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Travelling after Demonetization is a Tricky Business: 8 Ways to Travel in a Hassle-Free Manner!

Several cashless payment apps have wide usage, and even some small and pop stores use them. Download one or two apps

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Representational image. Pixabay

New Delhi, November 27, 2016: Travelling after demonetization is a tricky business. You are in a new place where no one is prepared to lend you a credit card and no one is willing to sell without the new currency. Try and book all-inclusive packages and check beforehand to ensure that your travel agent will accept cheques or credit and debit cards, says an expert.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes to curb black money. And if you have plans to travel, Vikram Lalvani, travel advisor of Sterling Holidays, has a few tips to offer on how to travel hassle-free.

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PM Modi made a decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes to curb black money. Click To Tweet

* Book packages: Try and book all-inclusive packages which will cover travel and meals once you reach your destination, so you are not strapped for cash at the last minute.

* Online payment: Book your stay well before reaching the destination. These are not the times to backpack and find a hotel on arrival. So, book online.

* Travel agent: Check before travelling to ensure that your travel agent will accept cheques or credit and debit cards.

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* Local travel: Cash crunch? Use cab services that offer cashless transactions for shuttles between places and rent-a-car services.

* Download mobile wallet apps: Several cashless payment apps have wide usage, and even some small and pop stores use them. Download one or two apps before your journey, so that you can pay electronically wherever possible.

* ATMs and banks: Before leaving home, identify the banks and ATMs near your hotel or on your travel route. On the go, if you spot a branch of your bank or see an ATM, withdraw cash, even if you have enough money or don’t foresee any expenditure.

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* Packing: Ensure that you carry enough medicines and other travel essentials for the entire journey. Do carry your mobile charger and power bank as per your requirements.

* Shopping and eating out: Before you step out of your hotel, research or call ahead and identify restaurants and shops that accept plastic cards or cheques. Usually, larger establishments offer a card swipe facility. (IANS)

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New Rs 200 notes: It may take ATMs three months to dispense Rs 200

Will all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated?

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Wait for 3 more months as ATM recalibration is not yet done
Wait for 3 more months as ATM recalibration is not yet done. Wikimeida
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up
  • The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent
  • The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon
New Delhi, September 4, 2017: While the RBI launched the new Rs 200 notes a week ago, it may take up to three months for ATMs to start dispensing the new denomination currency “new Rs 200 note” as it will involve a huge exercise of recalibration.

What are ATM companies saying about when will the new Rs 200 notes come into the market?

Some banks have even asked the ATM companies to begin testing the new Rs 200 notes for recalibration of the machines, though they have not got supplies of the new Rs 200 notes/ currency. Only last year, the banks were involved in the recalibration of ATM machines after the demonetization of high-value currency notes in November.
ATM manufacturing companies said that they have not received any directive from the RBI regarding the recalibration of ATMs for the new Rs 200 note. They disclosed that some banks have at an informal level have asked them to start testing of the new note since it is of a different size.

 

When will the supply of the new Rs 200 notes see an increase?

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up but has not given any time-frame by which it will be available in adequate numbers.

 It is yet to be seen whether all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated for dispensing the new Rs 200 notes.

 

 avi B Goyal, Chairman, and Managing Director, AGS Transact Technologies Limited, which claims to have an installed base of 60,000 ATMs, told IANS, “The process of recalibration will begin once we receive the directive from the RBI. The size of the new Rs 200 notes are different from the existing ones and so, once we receive the new Rs 200 notes, we will have to understand its dimensions and accordingly reconfigure the ATM cassettes. Next, we will have to check if the supply of new Rs 200 notes is good enough to run the cassettes at full capacity.”

 “The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent. In fact, the ATMs will continue to be fully operational during recalibration and will continue to supply Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denominations,” he said.

 

Among the other companies operating in the sector are NCR Corporation, which has over 1,08,000 machines, and BTI Payments, which has 4,500 cash dispensers. NCR Corporation said that while some banks have reached out to them to start testing of the new Rs 200 notes, they were yet to receive the supply to begin the process.

 “Banks have started getting in touch with us for testing the same “new Rs 200 notes”. They will let us know which machines they wish to configure for new rs 200 notes, which will require physical visits to ATMs. However, the new Rs 200 notes are still to be provided to us by the respective banks so that the testing can begin,” Anand Garollu, General Manager (Services), NCR Corporation said.

