BELAGAVI FRIDAY FEBRUARY 2, 2018 `5.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION F A R M I N F R A H E A LT H C A R E M S M E s R U R A L Minimum support price of Kharif crops like paddy to be at least 50% higher than the cost of production Outlay up by `1 lakh crore to `5.97 lakh crore. Jaitley pegs India’s need for infra spending at `50 lakh crore 10 crore poor families to get insurance cover of up to `5 lakh per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation Corporate tax rate lowered to 25% for businesses with turnover of up to `250 crore; NPA roadmap soon Plan to develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads to be back on the aviation map; 16 of them are already functional H A W A H A W A I Farmers will get the MSP even if prices fall. Also, farm credit target for the next fiscal raised by 10% to `11 lakh crore Allocation for highways up by about `7,000 crore; over 9,000 km of highways to be completed in FY 19 The National Health Protection Scheme though has multiple riders with no clarity on where the money will come from MUDRA scheme lending target set at `3 lakh crore for FY19; 10.38 lakh have taken loans since MUDRA’s launch in 2015 Linking habitations to GrAMs, higher secondary schools, hospitals by robust roads under PM Gram Sadak Yojana “Because of this initiative, people wearing hawai slippers are also travelling by aircraft,” Jaitley said AMIT BANDRE BJP INSURES BHARAT HEALTHCARE COVER FOR RURAL POOR WITH 2019 LS POLLS IN MIND BIGGEST THRUST TO AGRICULTURE TO ADDRESS FARM DISTRESS FISCAL DEFICIT TARGET BREACHED TAX RELIEF FOR MSMEs PEANUTS FOR THE SALARIED CLASS Progressive budget with big focus on farm sector T he 2018 Budget goes back to first principles to shine light on some of India’s core sectors – agriculture, MSME and infrastructure. Improving road and rail infrastructure has been a recurring theme of this administration’s budgets, and 2018 saw a continuation of the same. The Finance Minister allocated `50 lakh crore to improve infrastructure, including roads, railways, airports, etc. This will be hailed as a welcome move. India needs better connectivity to knit its vast hinterland and bring manufacturing and consumption centres closer. The Budget’s focus on building more roads and transitioning the railways to broad gauge and electrification will go a long way in enabling higher efficiencies in freight and transportation. Also welcome is the long term plan to grow air capacities five-fold to enable 1 billion trips annually . This Budget stands out from earlier editions in terms of changes to the direct and indirect structure. With GST already rolled out, the minister made no major changes to indirect taxes. The highlight is the reduction of corporate tax from 30% to 25% for organisations earning less than `100 crore. This move will particularly benefit the MSME sector. Another significant change is the 10% long term capitals Kumar Mangalam gain tax, by which the government hopes Birla to leverage India’s equity markets to inChairman, crease its revenues. Aditya Birla Group The strongest focus of the Budget is on India’s agricultural sector, with the Minister stating that the intent is for farm incomes to double by 2022. Farm reforms have been a crying need for decades and this Budget aims to tackle one of the biggest issues faced by farmers – the disconnect between cost and income. The Budget has announced that minimum support pricing (MSP) of crops will be linked to production costs and fixed at 1.5 times the cost. This will help farmers earn a return on their investments, and be less vulnerable to unpredictable weather and volatile market cycles. Apart from these above, the Budget has taken a social stance by introducing health insurance coverage for all. The announcement of `5 lakh medical cover for 10 crore households is a huge positive step that will bring over 50 million individuals under insurance coverage and provide them with a much-needed financial net. There were other big social messages like the free gas connections for about eight crore households. Education got a special mention as Finance Minister stated the intent to bring more of India’s schools into the digital era. The overall theme seems to be inclusive growth – to support India’s emerging sectors — small scale to medium scale enterprises, farms, animal husbandry units, textiles, leather, construction, etc. By infusing funds directly into these sectors, the Budget clearly hopes to boost jobs and revenues, and thus, trigger greater and more sustainable consumption patterns. TAKEAWAYS FROM FM’S GIVEAWAYS: MOHAN GURUSWAMY P8 JAITLEY BENDS A KNEE TO THE POOR VOTER: MINHAZ MERCHANT P9 A BUDGET FOR A SEAMLESS INDIA: S GURUMURTHY P9 S U N I T H A N AT T I @ Mumbai BUDGET 2019 can be better dubbed as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s TINA moment. The phrase — There is no alternative — is associated with Margaret Thatcher who once said: “If there was another way, I would take it. But there is no alternative.” For Jaitley and team, there were simply no excuses for a donothing budget amid rising rural distress, need for jobs, and an election year. The outcome is of manifold importance for both the NDA government and the nation, which prompted Jaitley to present an expansive expenditure budget