Thursday, February 28, 2013

 Tourism sector, the allocation for Ministry of Tourism in the Union Budget presented today has been hiked by Rs.87.66 crore. The allocation for the Ministry this year is Rs.1297.66 crore while it was Rs. 1210 crore in the Union Budget 2012-13 and Rs. 1110.96 crore in the Union Budget 2011-12.

The Budget allocation for Plan projects/schemes for the benefit of North East region and Sikkim has been hiked from Rs. 121 crore to Rs. 129 crore. The allocation under this head in the Union budget 2011-2012 was 110 crore.

The allocation under tourist infrastructure is for the creation of infrastructural facilities on construction of Budget Accommodation, wayside amenities, Tourist Reception Centers, Refurbishment of Monuments, Special Tourism Projects, Adventure and Sports facilities, Sound and Light Shows, illuminations of monuments, providing for improvement in solid waste management and sewerage management improvement of surroundings, Signages, procurement of equipments directly related to Tourism and Rural Tourism projects etc. This provision also relates to the Large Revenue Generating projects, generating revenue through levy of fees or user charges like Tourist Trains, cruise vessels, Cruise terminals, Convention Centre, Golf Courses etc. and creation of land bank for hotels to provide the hotel accommodation in the country by purchasing land and build hotels through public private partnerships. The provision also includes Externally Aided Projects (including UNDP Endogenous Tourist Projects and assistance to c entral agencies for Tourism Infrastructural Development.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Response to Union Budget 2013

Date: 28.3.2013

Aam Aadmi of the country has reasons to feel disappointed, if not cheated, with the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by the ruling coalition that came to power in his name. All over the country, cutting across gender, regions, sectors, classes and the urban/rural divide, the aam aadami faces a crisis of economic opportunity and livelihood. She has suffered from a long period of high inflation, especially in food items. She has long suffered from growth that did not deliver more jobs, a decline in growth now threatens to cut down on existing livelihood opportunities. All the basic amenities that a citizen can expect from democratic governance – public provisions for heath, education and social security – are beyond the reach of the Aam Aadami. Rampant corruption from top to the bottom eats into whatever little could trickle down to them.

The Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister is a clever attempt to mislead the public in an election year. The Finance Minister’s speech offers little remedy for the key problems facing the Indian economy that he himself begins by acknowledging: slowdown of growth, rising fiscal deficit and current account deficit. The current crisis required the government to stimulate domestic investment by encouraging consumption from below; instead the FM remained focused on Foreign investors. Controlling inflation required expansion of PDS and reinforced subsidies on energy and focus on increasing agricultural output in pulses and oilseeds; instead the government has relied on hope. Meeting the demands and aspirations of the people required substantial and real increase in social sector expenditure, instead the government has resorted to statistical tricks and gimmicks rather than put its money where its mouth is. Nor is there any evidence of the government being serious about better usage and monitoring of the funds spent on these public provisions. Shockingly, the government has not come up with any measure to curb corruption and control the parallel black economy that the public is so visibly exercised about.

An analysis of the summary statistics of the budget make it clear that there is little connect between the rhetoric of the budget and its actual numbers.   In his speech the FM claimed that the government has not spared money for welfare schemes; the fact is that the UPA has drastically cut down on most of the key welfare schemes in the current year itself. The FM’s claims about increasing outlays in key sectors is a clear case of statistical fudging; the ‘increase’ claimed by the FM is with reference to the drastically reduced expenditure (Revised Estimates). In most cases the rise in budget allocations is barely enough to cover inflation. In real terms there is no increase in spending for the aam aadami. The FM has also used the age old devise of distracting public attention with the help of some gimmicks that cost very little.

The government needed to increase tax revenue, which has actually fallen by 4% in the current year over what was budgeted; similar false assumptions seem to driving the current projections of 20% increase in revenue. The much talked about move to tax the rich turned out to be a damp squib, for it would affect only 42,000 super rich and bring very small gains for the country. This small gain would be more than made up by the generous increase in the tax exemption, mostly for the well off and the corporate. The amount of ‘Tax foregone’ has gone up from Rs. 5,33,000 crores to Rs. 5,73,000 crores. There is no change in the capital gains regime to curb speculative gains activity in the stock market.The budget gives no indication of a political will to curb black income generation in the economy. The deferment of implementation of GARR to 2016 is another example of the lack of political will to curb tax avoidance. There is nothing in the budget to do away with non-transparent instruments like Participatory Notes or to reformulate the double taxation treaties with ‘tax heavens’ and black economy conduits.
 
