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Full Coverage | Run-up to Budget 2011

Full Coverage | Run-up to Budget 2011
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First Published: Fri, Feb 11 2011. 01 21 AM IST

Updated: Mon, Feb 28 2011. 08 59 AM IST
28 February 2011
UPA’s last chance for redemption
Capital Calculus | Anil Padmanabhan
Every which way you look at it, this year’s Union budget is very important.
Consumers, who rarely count midway through a government’s term, are looking for relief from inflation and governance failures; similarly, the growing legion of impatient youth (50% of India is less than 35 years of age) needs jobs. Indian industry, despite its newly acquired chutzpah, will not say no to sops, but would rather that the government provided clarity on crucial tax reform that’s pending. Foreign institutional investors, who drive the country’s stock markets, want to see the government commit to fresh reforms. And finally, the cadres of the Congress party, which leads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition, are hoping that the budget will give them that desperate break that would help them reverse their political fortunes.
All interest groups, therefore, have expectations—however minimalist they may be, as the Mint-Synovate study of focus groups showed—riding on the budget. On the other hand, the UPA’s back is to the wall and it only has itself to blame for this.
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How will budget swing the markets?
Indian markets have never hit a rougher patch in the run-up to the Union budget in the past one decade.
The bellwether Sensex index has fallen 13.7% since January, the worst year-to-date loss in Indian markets in a decade, and any positive surprise in the budget on fiscal consolidation will improve sentiment, analysts said.
Fiscal tightening will ease pressure on the central bank, which has been raising policy rates to fight inflation.
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Taking Stock
Over the years, as the economy expanded, private enterprise has emerged as a significant entity and, in some instances, such as civil aviation, even displaced government-owned companies as the market leader. Progressively, the budget has also transformed from being a statement of accounts to include seminal policy reforms. In the run up to the budget, Mint organized four events in Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi to discuss the relevance of the Union budget in a transformed Indian economy. Most of the experts felt that the budget continued to be relevant, especially this year, given the global economic uncertainty and the political setbacks to the government.
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Budget: more than a mere accounting statement
A panel comprising Amit Mitra, secretary general, Ficci; Ajai Chowdhry, chairman, HCL Infosystems Ltd; Sanjay Kapoor, chief executive officer, India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel Ltd; R. Sukumar, editor, Mint; Tathagata Satpathy, member, Lok Sabha; Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president and chief executive, Centre for Policy Research; Ila Patnaik, professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), and N.K. Singh, member, Rajya Sabha; discussed the relevance of the Union Budget at the Mint conclave on Budget 2011, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Economist Haseeb Drabu moderated the session.
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Weighted expectations
With foreign institutional investors gaining a decisive influence on the direction of the markets, here’s a look at the direction brokerages expect the finance minister to take in Budget 2011.
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Six decades and counting
In the aftermath of World War II and a violent partition of India, the focus was on rebuilding.
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26 February 2011
Rail Budget 2011
Mamata going to market for money
Policy realignment: Mamata Banerjee at Rail Bhavan before presenting the budget on Friday. Pradeep Gaur/Mint
The future growth of Indian Railways is to be increasingly subjected to the discipline of the capital market, including those overseas, even as Friday’s railway budget promised a dividend of Rs4,104.50 crore this fiscal, partly by cutting back money on maintaining tracks and rolling stock.
The budget kept passenger fares constant for the eighth year in a row and did not touch freight rates either, making it look towards the debt market to raise money for infrastructure.
“Railways is in robust health,” Vivek Sahai, chairman of the Railway Board, said at press conference after railway minister Mamata Banerjee read the budget speech in Parliament.
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Mamata budget targets election-bound states
Mamata Banerjee catered to election-bound West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the railway budget she presented on Friday, introducing a number of trains, services and rail-based industrial units for these as well as north-eastern states.
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Darkness at the end of the tunnel
Rail Economics | Akhileshwar Sahay
The railway budget presented by Mamata Banerjee last year was one of intent, hope, promises although it lacked a concrete action plan to achieve the lady’s audacious dream—25,000km of new railway line, 12,000km of doubling and another 12,000km of gauge conversion, 14,000km of modernization, new production units for rolling stock (wagons and coaches), and the modernization of existing railway stations, workshops and other infrastructure.
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Economic Survey 2011
Outlook bright, but...
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee holds the economic survey 2010-11 at the parliament in New Delhi on Friday.
Breaking with the string of depressing macroeconomic news flashes, the finance ministry on Friday projected that economic growth would accelerate to 9% in 2011-12.
The economy is estimated to grow by 8.6% in 2010-11 to $1.7 trillion (Rs77.18 trillion).
