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An easier way to process OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) applications
Everyone I have talked to about their experience of applying for an OCI card has had horror stories of missed application fees or multiple trips to complete the application in the exact way the government wants 
 
One is eligible for an OCI card if one satisfies one of the following conditions:
 
 
Applying for an OCI card is a 2-step process and the salient features of the process are listed below:
 
Step-1: (Submission of fully completed application to a passport agent)
 
(a) Processing of documents at passport agent
(b) Processing at Embassy / Consulate in US
(c) Dispatch of applications to New Delhi from Embassy / Consulate
(d) Verification of OCI application at New Delhi
(e) Granting and Printing of OCI cards at New Delhi
(f) Dispatch of OCI Cards from New Delhi to country of application
 
Step-2: (Match-Up)
 
(a) Arrival of printed OCI cards to US Embassy / Consulate
(b) Notification to the applicants to send US / Foreign Passports to passport agency for match-up.
(c) Dispatch of US / Foreign passports from applicants to passport agent
(d) US / Foreign Passports are sent to Embassy / Consulate for match-up
(e) Match up of OCI Cards with your Current Passport at Embassy / Consulate
(f) OCI Cards & US / Foreign Passports received at passport agent
(g) Return of OCI Cards & US / Foreign passports to the applicants.
 
The term "Passport agent" refers to a private firm (e. g. CKGS in the US) that has been entrusted with the job of screening the applications and making sure they are in proper order. The OCI card fee per individual is US $280 and there are some other overheads to take care of, so let us round it up to $300. Just reading the list above made my head spin a bit and I was thinking that the process is way too procedural and perhaps it can be simplified without removing any of the security aspects. 
 
Everyone I have talked to about their experience of applying for an OCI card has had horror stories of missed application fees or multiple trips to complete the application in the exact way the government wants and so on. Some gave up after a few tries because they felt that the effort is not worth it. 
 
Here are my suggested steps for getting an OCI card:
 
Families visiting India will be given an option of applying for an OCI card upon arrival
 
(a) While going through immigration, the official can determine if the visitor(s) is eligible for an OCI card and offers to process it for a fee.
 
(b) If they agree, copies of the passports and photographs can be taken (cameras are available in all counters or they can be sent to special counters that are setup for OCI processing) and the signatures can be obtained so the application can be sent to New Delhi for processing. This should take no more than 10 minutes per family.
 
(c) Once the application has been deemed approved, OCI cards can be mailed directly to the applicant's residence.
 
The Indian government must realise that its diaspora are its biggest friends and assets. They will be motivated to participate in its growth and success. This will go a long way in affirming its commitment to better governance.
 

User

COMMENTS

Shashibhushan Gokhale

2 years ago

Good idea.

Shashibhushan Gokhale

2 years ago

Good idea.

Over 90% of equity mutual fund schemes have an allocation of above 90% to equity

If the market heads lower, a lot of the funds will underperform, causing grief to investors who are rushing in now

 

Are equity mutual funds set for a period of underperformance? They are certainly not prepared for a market decline. Out of the 193 open-ended equity mutual fund schemes, only 16 schemes or 8% have an investment in 90% or less in stocks while 177 of them are invested 90% or more in stocks. The average allocation towards stocks works out to 95% for the 193 schemes, as per their February 2015 portfolio disclosure. 
 
Given the high market valuations, fund managers still seem to be bullish, even as investors have rushed in again into equity funds. As on 28 February 2015, the Nifty’s trailing price-to-earnings (PE) works out to 23.80. Over the past 15 years, the Nifty PE was above this level on just about 6% of the occasions. In just 18 months, the market, represented by the S&P BSE Sensex, has run up by 67% from a low of 17,968 on 27 August 2013 to 30,024 on 4 March 2015. This humongous rally along with the high valuations does not seem to deter fund managers.
 
The last time the Nifty reported a PE of 24 or higher was in December 2010. The average allocation to stocks by the 170-odd schemes in existence at that time worked out to 93%.
 
As many as 42 schemes or 25% had an allocation of 90% or less towards stocks. That market peak was not crossed in the three years and three months.
 
We have observed that above a PE of 22, one could say that the market is grossly overvalued. Over 13 such monthly occurrences (in the past 15 years), the Nifty’s five-year subsequent return, from the beginning at each of these periods, averaged just 5%. 
 
In our analysis we excluded close-ended schemes, equity linked savings scheme (ELSS), arbitrage schemes, sector schemes and index schemes. IDFC Dynamic Equity has kept the lowest allocation towards equity of 47%. A couple of other dynamic schemes that make it to the list are HSBC Dynamic and ICICI Prudential Dynamic. Quantum Long-Term Equity has reduced its equity allocation to 70%.
 
Will investors again regret if they jumped into the market at a late stage? 
 

User

COMMENTS

Naresh Narasimhan

2 years ago

Does this mean that its not advisable to invest in MFs now ?

REPLY

Naresh Narasimhan

In Reply to Naresh Narasimhan 2 years ago

I think the answer to my question is there in a previous MF 2014 issue

VGANESAN

2 years ago

Dont compare SUNDARAM EQUITY PLUS WITH OTHER SCHEMES BECAUSE THE SCHEME invests in gold upto 35 percent. Only balance is invested in equity. This is for ur information.I am surprised to see moneylife not taking into account for comparison .In future i expect moneylife to compare similar schemes.

Nilesh KAMERKAR

2 years ago

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” ― George Carlin

Pramod Bajaj

2 years ago

An equity fund should be invested in equity between 90% and above. Fund manager should not take the call on the market movement. His responsibility is to give market returns or beat those returns. It is the responsibility of investor to do proper asset allocation as per his risk appetite and his specific schedule of goals for which he is making investments. If investor can do this himself then he should take the advise of some trusted advisor.

REPLY

Anand Doctor

In Reply to Pramod Bajaj 2 years ago

Agree completely!

Dushyant Thakker

In Reply to Pramod Bajaj 2 years ago

Completely agree. Trying to time the market is akin to speculation. One can’t outsmart the market!

Vimal Jain

2 years ago

Good Story

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