Post II: #TaxPledge: IT Returns you must E – FILE!!

आई टी रिटर्न्स फाइल करेगा इंडिया तभी तो बढ़ेगा इंडिया

Oh! You have filed your returns…great but still stuck with the question…I have paid Tax on all my investments, savings and salary, then why IT returns?

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Here you go>

Non-filing of Income Tax Return attracts interest, penalty, prosecution and scrutiny from the Income Tax Department. There are some myths associated with filing; a common fear is that the taxman comes knocking at the door if the tax returns is filed. But this is not true, why they would come knocking if you have fulfilled your duty.

However, the benefits lost on non-filing of returns are more than the penal provisions imposed for non-filing. Following are the benefits of filing of the income tax returns: For Accidental Claims in Third Party Insurance, for eligibility in all loan applications from Banks, for immigration profile obtaining visa outside India, for obtaining government tenders, registration on panels, for appointment in Judicial & Class one Jobs, for obtaining LIC/GIC agency and for Start-up Funding.

One more question? Is e-filing your Income Tax Return compulsory? Yes, e-filing of the Income Tax Return has become compulsory if your Total Income exceeds Rs. 10 Lakhs or if you own foreign assets, you must e-file.

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You are e-filing your returns not for yourself as it entitles you to several benefits but also for the development of your country which is funded through the tax which you pay on your self-declared income. Believe me there could not be bigger joy than this. This annual activity should be seen as a moral and social duty of every responsible citizen of the country. It is the basis for the government to determine the amount and means of expenditure of the citizens and provides a platform for the assesse to claim refund, among other forms of relief from time to time.

What if I am not in the Income Tax slab? Good Question!

Even if your income level does not qualify for mandatory filing of returns, it is important that you voluntarily file returns. In most states, registration of immovable properties requires advancing as proof the tax returns of last three years. Filing returns makes it easier to register the transaction besides, it gives you joy that you have declared your income to the Government. Probably it would help authorities to build projections on the Incomes in future.

Watch H & R Block video to know how they have made it so easy to e file your returns?

Every Law abiding citizen must file returns, if you do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can visit website of H& R Block and use their easy software and their unique hand-holding programmes.  The government mandates that individuals who earn a specified amount of annual income must file a tax return within a pre-determined due date. The tax as calculated must be paid by the individual. Failure to pay tax will invite penalties from the Income Tax Department.

I don’t want to scare you from IT officials knocking your door any more, as PM Narendra Modiji in a recent Convention has asked IT officials to play the role of facilitators and not scare citizens with their presence. Hope & Wish IT officials follow this dictat and come knocking your door to say – A BIG THANK YOU!!!

I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.

Post I: #TaxPledge Cooler Room Talks & Tax!

With this post on #TaxPlege I would like to take you back to the late eighties when I was a junior officer at biggest PSU of the country. Times were really different then, if I think of those times now…offices were different, colleagues were different, bosses were different and office culture was different! Believe me this transformation from those times to these times has been far from smooth.


Credit: Fotolia.
Credit: Fotolia.

As a very young official in those times, I was very curious youngster, that has not changed even now…I was very curious what senior officers discussed during their time in Cooler room…yes offices had big water coolers then and a room was dedicated to them. It was not only a place to satiate your thirst but also gossip (read network). Many a times I heard my senior officers were found discussing Tax ( Arre yaar I have to pay tax this month, salary would be half, expenses would be double etc. etc.). Then I use to think…this tax is really something great and enters in your life when you get promotion.  All through, I yearned, when would tax enter my life? It entered yes, when time came!

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& voila…what havoc tax played in my life. The carefree moments of getting salary and blowing it up shopping in Janpath & Connaught Place disappeared from life.

Going by the fact, I am the most rule & law abiding citizen you can think of, I started investing diligently under 80C since those times and paid taxes well and on time always. This is one part of the tax which every earning person should do as it leads to forced tax savings for your future and is a big source of revenue for the Government. Now came the time of Income Tax Return filing. I always thought it needs to be done by business groups, businessmen, self-employed or those having income from other sources. I have already paid tax to the Government on my salary, where is the need to file returns?

