In-flight Wi-Fi on domestic flights may soon be a reality with 30% excess fare

The Indian government’s department of telecommunication (DoT) will soon be allowed to use Wi-Fi services inside the flights for people flying in flights over Indian airspace. The airlines could charge 20 to 30 percent of the fare to offer the WiFi service. Also, this service could be restricted only to business class travelers.

Wi-Fi connectivity for domestic flights

In-flight Wi-Fi on domestic flights may soon be a reality with 30% excess fare

With in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity, your air travel will soon become more exciting. Although in-flight Wi-Fi isn’t new or certainly even restrictively priced anymore, the power is comparatively exceptional in India. It is because the Indian authorities’ division of telecommunication (DoT) has to this point not allowed the facility on flights over Indian airspace, citing safety and feasibility causes.

The Telecom Commission which is the supreme decision-making body at Department of Telecom(DoT) will approve the proposal at its next meeting which is to be held on May 1. The proposal has received consent from all including the ministry of affairs. The plan will initially offer only data services and slowly will offer voice services too.

Airlines will have to install antennae on planes based on how they decide to receive and send the signals, either over mobile towers on the ground or over satellites. The move may help airlines add value to services for business class travelers on domestic and international routes. It may not be an option for low-cost carriers.

What will be the fare structure of data service on board?

# The pricing of the services will be left to the airlines. The airlines could charge 20 to 30 percent of the fare to offer the Wi-Fi service. In-flight internet connectivity may be too expensive for passengers and airlines in the domestic sector.

# Also this service could be restricted only to business class travelers.

# The charges for in-flight net connectivity would range from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 for thirty minutes to an hour, according to international standards and taking into account the charges levied by service providers for slots on satellites.

# Airlines have to pay service providers like Inmarsat and others a hefty sum to activate in-flight net connectivity.

# With advance booking fares starting from Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,500 on short domestic routes,

# As the price of organizing the Wi-Fi infrastructure on the plane, in addition to delivering it, remains to be comparatively excessive.

# Globally, airways and repair suppliers cost around $7 (roughly Rs 460) per hour, going as much as $25 (roughly Rs 1650) per day on use masking a number of flights with the identical airline.

How does Mid-Air Wi-Fi technology work?

# Airlines could use either of two technologies to provide Wi-Fi services – air-to-ground (ATG) and satellite-based Ku-band and Ka-band. In case of ATG, ground stations are responsible for sending airwaves that airplanes latch on to, and connect with ground stations.

# Once these signals are picked up, they are converted into standard Wi-Fi signals and then distributed to passengers.

# However, there are some factors that affect the Wi-Fi speeds, such as interference from objects, human bodies and more. 

# To ensure stable connectivity, most airlines choose to use satellite-based ‘Ku’ and ‘Ka’ bands.

# For shorter distances on domestic flights Ku-band is an ideal choice, whereas, for long-haul flights traveling at higher altitudes, Ka-band is a perfect choice.

# While Inmarsat offers the connectivity network, hardware providers like Honeywell offer the equipment required for receiving signals from the satellite. It is capable of reaching maximum download speeds of up to 14.2Mbps.

How would in-flight Wi-Fi be helpful for both crews and passengers?

# The in-flight data connectivity may be useful on long-haul flights. It may be good during an emergency.

# Besides offering passengers with a service to access the high-speed internet at 35,000 feet, in-flight Wi-Fi also proves to be helpful for the pilots.

# Pilots can use apps on their smartphones to carry out important information about flight operations.

# Flight crews can also collect weather related data to determine the best flight paths, avoid bad weather conditions and turbulence.

# This also eliminates the need for contacting air traffic control or planes ahead for weather updates.

What about security measures?

As airplanes have evolved over the years from being purely mechanical to a highly interconnected cyber-physical system, it also creates opportunities for cybersecurity attacks.

# The flight crew has complete control of the airplane and they also get the ability to override flight systems.

# Also, the Wi-Fi system in the cabin is only dedicated to the passengers, whereas the network in the cockpit is separate, serving as an additional security measure.

# With connectivity in the cockpit, pilots can communicate with the ATC through a text-message like a system called controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC).

# This enables pilots around the world to take advantage of more efficient routes like on traffic between the United States and Europe over the North Atlantic.

Notably

 As per the report, frequent travelers say that except for a handful of business travelers, there are no takers for in-flight internet even on international routes.

