Smart TV: A Buying Guide

Smart TV: A Buying Guide

Smart TV: A Buying Guide

Choosing a TV from a variety of available options may be a difficult task for you as the television industry is upgrading continuously with various new brands & models. This buying guide will help you in making informed decision while purchasing your new smart TV. Not all smart TVs are created equal. Perhaps the TV you like does not have the operating system of your choice. Perhaps the additional features you want are not available either. So you will want to do your homework and do some research before the purchase is done. In this report, we will cover different features of smart TVs together with what to expect from your smart TV.

The major feature separating smart TVs and not-so-smart TVs is an internet connection. This allows one to access on-demand content from apps like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4, and stream television shows and movies from a variety of apps and services, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube. Many smart TVs also let you go to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. A growing number of smart TVs have full web browsers that let you go almost anywhere on the internet. Many smart TVs come with point-and-click remote controls that can manage onscreen interactions using hand motions or by responding to your voice commands. Most smart TVs also provide capabilities to connect with external devices such as a USB flash drive, a mobile phone, etc.

Smart and the Not-So-Smart

Smart TV

Non-Smart TV

Description A television that has access to the internet and hence is ‘smarter’ than a normal TV A basic television that allows one to view images and listen to sounds – that is, watch videos
Wi-Fi Needs Wi-Fi Does not need Wi-Fi
Access to internet X
Built-in apps X
Movies streaming (from Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) X
Check and send emails X
Project phone screen on TV X
Watch your own pictures or videos stored on a smartphone X

This or That?

-> Display type: It all starts from what type of display technology you want, whether it’s LCD, LED, OLED or UHD.
LCD: Liquid crystal displays are pretty common to find, and may be the cheaper option. They are energy-efficient and usually have good colour and resolution.
LED: TVs branded as LED are actually LCD TVs that use LEDs as a backlight for the liquid crystals in the display. If a TV has ‘local dimming’, it will have an advantage when it comes to contrast ratio, which is a plus. On top of that, LED TVs are less power-hungry than standard LCDs and plasma.
OLED: Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs use coloured LED lights to create the image, so they save on power, though not always as much as LED TVs. However, since OLED screens are costly to make, you’ll have to pay more. They also suffer from some of the viewing-angle problems.
UHD TVs: Ultra-high definition (UHD) TVs, also called 4K TVs, have screen resolutions of 3,840 x 2,160. That’s four times the 1,920 x 1,080 pixels found in your full HD TV. The more densely packed array of pixels in UHD sets makes them capable of greater picture detail.

-> Resolution
HD-ready, full HD, or 4K? These are terms used to denote the resolution of the TV screen. The higher the resolution, the better the image quality. HD-ready offers 1,366 x 768 pixels resolution, full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and 4K 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. We recommend that if you have the budget, get a 4K TV. If not, then go for a full HD screen. HD-ready TVs are cheaper and while they are good enough for watching SD (standard definition) content, you can notice the marked differences in sharpness and clarity compared to a full HD TV.

-> Size
The common TV panel sizes available today are 32, 40, 42, 46/49, 55, 65, 79, 84, 98 and 105 inches. To determine the ideal screen size for best viewing experience, measure the distance between where the TV will be placed and your bed/couch/chair.
You could consider a bigger set for spacious family rooms, or you will be sitting very far from the TV. Consider how many people in your family typically watch at once and where you are going to put your new set. Then pick the largest screen size that will fit comfortably into that space—and your budget.

-> Installation/Placement
Before purchasing the TV, decide where you want it to be placed – on a table stand or mounted on a wall. Most manufacturers today ship TV sets with a stand in the box, though the wall-mount brackets have to be purchased separately. Keep in mind that if you decide to mount the TV on a wall, you will need to find a way to hide the dangling cables. It is recommended that you keep the TV in a location where the other devices – set-top box, game consoles, portable storage devices, and DVD players can easily be connected.

Do You Need a Smart TV and What Really Are the Benefits of One?

Smart TVs have been around for a while now and you can easily get one between Rs.15000- 50,000. Smart TV comes preloaded with an operating system (OS) that functions similar to a smartphone OS. You can connect it to the internet to view content as well as install additional apps.

