Tuesday, May 30, 2017

World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2017

The priceless benefits of a No Tobacco World!

Tobacco – a threat to development is the theme of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May 2017. 

Every year, WHO and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

The stats make very depressing reading. More than 7 million deaths from tobacco use every year, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 8 million a year by 2030 without intensified action. Tobacco use is a threat to any person, regardless of gender, age, race, cultural or educational background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and national economies.

Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity. It worsens health inequalities and exacerbates poverty, as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and health care. Some 80% of premature deaths from tobacco occur in low- or middle-income countries, which face increased challenges to achieving their development goals.

All countries benefit from successfully controlling the tobacco epidemic, above all by protecting their citizens from the harms of tobacco use and reducing its economic toll on national economies. The aim of the Sustainable Development Agenda, and its 17 global goals, is to ensure that "no one is left behind."

In addition to saving lives and reducing health inequalities, comprehensive tobacco control contains the adverse environmental impact of tobacco growing, manufacturing, trade and consumption.

Tobacco control can break the cycle of poverty, contribute to ending hunger, promote sustainable agriculture and economic growth, and combat climate change. Increasing taxes on tobacco products can also be used to finance universal health coverage and other development programs of the government.

It is not only governments who can step up tobacco control efforts: people can contribute on an individual level to making a sustainable, tobacco-free world. People can commit to never take up tobacco products. Those who do use tobacco can quit the habit, or seek help in doing so, which will in turn protect their health as well as people exposed to second-hand smoke, including children, other family members and friends. Money not spent on tobacco can be, in turn, used for other essential uses, including the purchase of healthy food, healthcare and education.

Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general. Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life.

It is the leading preventable cause of death in many countries including India. Cigarette smoking causes lakhs of deaths each year in our country. 

Smoking and Increased Health Risks

Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
Estimates show smoking increases the risk:
  • For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • For stroke by 2 to 4 times
  • Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times1
  • Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times
  • Smoking causes diminished overall health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

Smokers are at greater risk for diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).

  • Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease, which are among the leading causes of death in India.
  • Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can have early signs of cardiovascular disease.
  • Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower. This makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up. Clots can also form.

Smoking and Respiratory Disease
  • Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in your lungs.
  • Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
  • If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse.
  • Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.
Smoking and Cancer

Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body:
  • Bladder
  • Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
  • Cervix
  • Colon and rectum (colorectal)
  • Esophagus
  • Kidney and ureter
  • Larynx
  • Liver
  • Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Trachea, bronchus, and lung
  • Smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancer patients and survivors.

Smoking and Other Health Risks

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects a person’s overall health.
  • Smoking can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant. It can also affect her baby’s health before and after birth. Smoking increases risks for:1,2,5
  • Preterm (early) delivery
  • Stillbirth (death of the baby before birth)
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (known as SIDS or crib death)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Orofacial clefts in infants
  • Smoking can also affect men’s sperm, which can reduce fertility and also increase risks for birth defects and miscarriage.
  • Smoking can affect bone health.
  • Women past childbearing years who smoke have weaker bones than women who never smoked. 
  • They are also at greater risk for broken bones.
  • Smoking affects the health of your teeth and gums and can cause tooth loss.

Smoking can increase your risk for cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens that makes it hard for you to see). It can also cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is damage to a small spot near the center of the retina, the part of the eye needed for central vision. Smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus and can make it harder to control. The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers than nonsmokers. Smoking causes general adverse effects on the body, including inflammation and decreased immune function. Smoking is a cause of rheumatoid arthritis.

Quitting smoking cuts cardiovascular risks. Just 1 year after quitting smoking, your risk for a heart attack drops sharply.
Within 2 to 5 years after quitting smoking, your risk for stroke may reduce to about that of a nonsmoker’s.
If you quit smoking, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.

Take action. Quit smoking!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

All variants of 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire feature dual airbags for better safety

Maruti Suzuki has launched the all-new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire at Rs 5.45 lakh, ex-Delhi on May 16. There are a total of eight variants of the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire, including the newly added top-end Z+ variants with AGS gearbox as option from the ‘V’ variant onwards. There are six colours, including Oxford Blue, Sherwood Brown and Gallant Red which make an appearance for the first time.
To be manufactured exclusively at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant for now, prices for the new Dzire go all the way up to Rs 9.41 lakh for the top (ZDi+ AGS) model.

All variants of the whole new Dzire are built on the Suzuki HEARTECT platform, with dual airbags and much more just so you sail safely through every journey.

One of the major changes in the new Dzire is the fact that safety features like dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist now come as standard across variants, so unlike the previous-gen Dzire, there are no 'Option' trims on offer and the car primarily comes in four variants, for both the petrol and diesel models - Lxi/LDi, VXi/VDi, ZXi/ZDi, and ZXi+/ZDi+.

Inside, the new-gen Dzire gets a more premium cabin that is more appealing than the previous model. This can be seen with the quality of plastics and the upholstery. The overall cabin sound insulation is much better. The refinement of the 1.2-litre K-Series engine, which has always been a refined unit, has been upped further with new tuning. The AMT unit too has been improved that we had also experienced in the Maruti Suzuki Ignis.