Most of the schemes meant for the aam aadmi have remained static or have in fact gone down in real terms or even compared to the actual expenditure in the year before. The central Plan size has come down from Rs. 6,51,000 crore in the Budget last year to the Revised estimate of 5,56,000 crores, huge shortfall of Rs. 96,000 crores. In 2012-13 expenditure on agriculture and allied activities, rural development, irrigation and flood control and welfare of ST has actually gone down compared to the actual expenditure of the previous year. A similar comparison of the expenditure on health and education shows a marginal increase that barely keeps pace with inflation. The total expenditure on social services has fallen short by Rs. 23,000 crores compared to the budgeted allocations. This fact acquires significance for much of the social sector expenditure takes place at the level of the states where the transfer has been cut down by as much as 10,000 crores.

It is unfortunate that even the opposition has not drawn the country’s attention to these statistical lies and inattention to the needs of the aam aadmi. Aam Aadmi Party resolves to take this collective conspiracy of the political establishment to the people’s court and place the concerns of aam admi at the heart of our economic policy. 

Naresh – Brace yourself. If congressional Republicans don’t act by tomorrow

by sagarmedia
Organizing for Action Naresh –
Brace yourself.
If congressional Republicans don’t act by tomorrow, we’re going to be hit by a series of devastating, automatic budget cuts called the sequester.
It’s a sledgehammer to the budget, our economy, and millions of Americans across the country — and the most frustrating part? It doesn’t have to happen.
The majority of Americans support President Obama’s balanced approach to deficit reduction — add your name if you do, too.
So far, congressional Republicans are refusing to compromise — all because they don’t want to close tax loopholes for millionaires, billionaires, vacation homes, and corporate jets. Seriously.
This has very real consequences.
On the chopping block are 10,000 teaching jobs, more than 70,000 kids’ spots in Head Start, $35 million for local fire departments, $43 million to make sure seniors don’t go hungry, and access to nutrition assistance for 600,000 women and their families. That’s just a few of the things we’ll lose.
President Obama has put forth a balanced deficit reduction plan with smart spending cuts that protect the critical investments needed to strengthen middle-class families and our economy.
We need to send a strong signal about where Americans stand on this issue.
Add your name today:
http://my.barackobama.com/Tell-the-GOP-to-Act
Thanks,
Messina
Jim Messina
Chair
Organizing for Action

Tripura,Meghalaya,Nagaland assembly elections results

Assembly Elections 2013
Tripura(60)
Meghalaya(60)
Nagaland(60)
Party Lead Won
INC 0 10
BJP 0 0
Left Front 0 50
Others 0 0
Party Lead Won
INC 0 29
UDP 0 8
NCP 0 2
Others 0 15
HSPDP 0 4
NPP 0 2
Party Lead Won
INC 0 8
BJP 0 1
NPF 0 37
NCP 0 4
O

Thailand signs peace agreement with rebel

Thailand signs peace agreement with rebel group,Yingluck Shinwatra visiting Malaysia