Most smart-TV models have built-in web browsers allowing you to surf the internet and view web pages, photos and videos from the comfort of your sofa. Apps on smart TVs either come pre-installed or are available to download from an app store. Most smart TVs offer TV- and film-streaming on services such as Netflix and Amazon Video, catch-up TV on apps such as BBC iPlayer, and social networking on Facebook and Twitter. Besides, smart TVs let you wirelessly stream videos, music and pictures from your phone, tablet or laptop straight to your TV. This is often called casting. Additional services include customizable home screens and recommendations of things to watch based on your personal tastes. Some are useful, others feel more like gimmicks.

Overall, keep in mind that a smart TV is expensive compared to the normal sort of TV. You can get a 42-inch standard TV at the price of a 32-inch smart TV.

You’ll need an internet connection to get your smart TV online. Most smart TVs are now Wi-Fi-enabled, meaning you can wirelessly connect them to your internet router and other devices like smartphones. Some older models require a brand-specific Wi-Fi adaptor, which usually slots into one of the USB ports. You can also connect your TV using an Ethernet cable, but if it's not close to your router then you’ll need a long lead or a power line adapter.

A good broadband speed is essential if you want to stream video. For example, if you want to stream 4K ultra HD content on Netflix, you’ll need at least 25Mbps to get the best experience. Also, go for an  unlimited broadband package so you can avoid any extra charges for exceeding your data limit while streaming.

What Are the Security Risks?

Once a device goes online, it’s vulnerable – and your TV is no exception. At the same time, you need to consider whether or not nefarious types would even be interested in cracking into your TV.

Things have improved over the years. Some brands make a point of highlighting security features in their TVs. For example, as of now, protections like third-party anti-virus software that you can get for your PC isn’t really available for smart TVs.

What we as consumers can do is practice constant vigilance and stay updated. Add two-step authentication to apps that require a login, if it’s available. Also, connect to the network via Ethernet if you can. It is much harder for hackers to break into a hardwired connection compared to Wi-Fi.

How many GB of data is needed to watch a movie?

Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard-definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video. Thus, watching a movie will consume about 7 to 8 GB of data.Streaming services and costs Netflix is the major streaming option for home television audiences. It is the world’s top video-streaming service that allows users to watch content on screens ranging from smartphones to smart televisions. Netflix subscription plans in India start at Rs 199, 499 and 699 per month. Hotstar's premium offering costs Rs 299 per month or 899/Year and premium for Rs.1499/year, while Amazon Prime offers unlimited content for just Rs 179 per month or Rs 1499 per year.

Star Rating (energy consumption)

Your TV contributes to your energy bill, so choosing an efficient one will save you money. The energy star ratings help you compare relative energy efficiency. Choose the TV with more stars when choosing between two similar-sized models because it will cost you less to run. In India, it is now mandatory to fix star rating label on TVs. Star rating denotes how energy-efficient your appliance is. Because of the energy labelling scheme of BEE, the quality of TV affixed with the energy label is assured to a large extent. So while going for a TV, make sure it carries the energy label.

Warranty and Service Network

Most of us tend to stick to known, market-leading brands. Nevertheless these may not be the best choice always. There are various factors to consider, other than the brand name. Does the brand have a network of service centres in your area? Is the installation included in the price, and what kind of warranty does it come with?

Things to Be Wary Of

-> Assembled TVs
These days you can find dealers in the retail market stocking assembled TVs without any brand name but are replicate copies of branded TVs in terms of packaging, labels, features, physical look and smart features. Most assembled TVs are made to look like popular brands. Be careful about being persuaded by the cost, which may be as much as 50 per cent cheaper as compared to popular branded TVs, as these come with no/limited warranty and have limited life too. Moreover, authorized dealers of the brand will refuse to repair these counterfeit items. You will be dependent on local service mechanics.
They may give you one year warrantee on extra charges. They import components of LED TVs and assemble it locally, therefore it is cheaper than normal market rate.

-> TV life
With introduction of LED/LCD TVs, it has been found from consumers that TVs go unserviceable, especially the display panel, in a much shorter period as compared to the earlier CRT-based TVs. The replacement of a new and genuine display panel costs high depending upon the panel size. Some of the brands are coming with one year warrantee additional warrantee on panels. If possible, avoid going for expensive TV models as these may not last. On the other hand, take an extended warranty or go for AMC if you are going ahead with an expensive TV.