Some airlines allow passengers to use Wi-Fi free of charge for WhatsApp and other messenger services which may not need much bandwidth. Lufthansa, Emirates, British Airways, and Delta are among the airlines that offer the service on international routes.

Govt launches e-FRRO scheme to provide hassle-free travel for foreigners

To facilitate hassle-free travel to India for foreigners, the government yesterday formally launched the e-FRRO (e-Foreigner Regional Registration Officer) scheme under which they can avail of various visa and immigration-related services online.

The e-FRRO scheme is going to provide fast and efficient services to foreigners visiting India so that they had a pleasant stay. The e-FRRO is a web-based application aimed to build a centralized online platform for the foreigners for visa related services.

e-FRRO scheme

Govt launches e-FRRO scheme to provide hassle-free travel for foreigners

Home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday launched the web-based application ‘e-FRRO’, which will allow foreign tourists/ travelers to avail of paperless and cashless visa-related services online while eliminating the need for any human interface.

The e-FRRO scheme is aimed at building a centralized, transparent online platform for foreigners to avail of visa-related services and to provide faceless, cashless and paperless services to the foreigners with the user-friendly experience, as per the statement of Singh.

As per the report, in 2017, more than one crore foreigners visited India and out of them, approximately 3.6 lakh had to visit FRRO offices spread across the country for various visa-related services.

How does the new scheme act?

The e-FRRO scheme would be a quantum jump towards improving the ease of service delivery with respect to foreigners visiting and staying in India. In the new system, foreigners will be able to get 27 visa and immigration-related services in India from the comfort of their place of stay.

Foreigners touring India will no longer need to visit the Foreigners Registration office or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRO/FRRO) for visa-related services, including registration and visa extension, which will now be offered online through the e-FRRO platform.

How the old scheme acts related to visa services?

# As of now, foreigners staying in India on visa duration of more than 180 days have to get themselves registered with their respective FROs/FRROs.

# Similarly, foreigners requiring different kinds of visa-related services such as visa extension, visa conversion, change of address, change of educational institutions, exit permits etc. are currently required to visit the FROs/FRROs office.

What are the salient features of e-FRRO?

# Using e-FRRO application, foreigners can apply online on the portal and obtain the service through email/post without appearing in person at the FRO/FRRO office.

# The new scheme includes online FRRO service delivery mechanism without the requirement of visiting FRRO/FRO office barring exceptional cases. Using this application, foreigners are required to create their own User ID by registering themselves.

# Afterwards, they can apply online through registered User-ID for various visa and immigration-related services in India, registration, visa extension, visa conversion and exit permit.

# The necessary immigration, visa documents like registration permit/certificate (RP/RC), visa extension will be sent by post on the address mentioned in the online application. It will also be sent electronically to the foreigner to his/her registered email ID.

# In case of exigency, the foreigner can visit the FRRO/FRO office directly for grant of service.

What are the advantages of e-FRRO?

# Facilitation of legitimate foreigners through “Digital India” vision of the Government.

# Foreigners need not visit FRRO/FRO office – “Services from the comfort of home”

# Convenient and Time-saving, exclusive dashboard for the User-friendly experience.

# Uniform & Standardized Services across the Country.

What are major changes between current C-FRO (Centralized Foreigners Registration Office) system and e-FRRO ?

# In the current C-FRO system, the foreigner needs to take appointment online and visit FRRO/FRO office mandatorily whereas in the proposed e-FRRO system there would not be any requirement of mandatorily visiting FRRO/FRO office. However, in certain exceptional cases, the foreigner will be intimated to visit the FRRO / FRO on scheduled date and time for the interview.

# In the current C-FRO system, endorsement in Passport and Signed/Stamped RC/RP given to the applicant whereas in the proposed e-FRRO system, no endorsement in Passport, digitally signed Immigration document, emphasis on online verification.

# At present C-FRO system, manual interface while in proposed e-FRRO, Online, Cashless, Paperless.

# In present C-FRO system, lack of expertise at FRO level in dealing with foreigners while in proposed e-FRRO, Uniform and Standardized services through FRROs under Bureau of Immigration, FROs to be consulted online by FRROs.

The e-FRRO scheme has been running successfully in four FRROs (Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai) since February 12, 2018. Now, it has been rolled out in Kolkata, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Lucknow and Ahmedabad.