by sagarmedia on February 28, 2013
Thailand  authority  signed a peace agreement with an insurgent group as a big step toward resolving the decades-old insurgency and violence in the border region.National Security Council (NSC) secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabutr revealed to Thai media on Thursday while he was in Malaysia that the Thai authority on Thursday has signed an agreement called “General consensus dialogue process for peace” with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) Coordinate, one of the leading insurgent group in the restive southern Thailand with the help by Malaysian authority who facilitated the meeting with the insurgents.
The agreement is considered the first step as to show recognition from each side and show good wills for future agreement to resolve the problem. This has been the outcome of several meetings between Thai and Malaysian authorities toward solving southern Thai insurgency since last year, he added.
More than 5,000 people have been killed and more than 9,000 hurt in over 11,000 incidents, about 3.5 incidents a day, in Thailand’s Muslim, ethnic-Malay dominated three southern border provinces — Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla — since violence erupted in January 2004, according to Deep South Watch, which monitors the regional violence.
Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra along with several other high ranking Thai officials are  paying a visit in Malaysia.Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra left Bangkok on Thursday to visit Malaysia to meet with her Malaysian counterpart Najib Tun Razak.Yingluck is accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and several other ministers.
The visit is the fifth Annual Consultation between Thai premier and Malaysian premier aims at cultivating friendly relations between the two countries, reaffirming the close partnership between Thailand and Malaysia, following up on the progress on various areas of cooperation since Yingluck’s official visit to Malaysia on February 20, 2012.
According to the Thai Foreign Ministry press release, during the consultation, the parties are expected to discuss varied issues of common interest, including a comprehensive approach to resolve the insurgency in Thailand’s southern border provinces, social and economic development and connectivity in border areas such as the proposed construction of two bridges crossing the Golok River linking Thailand’s Narathiwat province and Malaysia’s Kelantan state.
Cooperation on trade and investment, such as the establishment of a Thailand-Malaysia Business Council and cooperation on tourism, particularly linking Thailand’s Satun province with Malaysia’ Langkawi island, will also be on the agenda.
After the plenary session, the prime ministers will witness the signing of an agreement on border crossings and an MoU on youth and sports cooperating before holding a joint news conference.
MYTHS AND REALITIES OF UNION BUDGET 2013-14

Myth: The Budget has rapidly increased spending on Aam Aadmi:

Reality:  The Actual Expenditure (See RE 2012-13) in key sectors and Ministries is estimated to be either below or only marginally above actual expenditure of last year (See Actual 2011-12)
Sl no.
 
Actual: 2011-12
(Rs in crores)
BE: 2012-13
(Rs in crores)
RE: 2012-13
(Rs in crores)
1
Plan Size
508,596
651,000
556,000
2
Capital Expenditure
158,580
204,816
167,753
 
Sectoral Allocation
 
 
 
3
Social Sector Spending
135,480
178,906
158,339
4
Agriculture and Allied Activities
16194
17692
15971
5
Rural Development
47471
50729
43704
6
Irrigation and Flood Control
506
1275
428
 
Ministry
 
 
 
7
Ministry of Tribal Affairs
1562
1573
1427
8
Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
15031
13331
15243
9
Ministry of HRD
50658
61427
56223
10
Ministry of Rural Development
66638
76376
55000
11
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
23159
30477
24894
 
PROGRAMS
Sl No
Scheme
Allocation 2012-13 (BE) (Rs in crores)
Allocation 2013 -14 (BE) (Rs in crores)*
Comments
1
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)
33,000
33,000
No Change
2
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)
24,000
21,700
Decrease
3
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
25,555
27,258
6% increase (barely covers inflation)
4
Mid Day Meal Scheme
11,937
13,215
10% increase (little over inflation)
4
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)
20,542
20,999
2% increase (Much less than inflation)
5
Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)
15,850
17,700
11% increase (little over inflation)
 
