Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to Stay and Survive in Airoli (Navi Mumbai)

Markets: Sectors 7 to 9 have good markets. Most of the things for daily necessities would be available at walking distance. The situation is very bad for Sectors 1 to 4 as there are very few good markets nearby.

Water: Water supply is scarce and the buildings regulate water supply. In some buildings water may be available for a few hours each day. You have to store water for use later.
Drinking water is a big problem and you have to depend on Bisleri 20 liter jars. This is the only reliable water source for drinking water. The water has some problems in it and you would suffer from unexplained stomach problems. 

Transport: Local train station and bus station are located in Sector 3. Local trains come at an average interval of 8 to 10 minutes. During peak hours, few trains can run full. 

Mobile towers: Due to highways and main-roads nearby, Airoli is infested with mobile towers. If you are taking a house on rent, carefully scan the neighboring buildings during the day for mobile towers.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tips to select house for rent in Airoli, Navi Mumbai

Average rents for flats in Airoli, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra range from Rs 6500 to 7500 for 1 BHK (one bed, hall and kitchen) unfurnished accommodation (as of April 2011). Add Rs 1000 for 2 BHK flats (as of April 2011). Rents may be lower for old buildings and Sectors not serviced by public transport buses. Estate agents may quote a higher rate but generally settle for Rs 1000 less than the amount quoted.

Hard negotiation and bargaining is a common practice. You may get an additional discount of Rs 500 (per month, of total rent) if you and the house owner speak the same language or your native villages are located close to each other. In addition to that, you may get a discount of Rs 500 if upon inquiry he or someone in his family turns out to be your distant relative.

Brokers or estate agents take two months rent as commission, Rs 2000 for rental agreement and police verification and six months rent as deposit, all in cash. If you want to renew your rental accommodation or agreement, you have to pay one months rent to the broker and agreement charges.

Brokers and house owners generally increase the rent by 10% every year. This may make the rent unaffordable to you and would to tempted you to change houses. This increase is done to prompt you to change houses. Changing houses benefits the broker as he gets two months rent as brokerage if you settle for a new flat, whereas he would get only one months rent as brokerage if you wish to renew the agreement.