Ways to Use Your Television Efficiently

• Turn the TV off when no one is watching it.
• Buy a model with higher star rating (5 stars).
• LED and LCD TVs are generally more energy-efficient than plasmas.
• Know that larger screens consume more electricity than smaller screens.
• Know that the brighter the screen, the more energy the TV uses.
• Do not leave the TV in standby mode for a long time.
• Position your TV so that it isn’t in direct sunlight.
• Do not clean the screen panel with wet cloth or when it is ‘on’.

Comparison at a Glance: Smart Televisions (32-49 inches size)

Sl No. Brand Model Size (inches/mm) HDR/ Full HD/UHD Display Resolution (pixels) No. of USB Ports No. of HDMI ports Annual Energy Consumption# (units/year) BEE Star Rating Price (Rs) Warranty, Months
1 Sony Bravia ‎KD-32W830 32/80 HD Ready ‎1366 x 768 2 3 68 1 26489 1
2 Toshiba 32E35KP 32/80 HD Ready  ‎1366 x 768 2 2 46 4 13999 1
3 Redmi L32M6-RA/L32M7-RA 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 2 2 52 4 14999 1+1
4 Samsung UA43AUE60AKLXL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 1 3 32490 1+1
5 OnePlus 43Y1S Pro 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 29999 1+1
6 Sony Bravia KD-32W820 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 2 3 68 1 22999 1
8 MI L32M6-EI 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 2 3 54 4 14999 1
9 Samsung UA43AUE60AKLXL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 1 3 32490 1+1
10 Onida 32HIF1 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 1 3 13999 1
11 Acer AR43AP2851UDFL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 25989 1
12 Sony Bravia ‎KD-43X74 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 43990 1
13 Mi L43M4-4AIN 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 26499 1
14 Hisense 43A6GE 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 26990
15 TCL 32S5200 32/81 HD Ready 1366 x 768 1 2 76 1 15990 1
16 Mi L43M6-INC 43/108 Full HD 1920×1080 3 3 90 4 19999 1
17 AKAI AKLT43S-DFS6T 43/108 Full HD 1920×1080 1 3 88 3 23999 1
18 LG 32LM560BPTC 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 1 2 68 1 17899 1+1
20 Mi L40M6-EI 40/100 Full HD 1920×1080 2 3 85 3 20999 1
21 LG 43LM6360PTB 43/108 Full HD 1920×1080 2 3 75 1 36910 1+1
22 Thomson
  • 32PATH0011
32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 2 3 10999 1
23 Thomson 43PATH4545BL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 21999 1
24 Samsung UA43AUE60AKLXL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 1 3 32490 1+1
25 LG 43LM5650PTA 43/108 Full HD 1920×1080 2 3 122 1 24490 1+1

 

Note: Price may vary, check on amazon.in or flipkart.com.

#Annual energy consumption is estimated based on a daily usage of 6 hours in ‘on’ mode and 12 hours in ‘standby’ mode.

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Choosing Quality Eggs

Choosing Quality Eggs

Choosing Quality Eggs

Eggs are one of nature’s most nutrient-dense foods. They are rich in essential micronutrients and provide high-quality protein. There are innumerable benefits of eating eggs regularly. Selection of eggs is simple, but presence of different varieties of eggs in the market and different health claims on egg cartons might confuse consumers. In this article, we talk all about how to choose quality eggs, and have also listed some tips that could help in safe handling of eggs.

                                                                                                                           Richa Pande

Eggs contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals and are a good source of protein of high biological values. Biological value refers to the proportion of absorbed protein from a food item which is incorporated into the proteins of the organism’s body. Eggs are one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D which has several health benefits. They are also a good source of biotin, which plays a vital role in assisting enzymes to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in food. They also contain antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect our body from free radicals.

