Spending
Long Holi weekend spurs family getaways
New Delhi : Mansav Sethi, an IT professional, is very excited. For the father of two children, a long weekend with his family is always a bonanza. As Holi this year falls on a Thursday and Good Friday the next day, he seized the opportunity to plan a quick getaway.
 
According to travel experts, many Indians are travelling during the long weekend -- from March 24 to Easter Sunday on March 27 -- within the country and abroad.
 
According to Ranjeet Oak, Chief Business Officer-Holidays of MakeMyTrip.com, India's leading online travel company, they are already witnessing an increased demand for travel during Holi holidays.
 
"We are witnessing an increased demand for Holi long weekend travel. So far, we have seen a 25-30 percent increase in bookings for different destinations and we expect further increase in demand in the next week or so," Oak told IANS.
 
While most people are opting for Goa, Kashmir, Himalayan hill stations, Corbett National Park, Ooty, Udaipur and Puducherry continue to be main attractions, he said.
 
"MakeMyTrip is offering a comprehensive product bouquet to cater to this demand for popular destinations like Kashmir, Himachal, Goa, North East, Rajasthan and Karnataka," he added.
 
Arti Vij, a housewife, feels that a short getaway during the long Holi holiday is the best way to unwind.
 
"It is not often that one gets such a long weekend. I feel this is the best time to holiday as the weather is also good," Vij, who is planning a holiday in Manali, told IANS.
 
She added that even her children -- two daughters -- are looking forward to the break.
 
"They are really studying hard for their exams and they will get over by March 15. The atmosphere at home is stressful for them as well as for us. The new session will begin from April and then they will get busy with their classes. 
 
"So we all planned to go out of the city during this long weekend, which suits my husband too as he won't have to take leave from office," added Vij, whose husband is a government servant.
 
According to Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra.com, a large number of people were planning a quick getaway because it was one of the longest weekends this year.
 
"Yatra has seen a tremendous pick up in hotel bookings and packages for the four-day weekend from all the major cities. We are expecting hotels and packages bookings to increase by three-fold as we get closer to the weekend," Dhall told this IANS correspondent.
 
He said that apart from travellers looking for domestic locations such as Goa and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, many are also planning holidays at international destinations such as Dubai and Singapore.
 
Hari Nair, founder and CEO of Holiday IQ, feels that Indians are holidaying like never before and festival tourism had taken off in the country in a major way. 
 
"Every possible occasion is now a reason to travel. Till a couple of years ago, festival celebrations were limited to family homes. Today, entire families travel together for the celebration," Nair said. 
 
Nair said destinations like Gangtok and Darjeeling were also much in demand.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Lab Solutions
Elegant theories but no practical solutions to deal with messy real-life issues 
 
Kaushik Basu is now the senior vice-president and chief economist at the World Bank. He is also slated to take over as the president of International Economic Association in 2017. Dr Basu studied economics in St Stephen’s College, Delhi; did his MSc in economics in London and his PhD under Amartya Sen before returning to India in 1977, to Delhi School of Economics. In late-2009, Dr Manmohan Singh, the then prime minister, invited him to be chief economic adviser in the ministry of finance, a post he held up to July 2012. 
 
This book covers his insights into some of the policy issues he dealt with as the economic adviser. Basu, being a disciple of Sen, understandably, deals with issues like poverty, right to food, public distribution, etc. But, being an academic, he peers at these issues like a self-absorbed scientist in a laboratory. He is quick to apply elegant economic theories to messy problems that afflict this poor nation: Nash Equilibrium, Pareto Principle, Game Theory, Hyperbolic Discounting and so on. There is a dose of behavioural economics as well. 
 
The end result is a passage such as this—on food and poverty: “To close on a methodological note, whenever a new policy intervention is proposed, there will be critics saying that that if there is no evidence of to show that the policy works, we must not implement it. This is an invalid argument reflecting more than anything else our penchant for the status quo. If for policy X we do not have evidence whether or not it works, then for policy not-X we do not have evidence whether or not it works. Hence, if that is the reason not to do X, that is reason not to do not-X. But not doing X and no doing not-X is impossible, thereby establishing that the initial claim was false.” I guess, the author has won plenty of debates from St Xavier’s School (Kolkata) to the London School of Economics and is, therefore, tempted to score debating points everywhere. 
 

But if you are impatient, practical and result-oriented about India’s problems, such clever arguments will leave you exasperated. In a whole chapter titled “Food and Poverty”, where the economic scientist Basu spends a lot of effort in exploring a new ‘design’ of food delivery to the poor, he does not mention, even once, how the Food Corporation of India (FCI) functions. According to a previous economic adviser, the FCI (along with Coal India) are the two most corrupt organisations in the country. I had the good fortune (or misfortune) to audit both these organisations. Economists, who discuss food delivery design, must be sent on a six-month tour from one FCI godown to another before they earn any right to discuss ‘designs’ in their taxpayer-funded laboratories. A similarly detached Basu approaches the menace of chain-money schemes arguing apologetically: “We may need regulation to prevent contracts, despite the fact they may be fully voluntary.” This economic-speak is a far cry from reality. Chain-money sponsors are politically connected and have police protection. Basu also shows no awareness that the Reserve Bank of India, which regulates deposit-taking of certain kinds, should have been entrusted with monitoring chain-money schemes and not the Securities & Exchange Board of India. What are the ‘securities’ here?
 
There are contradictions in the book even regarding basic policy measures. Basu points out that the ‘popular’ view—that anybody caught cheating and adulterating should be punished—is flawed.  He asks ‘punished by whom?’ “For that, we have to rely on another layer of bureaucracy and the police force, which will open another layer of opportunity for cheating the system.” And yet, severe exploitation by moneylenders in rural Bihar convinced him about the ‘need for usury laws’. Apart from the fact that India already has usury laws, which have not prevented usurious lending, how we do we answer the question: Moneylenders will be “punished ‘by whom’?
 
Basu, like most economists, wants India’s tax-to-GDP ratio to go up. He shows no outrage on the way taxpayers are forced to support salaries and interest cost of a bloated Central government and many government-funded organisations, ‘autonomous bodies’, commissions, institutes, many ‘schemes’, and various ministries that constitute the vast wasteland of a big State. He does mention that India needs administrative reforms but India has been at it for four decades now. Questions that should interest policy-makers are not about what needs to be done theoretically any more, but what kind of strategies are needed to pull them off, in real life.  You won’t find any of that in this book.

User

COMMENTS

Vishal Modi

9 months ago

Touche! :)

Tax-free Bonds Till End-fiscal 2015-16
More tax-free bonds are coming.
 
There will be a few opportunities to buy tax-free...
Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MSSN member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)