When looking for rental accommodation in Airoli, Navi Mumbai pay attention to the following points.
  1. Avoid ground floor flats, as these get damp during monsoon season.
  2. Avoid top floor flats as these become unbearably hot during summer and remain hot during most parts of the year. An air conditioner is a must in such flats.
  3. Avoid flats in buildings with mobile towers and in proximity to mobile towers. Avoid flats which have mobile transmission equipment fitted outside the flat.
  4. Avoid flats in buildings with shops and commercial establishments as the buildings are not maintained, are dirty, noisy and a security risk.
  5. Some of the buildings are infested with pigeons and create problems round the year. Pigeons menace in some buildings make the windows un-useable and the house becomes dirty if windows are kept open.  
  6. Frequent breakdown of lifts and inoperable lifts during power failure are common problems. Most of the buildings don't have a power back up generator or have a non-operational generator. If you are planning for a flat at a floor higher than the 8th floor, re-visit the building and check with the building security guard and neighbors.
  7. Frequent power failure during summers is common in Airoli. Power load shedding may be for 2 to 3 hours every 24 hours. 
  8. Check for buildings in Airoli (Navi Mumbai) with more than 40% of flats locked or non-occupied as these buildings may have a some problems like structural instability or leaning. Check for cracks in pillars in the ground-floor parking lots and avoid buildings with freshly repaired ground-floor parking lot pillars.
  9. Water supply is a problem in Airoli. Most of the residential buildings in Airoli regulate water supply and running water may be available only for 6 hours in a period of 24 hours.
  10. Check for leaking roofs and dampness in walls. Water may leak from top floors, making the walls damp. Check for freshly painted wall portions, as the broker may have done paint patch work to hoodwink the prospective tenant. Suspect damp patches if the fan was kept running in an empty flat, which is frequently done by brokers or estate agents to dry damp patches.
  11. In Airoli, Navi Mumbai, dust and noise is a common problem, even during nights.
  12. Avoid buildings located on main road or highway as there is 24 hour traffic of heavy vehicles, horn blowing and constant noise of their hitting potholes. Avoid any building that is within 50 meters of the main road running between Sectors 5 and 6, 16 and 7, and along Sectors 8 and 10.   
  13. Avoid buildings located close to the railway line.  
  14. Public transport is problem during nights especially after 9PM.
  15. If you have a car check if the building has enough parking space for your car. The building may charge you for parking your car. Confirm if a parking space is available with the building secretary, the broker may not be able to give you this information. Some buildings may not have space for additional cars and you have park you car on the road outside the building. 
  16. Check if a small water tank is fitted inside the flat, you may need it if you have a large family. 
  17. An Aqua Guard or any UV or RO water filter is must as the manciple drinking water supplied is not drinkable for small children and may lead to unexplained constant stomach upsets. Most families rely on bottled water jars of 20 liters.  
  18. Make a list of damaged items or installations inside the flat before occupation and give a copy to the broker and get it signed by the broker or owner. You may be asked to pay for damages which were not done by you when you leave the flat. Depending on the behavior of the broker and flat owner, you may want to photograph some damaged items so that they will not extract money from you. Remember, your deposit is with them. 
  19. Check for nearby shops and stores selling groceries and vegetables and fruits. Concentration of shops may vary depending on the Sector. For some Sectors you may have to walk 800 meters to find decent shops selling fruits and vegetables. 
  20. In most cases, when you vacate the flat, you have to give one months notice to the broker and owner or be ready to pay one months rent. Don't expect the broker or house owner to return your deposit as soon as you vacate the flat as they would give the deposit back only when they find a new tenant. Generally they would take the deposit amount from the new tenant and give it to you. 
  21. Keep records of electricity bills paid as the broker would deduct money for unpaid part of the month you stayed.  
  22. The presence of mosquitoes becomes prominent from December to March. The Sectors bordering the creek face most of the action.  
  23. Some brokers on some pretext or other will show you a flat in the same building and say the layouts of both flats are the same or just the mirror image. Don’t fall for this trick. Never finalize the flat without seeing it once. When you are shown some other flat always suspect foul game in it. There must be some problem in the flat that they don’t want you to see. The reasons given for not showing the flat may be like the current occupant has gone to office, or the keys are kept with someone in the same building but that person has gone out. You can never gauge the condition of the flat by seeing some flat in the same building.
  24. If you have small babies, then forget using baby strollers in Airoli. The roads are all dug up and footpaths are not stroller friendly. (Meaning of Stroller: A small vehicle with four wheels in which a baby or child is pushed around). 
  25. You may face mosquito problem round the year if your flat is located close to the creek. Flats in such areas are cheaper compared to other regions. 
  26. Broker commission (Update Oct 2012): The brokers have started taking two months of rent as commission when you rent the flat. I have to check about the agreement renewal commission.
  27. Water supply (Update Oct 2012): Some buildings in Airoli use underground boring water. This is hard water and is mostly unfit for drinking. This water is hard water and would leave marks on the toilet and bathroom floors. During rainy season, this water turns muddy and you have to wait for few hours for the mud to settle down. Separate water supply is available for drinking which may be available for few hours in a day. 
  28. Mobile towers (Update Oct 2012): In older sectors (Sector 1 to 5), the buildings have around five floor. Mobile towers installed these buildings directly face flats in adjacent buildings. Look out for mobile towers in nearby buildings. Also be careful if you are shown a flat at night, you may not be able to scan the neighboring buildings for mobile towers.
  29. Best Sectors to stay if you commute by BEST bus (Updated Oct 2012): The best sectors to stay with family would be Sectors 5, 6, 7, 8 and 16. You can easily access the bus stops located on Sector 5 and Sector 8. 
  30. Best Sectors to stay if you commute by Local Trains (Updated Oct 2012): The best sectors to stay with family would be Sectors 1 to 5. Recently the morning trains from 9 AM onwards get very crowded.
This is not an exhaustive list. I have collected all points in one place to indicate these problems are present but not in all buildings. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

List of business ideas for India

Here is a list of new business ideas that I am compiling.
1. Online document printing service business idea for India: You email them the documents, they will take a print of it and send it to its destination by traditional mail.
2. Portable toilets with attenders: Portable toilets with 5 star facilities and attenders for cleaning.
3. Portable kitchen on wheals: You can rent it out to catering companies who can use it for outdoor parties. Will have all amenities required for a commercial kitchen.
4. Generate electricity using human excreta or night soil waste: Make toilets around slums and give free access to toilets. Use a bio-gas plant to generate gas and use gas to run generator for electricity.
5. Overnight stay Dormitory chain business idea: In India, hotels are expensive for the poor person. You can build cheap dormitories and charge very less money.
6. Small warehouse business idea: Small shopkeepers don't have money to hire storage space or warehouse space, you can provide space at a very low rate.
7. Locker business idea for India: There are lockers to keep your valuable in banks but are very expensive. There are small companies offering locker service but they cant grow their business as the common man finds its unaffordable. You can offer a cheap service of lockers.
8. Vehicle that works of compressed air which is compressed using solar energy: Sterling engine.
9. Instant dal rice:
10. News / events timeline website:
11. Facebook for the dead website idea:
12. Mall type picnic spot with temples business idea:
13. Hand operated fan business idea:
14. Hand operated mixer business idea:

Magazine for Aspiring Businessmen

Entrepreneur India is a Magazine for Aspiring Businessmen. It targets the english speaking educated businessmen with some money to spend. Its costs Rs 100 and is available on news stands all over India. It has some good business ideas. Overall, I feel that they could improve on their writing skills. Well they are targeting the impatient person who just wants to get a new business idea and run it through his friends.