of `24.42 lakh crore. He used no theatrical or poetic flourishes to deliver what was needed: giveaways for the rural and farming community As for . the urban middle class, this budget is nothing but a tasteless reheat of previous budgets. Renewed thrust to agriculture and healthcare - which Jaitley categorically announced in Hindi for brevity - job creation, credit muscle and tax giveaways for MSMEs - a segment worst-hit due to demonetisation and GST - Budget 2019 had them all. But while he was at it, the govern- ment’s captain of caution seemed to be fed up with years of cheese pairing citing fiscal rectitude. So deficit target of 3.2 per cent will be breached, rattling b o n d m a rke t s a n d r at i n g agencies. The biggest dole, as usual, went to agriculture with an earmarked `14.34 lakh crore, including an institutional credit of `11 lakh crore, which sounds like a mathematically calculated solution for far mers’ woes. The promised minimum support price of 1.5 times the production cost will offer farmers a profit margin of over 30 per cent, making doubling of agricultural income by 2022 realistic. The proposed national health insurance programme for 50 crore beneficiaries, or 40 per cent of the country’s population, is arguably the world’s largest government-funded healthcare scheme. But Jaitley stopped short of explaining the fiscal math behind the move or the commitment towards the intent. Listening to the mood music of MSMEs, he extended `3 lakh crore credit via Mudra scheme, but avoided going near the obvious landmine called labour laws, which needs urgent reforms in order to spur job creation. Corpo- rate tax is slashed to 25 per cent for firms with turnover below `250 crore, but Jaitley remained spectacularly tin-eared towards large firms. Personal taxes were left untouched and the `40,000 standard deduction for salaried class turned out to be a pea-shooter, with the actual amount marginally higher than current deduc- Upset TDP MPs offer to put in their papers The widening rift between the BJP and its ally, the TDP, widened further after FM Jaitley did not even make a passing reference to Andhra Pradesh in his budget speech, despite representations made by TDP chief and CM N Chandrababu Naidu to him and PM Narendra Modi to allocate funds to the State as mandated by the AP Reorganisation Act 2014. As soon as Jaitley ended his speech, Naidu went into a huddle with his cabinet colleagues and held a teleconference with party MPs where some offered to resign tions. Adding to the disappointment, cess was increased by 1 per cent taking the total to 4 per cent. As if this wasn’t enough, duties on about 45 imported items have been raised, so brace up to pay more for mobile phones, TV screens, sunglasses and perfumes. The reintroduction of 10 per cent long-term capital gains tax could affect retail and institutional investors, while the EPF contribution reduced to 8 per cent for three years for women is just table stakes. The upshot is, senior citizens finally got their due, with increased exemptions under Section 80 D and others. Infrastructure, being the left ventricle of job creation and growth, needs `50 lakh crore, but for now we have to make do with a mere `6 lakh crore budgetary support and another `1.48 lakh crore towards capex for railways. Budget 2019 took a balanced approach with a bit more spending in priority areas, hoping the revenue-raising measures will be match-fit. More fireworks were expected, but Jaitley’s fifth and his last full budget, reinforced that a please-all budget is a rarity Expecting it year-after. year is akin to expectation of seeing a super moon, blue moon and blood moon, all the time. PAY MORE FOR IMPORTED ITEMS D E A R E R Mobile phones Fruit juices Perfumes, deodrants Gold, silver, diamonds After-shave Dentures Cars, bikes Silk fabrics Footwear Watches, clocks LCD/LED TV panels Furniture Edible oils Truck & bus radial tyres Raw cashew nuts tiles of siliceous fossil meals Petrol, high-speed diesel oil Solar tempered glass Raw materials to make cochlear implants Ball screws, linear motion guides for CNC machines C H E A P E R Bricks, Our leadership is familiar with the problems being faced by the SC, ST, Backward Classes and economically weaker sections of the society Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister Salaried class grumbles, but not the First Citizen W H AT ’ S I N I T F O R Y O U Income tax slabs untouched, but standard deduction back after a decade, fixed at `40,000. It will replace medical reimbursement of `15,000 plus transport allowance of `19,200 per year. (+) `15,000 `19,200 Total - `34,200 BONANZA FOR PREZ, V-P, GOVERNORS So, net gain in terms of higher deduction will be `40,000 - `34,200 = `5,800. However, it will reduce your current paperwork, since you had to produce bills to avail tax exemption under the two heads The bit of relief you got has been sucked away though 1% jump in cess on income tax, from 3% to 4% for funding rural health and education Further bad news as long term capital gains exceeding `1 lakh to be taxed. Shorn of jargon, the dividend paid by equity mutual funds and shares to you will attract tax For senior citizens, exemption of interest income on bank deposits raised to `50,000. Spending on health up to `50,000 exempted from tax President and Vice President and Governors to get `5 lakh, `4 lakh and `3.5 lakh salary per month respectively, up from `1.50 lakh, `1.25 lakh and `1.10 lakh. Their pay was last revised in 2006 The budget will help strengthen ‘New India’ vision. It is focused on all sectors and will accelerate economic growth Narendra Modi, Prime Minister AUTOMATIC HIKE IN MP PAYROLL You can’t even question lawmakers giving themselves a raise, as Jaitley proposes an amendment for automatic revision of salaries for Parliamentarians every five years indexed to inflation. ANOMALY IN WAGES RECTIFIED Prez, VP and Governors were getting less pay than top bureaucrats and service chiefs because of an anomaly in implementation of the 7th pay panel’s report 4 years gone; still promising FARMERS a fair price. 