The nutritive values of eggs differ from each other. The table below summarizes the nutritive values of eggs of different bird species-

 

Chemical Constituents

In (%)

Chicken Turkey

Guinea

Fowl

Quail Duck Goose
Water (%) 72.8 -75.6 71.6-75.7 71.3-74.1 73.1-76.4 68.2-71.4 68.9-72.3
Proteins (%) 12.8 – 13.4 12.6-13.6 12.8-14.2 12.5-13.4 13.1-14.2 13.4-14.3
Fats (%) 10.5 – 11.8 10.8-12.6 11.2-12.8 10.6-11.7 13.8-15.0 12.4-13.6
Carbohydrates (%) 0.3 – 1.0 0.6-0.8 0.7-0.9 0.8-1.0 1.1-1.3 1.1-1.3
Ash (%) 0.8 – 1.0 0.7-0.9 0.7-0.1 1.0-1.2 0.9-1.0 1.0-1.4

Egg Yolk Vs Egg White 

Many health-conscious people discard egg yolk and prefer only the egg white portion of the egg as it is rich in proteins, and has very less amounts of fat and cholesterol. But it must be noted that fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A & D are present only in the egg yolk portion. The yolk also contains many essential B-Complex vitamins.

Health Claims on Egg Cartons: What do they mean?

  • Organic Eggs: If you see a Jaivik Bharat Logo or USFDA Organic Logo on any egg carton, it means that the birds were given only organic feed and it had no fungicides, herbicides, commercial fertilizers, and pesticides. It also ensures that the birds were not given any antibiotics.
  • Antibiotic-Free: Usually, birds are given antibiotics in their feed, to prevent any disease in animal farms. Constant use of these antibiotics leads to antibiotics residue in birds, leading to anti-microbial resistance in the population. Birds raised organically are not given antibiotics. It is always recommended to pick antibiotics free eggs and other meat products. 
  • Omega-3: Eggs labelled to have Omega-3 are the ones from birds that are fed with Omega-3 fatty acids rich feeds. The Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have several health benefits.
  • No added hormones: Farmers aren’t allowed to give their egg-laying hens hormones, so “no added hormones” is basically a marketing term. Because all eggs could technically be labelled “no added hormones”. Don’t spend extra cash looking for a carton based on this. 
  • Brown vs. White: Whether the egg is brown or white has no bearing on its nutritive values. Different breeds of laying hens lay different colours of eggs. Eggs can be white, brown, and tan, depending on the breed. 

Myths about Eggs

Egg yolk should be discarded due to the cholesterol content 

A single egg contains about 180-200 mg of cholesterol which is over half of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg, and this is a concern for many health experts which is why they refrain from recommending regular daily consumption of eggs. It has been found that eating egg yolk affects different people, differently i.e., the response to eating whole eggs varies between individuals. One study suggests that in 70% of people, eggs don’t raise cholesterol at all, and in 30%, eggs can raise total and LDL cholesterol. It is recommended that individuals with genetic history of hypercholesterolemia should limit the consumption of egg yolks. Also, it is advisable to eat egg yolks in moderation. So, suppose if you are having two eggs a day, it’s better to eat one whole egg and discard the yolk of the other egg to keep the cholesterol intake in check.

If eggs are dirty, wash them to remove the dirt 

Eggs become porous when washed, hence never wash eggs. Also, due to washing, Salmonella (a kind of bacteria that causes food borne infection) can move into the inside of the egg through pores in the shell, increasing the risk of infection.

Eggs remain fresh if stored at room temperature and need not be refrigerated 

Refrigerating eggs keeps them fresh for longer duration as compared to storing them at room temperature and also minimises the risk of any bacterial growth. 

Raw eggs are better than cooked eggs and aids recovery from any disease

Never give raw eggs to anyone including pregnant woman, infants or older people as eating raw eggs enhances the risk of Salmonella infection. It should never be given in raw form to those who are seriously ill, especially when they are sick. It is preferably better to consume cooked eggs in which egg white is firm and yolk is completely thickened. Cooking eggs does not reduce the protein content or nutrients present in them to an unavailable form. 

Storage and Food Handling Tips

  • Always check the best before date before buying eggs. 
  • Don’t buy packages with cracked eggs, they are more prone to bacterial infection. If your purchased pack has a cracked egg, throw it away. 
  • Refrigerate eggs in their carton only to prevent cross-contamination. Avoid storing in side doors where the temperature varies. 
  • Cook eggs until the whites and yolks have solidified, to prevent food-borne illnesses. 
  • Try to consume cooked egg recipes within 2 hours. Don’t leave it for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
  •  Bad or rotten eggs smell bad and can taste fine.So, if an egg smells bad, throw it away.

