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  • inskrish
    01-07 01:41 AM
    Recently during Diwali celebration, one boy fired a rocket and it killed more than six people in Tamil Nadu. Offcourse this rocket was made in Sivakasi and it was an accident. It was a fire cracker. A simple fire cracker can make big accidents like this.

    But whole world is crying that Hamas fired 7000 rockets and killed innocent civilians and Isrealis are defending thier nation by killing thousands. What a crap man.

    If you are comparing the Sivakasi rocket with the Hamas's rocket, I can only sympathize with you. You certainly need to learn a lot--atleast the definition of 'Rocket' or 'Terrorists'.





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  • chintu25
    08-05 10:14 AM
    A man flying in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. Reducing altitude, he spotted a man on the ground and descended to shouting range.

    "Excuse me," he shouted. "Can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him a half hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

    The man below responded: "Yes. You are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees North Latitude, and between 58 and 60 degrees West Longitude."

    "You must be an engineer," responded the balloonist.

    "I am," the man replied. "How did you know?"

    "Well," said the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost."

    Whereupon the man on the ground responded, "You must be a manager."

    "That I am" replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

    "Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going. You have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in the exact same position you were before we met, but now it is somehow my fault."





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  • Refugee_New
    01-06 12:38 PM
    Israeli shelling kills more than 40 at UN school in Gaza.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/06/gaza-israel-death-un

    More killing while the world watches silently.





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  • rockstart
    07-14 02:11 PM
    vdlrao's figues tell the story

    Second: advanced degrees or exceptional ability 14,362--8,557-- 20,255-- 42,550-- 44,316-- 15,406-- 32,534 --42,597-- 21,911-- 44,162


    2006 only 21,911 visa for EB2? come on average is around 40K and they just halved it. Its Eb2 that should feel bad. Else the dates would have been in 2006 much earlier.



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  • riva2005
    04-06 08:31 PM
    What's going on here is that approx there are 500,000 people on H1B visas in this country.

    If Anti-H1 crowd propose a bill to throw all of them out, people will laugh at them and ask them to get lost.

    So what the anti-H1 crowd has done here is "Slow bleed" as described by admin. Get rid of 8000-10,000 H1Bs out of the country each month. That way, the impact will slow and it wont send any shockwaves. IF existing H1s go to renew their H1 and the new rules apply, half of them wont fit in the new rules of "You cannot do consulting". So they will have to go back.

    These guys are trying to do what UK did to Indian and Chinese doctors. They want all of us to go back. Only difference between what UK did to doctors and what these guys want to do to us is that these guys are smarter and they are trying to get this done in slow motion. IF they take Tancredo like approach of "Everyone out, and shut the door", then it wont work.

    They have learned from Tancredo's mistake and now have adoped this slow bleed strategy of getting rid of their competition.

    Basically, they want the 1990s back. They want to roam in job market with foriegn competition, where even high-school drop-outs can get jobs of $100,000 a year by writing 20 lines of code per week.

    Man up you xenophobes. Face the competition and stop being whiny boys running to Grassley and Sessions every time you lose jobs. Get a job and get a life. Unemployment rate is 4.4 %. If you cant find jobs right now, dont blame H1B employees. Something is wrong with you.





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  • punjabi
    08-05 02:00 PM
    A farmer walked into an attorney's office wanting to file for a divorce.
    The attorney asked, "May I help you?" The farmer said, "Yea, I want to get one of those day-vorces." The attorney said, "Well do you have any grounds?"
    The farmer said, "Yea, I got about 140 acres."
    The attorney said, No, you don't understand, do you have a case?"
    The farmer said, "No, I don't have a Case, but I have a John Deere."
    The attorney said, "No you don't understand, I mean do you have a rudge?"
    The farmer said, "Yea I got a grudge, that's where I park my John Deere."
    The attorney said, "No sir, I mean do you have a suit?"
    The farmer said, "Yes sir, I got a suit. I wear it to church on Sundays."
    The exasperated attorney said, "Well sir, does your wife beat you up or anything?"
    The farmer said, "No sir, we both get up about 4:30."
    Finally, the attorney says, "Okay, let me put it this way. WHY DO YOU WANT A DIVORCE?"
    And the farmer says, "Well, I can never have a meaningful conversation with her!"