Noted

It may be noted that the online services offered by E-FRRO scheme are not available even in some of the most advanced countries in North America and Europe.

How to get the refund on cancellation of train tickets?

How to get the refund of fare on cancellation of train tickets as per Railway Passengers (Cancellation of Tickets and Refund of Fares) Rules, 2015, now the detail feature of different paths available for a passenger are as below;

cancellation of train tickets

How to get the refund on cancellation of train tickets?

 As per the Government of India, Ministry of Railways, based on the press report, Refund Facilities on cancellation of train tickets

# You will get back the due amount of the train ticket across the reservation/booking counters, after the cancellation of the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counter tickets/Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) tickets on surrendering of the original ticket within the mentioned time limit.

# After the cancellation of your E-ticket you must be filed Ticket Deposit Receipt (TDR) online on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website within the said time limit. Thereafter the refund amount is credited to your account from where the payment for the booking of the ticket has been made.

# Again as per the Refund Rule in exceptional situations, Ticket Deposit Receipt (TDR) can be filed for getting refund amount beyond the prescribed time limit.

# The Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counter tickets can also be canceled through IRCTC website (www.irctc.co.in) or through 139 and you can get back the refund amount across the reservation/booking counters on surrendering of original tickets within the defined time limit.

# During certain exceptional circumstances the Stationmasters of nominated stations have the authority to allow cancellation of tickets and grant refund of ticket fare.

Under exceptional circumstances

As per Railway Passengers (Cancellation of Tickets and Refund of Fares) Rules, 2015, when the e-tickets booked through IRCTC website are canceled then TDR filed through the IRCTC website only within the prescribed time limit. But in certain exceptional situations,

# Passenger may approach IRCTC or Office of Chief Commercial Managers (Refund) of concerned zonal Railways for grant of refund.

# In case your payment is deducted and the Passenger Name Record (PNR)/ticket is not issued due to technical reasons, then the refund is processed by IRCTC automatically on the following day of the transaction made by the user after confirmation through the file of the transaction from bank and PNR generation from PRS.

# Also, Station Managers of nominated stations of Zonal Railways have been authorized to grant refund of fare on counter tickets in exceptional circumstances.

Extra provision to facilitate passengers

# Further to the provision mentioned above, to facilitate the passengers PRS counter tickets are also canceled at relatively smaller stations wherever PRS booking facility is available throughout the day and refund is granted beyond the working hours of PRS counters/current counters.

# Also to facilitate e-tickets passengers in case of cancellation of trains, automatic cancellation is done and refund amount due is credited to the account from which the booking transaction took place. Cancellation or Filing of online TDR is not required in such cases.

Notably

This information was given by the Minister of State of Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

7th Pay Commission: Indian Railway Employees can now avail LTC

Following the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, as per the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) order, railway employees and their spouses will now be able to avail Leave Travel Concession (LTC) for the first time ever.

7th Pay Commission: LTC now avail for railway employees

7th Pay Commission: Indian Railway Employees can now avail LTC

Indian railway employees, for the first time, can now avail Leave Travel Concession (LTC). This is in accordance with the recommendations of the 7th pay commission. Recently in a circular issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

The allowance has been cleared after the 7th Pay Commission recommended that railway employees be brought into the LTC fold. LTC is a type of allowance given to an employee for covering travel expenses when on a leave. It is tax-exempt under the Income Tax Act.

Earlier, Indian Railway employees and their spouses were not entitled to LTC as they already had the facility of free pass available to them for traveling in the Railways as per the LTC instructions statement.

A railway employee or the entitled members of his/her family and dependent relatives as defined in the railway rules had been issued the privilege pass that comes with a lot of exclusive benefits. 

Indian railway employees get LTC for the first time

The 7th Pay Commission had recommended that they are awarded the benefits of travel concession awarded to other government servants, as per the Ministry of Railways –

# The ‘All-India LTC’ will be purely optional for railway employees.

# Indian railway employees may be allowed to avail all-India LTC once in a block of four years.

# Indian railway employees shall continue to be governed by the Railway Servants (Pass) Rules.

# Indian railway employees will continue to be governed by the Railway Servants (Pass) Rules and availing of the “All India LTC” under the CCS (LTC) Rules by them will be facilitated through a special order under the relevant provision of the said Pass Rules.

# The railway employees would continue to be eligible for other kinds of passes such as the duty pass, school pass, and special passes on medical grounds, as admissible under the pass rules.