When my CA told me that I need to file returns, I went ahead and started doing it and I have been doing for many years…but this question still lingers on my mind. Why it is important to file returns for me?

It seems I too was living under perception like several others that having paid taxes at various sources, filing of returns is not important, because after all, the Government’s main objective is to ensure that its tax kitty is getting the revenue due to it. This is a misconception and it is essential to know that it is our constitutional obligation to file tax returns when you are required to do so. So your job does not end at paying taxes, filing returns is equally important.

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My ex- CFO, Shri Balwant Jain, who is decorated with CA, CS, CFP, a great author & orator tried to convince me with this argument, “ Income tax authorities allow you to self assess your income and accordingly pay taxes. You tend to believe that your income tax return is a drop in the ocean for the income tax authorities and hence not declaring income or understating income may well is worth because it saves you a few bucks. Deliberately hiding your income from the income tax authorities, to reduce your tax liability, amounts to tax evasion. Some examples of tax evasion include, not declaring interest received on bank fixed deposits or accepting income in cash and not route it through the official system.”

Besides, you are not only part of the revenue stream to the Government, it is beneficial for you as an individual too if are a loan aspirant, if you are applying for VISA, want to become LIC agent, want to start your own venture – Start-Up or want to apply for Government jobs.

Still I was not convinced. But #TaxPledge contest provoked me to dig deeper. Let me add here that my CA has been filing my tax returns from several years but this year I switched to E-filing and attempted it with the help of my brother Prabhat Varma and documents support by husband Mukund. What an experience it was! So simple, so meticulous and I was thrilled like a child when acceptance note popped on my screen.

So you too go ahead with E- filing of Tax Returns yourself especially when the process can be done in a few clicks with e-filing platforms like H&R block. I have checked it personally and believe me it is most uncomplicated platform to file your IT Returns.

Please go ahead, visit HR Blocks website and in a jiffy you returns are filed, of course if you are armed with all relevant details. Watch video for all details:

People here you go…& you are in the list of law abiding citizens of the country as you have fulfilled your duty towards India.

I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.

Read Post II for continuity…






Kamal Mathur, Guest Contributor on Janeshwar Mishra Park Lucknow

From the lens & pen of travel enthusiast and media professional, travel-knots presents before you an Exclusive Photo-Essay on Lucknow’s Janeshwar Mishra Park, the biggest in Asia by our Guest Contributor for the month – KAMAL MATHUR from Lucknow.

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Spread over a massive area of 376 acres with water bodies running across it, it is just magnificent. Named after a leading socialist leader,Janeshwar Mishra, (Gomti Nagar Extension,  Lucknow) park is a sprawling beauty and has pride of place on Lucknow’s landscape.  Till now Lucknow has been famous for so many landmarks right from Charbagh Station to Imambaras to Tunde ke Kababs to Chikankaari, to top it all its inimitable Lucknowi tehzeeb! Now it has another landmark in its kitty – the Janeshwar Mishra Park!!

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You cannot miss the sight of the 25 feet high imposing statue of Janeshwar Mishra, the moment you enter from the main gate. The lush green lawns, the Palm trees lined pathways and the magnificent fountains in the ” Khukri” shape lake add grandeur to its beauty. Gondola rides in the lakes is on the cards. Home to various species of birds including migratory ones, the park is rich in flora and fauna.

The park is designed with exclusive and extensive cycle tracks that provide an excellent visual and cycling delight to the visitors. The total length of the proposed cycle track is 5.28 km that is deemed sufficient for the site. Adequate cycling infrastructure i.e. cycles, parking and sit outs along with cycle tracks are being provided. A suitable management system for the use of cycles is there so that visitors can ride the bicycles for a defined duration on individual or group booking basis.

By the name, it sounds that it will be a place for adults or senior citizens who like to spend quality time in the sunset years of their lives. Of course, that has been taken care in ample measures, but park has some great offerings for children too with many exciting slides & swings.

For young adults, park offers the Health Zone with an open air gymnasium, Jogging & Walking Tracks, the Cycling Tracks besides entertainment and recreational facilities.

&&& All this with a Food Court with its yummy offerings.

The highlights are:

  • Two Vijayanta Tanks( of 1971 war fame )
  • MIG-21 fighter aircraft
  • 207 feet high flag mast with 60 feet wide & 90 feet tri-colour on it

Which patriot would not like offer salute here!

Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) has developed this eco-friendly in the heart of the city at Gomti Nagar. It has been conceptualised and designed as a multi-functional environmental and recreational green park which will not just provide sustainable habitat for various species of birds but also double up as a major entertainment and recreation centre for all sections of the society.

The site can be accessed from four different directions and therefore four separate entries in North and South-East direction are located at suitable points. The site is also bound by a 45m Row Bund road on the River side with embankment. The site can always be accessed by private modes such as cars and two wheelers but not many public transport options such as buses are available for the members of the public.

Request UPTourism to promote this awesome tourist destination so that people don’t miss visiting while they are in UP like Taj Mahal!

If you too want to contribute landmarks in your city / country or the place you have visited recently, write to me on:


VISHALLA in Ahmedabad, snapshot of vibrant Gujarati culture!

vishala logoVISHALLA in an exclusive photo-essay.


It was my secret desire to visit Vishalla, the Chowki Dhani of Ahmedabad on my sojourn to Ahmedabad, since the time I had read about it in some newspaper.  Considering the time constraints, it was looking impossible and the distance we needed to travel from our place of stay to Baroda highway. But as the luck would have it, despite drizzling, we changed the venue from Atithi for dinner to Vishala in a jiffy and around 9 PM we reached there.


As I mentioned that I was very curious to visit the place owing to its uniqueness on many parameters like true to its literal sense, its vast, open spaces that free the mind. There are no physical obstructions, even in the form of doors or walls. My research revealed that, Vishalla’, the traditionally designed restaurant, came into being on 27 March, 1978. The designer, Mr. Surendra Patel, discovered the name ‘Vishala’ in the book Bhattachintamani of a religious group called ‘Swaminarayan’. The name caught the sensitive eyes of Mr. Patel as it related to his vision of the restaurant, a place for homely, staple food in a relaxed atmosphere and with a free mind.

The facade is so mesmerising and, the interior design is certainly in a class of its own, proudly symbolizing Indian culture, it looked like compact Gujarat with mirror on the cover. Truly reflecting vibrant culture of Gujarat, I was very delighted to be there. The walls have photographs of those who have visited Vishalla in the past, and believe me they are who’s who of the country. We were accorded a very warm welcome with roses and the payment counter was replica of Gaddi in the olden times. We were made to wait, the time which we utilised to watch very interesting puppet show. Interestingly, I enjoy the puppet show like a child.

I found myself in the true Gujarati Village where there are no closed rooms or halls, lanterns used instead of heavy lighting, natural air replacing air-conditioned air, folk songs being sung without mikes, muddy lanes, homely food served on a tree leaf, and everything around resembling a typical Indian village. Another distinguishing characteristic of the place is that you get to decide the menu and pay the bill at the reception itself. Well, if you haven’t heard of any such place, Vishalla is there.

Vishalla is not only designed like a village; the staff accords to you the same, warm hospitality you would likely experience in an Indian village. The atmosphere is imbued with a proximity to nature that relaxes the mind. There are no doors to be seen here – which emphasizes the focus on freeing the mind. The waiters and other staff are dressed in traditional Indian gear, with either a turban or a topi on their heads, dressed in the very typical dhoti-kurta.

Then we moved to eating area which was set on floor with multiple cuisines served on pattals in unlimited quantity. We enjoyed the food cooked in Desi Ghee which included: Puris, Bakhris, 4 Subzis, khichdi, kadhi, dal, achaars, papads, thali peeth, halwa…what not. All of enjoyed the meals very much in the lantern lit dining area. After the meals we decided to stay for some more time to enjoy Kathiawadi Dance Performance and other performances.

Children Rishabh, Rashi and Tanya wanted to hang out for some more time…but it was 11 already and time to move. All in all it was wonderfully spent evening and the pricing is not at all steep…it is certainly value for money.  Considering the distance and rains, I was pleasantly surprised to note the impressive line up of cars in the parking.