Testing the Freshness of Eggs

If the egg floats, it indicates that it is a stale/ rotten egg. The egg might float beacause of its weak shell and fine cracks.

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Pharmaceutical Industry and Ethical conducts- Allegations on Dolo 650

Pharmaceutical Industry and Ethical conducts- Allegations on Dolo 650

Pharmaceutical Industry and Ethical conducts- Allegations on Dolo 650

Since the incident of Covid-19 and the high speed spread of infection in the second quarter of 2020 in our country, Dolo-650 has become a household name. It is an antipyretic pill which is manufactured using one of the most common, and oldest, generic formulations known as paracetamol. It is commonly used to treat aches and reduce high temperatures and has been in the market since the 1960s. The Covid-19 pandemic pushed the sales of this oval-shaped white pill and made it the ‘most sellable’ medicine in India.

Now, however, the maker of Dolo-650 mg, Micro Labs, has been accused of offering freebies worth Rs 1,000 crore to doctors to endorse and promote this anti-fever drug. In July, the Income Tax department conducted searches at the offices and residences of the top management of Micro Labs for alleged tax evasion. The searches were related to financial documents, balance sheets and business distributor networks of the company.

However, Jayaraj Govindaraju, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Communication at Micro Labs Limited clarified, “We have certainly not spent 1000 Cr on Dolo 650 during COVID year, as no company can spend that much amount on a brand that achieved a peak sale of about 350 Cr in the last year.”

Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association of India has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) stating that the company gave over Rs 1,000 crore freebies to doctors for prescribing an irrational dose combination of Dolo-650. The PIL has sought to make pharmaceutical companies liable for giving freebies to doctors as an incentive to prescribe their drugs. The PIL further demands statutory backing to the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP).

The Supreme Court has also articulated that giving free gifts to doctors by pharmaceutical companies to promote the sale of drugs is ‘clearly prohibited by law’. The Supreme Court dubbed it as ‘a matter of great public importance and concern’, the manipulation of prescriptions by pharmaceutical companies in return for their free gifts to doctors. 

These kind of allegations on the pharma industry are, nonetheless, not new. Various pharma companies have been accused time and again of offering freebies, foreign vacations and numerous other perks to doctors to prescribe their medicines. Do let us know what your opinion on this is!

I hope you have loved reading about this topic, which is currently all over the news right now. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We have tips on home loans, a smart TV buying guide, a discussion on liquid funds and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

Until then, happy reading!

Pallabi Boruah

Editor

Healthy Workplace, Healthy You: Preparing workforce for a safe, healthy and sustainable food system through the Eat Right Campus

Healthy Workplace, Healthy You: Preparing workforce for a safe, healthy and sustainable food system through the Eat Right Campus

Healthy Workplace, Healthy You: Preparing workforce for a safe, healthy and sustainable food system through the Eat Right Campus

Apart from your own home, which place do you eat most frequently on a daily basis? If you think about it, it is likely to be your office, college or an institution that you visit regularly. In today’s fast-paced environment, a large number of working professionals and students are spending the majority of their time at the workplace or college campus. The long working hours, classes or client meetings and short deadlines are only increasing the time spent at these places with little time left for eating healthy or exercising. Hospitals and call centers have workers who spend entire days and even nights working, often at the cost of their health. When we are at work, we are not always mindful of what we eat or drink, often resorting to unhealthy food, drinking excessive tea or coffee or even skipping meals altogether.

                                                                                        Shri Arun Singhal, CEO, FSSAI

In addition to this, safe and healthy options are often not available at most workplaces, leaving no choice but to rely upon what is available to satisfy one’s hunger. Hence, there is a need to ensure that the food we eat at campuses is safe and healthy, given that diet related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases are rising at an alarming rate.

To address these concerns and support campuses for ensuring availability of safe, healthy and sustainable diets for their employees, students, patients, inmates, etc., the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has introduced a nation-wide programme called the ‘Eat Right Campus’ (ERC). This initiative has been launched with two objectives, one is to create an environment of safe and healthy food habits for people in various campuses through compliance to a set of well-defined parameters; and continuously reiterating the message of “mindful eating habits’ through awareness activities within the campus premises for continuous behavioural change. 

