailers and developers. To help us to learn we need to import the knowledge, processes and procedures and for a long term solution invest in training and making rofessional courses in order to obtain a suitable pool of talent.
There are innumerable opportunities for retailers and consumers given the size of the Indian retail market and the increased consumption expenditure and retail sales. The choice of a mall to shop might become the problematic decision for the consumer. As there are rising incomes and induction of western lifestyles, quality and experience matter the most. High quality and standards of services will create a lasting impression on the consumers.

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Planning Parking SIOI lor Buildings

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Whether it be a individual
ouse, a small or large apartment
ex, corporate business house, a
g campus or public
facilities such as airports or stations, a
of thought needs to go into the
esign of parking facilities. Parking
ots whether for houses or office
complex have to be designed not just
for the present but with an eye on the
future. Kerb side parking is also very
ortant and an essential part of
an design.

                        We have to adopt different
s when designing parking lots
r residences, small or large 
                  shopping complexes, a combination
                  of shops and residences
, hospitality
, public spaces such as airports,
railway and bus stations and
                  recreation zones, campuses and so
                  on. Thu
s, parking space can be
                  decided depending on the nature of
                  the activity. Road landscaping, which
cludes kerb side parking and public
                  parking facilities, wil
l also have to be
                  dealt with as thi
s is the base for
                  smooth flow of traffic.

International norms for parking
st that small and medium cars
require about 200
sq. ft. The turning
radius for various categories of
vehicles is a
lso stipulated ranging
from about 30
ft. to less than 500 ft.
for large trailer trucks. These figures
may not make much sense to the
common man whose primary need is
to comfortably drive hi
s vehicle in
and out of a parking lot whether it be
in his home, office or public spaces. 

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