The intermittent time between the shifts have been reduced significantly, making the transmission smoother as well as more responsive than before. The transmission has its benefits while driving in the city as well on highways. The same will be felt in the diesel AMT as well considering that Maruti Suzuki is believed to have updated the AMT software for their new-age offerings.

Overall, the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire feels more premium, the engine and the AMT units has been refined further, and the NVH levels have been significantly improved. The quality, fit and finish of the plastics as well as the switchgear are similar to the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. The all-new Maruti Suzuki Dzire will be sold through the company’s regular dealerships but not through the more premium Nexa distribution network. The company is already positive about the compact sedan as it is one of the bestselling sedans for Maruti Suzuki. The carmaker is expecting huge volumes for the same.

While sales of compact sedans have seen a slow down, interest in the segment is still very much alive. The Dzire has been the segment leader with sales of over 1.38 million cars sold so far and the new third-generation Maruti Suzuki Dzire has garnered a lot of attention with bookings crossing 33,000 at the time of launch on May 16.

C.V. Raman, executive director (engg) at Maruti Suzuki India, said, "We don't see a dip, numbers are growing for us, and I think a sedan today still has that appeal to a customer. Yes, there has been growth for compact SUVs, but I think there will be space for all."

Official bookings for the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire began on May 5, at an initial down payment of Rs 11,000. Dealer sources say that there is a waiting period of 8-10 weeks for the new Dzire’s manual transmission models, while the AGS (automated manual transmission) cars can be delivered within four-five weeks.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Will GST prove to be a game changer for the auto sector?

For the automotive industry, the Goods & Services Tax (GST) has been viewed as one of the most important policy reforms. After much wait, the new tax is likely to get implemented from July 1. However, there is still some confusion around the new tax which need to be clarified to help the industry stakeholders understand what it has in store for them.

GST will be positive for the automotive sector because of the efficiency and removal of cascading that is expected with GST, says Harishanker Subramaniam, national leader - indirect tax, Ernst & Young.

And, to give you an example, in an automobile sector, a car is manufactured in a particular state and generally, 80 per cent of these cars are sold to states outside the state of manufacture to dealers outside the state. So the two per cent Central Sales Tax (CST) that they pay will not be there tomorrow because hopefully origin tax is not there.

Even the two per cent CST will be an integrated GST (IGST) which will be fully creditable by the dealer when he sells the car in the other state. And even from a procurement point of view, if there are interstate procurement we suffer today at 2 per cent CST which is a cost to the manufacturer, that also will not happen because those interstate procurements will have an IGST in it which is again available as a full credit to the manufacturer if the credit rules are simple and easy.

The second efficiency could be also on the input side. A bigger, more easy credit mechanism so that all the taxes on the input side, whether it is input services, whether it is capital goods, whether it is manufactured products, are set off against the output liability of GST.

One other important fact is that many car manufacturers which generally have a very large investment, enjoy today state incentives. The incentives are there in many manufacturing states like Maharashtra, Gujarat & Tamil Nadu.

So, one of the facts that the auto manufacturers have to keep in mind is that these state incentives are based on the current value added tax (VAT) and CST that they pay. Tomorrow with CST going away, the states will have to make do these commitments of incentives on the basis of whatever they collect under the GST regime. So, that is another important fact that the auto manufacturers have to keep in mind that they will have to go and renegotiate those memorandums of understanding (MoU) that they have with the states.

The second fact is today, in the car industry the small cars have a differential treatment in excise depending on engine displacement and the size That is another factor that will come into play. Will those differences exist in the new GST regime? Will they all fall under a standard rate of 17-18 per cent if you take the reference of the current CEA report or will there be a lower rate for small cars? This is another question that comes to be debated because then the efficiency and the quantum will depend on what rates they fall in.

So does this effectively mean a lower tax burden for automobile companies? Some of which would go towards their bottom line and some maybe could get passed on to consumers or not at all?

Purely on efficiency, there should be a benefit to an auto manufacturer, notes Subramaniam of E & Y.

With no embedded tax costs on inter-state movement of goods and a shift in the point of taxation to the ultimate consumer under GST, businesses would have enhanced flexibility to re-design their supply chains. Moreover, importer-distributors as well as domestic automobile dealers should be able to claim credit of GST paid on all business procurement of goods and services, as opposed to the current scenario, where they cannot claim a credit for the Excise duty paid on capital assets or Service tax paid on input services availed, and which, therefore, is a cost.

The introduction of GST may also lead to further consolidation of operations in the Indian auto sector, with the likely neutralization of indirect tax benefits of a separate sales/distribution entity due to levy of CGST proposed to be extended up to the point of consumption.

Get prepared for the big change. GST could throw up some unique challenges for the automotive sector. For example, — taxation of used vehicles and trade-ins under GST could be complicated and lead to double taxation of the vehicle unless appropriate rules are drafted with regard to the same.