# The order further mentioned that the railway employees on deputation to any other organization, including railway PSUs, would also continue to be eligible for optional LTC in lieu of Privilege Pass entitlement.

What are the conditions for latest provision?

# The railway employees will not be eligible for “Home Town LTC”

# If a railway employee has already availed a Privilege Pass, then LTC will not be allowed in that year.

# The railway employees will have to surrender the Privilege Passes (concessional or free tickets) admissible to them in the calendar year in which they intend to avail the LTC facility.

Notably

If the Indian railway employee has already availed of a Privilege Pass, then LTC will not be allowed in that year. 

Chinese hackers targeting WhatsApp to steal data, Indian Army warns users

The Indian Army has warned citizens against Chinese hackers, who are now apparently targeting Indians through WhatsApp. China is using messaging service WhatsApp to hack the phones of Indian users.The military urged users to save contacts by name, check all WhatsApp groups and to be wary of unknown numbers.

WhatsApp

Chinese hackers targeting WhatsApp to steal data, Indian Army warns users

In a tweet posted by the official Twitter account of the Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of Ministry of Defence, the Indian Army has warned the citizens of the Chinese hackers’ attempts to steal data through WhatsApp. 

Considering that there are more than 200 million or 20 crore WhatsApp users in India, this advisory should be considered as a serious warning. India’s diplomatic ties with China have been tense lately, and as per the Indian Army, the Chinese have now entered a new battle turf – WhatsApp. 

Chinese companies have a major hold on the Indian IT industry, worth about $22bn, which the government feels can be misused.

How will these hackers breach your data?

The Chinese use all kinds of platforms to penetrate your digital world. WhatsApp groups are a new way of hacking into your system.

One of their latest styles of attack is barging into WhatsApp groups and then extracting data of users on that group.

For this, the Chinese are using mobile numbers beginning with +86.

Recently, a UK-based software engineer reported OnePlus is illegally accessing and stealing user data.

Directorate General of Public Information released a video detailing the alleged risks.

The video by the ADG-PI

Can WhatsApp Groups Be Hacked?

But, the question is, is hacking WhatsApp group really possible and if so then how?

Yes, Indian Army is absolutely correct in their assessment regarding the hacking of WhatsApp groups and the biggest drawback is the major security flaw in the backend of WhatsApp.

We all get the proof regarding the drawback of its security when the WhatsApp famous feature ‘Delete for Everyone’ came out with major flaws recently.

As per the researchers from Ruhr University in Germany had found out that a major security flaw in the backend of WhatsApp allows hackers to take control of WhatsApp groups, and then steal information, data from the participants of the group chat.

Paul Rösler, one of the researchers who wrote the research paper stated that in order to hack WhatsApp group, the hacker will need to take control of the WhatsApp server, which seems highly unlikely, but not impossible.

Paul had said, “The confidentiality of the group is broken as soon as the uninvited member can obtain all the new messages and read them,”

Once a new member joins a WhatsApp group, all participants of the group share their encryption keys with the new member, which leaves a huge doorway open for exploitation.

How can you keep yourself safe?

# The video goes on to offer advice on how to prevent such potential attacks.

# Save all contacts in a WhatsApp group on your phone with proper names, so they are identifiable.

# Users should conduct regular audits of their groups.

# Be on the lookout for unknown numbers entering WhatsApp groups.

# In case you change your number, inform the group admin immediately.

# Also make sure to deactivate WhatsApp before destroying the previous SIM completely.

What are the alerts for army personnel?

The Government at regular intervals keeps issuing such advisories to the personnel of Armed forces, including the Army, Navy, and IAF, regarding the perils of smartphones and refrain from mentioning the deployment of personnel in social media.

However, this is not the first time that the Indian Army has warned about the risk of online espionage conducted by the Chinese.

Back in November last year, Indian Army had also asked its soldiers at the Indo-China border to delete around 42 apps developed by Chinese firms and uninstall many applications and then format their smartphones to minimize security risks to prevent their phones getting hacked by the Chinese.

Moreover, popular apps like WeChat, Truecaller, Weibo, UC Browser and UC News were banned with immediate effect for officials, as they were deemed a serious security threat.

This followed inputs that foreign intelligence agencies, especially those in Beijing and Islamabad, are using them to steal data from smartphones.”Use of these apps by our personnel can be detrimental to national security,” as per the report.

