The third Monday in January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, according to some far-from-scientific calculations by a UK-based researcher. But most marketing departments love the concept and are using it to lure customers to buy this or travel there to chase away the Blue Monday. Happily enough, the fad hasn't caught on in India. If anything, the mood here is quite the opposite. An almost irrepressible optimism seems to be the order of the day. The economic slowdown seems to have ended. Companies are starting to recruit again and bonus payments seem imminent.
Despite high inflation rates and food prices seemingly out of control, the great Indian middle class is on a buying spree. Judging by the response to the Auto Expo '10, people are also considering big-ticket purchases this year.
However, in this spending-induced euphoria, we'd like to remind you that taxing times lie ahead. Regardless of whether you got an increment or were laid off this year, the taxman will demand his pound of flesh. The only way you can make this painless is by planning ahead. Which is why we bring out our cover story on tax now, to give you enough time to weigh your tax-saving options and choose the ones that suit you best.
We might joke about paying taxes, but the fact is that this money goes towards building the infrastructure that India desperately needs. So, it's a mark of good citizenship to pay taxes; the point is that you should not be a foolish citizen and pay more than you must. While on the subject, did you know that you can get store-branded electronics for a fraction of the price of big brands? We look at the emerging trend of big retail chains launching their own brands. With the Copenhagen summit behind us, however, it seems wrong to talk about electronics without considering the environmental impact of power consumption. This is the reason we also look at the cost of reducing the carbon footprint; it's less expensive than you think, and the impact will be felt long after your fridge and microwave become obsolete.