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  • unitednations
    03-24 11:45 AM
    Its a problem when we dont speak out on our issues - nobody understands our pain

    Its a problem when we speak out on our issues - USCIS is offended that we have issues and wants to come hard on us.

    What do we do? I am fine with USCIS rejecting or approving my application but reject it or approve it without putting me on hold for 10 years. Is that too much to ask?

    It is the resume fakers and document fakers and the rule breakers who should be afraid of reaching out to people. The reason why we are in the mess is because of the greedy employers and ignorant and equally greedy employees. Corporate Greed brought America down.

    Do you guys look around at all of immigration.

    EB people are generally the only non immigrant to immigratn class of people who are allowed to stay in USA while they wait for greencard.

    Almost all others have to wait outside USA for many years and cannot take benefit of what this country has to offer.

    You could be a phillipino brother/sister of US citizen and wait 23 years to get your number called.

    You could be here from Liberia as temporary resident for the last 20 years and have to keep getting extensions for temporary status and one day it gets taken away from you.

    Sorry to tell you but the way you guys define pain is not pain when it comes to most immigration matters when compares overall.





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  • hopefulgc
    07-14 10:55 PM
    Very correct ... every person who sends a petition signed with their name is simply asking for an investigation in their case. Infact, DOS/USCIS/DOL will be reprimanded if they don't investigate these signed petitions. Even though DOS/USCIS/DOL wouldn't want to, don't have time for it and as silly as it is, they will have to launch an investigation/audit just to set an example.

    There is a saying in hindi
    "garibi mein aata gila"
    analogous translation:
    "spilling the only water you have left when you are really thirsty in a desert"

    Again, I am ready to lend support for whatever we may decide here, but please don't have people do something that can get a lot ugly later.





    Guys,

    Draft of this letter itself is an invitation for the investigation into Labor certification process for the individual who are suggesting they were qualified as EB-2, but their attorneys or HR reps told them to file under EB-3.

    Entire LC process is certified under the assumption that the employer in good faith has tried to hire US citizen and since he couldnt find a qualified US citizen for a that Job position, the employer is hiring an alien ( foreign national).

    I am not supporting this petition, even though i am a victim of the backlog centres and my labor took 4+ years for approval.

    We should all support IV's initiative for recapturing of wasted VISA numbers from the past years.

    Fighting among indian EB-2 and EB-3 is useless and it defeats the purpose of IV unity.

    IV seniours should immediately intervene in this matter and stop further discussions on this useless petition which doesnt have any legal standings and in itself is an invitation from DoL and USCIS to investigate the individuals who signed the petition and messed up their immigration process.

    ------------------------

    PD: India EB-3 June 03.
    I-485 filed in Aug 2007 at NSC.

    awaiting I-485 approval...which will be 2-3 yrs down the road, if no relief from US congress.

    Right now enjoying the freedom using EAD.



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  • GCOP
    07-13 01:31 PM
    I agree. We have involved in IV action Item. It is Simply our Hard Luck that, we all (EB3-I)are stuck in this situation. IV has tried for Bill every Single year Since about Last 3 Years, Organized rally. Nothing worked out for us. In the mean time EB-2 moved to 2006 and EB-3 is Still in 2001. I believe it is just our hard luck, that despite of all IV efforts & Our support to IV , No Result for Eb-3 Forward movement. NOW THE QUESTION IS WHICH ACTIONS CAN BRING THE RESULTS FOR EB-3 (I)
    Guys I am getting the impression that EB-3- I did not act on IV action items..that's not true we have been actively involved in IV action items and have been contributing...





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  • sroyc
    08-06 10:41 AM
    I'm not a lawyer but I think it'll be hard to prove that A qualifies for EB2 given that he/she does not have a Masters or 5 years of experience in a related field.

    Regarding the EB1 spillover - yes, it's a valid question but the fuzziness of the law gives them enough room to interpret it either way.

    Okay lets take your example. A & B are graduates with a Bachelors degree (A is a Mechanical and B is Computer Science). A decides to pursue higher study in Mechanical field and B takes up a Software job. After a year they file for B' EB3 at his work, while A is still at school. A joins a software company (His Masters in Mechanical is worth nothing now). EB2 is filed for A just because he has a Masters, B is also eligible for EB2 by that time. Why can't B get a earlier PD? Atleast B got relevant industry experience. How come A is superior than B?