Note: * Represents allocations and NOT the revised estimates which are less because of the various budgetary cut. As such, they do not represent the actual increases in some of these expenditures.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Response to Union Budget 2013
Date: 28.2.2013
Aam Aadmi of the country has reasons to feel disappointed, if not cheated, with the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by the ruling coalition that came to power in his name. All over the country, cutting across gender, regions, sectors, classes and the urban/rural divide, the aam aadami faces a crisis of economic opportunity and livelihood. She has suffered from a long period of high inflation, especially in food items. She has long suffered from growth that did not deliver more jobs, a decline in growth now threatens to cut down on existing livelihood opportunities. All the basic amenities that a citizen can expect from democratic governance – public provisions for heath, education and social security – are beyond the reach of the Aam Aadami. Rampant corruption from top to the bottom eats into whatever little could trickle down to them.
The Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister is a clever attempt to mislead the public in an election year. The Finance Minister’s speech offers little remedy for the key problems facing the Indian economy that he himself begins by acknowledging: slowdown of growth, rising fiscal deficit and current account deficit. The current crisis required the government to stimulate domestic investment by encouraging consumption from below; instead the FM remained focused on Foreign investors. Controlling inflation required expansion of PDS and reinforced subsidies on energy and focus on increasing agricultural output in pulses and oilseeds; instead the government has relied on hope. Meeting the demands and aspirations of the people required substantial and real increase in social sector expenditure, instead the government has resorted to statistical tricks and gimmicks rather than put its money where its mouth is. Nor is there any evidence of the government being serious about better usage and monitoring of the funds spent on these public provisions. Shockingly, the government has not come up with any measure to curb corruption and control the parallel black economy that the public is so visibly exercised about.
An analysis of the summary statistics of the budget make it clear that there is little connect between the rhetoric of the budget and its actual numbers.   In his speech the FM claimed that the government has not spared money for welfare schemes; the fact is that the UPA has drastically cut down on most of the key welfare schemes in the current year itself. The FM’s claims about increasing outlays in key sectors is a clear case of statistical fudging; the ‘increase’ claimed by the FM is with reference to the drastically reduced expenditure (Revised Estimates). In most cases the rise in budget allocations is barely enough to cover inflation. In real terms there is no increase in spending for the aam aadami. The FM has also used the age old devise of distracting public attention with the help of some gimmicks that cost very little.
The government needed to increase tax revenue, which has actually fallen by 4% in the current year over what was budgeted; similar false assumptions seem to driving the current projections of 20% increase in revenue. The much talked about move to tax the rich turned out to be a damp squib, for it would affect only 42,000 super rich and bring very small gains for the country. This small gain would be more than made up by the generous increase in the tax exemption, mostly for the well off and the corporate. The amount of ‘Tax foregone’ has gone up from Rs. 5,33,000 crores to Rs. 5,73,000 crores. There is no change in the capital gains regime to curb speculative gains activity in the stock market.The budget gives no indication of a political will to curb black income generation in the economy. The deferment of implementation of GARR to 2016 is another example of the lack of political will to curb tax avoidance. There is nothing in the budget to do away with non-transparent instruments like Participatory Notes or to reformulate the double taxation treaties with ‘tax heavens’ and black economy conduits.
Most of the schemes meant for the aam aadmi have remained static or have in fact gone down in real terms or even compared to the actual expenditure in the year before. The central Plan size has come down from Rs. 6,51,000 crore in the Budget last year to the Revised estimate of 5,56,000 crores, huge shortfall of Rs. 96,000 crores. In 2012-13 expenditure on agriculture and allied activities, rural development, irrigation and flood control and welfare of ST has actually gone down compared to the actual expenditure of the previous year. A similar comparison of the expenditure on health and education shows a marginal increase that barely keeps pace with inflation. The total expenditure on social services has fallen short by Rs. 23,000 crores compared to the budgeted allocations. This fact acquires significance for much of the social sector expenditure takes place at the level of the states where the transfer has been cut down by as much as 10,000 crores.
It is unfortunate that even the opposition has not drawn the country’s attention to these statistical lies and inattention to the needs of the aam aadmi. Aam Aadmi Party resolves to take this collective conspiracy of the political establishment to the people’s court and place the concerns of aam admi at the heart of our economic policy. 

Union Budget 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister

Finance Min P Chidambaram announced a sharp increase of Rs 1.25 lakh crore in agriculture credit target to Rs 7 lakh crore for next fiscal and allocated additional Rs 10,000 crore in subsidy for implementing the Food Security Bill.

Following are some of the key highlights of the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in Parliament.