Indian Mobile Company to Hire Call Center in Africa

By ORUOGHOR ALEN, Business Writer

25th Sept 2009, Lagos, Nigeria. A major player in the Indian mobile communication industry is reported to be in talks with a call center operator based in Nigeria. The plan is to outsource domestic calls generated in India to the call center in Abuja. Sam Obayojie the CEO of Capital Talk Systems, with offices in Lagos and Abuja, said, "We will give good training to our staff and inform them about India culture", in his broken English.

Capital Talk Systems plans to hire about 200 locals and train them to speak in fluent English and basics of Indian culture to help them effectively interact with Indian customers. To prevent a cultural shock for Indian's dialing the mobile companies call center, the Nigerian staff would be given Indian names and would say they are based in Mumbai and also mention they had "vada pav" for breakfast, a popular snack in Mumbai. Initially only customers who have opted of English as the language on the interactive voice response system (IVRS) would be transfer to the call center in Abuja.

With this move, the mobile company plans to save an estimated Rs 2 crore in call center operations currently situated in the expensive Indian city of Mumbai, where call center executives fluent in English command higher than average salaries and switch jobs every six months.

Repeated phone calls and emails to the mobile company's top executives remained unanswered. The PR company handling the mobile companies accounts refused to comment as they had no information about this deal. One executive when contacted commented, "yes, we are in talks with them", but refused to give any additional information about the deal, and declined to be quoted as he was not authorized to speak with the press.

Mr TVSSRCV Rao, president of Call Center Owners and Operators Association of India expressed is disbelief and displeasure when told about the move. He said more such deals would adversely affect the call center industry in India and said that his association would lobby with the government to ban such deals happening in the future. He feared that such deals will lead to large scale unemployment among English speaking teenagers entering the job market and would discourage students in school to learn English. He said that Nigerians would not be able to understand an Indians' English accent and Indians' would have problems understanding African accents. He said that there were a lot of cultural differences in India and Africa to make this work. When told that Indian call centers were doing good with business with US companies, which has a totally different culture than India, he said in an annoyed voice, Africans would take time to learn the Indian culture.

Shares of both the companies jumped upon hearing the news. Shares of the Lagos based company jumped by 5% in the Nairobi stock exchange and shares of the mobile company jumped 6% in BSE interday trading after rumors of the deal spread in the morning.

Analyst expect Africa to be Worlds next China and expect more such deals in the future. Another analyst of a leading stock broking firm following the mobile company said that he expects Indians dialing the call center to encounter the same frustrations US citizens encountered when they dialed the local numbers only to be transfer to an Indian call center. He said, it would take some time for the call centers to stream line their operations and reduce error rates.

(Oruoghor Alen from Lagos office, Deepak Roysharma and Rema Singh from our Chennai office also contributed to this story.)

Recovery agents to help in dowry recovery

XYZ News Network, 31st December 2009.

At the age of 60 GS Kumar is a troubled man. He married off his son in a lavish wedding thinking the dowry he would bring would wipe out his financial woes. But to his utter dismay and anguish, he got only 75 percent of the dowry amount. Now Kumar is a broken man, he has to marry off his daughter and his married son is still struggling at the business he opened with the money he received as dowry. Kumar was planning to use part of his sons dowry to marry off his daughter.

But now a group of recover agents has come together to help people such as Kumar. These agents generally work for banks, recovering personal loans from small time business men by harassing their family members when the business men are at their shops or factories. They also recover defaulters cars when the car owner fails to make the monthly loan installment. These agents generally operate by retaining a sizeable percentage of the loan amount as their fee, thus making a huge profit.

Now, these recovery agents are offering their services to harried people like Kumar who is struggling to get his due dowry amount from his son’s in-laws. Though agents are not targeting the huge profits they earn by working with banks, they are looking at the sheer size of the marriage market. It is estimated that at least 2 million men get married in India ever year and almost 80 per cent of them take dowry. Often this dowry amount is paid in installments. Often in-laws resort to cruel mental and physical torture techniques to get the remaining amount. In-laws often extract extra cash by beating their daughter in laws. Even though dowry taking is banned by law, with deterrents such as imprisonment these cash transactions are rampant and add to the non taxable black money in India.

Recovery agents plan to cash on this market and estimate it to be a Rs 200 million market. Even though they are planning to charge less commission, the potential market is huge and offer opportunities for existing agents to open offices in all cities and towns of India.

PE firms like Royam Money is planning cash in on this trend and are planning to invest in this booming industry. Royam Money plans to acquire 20 % stake in Summan Recovery, a Mumbai based recovery firm with offices in 20 cities in India.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Portable Toilets in India

There is tremendous business opportunity in the Portable Toilets / Washroom business in India. There are many gatherings where large number of people gather like marriages, exhibitions held in makeshift arrangements. Here toilet facilities are very basic and unhygienic. Providing portable toilets that can be moved or on wheels can serve the purpose. These portable toilets are not the basic ones but would be up market type. With all the amenities that can be expected in a fixed toilet setup. It would have running water, single use paper towels, liquid soap etc.
These are also called temporary restrooms and this service is virtually non existent in India.

Company like Shramik Sanitation Systems ( offer wide range of indoor and out door toilets. They offer wide range of portable toilets.