4 years gone; FANCY SCHEMES, with NO matching budgets. 4 years gone; no JOBS for our YOUTH. Thankfully, only 1 more year to go Rahul Gandhi, president, Congress CJI keeps PILs, issues roster for judges BJP gets reality check in Rajasthan, BY-ELECTIONS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi IN what is being seen as an attempt to assuage the feelings of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, who recently questioned Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra’s functioning, the CJI on Thursday introduced a roster system for allocation of cases. While all Public Interest Litigations (PILs) will be taken up by a bench headed by the CJI, a subject-wise roster has been put in place for allocation of other cases. It is expected to not only bring transparency but also end the CJI’s discretion in allocation of cases as the “master of the roster”. A 13-page notification published on the apex court’s website said the roster system would come into effect from February 5 and will apply to new cases. The notification specified matters that would be allocated to the benches headed by the CJI, justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph, A K Sikri, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, A K Goel and Rohinton Fali Nariman. Last month, justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Joseph held an unprecedented press conference in which they questioned the CJI’s allocation of sensitive PILs and important cases. Besides PILs, the CJI will hear all cases related to elections, social justice, service matters, contempt of court, appointment of constitutional functionaries, habeas corpus petitions and criminal matters. Justice Chelameswar will hear LOYA CASE FORCED MISRA’S HAND One of the triggers for the big four to go public against the CJI was the assigning of a petition on the death of Judge Loya — who was hearing the Sohrabuddin case in which BJP president Amit Shah was accused matters related to crime, labour, indirect taxes, land disputes, consumer protection, criminal and ordinary civil matters, among others. Justice Gogoi, who is tipped to be the next Chief Justice, will handle cases related to religious disputes, personal laws, labour, banking, government tenders, crime and other cases. Justice Lokur has been assigned matters related to forests and environment conservation, paramilitary forces, land disputes, service matters, personal law and ordinary civil matters while Justice Joseph will hear matters related to labour laws, rent acts, family laws, personal l aw s a n d o t h e r r e l i g i o u s matters. loses 1 Assembly, 2 Lok Sabha seats E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi TMC registers massive win Ruling Trinamool Congress registered a massive victory in the bypoll to Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara Vidhan Sabha seats in West Bengal THE BJP received a huge jolt on Thursday with the party losing the byelections in the Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha seats and the Mandalgarh Assembly constituency in Rajasthan. The Congress wrested all three seats from the BJP and was quick to dub it , as a precursor to 2019, when the Lok Sabha elections are due. “The bypoll results are a mirror to the 2019 national polls as the people of Rajasthan have given their verdict on the work done by the Modi government over the past four years,” Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala said. “Well done Rajasthan Congress! Proud of each and every one of you. This is a rejection of the BJP by the people of Rajasthan,” party president Rahul Gandhi tweeted. The anger against the ruling party was clear from the margin of defeat in all three seats. In Mandalgarh, the Congress won by nearly 13,000 votes. In Ajmer and Alwar, the margin was 84,000 and nearly two lakh votes. However, the BJP had something to cheer about in West Bengal as it replaced the CPM as runners-up in the by-elections to the Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara Vidhan Sabha seats, second only to the ruling TMC.
Express Publications (Madurai) Limited publishes the prestigious English language newspaper The New Indian Express from 21 centres in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa.
Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd. also publishes the Tamil daily Dinamani, Cinema Express (Tamil) and Malayalam Vaarika (Malayalam). Through a sister company, Kannada Prabha Publications Ltd., it publishes the Kannada daily Kannada Prabha.