*No change in income tax slabs
*Relief of Rs 2,000 for tax payers in tax bracket of Rs 2-5 lakh
*10 pc surcharge on persons with taxable income of over Rs 1 crore
*Tobacco products, SUVs and mobile phones to cost more
*Income limit under Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme raised to 12 lakh from Rs 10 lakh
*First home loan of up to Rs 25 lakh to get extra interest deduction of up to Rs 1 lakh
*Duty free limit of gold import increased to Rs 50,000 for male passengers and Rs 1 lakh for female passengers
*India's first women's bank to be set up by October
*Concessional six per cent interest on loans to weavers
*Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana benefit extended to rickshaw pullers, auto and taxi drivers, among others
*'Nirbhaya Fund' of Rs 1,000 crore to empower women and provide safety in the wake of Delhi gang-rape incident
*Fiscal deficit for 2013-14 pegged at 4.8 pc of GDP and 5.2 per cent in 2012-13
*Market borrowings pegged at Rs 6.29 lakh crore, higher
than Rs 5.59 lakh crore in FY13
*Disinvestment target more than doubled to Rs 55,814 cr
*Plan expenditure pegged at Rs 5,55,322 crore and non-Plan at Rs 11,09,975 crore
*New taxes to collect Rs 18,000 crore for government
*Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme launched for recovering service tax dues
*Rs 14,000 crore earmarked for capital infusion in public sector banks in 2013-14


He also allocated 22 percent more funds to Agriculture Ministry at Rs 27,049 crore for the 2013-14 fiscal, of which Rs 3,415 crore has been earmarked for farm research.
Chidambaram announced extension of interest-subvention on crop loans to private sector banks and commercial banks.

"Agricultural credit is a driver of agricultural production. We will exceed the target of Rs 5,75,000 crore fixed for 2012-13. For 2013-14, I propose to increase the target to Rs 7,00,000 crore," Chidambaram said while presenting the Budget for the 2013-14 fiscal in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The interest-subvention for short-term crop loan will be continued and farmers who repay loan on time will be able to get credit at 4 percent interest per annum, he added.

"So far, the scheme has been applied to loans extended by public sector banks, Regional Rural Banks and cooperative banks, I propose to extend the scheme to crop loans borrowed from private sector banks and scheduled commercial banks in respect to loans given within the service area of the branch concern," the Minister said.

Looking at the success of the scheme -- Bringing Green Revolution in the Eastern India, Chidambaram allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the next fiscal.

Another Rs 500 crore was allocated for crop diversification in states covered during the Green Revolution such as Punjab and Haryana, which are facing stagnation in farm yields.

On proposed Food law, the Minister said: "I sincerely hope Parliament will pass the Bill as early as possible. Over and above the normal provision for food subsidy, I have set apart Rs 10,000 crore towards the incremental costs that is likely under the Act."


Fiscal deficit for 2012-13 estimated at 5.2%: Chidambaram

The fiscal deficit for the current financial year has been contained at 5.2 percent of GDP, lower than 5.3 percent as was targeted, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.

"The fiscal deficit for 2012-13 has been contained at 5.2 per cent. I propose to bring it down to 4.8 per cent by 2013-14," Chidambaram said while unveiling Budget 2013-14 proposals in the Lok Sabha.

Further, the Revenue Deficit has been contained at 3.9 percent in the current fiscal and would be brought down to 3.3 percent in 2013-14.

As per the fiscal consolidation roadmap, the government plans to reduce fiscal deficit to 3 percent by 2016-17.

"We must redeem our promise and bring down the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent and revenue deficit to 1.9 per cent by 2016-17," Chidambaram said.

Tax benefits in RGESS extended to 3 years: Chidambaram
While presenting the Budget 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday proposed liberalising the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) to enable first time investors to park funds in MFs and listed shares and extended tax benefits to three successive years.
Also, the limit for investors wanting to invest in RGESS has been raised to Rs 12 lakh from Rs 10 lakh earlier.
The RGESS will be liberalised to enable first time retail investors to invest in mutual funds and listed shares and not in one year alone, but for three successive years, Chidambaram said.
The RGESS, which was originally announced in the Budget for 2012-13, seeks to provide tax benefits to first-time investors in stock markets. Under the scheme, an individual with an income of less than Rs 12 lakh would get tax incentives for investing up to Rs 50,000 in the stock market.

Highlights of Budget for 2013 – 14:

Rs 7 lakh crore target fixed for agri credit for 2013-14 compared to Rs 5.75 lakh crore in the current year.

Average annual growth rate of agriculture and allied services estimated at 3.6 per cent in 2012-13 when 250 MT foodgrains was produced: FM

Eastern Indian states to get Rs 1,000 crore allocation for improving agricultural production.

Rs 27,049 crore allocation to the Agriculture Ministry in 2013-14, says FM

Rs 500 crore allocated for programme on crop diversification.

