Archive for the ‘Bureaucracy’ Category

Doing business in India – how’s your genealogy?

February 23, 2014

Of all the things we thought we needed to know to do business in India, who would have thought our family trees were so important?

We have been asked to complete some forms to allow certain documents to be filed with the Registrar of Companies (India’s Companies House). In no particular order, we have to furnish the following names:

Mother inc step mother
Son inc step son
Son’s wife
Daughter inc step daughter
Father’s father
Father’s mother
Mother’s father
Mother’s mother
Son’s son
Son’s son’s wife
Son’s daughter
Son’s daughter’s husband
Daughter’s son
Daughter’s husband
Daughter’s son’s wife
Daughter’s daughter
Daughter’s daughter’s husband
Brothers inc step brothers
Brother’s wife
Sister inc step sister
Sister’s husband

Fortunately my family is fairly small. Martin’s, on the other hand … Well we could be here some time. Do you think anyone will check?


Election result ll

May 24, 2012

You may recall that soon after the Goa State election a BJP MLA (MP) inconveniently died. The BJP was the party that won the election, comfortably seeing off the incumbent Congress party. A win for the Congress party at the by-election would have quite seriously upset the BJP so the event was of quite some interest.

The BJP were fielding the widow of the expired politician. A couple of lightweight Independents suggested they’d have a go and the Congress party eventually decided not to field one of their heavyweights. Although probably the heavyweights refused to get involved to avoid further humiliation. Eventually they picked a candidate who they’d refused to put up in the general Election.

Days before the poll the Chief Minister ‘suggested’ that the Independents pulled out; one thinks of brown envelopes. Then the Congress man drops out leaving the widow to be elected unopposed. And the Congress party has egg all over its face.

The suggestion is that our Congress man made a deal with the widow to be allowed to continue operating his illegal dry dock in her parish in exchange for him dropping out. Also it was his way of getting his own back on Congress for barring him in the General Election contest.

CWG IV – On time

October 2, 2010


Good news at last! The new metro station at the main CWG venue will open on time, the authorities announced.

“When is ‘on time’?'” we thought; ‘now’ wouldn’t be soon enough. But hey! ‘on time’ is not what we expect in the West. In this case it means, wait for it………… one hour before the opening ceremony!


October 1, 2010

Sorry! Yet again it’s visa gripes time. Last year we breezed through the hurdles and our visas were ready in three days flat. This year we sensed there would be a problem when we presented our carefully prepared papers. Two letters contained the word ‘work’ in reference to our business in India; if the word had been ‘project ’ there would have not have been an issue. But ‘work’ smacks of employment. Shouldn’t we therefore be applying for Employment visas rather than Business visas? No we shouldn’t, but too late. The clerk summoned her manager. Slightly aggressively he seized our passports and looked at previous visas and grumbled about our Tourist visa entries, the last of which was in 2005 and of no relevance. Confirming that we really wanted Business visas our papers were accepted and we were advised that they would be processed in up to five days and we could track the passports on line. They weren’t ready on day 7, but we drove to Birmingham to go face to face with someone. We were reassured there was no problem and we (foolishly) believed them. A couple of days later and a visit to the Consul General’s office and we had to cancel our flights back because we were still in the dark. At this office we had only been able to extract another ‘promise’ that they would fast track (!) the application and we could collect on Monday. This time the promise was kept, but we will never know the cause of the delay.
We are getting used to these ‘panic’ moments when it seems we our lives are temporarily on hold while Indian officialdom constantly gets bogged down when there is even the tiniest thing, like the word ‘work’ in a document that freezes the system.


September 29, 2010

You read it here first! The Conmanwealth Games 2010 in Delhi is disgraced before it starts. India is a place of extremes and we find ourselves laughing at India’s corrupt lifestyle going public on the worldwide scene. The stereotype of India’s corruption and laughable infrastructure which is not often openly demonstarted has been exposed to the world. However, we are also crying for Manmohan Singh our PM, who seems to be a thoroughly honorable and decent person in his – and India’s – hour of disgrace. But even the mighty Dr Singh can’t oversee everything personally.

Still there are a few days to go and with a lot of smoke and mirrors it could be a success on the home front. If the top Commonwealth sports stars continue to drop out then there is an opportunity for India to pick up a couple of medals. We read nothing of India’s hopefuls… are there any?

A vast majority of Indians actually couldn’t care less about sport unless it’s Cricket or very rarely Hockey. So the CWG is not designed for the entertainment of the populace at all and the actual games are of little relevence. The whole idea that the games should come to India was to showcase India’s ability. Oh dear! So far the showcase has only confirmed the stereotype.

The latest tag attached to the games is Common Wealth Games, as the boss Kalmadi has managed to employ 19? members of his family on the Organising Committee, thus enhancing the common wealth of his tribe. But we sense that in India this will be quietly admired as the right thing to do and what any other right-minded person would do in his place.


September 29, 2010

Our visit to the UK is based primarily around getting our visas without which we cannot stay in India.

The moment that we have the date of our departure logged in our passports as we pass through Immigration at the airport, we start to live in limbo. Our project, our life in India, is now entirely in someone else’s hands.

We have prepared for the renewal of visas as best we can with the limited information we can glean. Any meaningful advice is out of the question from government websites, as are official face to face visits in either Delhi or Goa. We gather information from official websites, but the wording and less than frequent updating of rule changes make this approach unreliable. The best source is to copy what friends in similar circumstances have done successfully.