Under this initiative, benchmarks have been created on four different parameters based on which campuses are evaluated and certified as ‘Eat Right Campus’. These parameters include food safety measures, steps to ensure provision of healthy and environmentally sustainable food and building awareness among individuals in the campus to make the right food choices.

Steps Involved in Certification of Campus

Why it is useful for a food service establishment within the campus premises?

A detailed checklist has been created based on the above four parameters, outlining the best practices to be followed by the food handlers within the campuses. This goes beyond the mandatory requirement of licensing and registration of food service providers within the campuses. The certification is a powerful tool that ensures that food cooked/ handled/ served and stored in the campuses is safe and hygienic. Further, it ensures that food vendors comply with food safety and hygiene standards as per Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006. Additionally, the third party audit/ hygiene rating audit of the campus kitchen provides a sense of recognition to the campus, thereby reducing the chances of frequent inspection visits by the food safety department in that area.

Benefits to Campuses

Eat Right Campus recognizes the efforts of a campus towards ensuring the health of its people, adds prestige and brand value to its name and inspire others to adopt similar best practices. In particular, it provides a unique opportunity to workplaces to showcase their efforts around employee health and wellbeing. This serves as a key incentive to attract new talent and top performers, thereby boosting high quality recruitment and employee performance. Investing in the health and wellbeing of employees also reduces absenteeism and healthcare costs and ultimately serves to build the reputation of the organization. Many workplaces strive to acquire a high rank in global workplace related ratings/indices. The ERC certification similarly aims to create a sense of competition among campuses across the country towards raising the standards of food safety, nutrition and food sustainability.

With as many as 1346 certified campuses now, this initiative is targeting varied sectors like government organisations, private workplaces, colleges/ universities, tea estates, etc.  Recently, a wide range of Government bodies like Anganwadi Centres, Police stations, Jails, Legislative Assembly, Delhi, etc. are covered under the ambit of Eat Right Campus initiative. As this initiative grows to include all campuses in the country, it will contribute to the productivity and economic growth of the country while also safeguarding people’s health.

FSSAI is following a holistic approach by engaging with various institutions of national importance, government colleges, universities, IITs, IIMs, hospitals, and Central government ministries, to enrol them into the programme. Additionally, the Food Authority is working with various industry associations to enrol their member companies under this programme. Similarly, food service establishments like hotels (with a separate staff canteen/ kitchen) are being sensitized to join this initiative and contribute to the productivity and economic growth of our country while also safeguarding people’s health.

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Tips to take Home Loans at Affordable Rates

Tips to take Home Loans at Affordable Rates

Tips to take Home Loans at Affordable Rates

Due to the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, the rate of inflation has increased significantly around the world. India has not been spared by this effect of rising inflation. This is a major reason why recently the Reserve Bank of India increased the repo rate by 0.90 percent. Due to this, the loan rates in the country are seeing a significant increase. A few months back, home loan rates were in the range of 6.40-6.80 per cent. At the same time, after increasing the repo rate by RBI, the loan rates have increased to between 7.30-7.70 percent. In such a situation, when taking a home loan, you will have to pay higher interest rates than before. In this article, we are going to discuss measures by which you can take a home loan to build a house or buy a house at affordable rates. 

                                                                                                                             Subas Tiwari

It is often seen that in case of refinancing, banks offer home loans to the customers at interest rates lower than the advertised rates. However, to get this exemption, you have to meet the eligibility criteria.

If you are paying a very high interest rate on one of your loans, then in this case you can reduce it through refinance. For this, you have to find out about this by visiting your nearest bank.

If you want to take a home loan at low interest rates, then it is very important to have an accurate credit score for this. If the credit score is not correct, you may have to pay a higher interest rate. To improve your credit score, you need to raise your CIBIL score above the score of 750.

Many times banks or loan offering institutions give loans to women at the lowest rates. In such a situation, try to apply for a joint loan with a woman in your family while taking a loan. In this situation, you can get a loan at lower interest rates than before.

Home Loan Balance Transfer can help in reducing your EMI

Home Loan Balance Transfer allows you to transfer your outstanding loan from other loan institutions to another Banks/NBFCs at a lower interest rate, this helps in reducing your EMI. Home loan balance transfer or refinancing or simple balance transfer is a process by which you can take advantage of lower interest rate offered by other Banks/NBFCs on existing loans.