Foodgrain production in 2012-13 will be over 250 million tons: FM

Rs 14,873 crore for JNNURM for urban transportation in 2013-14 against Rs 7,880 crore in the current fiscal: FM

States which have completed Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana will be eligible for PMGSY-II, others will continue with PMGSY-I.

Rs 80,194 crore allocated for rural development schemes.

Rs 80,194 crore allocation for Ministry of Rural Development in 2013-14. About Rs 33,000 crore for MGNREGA, says FM.

Rs 15,260 crore to be allocated to Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Rs 17,700 crore to be allocated for Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS): FM

Rs 17,700 crore provided for Integrated Child Development Scheme.

Rs 13,215 crore to be provided for mid-day meal scheme.

Rs 5,284 crore to various Ministries for scholarships for SC/ST, OBC and minority students.

Medical colleges in six more AIIMS-like institutions to start functioning this year; Rs 1650 crore allocated for the purpose.

Rs. 65,867 crore allocated to Ministry of HRD in 2013-14: FM

Rs 4,727 crore to be allocated for medical education and research. Rs 1,069 crore to be given to Department of Ayush.

Rs 1069 crore allocated to Department of Aryush: FM

Rs 37,330 crore allocated for Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Rs 110 crore to be allocated to the department of disability affairs, says FM

Rs 3511 crore allocated to Minority Affairs Ministry which is 60 per cent of the revised estimates.

Additional sum of Rs 200 crore to Women and Child Welfare Ministry to address issues of vulnerable women.

FM allocates Rs 41,561 crore for SC sub-plan; Rs 24,598 crore for tribal sub plan.

One overarching goal to provide education and skills to youth for securing jobs in the 2013-14, says FM.

The revised expenditure target is Rs 14,30,825 crore or 96 per cent of Budget estimate for this fiscal. In 2013-14, the budget estimate is Rs 16,65,297 crore.

Budget expenditure is Rs 16,65,297 crore and Plan expenditure Rs 5,55, 322 crore: FM.

Plan expenditure in 12th Five Year Plan revised to Rs 14,30,825 crore or 96 per cent of budgeted expenditure.

We have brought down headline WPI inflation to 7 per cent and core inflation to 4.2 per cent. Food inflation is worrying: FM

Faced with huge fiscal deficit, I have no choice but to rationalise expenditure: FM

Battle against inflation must be fought at all fronts: FM

India does not have choice between welcoming and spurning foreign investment; it is an imperative: Chidambaram

Current account deficit continues to be high due to excessive dependence on oil, coal and gold imports and slowdown in exports.

Economic space constrains due to high fiscal deficit, lower savings and investment and tight monetary policy: FM

Average economic growth rate in 11th Plan period is 8 per cent, highest ever in any Plan period: FM

Current year's economic growth rate will be below India's potential growth rate of 8 per cent: Finance Minister P Chidambaram

Four Infrastructure debt fund have been registered: FM

Rs 10,000 crore set aside for incremental cost for National Food Security Bill over and above food subsidy.

Indian Institute of Biotechnology will be set up at Ranchi.

Rs 5,387 crore to be allocated for integrated watershed programme for farmers in 2013-14, an increase from Rs 3,050 crore in the current fiscal.

Green revolution in east India significant. Rice output increased in Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal; Rs 1,000 crore allocated for eastern states.

Rs 5,000 crore will be made available to NABARD to finance construction of godowns and warehouses: FM

Tax free bonds issue to be allowed up to Rs 50,000 crore in 2013-14 strictly on capacity to raise funds from the market: FM

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


CHUCK HAGEL IS NEW US DEFENCE SECRETARY

US,former Republican senator Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as the new Defence Secretary by the Senate.Senators voted 58-41 to approve 66-year-old Hagel, ending a long and acrimonious nomination process and clearing President Barack Obama’s choice for the top post held by Leon Panetta.
Hagel’s confirmation comes as a great relief for the
Obama Administration as his nomination was held up for weeks and the Democrats and the White House had to do a tough convincing act to get him approved by the Senate.
Several Republican Senators are said to have voted in favour of Hagel despite their reservations over his past
statements and votes. They argued that he was too critical of Israel and too compromising with Iran.