Notably

Recently, the government sent notices to 21 smartphone makers including Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO, and Gionee for allegedly stealing users’ personal information.

However, this is the first time that the Army has given a general alert to people all over the country regarding the threat faced by Chinese hackers.  

So, users play safe with your WhatsApp and all other social media apps. Don’t share your Password of any apps and for better safety always log out after its usage. JAI HIND!!!

IRCTC ties up with OLA for booking cabs on its website/app

With an aim to providing first-and-last-mile connectivity, together, the IRCTC and Ola Cabs have launched a six-month pilot project which will enable commuters to book an Ola cab on IRCTC Rail Connect mobile app and website.

IRCTC link with OLA now

IRCTC ties up with OLA for booking cabs on its website/app

IRCTC or Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation announced a partnership with cab hailing firm Ola to provide end-to-end transportation service to Indian Railways passengers, as per the IRCTC report on its website – irctc.co.in.

To ease last mile connectivity and covers more than 110 cities across the country the Bengaluru-based company has tied up with IRCTC to provide in-app facility to book a cab service offered by Ola on its platform.

All existing Ola cab facilities, such as Ola Micro, Ola Mini, Ola Auto and Ola Share, will be available for customers at the same price on the IRCTC Rail Connect mobile application and website but will not be able to avail any of the discounts offered by the company.

To make it frill-free, Ola has enabled a feature where customers can choose to book cabs up to seven days in advance or upon reaching the railway station.

How to book an Ola cab through IRCTC website/app?

Here is a step guide to how you can book your Ola cab through IRCTC website and app,

1. Log on to IRCTC website/app (irctc.co.in) using credentials

2. In the services section, select ‘Book Cab’

3. You will be redirected to book.olacabs.com

4. Choose your pick and drop location

5. Now, select whether you want an immediate ride or wish to schedule it for future

6. Select your preferred cab option

7. Choose payment option and click on continue

8. Your booking is confirmed

Why is Ola taking this initiative?

The move is likely to ease getting in and out of railway stations, especially the ones in bigger cities, where locating the taxi kiosks, before booking and finding the particular cab transforms into a cumbersome task after hours of travel.

This move is likely to shrink the queues waiting to book a taxi or take an auto out of railway stations.

Ola has been trying to catch the railway and airport commuters via kiosks machine. Besides Railway and Airport, Ola also partnered with Rapid Metro Gurugram, Bengaluru Metro Rail Corp. Ltd to equip key metro stations with dedicated Ola kiosks.

Notably

There will be Ola’s self-serving kiosks at IRCTC outlets as well from where passengers can book their cabs. Premium railway travelers prefer app-based cab-hailing options as it’s cheaper than traditional cabs.

Sridevi passes away at 54 in Dubai due to Cardiac arrest

The sudden death of actress Sridevi the glamorous queen of Bollywood has left the country shocked and grieving. Bollywood’s Veteran actress Sridevi passed away at the age of 54, after suffering a cardiac arrest on Saturday in Dubai where she was attending the wedding of actor Mohit Marwah, a nephew of the Kapoor family. 

Sridevi - Passes away

While some of her family members returned from Dubai after the wedding, Sridevi, Boney and her younger daughter Khushi stayed back. Her elder daughter Janhvi did not accompany the family due to her shooting schedule.

The last image of Sridevi from Mohit Marwah’s wedding in Dubai 

Besides Boney and Khushi, she is survived by older daughter Janhvi Kapoor, who is currently working towards making her entry into the Hindi cinema. Sridevi was step-mother to actor Arjun Kapoor and his sister Anshula, who Boney had from late first wife Mona.

The actor, the wife of producer Boney Kapoor, is considered the first female superstar of Indian cinema and leaves behind her a rich legacy of films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi.

The journey of the Padma Shri awardee Sridevi

Those expressive eyes and the mischievous smile sent hearts aquiver and lit up the cinema screens, making Sridevi Bollywood’s first female superstar. Sridevi was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honor, in 2013.
Sridevi was born in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu on August 13, 1963. She began acting at the age of four in 1969 film Thunaivan. Malayalam film Poompatta won her a Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist in 1971. She also co-starred with late actress-politician Jayalalithaa in three films, including Adi Parashakti. In 1975, a year before Sridevi made her debut as a leading lady, she appeared in her first Hindi film, Julie, playing the sister of the heroine.