K. Srinivas, Managing Director, and CEO of BTI Payments, a RBI-licensed firm that operates cash dispensers not owned and managed by banks, said, “Recalibration will begin as and when we receive adequate quantity of new Rs 200 notes. We are looking to roll this out as quickly as possible.”

 He said that the industry was expecting new Rs 200 notes to be available over a period of time across various geographies.

 “The recalibration can be done progressively as and when the new denomination note starts to become available. Unlike the last time around (during demonetization), when we had to recalibrate all machines in one go,” Srinivas added.

 The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon. However, emails to RBI in this regard did not elicit any reply, they said.

 “The production of these “new Rs 200 notes” is being ramped up by the currency printing presses and over time, as more notes are printed, it will be distributed across the country through the banking channels and will be available for the public in adequate quantity,” the RBI had said in a statement.

 Currently, new Rs 200 notes are available only through select RBI offices and some banks.

While State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank are reported to have received the new Rs 200 notes, Eknath Baliga, Manager, KYC-Antimoney Laundering Cell, Corporation Bank, Mangalore, told IANS that none of its branches across the country had received the new Rs 200 notes so far.

The new Rs 200 notes are currently being printed only by RBI presses. Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) sources told IANS that the company has not received any indent so far for the printing of new Rs 200 notes. India’s two currency presses are owned by RBI and two by SPMCIL, which is a government-owned company.

 How ATM recalibration happens:

Usually, an ATM holds four cassettes — three of which can continue to be used for Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 2,000, and the fourth cassette can be used for the new Rs 200 notes. On an average, each cassette has a capacity to hold 2,000-2,500 notes depending upon the quality of cash issued by banks. However, there are many ATMs that only have either two or three cassettes.

The number of slots in the ATM can be configured as per the bank’s preference. The banks decide which denomination needs to be configured in a machine on the basis of the customer profile in the area where the ATM is located and the number of transactions on that machine.

The banks need to make requisite changes at their ATM switch before the rollout of the physical recalibration at the ATMs in the field.

The recalibration of a new denomination takes 30-45 minutes per ATM. The process of recalibration is not very difficult but is time-consuming given an engineer has to visit every ATM and configure it to dispense the requisite denomination.

The introduction of the Rs 200 note has been welcomed as it would ease the currency circulation in the market as people prefer lower denomination cash withdrawals from ATMs. Rs 200 would also be more convenient for rural consumers. (IANS)

 

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Navratri is a Festival which can be Celebrated by all, Irrespective of their Caste or Religion

Religious enthusiasm and excitement accompany the festivities of Navratri as people come together to celebrate the triumph of good over evil

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Navratri
The nine day festival of Navratri celebrates the feminine nature of the Divine. Wikimedia
  • Navratri is a nine day festival primarily dedicated to Goddess Durga
  • The festival combines ritualistic puja and fasting along with cultural activities for nine consecutive days and nights.
  • This year the festival will be celebrated from September 21 to 29

Mumbai, August 31, 2017 : Navratri is a festival which can be celebrated by all, irrespective of their caste or religion, says one of the organizers of Ruparel Navratri Utsav 2017 here.

Ruparel Navratri Utsav 2017, co-organised by Ruparel Realty and Showbizz Entertainment, will be held from September 21 to 29. Popular singer Falguni Pathak is set to perform at the festival.

Asked if Muslims are barred from such events, Santosh Singh, one of the organizers and director of Showbizz Entertainment, told IANS: “Garbas are not meant for Hindus only. There are no divisions based on caste or religion. Everyone should be welcome, and in Mumbai, they are.”

ALSO READ Navratri: Why India is celebrating 9-Day Hindu Festival and how it is associated with re-incarnations of Goddess Durga?

The festival will take place at the 13-acre Late Shri Pramod Mahajan Sports Complex of Borivli, Mumbai. It means loads of people would turn up for the event. What are the security measures taken by them?

“We are not checking anyone’s identity, but we have deployed extra security and stringent crowd management measures, especially for women, so that they can enjoy the festival while feeling safe and relaxed,” said Singh.

Have demonetisation and GST taken a toll on Navratri celebrations?

“We don’t know about others, but for us, this year the Navratri festival will be interesting because after demonetization and GST, it will be the first religious and social programme that will bring lakhs of people together,” he said. (IANS)

 

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393