The natural connect with the plants and the muddy lanes itself delivers the mind from all day-to-day concerns. The pronounced village-like environment is experienced in every nook and corner of Vishalla. There are lanterns to light up the place, the entire area is mud-plastered, and even the entertainment section uses no modern sound systems. The effect is further enhanced with the staff dressed in a traditional, Indian style. What’s more, it is not merely the village-style apparel donned by the staff; they also exhibit a heart-felt hospitality typical of village folks!

Indeed the place leaves you with lasting impression…where I would like to visit again!

Gujarat Tourism should certainly look at it promoting amidst local & global tourists. Information courtesy:

Kankaria Lake: Most Paisa Vasool tourist destination in Ahmedabad!

We planned trip to Kankaria Lake, Ahmedabad in a jiffy and what a trip it turned out to be! It is a sprawling lake which is the second biggest lake in Ahmedabad in Gujarat. It is located in the southern part of the city in the Maninagar area. A lake front has been developed around it, which has many public attractions like boat ride, toy ride, zoo, kid’s city, tethered balloon ride, water rides, Water Park, food stalls and other entertainment. The lake front was revamped in 2008. It is also well-known for Kankaria Carnival, a week-long festival held here in the last week of December when many cultural, art and social activities are organised.


It is the most paisa vasool tourist attraction which has only Rs. 10/- as entry fee and you can enjoy whole day there however other attractions come for a fee but not much. We could not spend much time there as we had to catch up for the dinner at Vishala. So much so, that my niece Rashi and nephew Rishabh were teasing me that I had only gone there to touch the lake. Whatever, I enjoyed very much being there. The lake reminded me of Fateh Sagar Lake which we had visited recently in Udaipur. We took a boat ride, train ride and walk through the promenade. It was lovely breezy evening at Ahmedabad, which we will always remember.


Kankaria Lake was built by Sultan Qutbuddin in the 15th century. The work was completed in 1451 CE and was known as “Qutb Hauz” or “Hauz-i-Qutb”. It was used for bathing by the kings. It had a water purification system but it has been lost with the time. At one point of the circular lake, there opens a walkway which later merges into a garden called Nagina Wadi (which means beautiful garden in Urdu) that is located in the centre of the lake. With an approximate circumference of 3 miles (4.8 km), it represents the regale history of Ahmedabad. It is a 34-sided polygon having steps which leading down to water level.

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Major attractions snap shot:

Kankaria Zoo

Kamla Nehru Zoological Park was established by Rueben David in 1951 spread over 21 acres. It was rated as the best zoo in Asia in 1974. They are 450 mammals, 2,000 birds, 140 reptiles in a 31-acre zoo. It is a treasure of wild animals like tigers, lions, python, anaconda, snakes, elephant, albinos (white), like the rhesus monkey, spotted deer, white blackbuck, chinkara, elephants, emu, jungle babbler, bush-quail and common palm civet. Kankaria Zoo has also records in breeding of rare species in Zoo like pythons, crocodiles, bearcats and wild asses. Reuben David was awarded Padma Shri in 1974 for it.



It is a children’s park named after Jawaharlal Nehru. Balvatika has a boat house, playroom, butterfly and weapon displays, mirror house, toy house and planetarium. Presently most part of the park is under renovation. New rides will be introduced soon.

Amusement Park

Netherlands based company installed five rides in the amusement park in 2014. It includes the Boomerang Roller Coaster, the Flipping Arm, the Torching Tower, Disk ‘O’ pendulum and the merry-go-round. It will also have a kids play zone for computer games. The fee is of Rs. 300 which includes food also, this way it’s quite a steal.

Kids City

Kids City is a miniature world designed for kids. It is spread in 4240 sq.metre area having 18 activity centres including banks, fire station, science lab, radio station, police station, court room and prison, dental as well as medical hospital, theatre, BRTS, heritage gallery, town governance, IT centre, News room, ice-cream factory, etc.  AMC had applied for copyrights and patents on the individual games in the premises, the unique point system, Virmo (Virtual Money) and the design of the different venues in games.

Toy Trains

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A train named Atal Express (Named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birthday 25 December 2008) was imported from London, the train circles the lake on a 2.3 km track at a speed of 10 km/h. The train has the capacity to carry 150 passengers, including 36 adults. The train is manufactured by Severn Lamb. During the first 11 months of introducing the train, it attracted nearly a million visitors.  After the success of this train, another train was also started which named Swarnim Jayanti Express. All trains on the railway, and hence the railway itself, are 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge.