Sridevi - passes away

Sridevi’s beguiling eyes, scintillating screen presence, and acting prowess soon made her one of the most sought-after actors in the Hindi film industry. While films like “Mawaali” (1983), “Tohfa” (1984), “Mr. India” (1987) and “Chandni” (1989) kept her at the top in the box-office game, her outings like “Sadma” (1983), “ChaalBaaz” (1989), “Lamhe” (1991), and “Gumrah” (1993) earned her critical acclaim.
In an impressive career, spanning five decades, the actor ruled the commercial cinema space in the ’80s and ’90s like no heroine had done before.
Sridevi, known for her versatility as an actor, made her Bollywood debut in 1978 with “Solva Sawan”. But it was only after five years with Jeetendra-starrer “Himmatwala” that she gained commercial success.
Her other major box office hits of the era were “Chaalbaaz”, where she played the role of twins, “Nagina”, and “Khuda Gawah” opposite Amitabh Bachchan.
Before her entry into Bollywood, the actor had been a known face in South Indian films. She made her debut as a child artist in in Tamil film “Thunaivan” in 1969. She was 4 at that time. She also worked in Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada films.
After “Judaai”, Sridevi took a break from acting to focus on her marriage with Boney Kapoor. She had two daughters — Janhvi and Khushi — with Kapoor. 

After marrying producer Boney Kapoor, Sridevi took a break of many years – her last starring role before the hiatus was Meri Biwi Ka Jawaab Nahin with Akshay Kumar, which was filmed in 1994 but released in 2004 – before making what the film industry calls a comeback. 2012’s acclaimed English Vinglish was the comeback of comebacks and Sridevi worked steadily ever since, appearing in Tamil film Puli and last year’s MOM. She will be seen posthumously in a special appearance this year in Shah Rukh Khan’s film Zero.

Minutes after the news of her death broke, many Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Sushmita Sen, Sidharth Malhotra and Riteish Deshmukh took to Twitter to pay their condolences.

Uber Officially launches Uber Express POOL : Walk a little to save fares

Uber has launched Uber Express POOL officially, a new carpooling service, by offering even cheaper rides that will reduce fares from Uber POOL rates by 20-30 percent, in exchange for a little walking and waiting.

Uber Express POOL

Uber Express POOL is very similar to the current standard Pool with one major difference which is bit annoying with highlighted two key actions as Uber is asking riders to help out with – Walking and waiting. Means instead of the car going to pick up riders one by one, the app will ask riders to walk few meters to a point for easy pickup.

For better understanding let me clarify you that how the service makes a difference from earlier.

How Uber Express POOL differs from Uber POOL?

Uber POOL is a door-to-door carpooling service where drivers drive around to individual pickup locations for customers traveling in the same direction or on the same route, and then drop them off at their respective destinations along the way.

But Uber Express POOL changes this pattern by using a completely new algorithm. Here when passengers hail a cab, they will be asked to walk to a nearby spot or wait a few minutes before the trip starts. It will work in the same way while dropping off.

This will help Uber’s algorithm to go through nearby locations, drivers, and other riders to optimize the route by covering the shortest distance possible so that a higher number of riders can benefit.

How can users save on fares?

According to Uber, the rates for Express Pool will be up to 50% cheaper than the standard Pool.

As now with the new Uber Express POOL service users will get the freedom to choose their ride as per their budget and urgency means if you want to save your few bucks and is ready to walk for a minute or two then you will definitely go with the existing POOL service whereas if you have the urgency in that case without bothering to spend a little more, you can easily go with the new Express POOL service.

How is Uber Express Pool different from Ola’s Share Express?

For Indian rideshare users, Uber is not the first service to offer low prices for less convenient pool rides. The Uber Express Pool feature is similar to Ola’s Ride Express in India, that lets users share cab rides on fixed routes.

But a major difference is that Ola Share Express works along fixed routes that passengers can walk to/from for their pickups and dropoffs.

However, Uber Express POOL is powered by a completely dynamic algorithm this means that pickup and dropoff points and routes may vary depending on who you’re matched with for any given trip.

 Notably

As of now, Uber is only rolling out the features in selected US cities, such as Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles and San Diego, with more cities across the US to be added in the coming weeks and months.

So if you will going to take a ride on new Uber Express POOL then share your experience with us that how exactly does the new service work.

7th Pay Commission – What is good and bad for you?

