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Anthyesti Funeral Services: NRIs can now book funeral services in Bengal online

A former techie, Shruti Reddy who belongs from Hyderabad and now lives in Kolkata, has started end-to-end funeral services providing agency about six months ago

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A Hindu cremation rite
A Hindu cremation rite, Image source: wikimedia Commons
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  • Anthyesti Funeral Services Private Ltd, has managed 60 cases mid-March and end-June
  • Shruthi Reddy’s start-up company provides funeral assistance at four mortuaries in Kolkata – Keoratala, Nimtala, Garia Adimahasmashan, and Ramakrishna Mahasmashan
  • The Funeral service company provides assistance to Bengalis, Arya Samajis, Biharis, Marwaris, Sindhis and Punjabis among Hindus

KOLKATA: If a near one dies while you are abroad, and there is no one you know who can help, Shruthi Reddy is there for you. A young women entrepreneur has taken an initiative to organize hassle-free and trustworthy funeral rites of their near and dear ones.

A former techie, Shruti Reddy who belongs from Hyderabad and now lives in Kolkata, has started end-to-end funeral services providing agency barely six months ago. Hindustan Times reported that her start-up , Anthyesti Funeral Services Private Ltd, has managed 60 cases mid-March and end-June. They provide online booking services as well.

From organizing body preservation to getting the hearse van and certified priests for Hindus and Sikhs, providing funeral helpers and conducting ‘shradh ceremony’- different packages are available for different communities.

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“There are many people living in Kolkata, especially non-Bengalis and the Bengali families whose close ones are NRIs, who have no one to help when they need to organize a funeral. we provide the entire service, from bringing the hearse van, completion of the cremation as well as ‘shradh‘ ceremony for deportation of bodies abroad when necessary,” Reddy explained what are the services provided, to Hindustan Times.

“As families are getting smaller, more people are in need of help for organizing funeral rites of their close ones. We maintain links to the police, hospital authorities, mortuaries and foreign embassies to ensure the mourning families face no further harassment,” said Reddy.

Anthyesti Funeral Services Logo. Image source: plus.google.com
Anthyesti Funeral Services Logo. Image source: plus.google.com

Last year in 2015, Reddy organized a Funeral of a relative and encountered a lot of trouble and hassle that many people go through when they there is no one to assist. And this idea struck her to provide funeral assistance to such people. Then they have to rely upon funeral touts and dubious priests who exist in a large number.

Her start-up provides funeral assistance at four mortuaries in Kolkata – Keoratala, Nimtala, Garia Adimahasmashan, and Ramakrishna Mahasmashan. They provide assistance to Bengalis, Arya Samajis, Biharis, Marwaris, Sindhis and Punjabis among Hindus.

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The package ranges between Rs 40,000 and Rs 45,000- including the charges of hiring the hearse van and the completion of ‘shradh‘ ceremony along with vegetarian meal serving up to 60 guests. Although, the package for Biharis and Gujratis ranges from Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000. The highest priced package is for Marwaris that is above Rs 1 lakh. And the cheapest package is for Bengalis since they have less funeral rituals to perform.

On different packages for different communities, Reddy said to theIndiandiaspora.com that “The package for communities differs because they have different rites and rituals. While the Bengalis prefer electrical crematoriums, non-Bengalis prefer the wooden pyre. Marwaris and Gujaratis have longer puja sessions as compared to those of Bengalis”.

Although, you can seek services for any particular rites also instead of the whole package. Reddy said, “Our aim is to standardize the unregulated funeral rites industry”.

–  prepared by Akanksha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akanksha4117

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Best Tax Saving Options for NRIs in A.Y. 2018-19

As an NRI, you are qualified for tax exemptions on specific investments in India

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  • NRIs are supposed to pay taxes to India as well
  • There are tips for this tax saving
  • NRIs can use many methods to save taxes

Non- Resident Indians (NRIs) are supposed to pay taxes on income earned in India during a particular financial year. So, any income that has been either accrued or received in India shall form part of the taxable income of NRI. If you have recently moved abroad, you may be worried about ensuring your tax compliance in India for the assessment year 2018-19. Moreover, you need to do tax saving in India with twofold goals- decrease tax liability and increase return on investments. While tax saving is essential, you should strive to invest prudently to reap the maximum benefit of the savings.

These simple tips will help NRIs in tax saving.