    Also why should EB2's get the spillover visas from EB1? Do they have a Ph.D? Why can't they allocate spillover visas from EB1 equally between EB2 and EB3?



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  • Macaca
    05-16 08:04 AM
    Democrats Under Scrutiny As They Shape Lobbying Bill (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/14/AR2007051402086.html) By Elizabeth Williamson (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/email/elizabeth+williamson/) Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    House Democratic leaders yesterday discussed key elements of a long-awaited lobbying reform bill, which has been seen as a signal test of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pledge to bring unprecedented transparency to the Democratic-led institution.

    While the legislation would open congressional lobbying to greater public scrutiny, its contours hint at a behind-the-scenes battle by the leadership to retain its most sweeping new measures.

    The bill will be unveiled today at a Democratic caucus meeting, where more changes will be discussed. At the meeting last night, party leaders debated the proposal's three most important provisions, which appear headed for varying fates.

    Watchdog groups and freshman members who rode into Congress on promises of ethics reform see as most critical a section imposing stricter reporting guidelines on the practice of "bundling," in which lobbyists gather and deliver bundles of contribution checks to a member. In an effort to prevent opponents of that measure from killing the entire bill, Democrats may address bundling in a separate bill or amendment, to be introduced in tandem with the main legislation.

    The House bill is likely to drop a second key provision, requiring that lobbyists who orchestrate grass-roots letter-writing and telephoning campaigns disclose their involvement.

    The third new element -- a "revolving door" measure doubling, to two years, the time members must wait after leaving Congress before lobbying former colleagues -- is expected to be included in the final bill.

    Other provisions impose disclosure requirements on lobbyist-paid meetings and parties, contributions to charities, and other sponsored activities. Disclosure records would be posted online, in a searchable format.

    The House Judiciary Committee is expected to formally draft the bill Thursday, with a vote anticipated before the Memorial Day recess.

    "I believe that the voters are going to be watching carefully to see whether we address this issue," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), sponsor of the bundling measure. "We are letting our members know that this is an important issue for the Democratic agenda. . . . We're very focused on getting this done."

    Sponsors and watchdogs had hoped the House lobbying reform bill would go further than the Senate's version, passed with great fanfare in the opening days of the new Congress. Instead, it appears to closely track the Senate bill, which also did not include restrictions on grass-roots lobbying. In recent weeks, according to several people close to the talks, the Senate had been pushing the House to narrow the bundling restrictions in its version, by limiting reporting requirements to clearly defined fundraising agreements between lobbyists and members. The House bill as discussed would do that.

    Passage of a weaker bill -- chiefly, one without bundling rules -- would disappoint watchdogs, who have waged a lobbying campaign of their own for the new law.

    "I am sensing a fading of enthusiasm for lobbying and ethics reform, which is why we have to get this done as soon as we can," said Craig Holman of advocacy group Public Citizen. "The longer we wait, the weaker this bill seems to get." Holman said he is lining up legislators to introduce, as amendments, any major portions of the lobbying bill eliminated in this week's discussions.

    Democrats' promise to end the "culture of corruption" they said developed in Washington under Republican rule helped propel the party into the majority in November elections. They quickly tightened the rules over travel, meals and gifts from lobbyists, and improved disclosure rules for earmarks -- the pet projects that lawmakers tuck into legislation.

    But a task force appointed by Pelosi (D-Calif.) to look into creating an independent entity to investigate ethics charges against lawmakers has missed its May 1 deadline for issuing recommendations, amid foot-dragging by members opposed to the idea.

    House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) said the party's leadership considers ethics reform "an obligation."

    "We as a party successfully talked about a culture of corruption, and one of the pledges we made was to change that," he said. To do so, he added, "you've got to change the laws, and people's attitudes."





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  • dartkid31
    05-24 12:46 PM
    Folks,

    I think if you one wants to eliminate or significantly reduce the number of H1B's or immigrant visas, then you can go ahead and label that person "anti-immigrant". I would be with you, saying that is definitely negative to America.