Since last two years, millions of central government employees are eagerly waiting to get an increase in pay as per the recommendations under 7th Pay Commission

Central government employees may hope to get some good news at the beginning of the next financial year in April to expect a revision in salaries when the proposal is likely to be sent to the Cabinet for approval.

7th Pay Commission

The government may consider increasing the salary of lower-level officials, from matrix level 1 to 5, and go beyond the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.

Government will not pay arrears on pay hike-bad news

As per news, under 7th Pay Commission, our government will not pay arrears on pay central government employees. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will place it before the Cabinet in the beginning of April.

This could bring a bad news for around 50 lakh government employees who were expecting a good news from the Narendra Modi government. 

To recall, the resolution conveying the central government’s decision on recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) on allowances published in Gazette of India on 6th July 2017.

In June last year, the Narendra Modi-led Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission on House Rent Allowance (HRA) and other allowances for 48 lakh Central government employees.

Based on the report of Committee on Allowances (CoA) and the recommendation of E-CoS, the Cabinet had earlier approved the modifications in 34 allowances in its meeting held on 28th June 2017. All allowances are given the effect from 1st July 2017. It will benefit 34 lakh civilian employees and 14 lakh defense personnel.

Salary will hike under the 7th pay Commission-good news

Central government employees may hope to get some good news at the beginning of the next financial year in April. Salary is to be increased of the employees who are getting salaries from pay matrix level 1 to 5 and the proposal of pay hike will be sent to Cabinet at the beginning of April for approval.

As of now, Central government employees are drawing basic pay as per the fitment formula of 2.57 of the basic pay under the Sixth Pay Commission.

The 7th Pay Commission had earlier recommended Rs 18,000 as the basic salary but the employees, however, want the basic minimum pay to be hiked to Rs 26,000 per month, based on a fitment factor of 3.7.

 Following the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, the basic pay of Central government employees went up from Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000 per month based on the fitment factor of 2.57, and effective from January 1, 2016.

The new scales of pay

The 7th Pay Commission new scales of pay provide for entry-level basic pay going up from Rs 7,000 per month to Rs 18,000, while at the highest level i.e. Secretary, it would go up from Rs 90,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh. For Class 1 officers, the starting salary will be Rs 56,100.

Earlier this week, Finance minister Arun Jaitley submitted the Union Budget-2018-19 in front of the Parliament ad from next month the Chief Justice of India will now get a monthly salary of Rs 2.80 lakh, up from the present Rs 1 lakh per month.

Similarly, judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices of High Courts will draw a monthly salary of Rs 2.50 lakh, up from the current Rs 90,000. The judges of high courts, who get Rs 80,000 per month, will now onwards get Rs 2.25 lakh per month as per the said report.

Budget 2018 – Good, Bad and Ugly Effects

Budget 2018 is now announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the financial year 2018-19, including the good, the bad and the ugly effects. Like every Budget, this one too has also its positives and negatives. So the below-mentioned points will highlight us about its good and bad effective features.

Budget 2018

Image Courtesy:-Indianexpress.com

The Good in Budget 2018

# For agriculture 

  • The minimum price offered to farmers for their crops where the minimum support price for Kharif crops hiked by 1.5 times means all Kharif crops will be paid a minimum support price (MSP) that is 50 percent more than the cost of production.
  • The budget provides for a 100 percent tax deduction for farm producer firms with Rs 100 crore turnover.
  •  There is a special impetus to promote “Operation Green”. In total, there has been a record allocation of Rs. 14.34 lakh crores for the agriculture sector.

# For healthcare

  • The Budget 2018 announces a ‘National Health Protection scheme’ to provide health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh to each of the 10 crore poor families per year.
  • Under the Aayushman Bharat programme, a total of 1.5 lakh centers will be set up to provide health facilities closer to the homes.
  • Tuberculosis patients will be provided with a grant at the rate Rs 500 per month during the course of their treatment.
  • The senior citizens of the nation like Incentives for Senior citizens like exemptions in income of Rs 10,000 from Banks FD and post offices and Rs 50,000 per annum exemption for medical insurance under Sec 80D means No TDS for senior citizens on FDs and post office deposits up to Rs 50,000. Also deduction for senior citizens increased to Rs 50,000 for medical insurance.
  • There are plans to set up 24 new medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading district level ones. The budget lists that the PM JivanBimaYojana has benefited 5.22 crore families with more in the pipeline.