Balloon Safari

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Ahmedabad Eye is a tethered balloon ride set up near Kankaria Lake after renovation. The tethered balloon complex spread over 3000 square yard, is divided into four sections including a restaurant, tethered balloon, heritage exhibit and an exhibition displaying the making of the Ahmedabad Eye. SKYZ is a balloon themed restaurant located at the Ahmedabad Eye complex. It is managed by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Rainforest theme restaurant is also there.

Stone Mural Park

India‘s biggest Stone Mural Park named Gurjar Gaurav Gatha on the side walls of the circular lake in which sculptors are depicting, in pink sand stone, the history and rise of Gujarat is under construction. It has murals covering 3150 sq feet depicting the history of Ahmedabad right now but when completed, it will measure 6000 feet in length and will be world’s largest mural (30000 sq.metre).

Never mind, all this, something’s should always remain on your itinery to visit the city again!

Still I feel Gujarat Tourism need to aggressively this most paisa vasool complete entertainment destination in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Sabarmati River Front: Our home grown Thames River Front, London, well almost!

I was very keen to visit Sabarmati River Front while in Ahmedabad since the time I had seen it on Television; well all of us had seen PM Narendra Modiji hosting Chinese Preisdent Xi Jinping & his wife at Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad. The mini Gujarat created there caught entire nation’s fancy besides the walk in sprawling lawns of the river, wide promenade, and crystal clear waters and to top it all Gujarati dance performers performing all through. Who wouldn’t have loved to be there?

Finally after nearly two years of wait, I could make a trip to Ahmedabad along with my husband Mukund and daughter Tanya. My first concern was visiting Sabarmati River Front. Though it was not that easy, as I insisted our driver and guide rolled into one to take me to the same point where Chinese President was hosted by Modiji. He took us round town and finally we could spot one promenade where we spend time on drizzling evening.

Still I was not satisfied as it was nowhere close to what we had expected or seen on television, sensing that, driver promised me to show that spot next morning and he did. Voila! What a promenade it was on the banks of River Sabarmati?  We spend good amount of time enjoying the breeze and marvelling at outstanding amalgamation of nature and mankind.

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There is huge amount of construction activity going around Sabarmati, in fact in entire Ahmedabad, but London’s Eye on the promenade caught my fancy. May be in my next trip it is all on, so that we could have more fun.  The Sabarmati Riverfront Development has been envisaged as a comprehensive development of approximately 11 kilometres of length on both the banks of the Sabarmati River encompassing all its potentials as primary goals. The project approach is to bring about an overall environmental improvement, social upliftment and sustainable development along the Riverfront.

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In 1997, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) set up a Special Purpose Vehicle – Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) to manage the construction and development of the project.

Sabarmati Riverfront, proposed in 1960s, the construction began in 2005. Since 2012, the waterfront is gradually opened to public as and when facilities are constructed and various facilities are actively under construction. The major objectives of project are environment improvement, social infrastructure and sustainable development.


The average width of the river channel was 382 metres (1,253 ft) and the narrowest cross-section 330 metres (1,080 ft). It is uniformly narrowed to 263 metres (863 ft) without affecting its flood carrying capacity and the riverbed land is reclaimed on the both east and west banks to construct 11.25 km long riverfront. It can hold 470,000 cu ft/s (13,000 m3/s) without spillage. The total of 202.79 hectares of land is reclaimed. The reclaimed land is used for public as well as private development. More than 85% of the reclaimed land will be used for public infrastructure, recreational parks, sports facilities and gardens while nearly 14% will be used for commercial and residential purpose.


Sabarmati River has been an integral part in the life of Ahmedabad since the time the city was founded in 1411 along the river banks. Besides being an important source of water, it provided a backdrop to cultural and recreational activities. During the dry seasons, the river bed became a place for farming. With time it also offered place for various informal economic activities, and the river banks were used by informal squatter settlements.

It was truly dream come true for me.

Request Gujarat Tourism to do all out promotions so that it can emerge at most happening tourist spot in India, on the lines of River Thames in London.