The ministry’s annual postmortem of the Indian economy extends this bullish projection to suggest that the country is poised to “further improve and consolidate in terms of key macroeconomic indicators”. While this is indeed the headline news, the fine print belies this optimistic outlook.
What the Economic Survey 2010-11 says is that while there is enough momentum in the Indian economy to propel it to an even higher growth rate next year, this is contingent on a string of variables, including stability in international oil prices. This points to considerable underlying economic uncertainty, which makes it that much more difficult for the Union budget, due to be presented on 28 February, to provide a policy response on key issues: inflation, jobs growth and governance.
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Future Tense
Ahead of this year’s Union budget, the government has been preoccupied with fending off charges of alleged corruption, battling inflation, and containing a very restive Parliament.
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25 February 2011
CEOS, CFOS bullish on economy
Indian executives expect the economy to expand at a rapid pace and will also grow their own operations in the next 12 months, but they are concerned about inflation and access to credit according to a survey of 127 chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) conducted by research firm Penn Schoen Berland for television channel Bloomberg UTV.
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A worried nation looks on
Budget Economics | Shravani Sen
Ahead of this year’s budget, anecdotal evidence suggests that the usual zing is missing in people’s expectations. I asked myself—where has all the excitement and anticipation gone?
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Budget of hope
Expectations ahead of Budget 2011 are the lowest in recent memory. Not only has the public’s confidence in the government, which is roiled in a series of alleged scams, hit rock bottom, but fresh macroeconomic troubles have also surfaced, with international oil prices surging in the aftermath of political upheavals in major oil producing nations such as Libya.
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A populist budget expected despite deficit
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s embattled government will likely boost spending on social programmes in a populist budget on Monday, even as India is threatened with a potentially ballooning subsidy bill for food and fuel.
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Video Stories
If I were FM | Dinesh Agarwal, founder and CEO, Indiamart.com
If I were FM | P.V.R. Murthy, finance director, Yash Birla Group
If I were FM | Sanjay Kapoor, CEO, Bharti Airtel
If I were FM | V. Vaidyanathan, MD, Future Capital
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24 February 2011
Editors’ Takes
Mint’s editors talk about what they expect from Budget 2011
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The Union budget must address the risk of stagflation
Capital Account | Manas Chakravarty
While the stock market continues to be weak in the final lap before the Union budget, it hasn’t done too badly in relative terms. The MSCI India index is marginally in positive territory this month (as on 22 February) while the Emerging Markets Asia index is down 3.3%. Very likely it’s merely a correction from the earlier steep fall and not the result of any firming up of expectations ahead of the budget. Nevertheless, a look at the bond market shows that yields have been declining. Indeed, the yield on the most traded 2022 bond is at a six-month low. Is that due to the market’s anticipation that government borrowing next year may not be very much higher than in the current year? Or it could also be due to near-term technical factors, such as buying by the central bank and absence of further auctions. But the markets do seem to believe the government is likely to stick to its fiscal deficit target of 4.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) for FY12 in the budget. Needless to add, a disappointment would be greeted with a sell-off.
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Deregulation of oil prices critical
Tax Economics | Gokul Chaudhri
Prices of oil and non-oil commodities rose considerably in 2010 in response to strong global demand and supply shocks for select commodities. Crude oil prices, after averaging $97 (Rs4,384) a barrel in 2008, declined to $61 the following year.
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Bridging the funding deficit
Capital Economics | Sujit Ghosh
As the country gets set to roll out a road map for its infrastructure needs under the 12th Plan (2012-17), funding projects may become a formidable task for the government. Given the pace of economic growth, the need for developing robust and efficient infrastructure has become inevitable.
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What to expect from Budget 2011
When asked to write about what could be expected from Budget 2011 by way of tax proposals, I start to think of the government’s goal of broadbasing tax compliance and increasing its tax revenue, and what impedes that goal, the need for tax revenue, and the relatively low number of taxpayers in the country of the size of India.
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Changing the tax climate
Tax Economics | Abhishek Goenka
Corporate tax collections in the current fiscal have shown healthy growth, and one of the theories being discussed is whether this is an outcome of better compliance resulting from a planned decrease in the rate of corporate tax. Indeed, in a country like ours, this is an interesting and obvious hypothesis to make, considering the several reports on the huge amounts of black money stashed away and, more recently, some intriguing data on the size and scale of the Indian mafia that operates in several large states across the country.
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23 February 2011
A reforms stimulus
The crying need to bring inflation to heel should hopefully force finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to present a tight budget on 28 February. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already been busy tightening its monetary policy by increasing interest rates seven times since March. This overdue withdrawal of monetary and fiscal stimulus could hurt growth in the short run. It needs to be balanced with a fresh reforms stimulus.