# For Transport infrastructure

  • Infrastructure outlay increased from Rs 4.94 lakh crore to almost Rs 6 lakh crore.
  • National highways exceeding 9,000-km will be completed in 2018-19 and allocation of over Rs 1.48 lakh crore has been planned for railways.
  • Elimination of 4,267 unmanned rail crossings at broad gauge network. 
  • Regional air connectivity scheme shall connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads for a better connected and closer India.
  • Expansion in airport capacity by five times to handle 1 billion passengers. 
  • Package worth Rs 7100 crore for the textile sector. 

# For the rural economy

  • Under the Prime Minister’s SaubhagyaYojana, it is estimated that 4 crore poor people will get power connection.
  • 8 crore poor women will get new LPG connections means free gas connection for 8 crore poor women under Ujwala scheme. 
  • Under the Swach Bharat Mission, the Government plans to construct 2 crore toilets in the next fiscal year.
  • The government has set an ambitious target to provide a house for all by 2022.
  • A total of 1 crore houses are to be built under Pradhan MantriAwasYojana in the rural areas.
  • The Government will expand the PM Jan DhanYojana. All 16 crore accounts will be included under micro insurance and pension schemes for better returns and social outreach.

# To formalize the economy

  • The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Act will be amended to reduce the contribution of women to 8 percent from 12 percent for first three years, with no change in employer’s contribution.
  • The government will contribute 12 percent of wages of new employees in EPF for all sectors for the next 3 years.
  • The standard deduction of Rs 40000 for salaried people. 
  •  The target for loan disbursement under Mudra scheme has been set at Rs 3 lakh crore for next fiscal.
  • Rs 56,000 crore for SCs and Rs 39,000 crore for STs. 
  • Rise in customs duty on mobile phones from 15% to 20%. This will be a big relief for the domestic mobile manufacturers. 

The Bad in Budget 2018

  • No change in personal income taxes. The middle class had expected a change in tax slabs while others had expected to raise of exemption limit in Budget 2018. 
  • The government has extended Corporate Tax of 25% to companies with turnover up to Rs 250 cr in the financial year 2016-17.
  • The government has opted for the wider fiscal deficit at 3.5 percent of GDP for 2018-19 and projected 2018-19 deficit at 3.3 percent of GDP. Higher fiscal deficit not good for government credibility and FDI among other things. 
  • 100% tax deduction is allowed to co-operative societies, the majority of whom have cooked books and shady members.
  • No tax cut for big corporates which could have helped revive private investment as well as create more jobs. 
  • The Education cess increased to 4% from 3% to collect additional Rs 11,000 crore but in turn, has put an additional burden on the tax paying middle class.

The ugly in Budget 2018

# LTCG and DDT on Equity

Govt introduces LTCG tax of 10% on capital gains over Rs1 lakh means the long-term capital gains will now be taxed at a rate of 10% if exceeding Rs 1 lakh.  Also, earlier there is no dividend distribution tax for equity and equity mutual funds. Now it is levied at 10%. 

increase in customs duty on imported items

Urban consumers will have to pay more for almost everything they cover from cranberry juice and iPhones to sunglasses and lipsticks due to higher customs duty  (10% on basic customs duty). The import duty increase would make it a double whammy for consumer products companies that are already reeling under poor sales due to low consumer sentiment. 

  • Prices of imported iPhones and Google’s Pixel smartphones are set to go up by 3-4% due to increase in customs duty to 20% from 15%, though iPhone SE, which is locally manufactured, will escape the price hike. 
  • Import duty on a host of beauty and cosmetic products, watches, including make-up preparations, sunscreens, perfumes, hair colors, and manicure and pedicure products, is being doubled to 20%.
  •  The move will impact global players such as Sephora, South Korea-based Innisfree, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, and Italy’s Kiko Milano which import majority of their products. 
  • Flat-panel television prices are expected to go up by 1.5-2%, escaping any major price increase despite the government doubling duty on LED panels to 15%, since most of the companies have started local assembly of panels by placing the glass top on the panel.
  • The price hike for televisions will be due to increase in duty on parts like the TV cabinet and printed circuit board where it has gone up to 15% from 10%. 
  • The price of toys, games, dolls, puzzles, watches & clocks to cost more. Outdoor sports equipment, footwear, fishing rods, cigarette lighters, silk fabric, sunglasses may also become costlier.