Visa on arrival for Myanmarese nationals in Manipur: CM



During the flag-off of the BCIM rally on Wednesday, Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh announced that the Centre has decided to provide Visa on arrival at Moreh for the Myanmarese Nationals seeking medical treatment.

"As a first step towards easing of restrictions, the government has decided to provide Visa on arrival at Moreh for the Myanmarese," he said at Kangla Fort on Wenesday morning.
Singh said the restrictions in the movement of goods and services and people across the border need to be eased.
"We are looking at the opening up of road and rail passages to Bangladesh through Tripura so that our goods can be exported by using the ports of Bangladesh," the chief minister said.
The rally on Wednesday set off on its sixth stage from Imphal to Ka Lay in Myanmar.
CII chairman (eastern region) R K Agrawal hoped that the rally would revive ancient links and also forge new ties.
"It would also highlight the potential of northeast and explore cross-border land trade. CII is priviledged to partner the rally and have all the governments in its side," he added.
Hundreds of school children holding flags and flowers lined up at the Kangla Fort street to send off the rally.
The 12-day rally will then proceed to Myanmar and culminate at Kunming, in the Yunnan province of China on March 5.
"We have got the assurance from the highest level from the government of India. We don't see any trouble along the route anymore," Indian rally contingent head Sunil Misra said here as the rally left Imphal, in the last stretch of India before entering Myanmar.
The Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) had earlier threatened to block the entry of the four-nation rally into 'Kuki areas' of the state with an indefinite public blockade in the tough 270-km NH-53 stretch from Silchar to Imphal.
Paramilitary personnel were stationed along the entire stretch from Silchar to Imphal as the cavalcade of 20 cars took more than 14 hours to cover the treacherous hilly terrain.
The car rally, which has a motto of 'Building Bonds, Fostering Friendship', is focused to play catalysis in stimulating interest of the concerned stakeholders in deepening BCIM cooperation.
The 3028-km rally's next stop is Ka Lay before heading to Mandalay, Ruili and then to Tengchong, Dali and Kunming in China where it is scheduled to culminate on March 5.

Robust Inflow of FDI in the Services Sector

Robust Inflow of FDI in the Services Sector
India’s Share of Services Exports Increasing Faster than Share of Merchandise Exports
The FDI inflows in the services sector grew robustly at 57.62% compared to the growth of overall FDI inflows at 33.6%, in 2011-12. However, in April-November, 2012-13, overall FDI inflows fell by 43.3% to US $ 15.85 billion from US $ 27.93 billion in the corresponding period in the previous year. FDI inflows in the top five services also fell by 9.7% to US $ 8.19 billion.

The Government has taken many policy initiatives to liberalize FDI policy for services sector. This includes increasing FDI limit from 49 to 74% in teleports and DTH and cable networks, permitting FDI upto 74% in mobile TV, upto 49% in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services and upto 50% in multi-brand retail trading. The Government has also amended the existing policy on FDI in single brand product retail trading.

The share of services export of India in the world exports of services has been increasing faster than the share of merchandise exports in world exports. It grew from 0.6% in 1990 to 1% in 2000 and 3.3% in 2011. The overall openness of the economy reflected by total trade including services as a percentage of GDP shows higher degree of openness at 55% in 201-12 as compared to 38.1% in 2004-05. The openness indicator based only on merchandise trade is 43.2% in 2011-12, as compared to 28.3% in 2004-05. 
SUMMARY OF ECONOMIC SURVEY
More than 6 Per Cent Growth Forecast for Next Fiscal Considerable Enhancement for Social Sector Spending India on Verge of Creating Quality Jobs to Seize ‘Demographic Dividend’