How to transfer your home loan?

Taking a home loan makes the process of buying your home easy, but you can also find a home loan that has low interest rates and other value added services. In such a situation, you can transfer your home loan to the lender providing better services. This process of switching or transferring your home loan from one lender to another is called home loan balance transfer.

When should you opt for home loan balance transfer?

Usually, you shift your home loan balance to another lender when you feel the rules of your current lender are unfavourable and are not ready to negotiate. However, you can have many reasons for transfer, but the main reason for balance transfer is high interest rate. This may be due to the presence of many other reasons such as stringent rules, a lot of extra charges and poor customer service.

It is best to transfer home loan balance in the initial years of your term. This is because initially the share of interest in each EMI is much higher than the principal. So, this is the time when you can get the most benefit by falling interest rates. Also, remember that for transferring the balance you may have to pay a fee to the new lender and pay the processing fee again. So, keep these numbers in mind, understand your total benefit and decide accordingly. This guarantees that your balance transfer will actually help you in saving.

How does home loan balance transfer benefit you?

  • It reduces the burden associated with your repayment, which allows you to pay the loan in a short time.
  • Your new lender can provide additional benefits such as easy pre-payment and foreclosure at no extra charge. This makes repayment easier.
  • It provides you better customer service.
  • Your new lender can provide you with many additional features like top-up loans, which you can use for many things. For example, to decorate your house.

Home Loan Balance Transfer – Eligibility Conditions

Any employed, self-employed professional or self-employed businessman can apply for home loan balance transfer. Although all the lenders have different eligibility conditions, some similar conditions are as follows:

  • Applicant should be Indian and aged between 21 to 60 years. Whereas, self-employed persons are eligible for transfer till the age of 65 years.
  • Your credit rating is not only good during the loan application, but the rating should not be low till the time of transfer, otherwise banks can reject your application.
  • Applicant has been working in one company for some years or in case of self-employment, the applicant’s business has been going on for some years. This period is usually 2 years.
  • You must have the ability to pay every month or the minimum salary required.
  • Some banks may also require an applicant’s minimum family income.

Now that you know how home loan balance transfer is beneficial for you, now let us know the process for doing this from Bank / NBFC.

Submit an application to your current lender: When you are ready for balance transfer, it is important to inform your lender through the application. There will be a letter or form in this application. In both cases, prepare your application carefully and describe the reasons for the transfer. If it is a form, make sure that you fill it in correctly.

Take NOC or MoU: After completing the initial formalities, your lender will contact you to give you a Consent Letter or No-Objection Certificate (NOC). This document is very important, because when you give your application, then your new lender will ask you for this document.

Assign Your Document: When you have received the NOC, you can contact your new lender and hand over all your documents to him. Apart from submitting the required documents like NOC and KYC, you may also have to submit a copy of your property document, loan balance statement and interest statement and filled application form.

Get Confirmation from Old Lender: After submitting all your documents to the new lender, wait for the final confirmation from your old lender regarding the closure of your loan account. This proves that the loan contract has expired as per the terms of the loan contract.

Pay the applicable full fees and start afresh: Now, all you have to do is sign the contract with the new lender and pay the outstanding fees. Once this is complete, you can repay the EMI for the next month. This complete guide can help you easily transfer the balance of your home loan to the lender of your choice. After this, you will be able to take benefits like the affordability and flexibility offered by your new lender.

Step-by-Step Process for Taking a Home Loan

Approval of home loan involves several stages. However, these are completed quickly, after which the loan is disbursed in a few days.

To avail a home loan, the following steps are to be followed –

Step 1. Application

The first step is to fill the application form with some details like name, phone number, PIN code, employment type, etc. The Bank / NBFC representative will contact you to further the application process.

Step 2. Assemble the Document

Bank / NBFC representative will come to your house to take the necessary documents for home loan. These documents are

  • Documents of property to be mortgaged.
  • Identity proof – Aadhaar, PAN, Voter ID, Passport, Driving License, etc.
  • Address proof – latest utility bill, any identity proof with your permanent address, etc.
  • Latest salary slip or Form 16.
  • Bank account statement.
  • Evidence of business presence.

