Citizens' Issues
Shutdown in Gujarat over reservation for Patel community
A state-wide shutdown was observed in Gujarat on Wednesday, a day after a Patidar mega-rally was held here demanding reservations in education and jobs for the Patel community.
 
Hardik Patel, 22, convener of Patidaar Arakshan Andolan Samiti (PAAS) was detained and taken into custody by the police after he launched a sudden hunger strike at the GMDC Ground late Tuesday evening.
 
After being released, Patel appealed to his followers for peace and restraint, and also announced a state-wide shutdown on Wednesday.
 
Earlier, he had served a 48-hour ultimate to the state government to concede the PAAS demands following which he said agitation would be intensified.
 
As news of the police action on Patel spread, angry Patidars reacted violently in different parts of the state, attacking public and private properties, buses, vehicles, even as Chief Minister Anandiben Patel appealed for peace.
 
As per tentative counts, more than 100 buses have been damaged in different cities, while several private cars and motorcycles were set on fire in different parts of the state.
 
Tuesday's mammoth mega-rally had over 1.20 million Patidars. It capped a 55-day long agitation across the state with scores of mini-rallies in different towns and cities for the main demands of the Patel community.

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Regulators: Pension Advance Companies in the US Deceived Veterans
Lawsuit alleges retirees were duped into borrowing against pensions
 
A lawsuit filed last Thursday by state and federal regulators in the US against two pension advance companies alleges that the online services misled military veterans and others by duping them into borrowing against their pensions. 
 
The lump-sum cash advances that retirees received in exchange for pension payments were in fact loans that carried high interest rates of as much as 28 percent and other hidden fees, the lawsuit against the California-based companies, Pension Funding LLC and Pension Income LLC, alleges.
 
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the New York State Department of Financial Services filed the lawsuit. It alleges that, from 2011 until about December 2014, the companies offered consumers lump-sum cash advances for agreeing to redirect all or part of their pension payments over a period of eight years.
 
In May, the CFPB warned that “…it’s illegal for lenders to take a military pension or veterans’ benefits.” The lawsuit seeks to recoup monetary losses for those who were duped into taking out the loans.
 
Find more of our coverage on loans and vets here
 

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What Sets the New Honda Jazz Apart?

Efficient, reliable petrol engine in hatchback will compete with petrol editions of other manufacturers

 
The new Honda Jazz 2015 has turned the very important hatchback market in India on its head, with extremely competitive pricing and variants that will provide Suzuki Swift and the Hyundai i20 a lot to think about. The Suzuki Swift is available at a cheaper price for a stripped-down version while the entry-level Honda Jazz has got a few more goodies than the similarly priced Hyundai i20. What the Honda Jazz does provide, however, is a much more spacious feeling inside. You have to sit in it to get an idea. The mid-level variants of the Honda Jazz cost the same and offer more than the top-end version of the Suzuki Swift while the Hyundai i20 offers a whole lot of extras which, often, become distractions.
 
The last time around, the Honda Jazz faced the tag of being over-priced which, the manufacturers claimed, was because the product was superior. It was true; Honda started off in India by providing really well-built products, designed to last much longer than what the competition offered. Regardless of how well-built a car is, in India, thanks to roads, fuel and driving habits, it will all not last very long, especially after 200,000km and/or five to eight years. In that context, cars from Honda are now also being built to a price. So what sets the new Honda Jazz apart?
 
It is their petrol-engine technology. 
 
With diesel cars rapidly going out of favour in cities, once again, it is the efficient and reliable petrol engine in the Honda Jazz that will compete with the petrol editions of the two competitors from Suzuki and Hyundai. The true test of a petrol engine, in India, is when you use it on really poor-quality petrol. And, to understand that better, you have to ask around in the petrol generator market, where Honda stands head and shoulders above the others, in popular perception.
 

Who Needs another Car?

 
We now have three cars at home; of these, one is up for sale—the oldest from January 2008. As I write this, both our grown-up children—who have one self-driven car each in the National Capital Region (NCR)—are often out of town and also use Ola, Uber and radio cabs. According to them, even on a simple calculation of utilisation costs, using a taxi makes more financial sense when they need a chauffeur-driven option for any reason. All three cars, put together, do about only 1,000km a month now. Cars have always been a rapidly deprecating asset. And new cost-benefit factors have come up from nowhere.
 
Employing a chauffeur on a monthly basis, now, costs Rs15,000+ in Delhi. Remember, they have the option of earning more as drivers for Uber, Ola and other taxi services. Hiring a chauffeur on a part-time basis costs between Rs400-600, for a four-hour stint, and you never know what the quality of skill-sets will be until the person is behind the wheels. Besides, handing a car over to different people is asking for trouble. Add to that, the cost of maintenance, servicing, insurance, challans and, most of all, parking space. 
 
According to my estimate, monthly parking costs exceed Rs4,000 for people living in gated communities in NCR, as well as other random parking charges. On the other hand, the quality of cabs available is getting better and better every day, especially if you can pick and choose vendors well. And this is, slowly but steadily, happening in more and more cities in India. You have to seriously re-think the need for owning a second car, or even a first one.
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)

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COMMENTS

Maharsh Kapadia

1 year ago

Jazz is in unique position with diesel segment has one of the best millage and Petrol has CVT option which no other car maker provides.

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