    So far I haven't seen Lou Dobbs doing that though. All the time I watch the program I see that man bringing up legitimate concerns. Lou Dobbs is a hero for Americans. The fact is that in general, wages have been stagnated for the last five years. What I have seen Lou Dobbs bringing up is that H1B numbers should not be increased. Don't you think that is a fair and rational approach ? Tell me. Honestly, when I learned this provision that they want to increase H1B visas at 20% every year, that appeared quite of a stretch to me. Folks, please be more rational and thoughtful please ?

    "Folks, please be more rational and thoughtful please ?"

    I think thoughtful and rational are NOT two words you would use to describe a Lou Dobbs broadcast. :D

    Extremely one sided, hateful, demagogry, those words would be more accurate.



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  • USDream2Dust
    06-06 11:09 PM
    When it comes to house or condo or town house, it is always location location and location. If you think buying a house or condo just to put on rent is foolishness and not calculated risk, I cannot argue with you to fill up pages on forum and again I don't want to give you a lesson there. Like other things in life, you have discover your own way to make money may be in renting or may be owning a store or just doing your job.


    Any way, coming back to first time home buyers, it is once in lifetime opportunity to get houses in high demand areas, and if people have good solid job (or multiple income sources with working spouse) and credit, with plans to live there for atleast 3-5 years, I don't think there should be any reason not to buy it.

    There has always been more land and if there wasn't more land in US, it may start occupying ocean to build houses. So I don't think there was ever in history a question whether people would occupy every inch of land. But still there was a boom and people were buying 4-5 houses when they can only afford one. Everybody knows what happened after that. But yes in Good location, there is always shortage and there is shortage right now too. Now good location is a subjectable term. You can go 40 miles off any major city and live in woods and consider it as a good location. So we have to be careful there. But yes prices are low compared to boom time and interest rates have been historically low. If the above two are not good point to take risk, then you are not in right business of taking risk.

    Hey nobody can predict tomorrow. You can get hit by a bus and then who cares about money and house :).

    Life life king size :) may be after 10 years your GC is denied, but then for 10 years you lived in half million dollar house and enjoyed every second of it, rather than living in one bedroom apt.

    Chill out and have a good night





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  • santb1975
    06-08 12:37 AM
    but I don't see the price coming down anytime soon either. Whoever invested in gold about 5-6 years ago made good money. Commodities are definately a good buy in this economy but any investments these days comes only after building up a 8-12 month emergency fund. This thread is getting interesting.

    Thread gets more interesting...way of life..love the way it transformed from home buying good/bad to sound investment advice...here is my bit:

    With all the $$ spending by government, inflation is inevitable. FED can try to fight it by increasing interest rates, but that will open another box of worms. In a hurry now and will post a detailed discussion later about interest rates, fed and inflation..very interesting indeed

    my take is gold...solid investment in these times and a proven hedge against inflation

    goodluck guys..more later



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  • xyzgc
    12-17 11:34 PM
    Someone gave me red in extremely bad language on my mother that I can not even copy and paste here. This is really bad. It you have guts come and talk to me. Don't write bad words on my back.

    I am not concerned about red, the language was worse than uncultured.

    I am really upset with the language. Admins can read the comment if they wish.

    People write bad words all the time.
    What to do? Its like a flu shot. You feel feverish for a while and then you are immune.





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  • baala9
    08-06 10:43 AM
    Okay lets take your example. A & B are graduates with a Bachelors degree (A is a Mechanical and B is Computer Science). A decides to pursue higher study in Mechanical field and B takes up a Software job. After a year they file for B' EB3 at his work, while A is still at school. A joins a software company (His Masters in Mechanical is worth nothing now). EB2 is filed for A just because he has a Masters, B is also eligible for EB2 by that time. Why can't B get a earlier PD? Atleast B got relevant industry experience. How come A is superior than B?

    Also why should EB2's get the spillover visas from EB1? Do they have a Ph.D? Why can't they allocate spillover visas from EB1 equally between EB2 and EB3?

    In that case A will be eligible only for a EB3 based on the Job requirement.( Since eligibility is based on the Job requirement and not the person's qualification)



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  • pranju
    05-29 09:00 PM
    Donot forget to send the webfax :)





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  • ksr
    08-09 07:04 PM
    since u r the primary applicant choose option 1

    Thanks Priti.





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  • obviously
    08-05 07:07 PM
    Good points below.

    Now, FreshEb2, through the handle itself, comes across as a stoker not a sensible person.