Step 3. Document Processing and Verification

The lender will process and authenticate your document. They can contact your office or related organization to confirm your employment or business. In this phase, they will check your CIBIL score and credit report.

Your loan application will move to the next stage only when all the documents are in order, and your CIBIL score and credit report are satisfactory.

Step 4. Approval Letter

After completing the above steps, you will receive an acceptance letter. The acceptance letter usually includes the following information –

  • Loan amount
  • Interest rate
  • Interest Rate Type – Fixed or Variable
  • Repayment period

The acceptance letter may also include other terms, conditions and policies of your loan. To accept their offer, you have to sign a copy of this letter and give it to your lender.

Step 5. Payment of security fees

After signing the acceptance letter, you will have to pay a one-time security fee. The lender may ask you to pay this fee in advance.

Step 6. Checking legal and technical information

The lender will check the legal and technical information before disbursing the loan. They will also send their representative to inspect the house.

Step 7. Loan Agreement and Disbursal

You will receive the original agreement letter, after thorough investigation from the lender. Finally, the company will disburse your home loan as per the terms.

Meet the need of money by taking Top-Up on Home Loan

When most of us suddenly need money, personal loan is the easiest route. The reason for this is because the banks give loans in a short time. But, there are many cheaper options available in the market as compared to personal loans. For taking a loan at a cheaper interest, you can approach a top-up or gold loan on a home loan. If you have taken a home loan, you can easily talk to the bank and top-up it on that loan. The interest rates of top up loans are slightly higher than home loans but much lower than personal loans.

What is the Top-Up Home Loan?

This mainly allows one to avail a loan amount on a home loan. Banks offer this loan to customers already taking home loans, given their financial standing. However, top-up facility can be availed only after 6 to 12 months of taking home loan.

Top-up loans can be used for any purpose. If you renovate the house, you will also get the benefit of income tax. Top-up loans can also be used for children’s education, daughter’s wedding or for purchasing additional properties. This loan is taken in addition to the existing home loan, so along with the payment of the home loan, the monthly instalments of the top up loan have to be paid.

Determination of loan amount

Banks generally offer 65 to 70 percent of the property’s current value (including home loans) as top-up loans. For this, the banks get the property appraised. The maximum amount of a top-up loan depends on the individual lenders. The more the home loan is paid, the more top-up loan you get.

Key features and Benefits of Top-up Loans

It is available at a low rate of interest: This loan is available at a low rate of interest, due to which it is economical and it is easy and easy to pay. You can avail a higher amount with a small adjustment in your EMI. 

It has a longer tenure: On a top-up loan, you can enjoy the same long-term convenience as a home loan. This reduces the value of EMI, making it easier to repay further. 

It provides quick money: The eligibility criteria for this loan is normal and its disbursal is also easy to process. This ensures that you can apply to get the money whenever you need it. 

It does not require a separate application: When you take a top-up loan, you need a separate loan from the beginning. No need to apply for it. This application process is simple and fast. 

It provides tax benefits: Interest paid on top-up loans is tax free under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act. To take advantage of this, you have to prove that the top up loan will be used to buy, build, improve or renovate the residential property. If you use the loan amount for the education of your children, you can still avail this rebate. 

Here are some ways in which you can use top up loan:

  • Home renovation and expansion
  • Buying furniture for your home
  • Upgrading soft furnishing and home appliances
  • Structural changes and repairs
  • Fixing plumbing or wiring

How Can You Apply for Home Loan Top- Up Easily?

Complete loan eligibility: When you take this loan, you also get an offer for home loan balance transfer. Generally, lenders review your previous payment history and total home loan amount before accepting your previous payment history. The amount of top-up loan also depends case by case. If the value of your property is high, then Banks/NBFCs gives top-up loan which is more than the amount of your home loan.

Fill the application form: To apply for this loan, you can choose between online and offline medium. It is easy to apply online and you have to submit a basic form which you can fill in minutes. However, it is important to enter your details correctly for easy processing. 

You may have to submit a copy of the original KYC document and your property paper. Before applying, you should get the information about the documents required for the home loan, which you will have to submit as soon as possible so that the approval for the loan can be obtained quickly. After this, Banks/NBFCs will review your application and will disburse the amount directly in your account. With this information, you can easily apply for a top-up loan and make full use of it.

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