Mutual Funds with Monika on Livemint

Episode One: What is a SIP?

Episode Two: What is a mutual fund?

Episode Three: Are mutual funds safe?






Let’s Talk Money on CNBC Aawaz

Monika Ke Money Mantr

This is a teaser to the full show

Watch here


Yoga is the answer to back pain, the world’s biggest health issue

The face is usually darker. The eyes, a bit watery. It is almost as if the edges of the face are slightly blurred. Great care is evident in physical movements—a deliberation that is not fully normal. I can make out backache in a colleague, friend, co-traveller, whoever, because I am a fellow sufferer. Lower back ache is a scourge of modern-day living that is affecting an increasing number of people. The desperation to find a cure, to just stop the pain, has resulted in a proliferation of solution givers—reflexology, physiotherapy, massage, some German technique, aromatherapy, ayurvedic massage, meditation—to name just a few.

On World Yoga Day, I want to weigh in and tell you what is finally working for me. Fifteen years of a weak lower back with a young person’s disdain for rest or care came home to hurt hellishly five years ago—the back packed up. The final trigger was an overenthusiastic gym instructor at the local DDA facility. For the next three years, I went from orthopaedic to orthopaedic, from one physio intervention to another. Kati pasti (the wonderful Ayurvedic massage), reflexology, hot compress, cold compress, meditation, thinking good thoughts about the back and the world (I kid you not—somebody told me to do that), I’ve been there, done that.

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Modicare: A scheme for Bharat that India may like to pay for

It is not often that Indian residents want to on-board a scheme for Bharat. If the Rs 5 lakh sum insured under Modicare for 500 million Indian poor reaches its potential, middle India will clamour to be allowed entry and will be willing to pay for the scheme. What costs India an average of 2% of sum insured for individual covers is costing an average of 1.3% to the government currently, and has the potential to drop down further under Modicare.

In announcing Modicare or the National Health Protection Scheme as a government funded secondary and tertiary care (health services that usually require hospitalisation) plan, India has signalled its healthcare direction where the State does not provide free or subsidised medical care but funds insurance companies to reimburse empanelled hospitals (both private and public) that do. We can argue that the State has abdicated its responsibility. We would be technically right but practically wrong. The current public health system is largely dysfunctional not because money is not being spent but because of the structure that has a hub and spoke model. The bottleneck is not the availability of money, but that of doctors and nursing staff. Available doctors are a fraction of the sanctioned doctors, which are a fraction of the required doctors. Throwing more money at the same system is not likely to yield results, hence this approach that builds on the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) experience.

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Union budget 2018: A budget for Bharat, but middle India sulks

There were few happy faces in India after the Budget speech got over, except for the senior citizens. Since we don’t have representatives of Bharat in the TV studios or as talking heads, their reaction does not get captured. Budget 2019 has given a big push to Bharat and tightened India a bit more. Senior citizens should be happy. The morning laughing club should be laughing harder tomorrow. They have reason to because they are possibly the only middle India cohort that gets to take home more money. Interest income for them will be exempt from tax up to Rs 50,000, up from Rs 10,000. This means that if a 60-plus person had an income of, say, Rs 10 lakh as interest, she will now be taxed on R s9.5 lakh, other exemptions and deductions remaining the same. The deduction on premiums on health insurance is up from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. This is good because privately bought health covers for senior citizens are very expensive. The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana has been extended till March 2020, and the Rs 7.5 lakh-limit is doubled. A 60-plus person can now get an assured 8.3% annual return on Rs 15 lakh of investment. A couple that has invested Rs 30 lakh, can earn an interest of Rs 2.49 lakh a year from it.

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MH column