    EB2 and EB3 are two very different EMPLOYMENT BASED legal immigration categories. Filing in one category DOES NOT PRECLUDE one from filing in another category, for another *future* job, as long the *future* jobs themselves meet the criteria to qualify for that EB category.

    Coming to tihnk of, the coward parading as RollingFlood has not posted his/her company, EB job posting, and other pieces of information that I had challenged him/her to post. Seriously you coward, come out and post it... this community can help validate whether there really is no US worker to take that position. Now, dont chicken out and fillibuster this with more weak arguments. Post your glorified EB2 job posting for all of us to see ... and let us see if you have illegally gotten ahead in the line ahead of all those hardworking US citizens that have been laid off in the last 2 quarters across all major sectors. C'mon, do it ... do it...

    Also, somewhere you had said that you were an MBA from a top US university. Welcome to the club. Though, I am sad to share the boat with you! Now, look back at the essay you wrote to get into B-School. Are you doing exactly what you claimed you would do after the MBA? Shall we take that up and go back to the school to have them rescind your diploma because you misused the system? One can say you got into an MBA on a fundamentally false premise. So, give back that diploma.

    Also, did you come into the country on a F1 visa? What did you tell the visa officer? That you were going back to your home country, right? Didnt you need to show proof of ties to your home country. Can we take you to court stating that you committed a felony by lying to a Government official regarding matters of homeland security? Seriously. Why not?

    No amount trying to sub-optimize logic to fit your specific narrow needs will make your holier-than-thou arguments even remotely credible, let alone valid in a court of law. What is clear from this 10 page thread, is that we have a few folks like FreshEB2, RollingFlood etc that present themselves as 'high skilled' workers in the US immigration system but clearly lack the basic level of logic to have a factual conversation. Their ladders of inferences are stark and substantive.

    By sub-optimally picking 'argument points' based the 'weakest links' that you invent and trying to super-size that to reflect a larger interest is very weak attempt to preserve your position.

    Go ahead, file a lawsuit. Tell us which case will be hearing it and give us the case number. I WILL PERSONALLY MAKE SURE THAT THE JUDGE ASKS FOR YOUR IMMIGRATION FILE AND CONDUCT A PRIMA FACIE INQUIRY INTO THE BASIS OF YOUR PRIMARY PETITION, INCLUDING ALL ASPECTS LIKE ADVERTISEMENT, NUMBER OF RESUMES RECEIVED, etc.. I WILL FILE A PETITION WITH THE JUDGE TO HAVE ANOTHER ADVERTISEMENT POSTED, THIS TIME, WITH RESPONSES TO BE EXAMINED BY THE JUDGE and NOT YOUR FAVORITE IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY. SERIOUSLY. BRING IT ON. WE SHOULD RESPOND TO YOU IN COURT. WHETHER CIVIL OR IMMIGRATION.

    You had also mentioned that you would be filing a 'public interest litigation'. That is a very Indian concept. PIL type cases work differently in the US. You dont just run to your local court and claim 'PIL' because you felt wronged. Any court in the US would deem your case as narrowly defined to challenge legislation and throw you out because judiciary cannot legislate.

    Obviously, you grossly underestimated the intellect of this group and thought your big words and b-board bravado would scare people. :D

    Come on!, give me a break. You guys are now worried that EB3 will spoil your (what I still consider, ill gotten) party by PD porting. You now come up with arguments about what is EB2.

    First argument: "EB2 requires advanced degree"

    If that is the case, there is no one who is eligible for Eb2, as "Advanced degrees" is not a degree that is offered by any university in US. Mostly the ones I know offer, Masters and PHD and likes. No one says I am offering "advanced degree". ;)

    Further more, advanced degree is subjective. Bachelors is advanced compared to Diploma, which is advanced compared to 10th passed, which is advanced compared someone who failed 10th.


    Second: It is not fair to allow EB3s to port.
    It is in the law. that part is not grounds for a lawsuit. If you still want to complain, then complain about the fact that AC21 allows you to jump jobs without even getting your GC.

    Third (these are my own points)

    When people got their F1, they said there are here without immigrant intention. Why is USCIS giving them H1 and then also accepting GCs for them. Come to think of it, OPT is not required by any university for granting the degree, so why are F1s even allowed to work??