Indian economy is likely to grow between 6.1% to 6.7%  in 2013-14 as the downturn is more or less over and the economy is looking up. Following the slowdown induced by the global financial crisis in 2008-09, the Indian economy responded strongly to fiscal and monetary stimulus and achieved a growth rate of 8.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but due to a combination of both external and domestic factors, the economy decelerated growing at 6.2% and an estimated 5% in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively. The Economic Survey 2012-13, presented by the Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha predicts that the global economy is also likely to recover in 2013 and various government measures will help in improving the Indian economy’s outlook for 2013-14. While India’s recent slowdown is partly rooted in external causes, domestic causes are also important. The slowdown in the rate of growth of services in 2011-12 at 8.2%, and particularly in 2012-13 to 6.6 percent from the double-digit growth of the previous six years, contributed significantly to slowdown in the overall growth of the economy, while some slowdown could also be attributed to the lower growth in agriculture and industrial activities. But despite the slowdown, the services sector has shown more resilience to worsening external conditions than agriculture and industry. For improved agricultural growth, the survey underlines the need for stable and consistent policies where markets play an appropriate role, private investment in infrastructure is stepped up, food price, food stock management and food distribution improves, and a predictable trade policy is adopted for agriculture. FDI in retail allowed by the government can pave the way for investment in new technology and marketing of agricultural produce in India. Fast agricultural growth remains vital for jobs, incomes and food security.
The survey points out that the priority for the Government will be to fight high inflation by reducing the fiscal impetus to demand as well as by focusing on incentivizing food production through measures other than price supports. But unlike the previous year, when food inflation was mainly driven by higher protein food prices, this year the pressure has been coming mainly from cereals. On the Balance of Payments and External Position, the survey highlights that with net exports declining, India’s balance of payments has come under pressure. Moreover, in the current fiscal, foreign exchange reserves have fluctuated between US$ 286 billion and US$ 295.6 billion, while the rupee remained volatile in the range of Rs 53.02 to Rs 54.78 per US dollar during October 2012 to January 2013.
The survey had a special chapter focusing on jobs. The future holds promise for India provided we can seize the “demographic dividend” as nearly half the additions to the Indian labour force over the period 2011-30 will be in the age group 30-49. India is creating jobs in industry but mainly in low productivity construction and not enough formal jobs in manufacturing, which typically are higher productivity. The high productivity service sector is also not creating enough jobs. As the number of people looking for jobs rises, both because of the population dividend and because share of agriculture shrinks, these vulnerabilities will become important. Because good jobs are both the pathway to growth as well as the best form of inclusion, India has to think of ways of enabling their creation.
The survey calls for a widening of the tax base, and prioritization of expenditure as key ingredients of a credible medium term fiscal consolidation plan. This along with demand compression and augmented agricultural production should lead to lower inflation, giving the RBI the requisite flexibility to reduce policy rates. Lower interest rates could provide an additional fillip to investment activity for the industry and services sectors, especially if some of the regulatory, bureaucratic, and financial impediments to investment are eased. On financial sector reform, it takes note of the high level of gross NPAs (non-performing assets) of the banking sector which increased from 2.36 percent of the total credit advanced in March 2011 to 3.57 percent of total credit advanced in September 2012. The survey suggests that revival of growth will help contain NPAs, but more attention will have to be paid to whether projects are adequately capitalized up front given the risks. Expenditure on social services also increased considerably in the 12th Plan, with the education sector accounting for the largest share, followed by health. In the 11th Plan period nearly 7 lakh crore rupees has been spent on the 15 major flagship programmes. A number of legislative steps have also been taken to secure the rights of people, like the RTI, MGNREGA, the Forest Rights Act, AND THE Right to Education. However, the survey notes that there are pressing governance issues like programme leakages and funds not reaching the targeted beneficiaries that need to be addressed. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) with the help of the Unique Identification Number (Aadhaar) can help plug some of these leakages. With the 12th Plan’s focus on ‘environmental sustainability’, India is on the right track. However, the challenge for India is to make the key drivers and enablers of growth-be it infrastructure, the transportation sector, housing, or sustainable agriculture-grow sustainably.                
            Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan, Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance writes in an introduction to the Survey that these are difficult times, but India has navigated such times before, and with good policies it will come through stronger. Slowdown is a wake-up call for increasing the pace of actions and reforms. The way out lies in shifting national spending from consumption to investment, removing the bottlenecks to investment, growth, and job creation, in part through structural reforms, combating inflation both through monetary and supply side measures, reducing the costs for borrowers of raising finances and increasing the opportunities for savers to get strong real investment returns.

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