Lastly but perhaps, most importantly, businesses need to plan ahead for timely implementation of changes required in their ERP and financial reporting systems, to ensure minimal business disruptions during transition.

If you look at the current scenario, the indirect tax regime for the automobile sector in India is perhaps one of the most complex and multi-layered, with several Union and state levies applicable to different stages of supply chain such as Customs Duty on imports, Central Excise on manufacture, VAT and/or CST on sales, Service tax on import/provision of services, additional levies such as NCCD, Automobile cess, Entry taxes, Octroi/LBT, registration charges, road taxes etc. Furthermore, luxury vehicles are typically subjected to high tax rates of Central excise and VAT.

The introduction of GST could be a key business change driver.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

8 Questions to Ask Before Buying Car Insurance

Make sure your coverage reflects your needs and budget so that you get the best insurance value. This bears repetition: Your coverage should reflect your needs, priorities and budget. You’ll want to evaluate how you use your car, what risks you face and what options you want from an insurer before you compare policies and insurers.

Take a Good Look at Yourself—and Your Car. Consider the following questions when you’re getting ready to shop for auto insurance:

1. How Much Do You Love Your Car?

Okay, your car is not a family member or even a person, but do you have a very special attachment to it? If so, you’ll want it fixed perfectly—or replaced with the same model—if anything happens to it. So shop for the fullest range of insurance, including collision, comprehensive and even glass coverage. On the other hand, if you drive a beater, see cars as interchangeable and want to save on premiums, you might consider purchasing only liability insurance.

2. How Much Do You Drive?

Do you absolutely need your car every day—for instance, to get to work? Or is owning a car mostly a matter of convenience that you could forgo if needed? Do you drive 100 miles a month or closer to 1,000 or more? Make sure your policy reflects how much you drive. If you don’t drive a lot, you may want to opt for a lower coverage insurance.

3. Will You Be Using Your Car for Work?

If you use your car not just to get to work, but to perform work tasks, commercial auto insurance is a necessity. A personal auto policy will not provide coverage if you deliver pizzas, drive as a courier, transport paying passengers through a ride-share service or use your car for other commercial activities.

4. What Type of Car Do You Drive?

Insurers have mountains of data, and they know in precise detail what types of cars, makes and models are more—or less—likely to incur claims. A flashy sports car with a powerful engine may be more likely to be stolen and cost a lot for body work than a mid-sized sedan—and your insurance will be priced accordingly. By the same token, you may receive discounts if your car has the latest safety features and a good safety record.

5. Where Do You Live—and Park?

Where you live will impact your insurance rates—and it may be a factor in what coverage you purchase. For example, cars parked on the street in urban areas face a greater risk for theft or vandalism, so you may want to purchase comprehensive coverage. You may discover that your rates fall if you move from a city to a suburb.

6. Who Else Will Be Driving the Car?

Generally, your car insurance will cover other occasional drivers. However, if other drivers live with you and use your car—whether a spouse, a teen driver or a housemate— make sure you go for a fuller coverage insurance.

7. What Are Your Legal Obligations?

In India it is mandatory that you carry minimum liability coverage for your car. At the very least, you need to make sure your policy complies with legal mandates. However, the levels of required coverage are generally pretty low. To be safe, you’ll probably want additional liability coverage—keep in mind, if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money.

8. Is Your Car Financed or Leased?

If you still owe money on your car or have to return it in good condition when a lease expires, you’ll likely be required to insure the car for its full value—and even for any gap between what you owe and the car’s market value. Collision and comprehensive will cover damage to your car up to its value—and supplemental gap insurance will cover the rest.

Keep in mind that your insurance options should also reflect your age, gender and driving record.

Once you’ve looked at your needs and priorities, and understood how insurance options will match them, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision about the types and levels of coverage to buy.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Car Care with Kids

New drivers love their cars, but they typically don’t realize what it takes to maintain them. We recommend having fun teaching children about the importance of car care long before they can drive so they know how routine maintenance impacts the safety and dependability of their vehicle.

Many children love learning how cars operate, however, they don’t really understand the nuts and bolts of what it takes to properly maintain a car. By taking the time to teach your children the basics of car care, they will not only learn to appreciate the value of taking care of a car, but they will be more informed and better prepared for the day they become a car owner.

There are many do-it-yourself service procedures that can be performed by parents and children together. We suggest starting with three easy and fun maintenance steps to give children a general overview of car maintenance.

Check Lights and Wiper Blades – Explain to children the importance of being able to see and be seen when driving. Show them how to replace the wiper blades and work together to make sure all interior and exterior lights work properly.

Wash the Car – Kids love to help wash the car. Ask them to look for any dents, dings, scratches or cracked glass, as these problems, when left unattended, can lead to more expensive repairs down the line.

Check the Oil – Show children how to check the oil and explain how periodic oil and filter changes help keep your car clean on the inside of the engine. Also explain that other vehicle fluids, such as windshield solvent, should be checked and refilled to keep the car running properly.

Keep your kids happy and your car healthy!