    The point I am trying to make is that if you try to open one can of worms, everyone else has a Costo or a Sams club to go to and buy a boat load of cans of worms to open - that is going to put you in a bad situation.





    manub
    07-07 10:19 PM
    This is what I found in my research so far.
    "Any out of status is ERASED after re-entry in the USA. For employment related I-485 application, out of status is counted ONLY after last entry and out of status upto 180 days is forgiven under section 245(k). Section 245(k) applies to ALL employment based I-485."

    Section 245(k) is the BIGGEST difference between employment based I-485 and family based I-485
    but I couldn`t find more about section 245 .I searched USCIS site.I don`t know what will get through the officer`s head.





    Macaca
    12-29 07:32 PM
    �Can�t Be Done�

    Gibbons, 70, says he learned that lesson when he tried to raise 4 million pounds ($6.2 million) from two wealthy London- based nonresident Indian investors in November 2006.

    Talks failed because of differences over expectations for returns on equity and other contract terms, he says.

    �That�s what made me think this just can�t be done,� he says.

    Indian microlenders differ from Yunus�s Grameen Bank in key ways. To protect depositors� money after bankruptcies among nonbanking financial companies in the early 1990s, India�s Reserve Bank in 1997 made it more difficult for them to meet the requirements needed to take deposits from the public. Only 36 microlenders are registered as nonbank financial companies, according to information supplied by the Reserve Bank.

    �I Feel So Sad�

    Indian microlenders themselves borrow from banks at 13 percent or more on average and extend credit to the poor. They charge interest rates that can rise to 36 percent, says Alok Prasad, chief executive officer of the Microfinance Institutions Network, which represents 44 microlenders. He says all 44 firms are registered with the Reserve Bank.

    SKS Microfinance gets funds at about 12 percent interest and lends at 24.52 percent in Andhra Pradesh, spokesman Atul Takle says.

    In Bangladesh, Grameen Bank got a banking license in 1983, which allowed it to take deposits. It charges 5 percent for education loans and 8 percent for housing loans. Beggars can borrow for free, and interest on major loans is capped at 20 percent, Yunus says.

    �Microfinance has been abused and distorted,� he says. �I feel so sad because that�s not the microcredit I have created.�

    Indian microfinance has roots in decades-old informal community financing.

    Nongovernmental organizations pioneered cooperative lending, known today as self-help groups, with seed money from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. Encouraged by these projects, the state-backed bank worked to tie borrowing groups to local bank branches in 1992.

    For-Profit Companies

    Nonprofit organizations subsequently got involved as middlemen between the banks and the borrowers. By 2005, nonprofits such as SKS and Share Microfin had turned themselves into profit-making enterprises.

    Akula�s SKS attracted investors such as Khosla Ventures, Sun Microsystems Inc. co-founder Vinod Khosla�s venture capital firm.

    Capital flowed into the new industry from commercial banks, venture firms and private equity.

    Sequoia Capital, in Menlo Park, California, and Bangalore- based Infosys Technologies Ltd. Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy were among the backers. George Soros�s Quantum Fund has a 0.37 percent stake in SKS.

    Private-equity investors alone have put $515 million into Indian microfinance companies since 2006, research service Venture Intelligence says.

    �Explosive Growth�

    More than half of the 66 Indian microlenders tracked by Micro-Credit Ratings are for-profit firms. Some 260 microlenders had 26.7 million borrowers and 183.44 billion rupees of loans outstanding as of March, according to the Microfinance India State of the Sector Report 2010.

    �Over the last two years, we�ve been seeing explosive growth,� says N. Srinivasan, who wrote the report. �Microfinance institutions found that it�s easy to make money. Not that making money is bad, but when you go overboard and say you require money for growth, you get into problems.�

    Polelpaka Pula, a mother of two, says she saw microlenders rushing into her village of Pegadapalli to compete for business -- with tragic results.

    Her husband, Prakash, a painter who made 250 rupees on a good day, first borrowed from a group of villagers to build a house. Each participant of the so-called chit fund contributed 1,000 rupees a month and took a turn collecting the entire sum.

    Microfinance officers from L&T Finance Ltd., Spandana Sphoorty Financial Ltd., Share Microfin and SKS began offering loans in the village starting in 2004, she says.