If you are an NRI and searching for investment options with tax saving benefits, you should realise that there are various options for the same. Take a look at these tax saving options for NRIs in A.Y. 2018-19:

Bank Deposits

For money to be parked for short-term or long-term investments, NRI can have any one of three following types of banks accounts:

  1. Non-Resident External Rupee Account (NRE): In this type of account, your funds in foreign currency are converted into Indian rupees and the rate prevailing at the time of conversion is applicable. The benefit here is-Interest earned on NRE account is exempt from tax for an individual who qualifies as a ‘person resident outside India’ under the exchange control law.
  2. Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee Account (NRO): Interest earned on NRO account (savings or fixed) is fully taxable. A deduction up to Rs 10,000 may be claimed for interest earned on savings account while filing the tax return.
  3. Foreign Currency Non-Resident Bank Deposit (FCNR): It is a term deposit or fixed deposit account, where NRIs can deposit their money in foreign currency. The deposits canbe made for a minimum maturity period of one year and maximum maturity period of 5 years. The interest earned under this account is tax-free, whereas the principal amount is taxed under wealth tax.

    Opening bank deposits can help save taxes. ecointersect.com

Other popular means of claiming a deduction from gross total income is via Section 80C.

Deductions Under Section 80C

Term Insurance

NRIs can invest in term insurance, a type of life cover, which provides financial coverage to the insured. If the insured expires during the tenure of the policy, then death benefit is payable to the nominee. A deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh is allowed for the premium paid towards term insurance plans as per Section 80C. This deduction can be claimed where the plan has been purchased in the NRI’s name or the name of his/her spouse. Moreover, purchasing online insurance plans like term plans has turned out to be simple, hence you can easily go for these online insurance plans and avail tax benefits on the premium payable.

Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs)

Unit Linked Insurance Plans offer duals benefits of life insurance and investment. Some part of the premium is utilised as insurance coverage to the policyholder, while the remaining amount is invested in various debt and equity schemes. As with all life insurance plans, the amount invested in a ULIP is available for tax deductions for NRIs.

Subject to certain conditions, the premium paid for ULIPs is allowed as a deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. ULIP premium can be deducted from your taxable income up to Rs 1.5 lakh, which is currently the permissible limit.

Loan to Buy a Home

Buying a house property is beneficial for you (NRI) as the interest income and principal income will allow for a tax rebate. The total deduction for interest payment on home advances is Rs 1.5 lakh, whereas the principal amount repayment on home loan already qualifies for a tax rebate of Rs 1 lakh.

Equity Linked Mutual Fund schemes (ELSS)

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Loaning a house can help save taxes for NRIs. Pixabay

For NRIs, ELSS also offers similar benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. ELSS are equity-linked mutual fund schemes investing in a diversified portfolio of Indian stocks. ELSS schemes can be purchased online, yet remember, there is an element of risk in ELSS as money is put into equity markets. Be that as it may, they are tax efficient instruments for NRIs.

National Pension Scheme (NPS)

You can subscribe to NPS if you have retained your Indian citizenship and planned to retire in India. You can contribute to NPS from NRE and NRO accounts. However, the pension needs to be received in India only and cannot be repatriated. Your investment up to 1.5 lakh can be used to avail tax deductions.

NPS comes under EET tax structure (Exempt-Exempt-Tax) and is a cost-effective, government-backed retirement savings plan. All the contributions and accrued capital gains are exempt from tax; however, withdrawal is subject to tax.

Also Read: Rich NRI Keralites Seek State-of-the-Art Old Age Homes to Ensure Stress-Free Life for their Aged Parents

Other Allowable Deductions:

Health Insurance- Deduction under Section 80D

NRIs can take health insurance from Indian companies for themselves or their family members and claim a deduction for the premium paid under Section 80D. Additionally, health plans like cancer insurance plans serve as monthly income plan with different payout options made available upon diagnosis of the disease. The availability monthly income plan feature offers a comprehensive financial coverage for the life assured as well as his family.

The deduction for health insurance is up to Rs25,000 for insurance of self. You can claim a deduction for insurance of parents up to Rs30,000 if their parents are a senior citizen (above 60 years) and Rs25,000 if the parents are below 60 years.

Education Loan- Deduction under Section 80E

Like resident Indians, NRIs can also take educational loans and claim tax deductions on the interest paid under section 80E. This loan might be either taken for higher education for self, spouse or children.

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Saving money by saving taxes now becomes easy for NRIS with these tips. Pixabay.

Besides, there is no limit on the amount which can be claimed as a deduction, and deduction is offered for a maximum of eight years or till the interest is paid, whichever is earlier.Additionally, no deduction is allowed on the principal repayment of the loan.

Conclusion:

As an NRI, you are qualified for tax exemptions on specific investments in India. Before investing, you should make an informed choice by understanding tax laws in India, in addition to the nation of your residence. Moreover, you must select tax saving instruments which would enable repatriation of income at maturity. Your investment decisions should consider your life objectives and also repatriation restrictions on investments in India.