Full limbo is reached when the visa application has been accepted by the agents for the Indian immigration authorities. They claim that they have no further information to give us about the application. So we have to rely on what the on-line passport tracker tells us… either the application is being attended to, or your passport is ready for collection. Note that you are not told whether the application has been successful or not! This year limbo was more fraught.

As we are obviously now back home in India, we were successful in getting the visas…. but for some reason (not given) the issuing took 6 days longer than usual, which necessitated rearrangement of our flight back and a lot of nailbiting! Search us for what went wrong. Actually search the Indians as well. You won’t find anything.

Rain stops tax collection

September 29, 2010

Our first post since end of August. We’ve been in the UK getting a new visa.

September is always a busy month for our accountant. The annual filing of company returns with the Registrar of Companies (Indian Companies House) and the Inland Revenue is the end of the month, and this being India, most of his clients do not give him the paperwork to start on their accounts until September.

But we’re British, so he has no excuse. He’s had our papers since May, however despite various prodding and pushing, he didn’t make a start on the work until September. Then he couldn’t finish it before we flew back to the UK.

No problem, or so we thought, as filing is done electronically so we would have time to complete on our return.

Enter the Indian government, with a piece of non-planning worthy of the Commonwealth Games Committee. As this is the busiest month, why not change the rules for filing? And introduce new regulations that many Indians will have trouble complying with?

You now need a personal digital signature, not a corporate one that we already have, for filing. Our accountant didn’t tell us, so we do not have one. Cue big panic yesterday, by accountant and company secretary, as the fine for late filing is pretty big. We at least are fortunate – we have all the needful to get the papers submitted. Most of all, we have PANs – personal account numbers – for tax returns. (This whole performance is actually a clever ruse by the Indian government to get many more people into the tax system.)

But lo – as so often in India – everything’s changed today. Below is a copy from an email we have received this morning.

‘On consideration of the reports of disturbance of general life caused due to floods and heavy rains, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, in exercise of powers conferred under section 119 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, hereby extends the due date of filing of returns of income for the Assessment Year 2010-11 from 30.09.2010 to 15th October 2010. Accordingly the due date for Tax Audit report u/s. 44AB of the Income Tax Act is also extended to 15th October, 2010.’

Aaaagh – so it’s been raining. Heaven forbid anyone admit that they haven’t allowed enough time to implement the change and can’t manage the fall out.

Only in India.

CWG progress

July 21, 2010

The handover by contractors to organisers of the venues for the Commonwealth Games is due in 10 days time. None of the venues are near completion and little of the infrastrucure is complete. We are not surprised. Planning is not a strong point in India; last minute damage limitation is. But do unfinished buildings matter?

Nothing in India ever gets finished properly but everything seems to work. And if it’s for show the government’s ‘smoke and mirrors’ brigade will be called in to make the show work… and they rarely fail. So no it doesn’t matter, the show will go on even if little is working or completed behind the scenes. The viewing public won’t know any different and those actually attending will have a tale of woes, but their voice will be small.

Also, reported today. Rain brings Delhi to a halt.

Beware the bureaucrats

January 21, 2010

WIP at all times with the bureaucrats - completer finishers not

A poll conducted in 2009 concluded that Indian bureaucrats are the worst to work with in Asia. The report commented on the experience of dealing with them as ‘slow and painful’.

We know just what they mean. Heaven knows how this country functions because no one, and we mean no one, can be relied upon for accurate, transparent information.

Our latest experience is a case in point. It’s come to our attention (more by luck than judgement) that we need to obtain some licences and NOCs (no objections certificates) before we can take over our planned new clinic. We’ve asked after said documents in the past but always been assured we didn’t need them – see second paragraph above.

Anyway, we do. So, where to begin? The origin of one NOC is fairly straightforward – Margao Municipal Council (MMC). Well, it’s simple to understand where the certificate is issued from. Getting is may be another matter. But we’ll leave that discussion for another day as we haven’t tried to get said certificate yet.
In two days, Martin has accomplished the heroic task of visiting just about every Government department, in two towns, in search of ‘the needful’. You know the funny thing (in retrospect) that whatever department you visit, they think you should be talking to them and tell you that others are not the right places. If we didn’t pay attention we’d have finished up paying sales tax on coconut oil just because Martin uses it for massage.

But we digress. For once, the FRO (Foreigners’ Registration Office – a branch of the Goa police) has come to the rescue – now there’s a phrase you don’t hear very often. They condescended to give us a list of the documents they require for registration; a list which includes at least four licences which we have no need for (food and drugs, excise, etc). However we do now know we need a licence from the labour department, one from the health department, and the aforementioned NOC from the MMC.

So, that’s simple then. Further blogs will no doubt document how un-simple the task turns out to be. In the meantime, off to renew Hari Enfield’s insurance. Four hours later ……

Short and sweet and sour

December 25, 2009

Good for another 5 years

Well! On the tenth visit to the RTO to keep the 15 year old Hari Enfield legal, Martin experienced the swiftest ever visit to these nightmare offices and came out feeling like an Olympic Marathon Champion. The medal was Hari’s registration book with a scrawled note saying that he is now registered for another 5 years. martin has a sneaking suspicion that the reason for the rapid passage was that everybody was itching to get away for the 4 day Xmas holiday and that the bosses had instructed that all the hurdles were to be removed. Thank God for Christmas spirit, whatever the reasons behind it.

Can it be true that Martin will not have to enter these gates of hell for another 4 years and 11 months? Place your bets and watch this space.

The sour bit is that Hari Enfield was treated to a new odometer and speedometer for Christmas, the old one having never functioned. It failed after 29 kilometres… MII (Made in India) and no guarantee, of course.