    The couple, already contributing to their village fund, took five more loans totaling 64,000 rupees. That saddled them with payments of 7,300 rupees a month, more than Prakash�s 5,000 rupee maximum monthly income.

    Loan Shark

    When Prakash ran out of microlenders to borrow from, he went to a village loan shark, who charged 100 percent interest.

    With no way out and debt from multiple lenders ballooning, Prakash hanged himself in November 2009, his wife says.

    The small house he�d dreamed of was never completed. Only the foundation stands next to the home of his parents, a tiny structure with a roof of palm leaves.

    Spandana says that neither of the couple�s names is in its database. The company says the media wrongly attribute harassment cases to microfinance, especially when Spandana is mentioned.

    �The trigger factors for suicide are manifold, such as stressful situations at home,� the company said in an e-mail response to questions about the death.

    Subprime Parallel

    SKS spokesman Takle says its staff has practiced responsible lending for the past 12 years. Its employees are not paid based on the loan size or repayment percentage.

    �This ensures against giving out larger loans than what a borrower can repay,� Takle says. A spokesman for L&T Finance declined to comment.

    Overlending in Andhra Pradesh calls to mind the U.S. subprime crisis, says Lakshmi Shyam-Sunder, director of corporate risk at International Finance Corp. in Washington, which invests in microlenders.

    �Subprime lending was initially seen as extending homeownership to poorer people, doing good,� Shyam-Sunder says.

    As the industry expanded, making a profit became more important to some lenders, she says. �Tension arises when you work on activities with both social goals as well as commercial interests,� she says, adding that it�s important to strike the right balance.

    Companies chasing profits amid poor corporate governance are undermining the intent of microfinance, Cashpor�s Gibbons says.

    �Lending Gone Wild�

    During the past five years, the number of microloans in India has soared an average of 88 percent a year and borrower accounts have climbed 62 percent annually, giving India the world�s largest microfinance industry, Micro-Credit Ratings says.

    �This is unrestrained consumer lending gone wild,� Gibbons says. �It�s not about poverty reduction anymore.�

    Sumir Chadha, managing director at Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt., says that without a profit motive it�s hard to find anyone who will lend to the poor.

    �Capitalism doesn�t have to be a bad thing,� says Chadha, whose firm has a 14 percent stake in SKS. �If you can�t profit off the poor, it means that no companies will service the poor -- and then they will be worse off than earlier.�

    Chand Bee�s Tale

    For Chand Bee, a 50-year-old who led three borrowing groups in Andhra Pradesh, too many loans almost became her undoing.

    She says she ran away from home after collectors began harassing her. She took out multiple loans beginning in 2005, and she names Spandana as one of the lenders.

    Some of the money paid for the funeral of her eldest son. When she fell behind on payments, she says loan officers threatened to humiliate her in front of neighbors and pressed her to sell her small grandchildren into prostitution.

    She left her slum in Warangal, where she lived with her deaf husband, some of her eight grown children and more than a dozen grandchildren.

    After living as a beggar for a year, Chand Bee returned home in early November when family members told her that the state ordinance that went into effect on Oct. 15 had suspended some collections. A Spandana spokeswoman says none of the company�s four customers in the district with the name Chand Bee has had trouble repaying.

    Almost every household in the slum of 250 people -- where barefoot children play in lanes between rows of dilapidated shacks -- has taken several loans. So many microlenders ply their trade that residents refer to them by the days they collect: Monday company, Tuesday company and so on.

    Debt Free

    Rabbani, a widow with four children, is one of the few women who are debt-free. She started a spice shop with two loans, which she repaid with her small profit. After seeing her neighbors� pains, she vowed never to seek another microloan.

    SKS says 17 of its clients have committed suicide, none because of loans being in arrears or harassment.

    �Suicide is a complex issue,� Akula says.

    Sitting in the second-floor conference room of SKS�s seven- story headquarters in Hyderabad, where posters of smiling women running handicraft and tailor shops decorate the doors of elevators, Akula says there�s nothing wrong with seeking profits.

    �What does it matter to a poor woman how much an investor makes?� says Akula, dressed in his trademark knee-length kurta shirt from Fabindia, a seller of ethnic clothes made by rural craftsmen. �What matters to her is that she gets a loan on time at a reasonable rate that allows her to earn higher income.�



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