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Revamp social spending priorities
Social Economics | Jawed Alam Khan
Scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) have historically been among the most disadvantaged sections of our society, given their socio-economic exploitation and isolation. They have remained neglected in the planning and implementation of development interventions of the Union and state governments. Although the 11th Five-Year Plan inculcated the slogan of “inclusive growth”, with a special focus on the development of SCs and STs, they continue to lag behind in nearly every aspect of development.
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Tea industry seeks continuation of subsidy
The tea industry has urged the finance ministry to continue with the orthodox subsidy scheme for sustaining Indian exports.
In a pre-Budget memorandum to the finance ministry, the Indian Tea Association (ITA) said the subsidy scheme had helped in correcting the product-mix and enabled availability of more orthodox variety.
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Video Stories
If I were FM: D.R. Dogra, managing director, Care Ltd
If I were FM: Sanjeev Bafna, group CFO, Siva Ventures Ltd
If I were FM: Sunil K. Alagh, founder & chairman, SKA Advisors
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22 February 2011
Fresh action on corruption, inflation and jobs growth?
New Delhi: Setting the political agenda ahead of the crucial budget session of Parliament, President Pratibha Patil said the government’s focus in the next fiscal year would be on fighting corruption, containing inflation and generating new jobs.
Since the President’s address normally sets out the government’s strategy, it is likely that the Union budget, due to be presented on 28 February, will contain fresh policy action on all three issues.
The signal came on the same day that the Prime Minister’s economic advisory council remained bullish on growth, forecasting it at 9% in 2011-12.
The accent of the strategy suggests that the government, ahead of elections to the four key states of West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam, is keen to rebuild its image. The government will formally agree to a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on Tuesday, which may ensure smooth functioning of Parliament and thereby facilitate new legislation.
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Stimulus rollback may derail growth
Tax Economics | Pratik Jain
Though the country has shown an impressive recovery from the downturn, a complete rollback of the stimulus package could pose the risk of derailing economic growth. Also, given inflationary pressure, a significant increase in excise duty could further aggravate the situation. Therefore, scenario one, that is, a complete rollback of stimulus, doesn’t appear to be a viable solution in the forthcoming budget.
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Budget 2011: A road map to GST
After the goods and services tax (GST) missed the deadline of April 2010, businesses had been optimistic about its introduction in April this year. Now, here we are, a few days ahead of Budget 2011, and the introduction of GST has again been deferred.
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The way forward for indirect taxes
Three important considerations on the mind of the finance minister that are likely to influence indirect tax measures in Budget 2011 are the need for fiscal consolidation, persistent double-digit inflation, and preparing the ground for the goods and services tax (GST) roll-out. Balancing these will indeed be a challenge.
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The imbalance in gender budgeting
Gender Economics | Bhumika Jhamb
It will be seven years since the government, acknowledging a gender imbalance, introduced gender budgeting in 2005-06. Ever since then, the annual budget has been accompanied by a gender budgeting statement. An analysis of the last four Union budgets reveals two things. First, the outlays specifically targeting women, who make up 50% of the population, are inadequate at Rs1,200 per woman per annum. Second, the bulk of the allocations are taken up by funds earmarked for basic human resource development such as health and education, leaving little aside for programmes to facilitate political participation.
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Video Story
If I were FM | Adi Godrej, chairman, The Godrej Group
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21 February 2011
Budget: Say no to business as usual
Capital Calculus | Anil Padmanabhan
Last week, at a panel discussion hosted by Mint in Mumbai in the run-up to the Union budget, a person from the audience opined that, given the present circumstances, part B (the section that deals with the taxation proposals/changes) be done away with such that the entire focus be brought to bear upon the first, but now often overlooked, part of the finance minister’s speech. A radical thought? But, is it so?
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Exemption for 2011 should be extended
This year, the finance minister has a tough task at hand in terms of managing the expectations of the common taxpayer in view of the rising inflationary costs of day-to-day goods and services, and at the same time managing the increasing fiscal deficit, which is likely to worsen further due to huge burden of oil and food subsidies.
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Issues the budget should resolve
There are a whole lot of unconventional “expectations” this year on the budget from the investor community and the public at large. The year gone by has witnessed a series of controversies and revelations on black money locked in offshore tax havens. This has impacted the economy in more ways than one as it has also upset investor sentiment and the honest taxpayer community. In this backdrop, the expectation runs high that budget announcements may contain some concrete steps in tax policy towards tracking the black money flow and improving governance.
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Sanitation story a mix of hits, misses
Social Economics | Yamini Aiyar
As of February 2011, 31% of rural households in India do not have toilets. A 2008 Unicef study points out that a mere 21% of rural India uses improved sanitation facilities. But sanitation is no one’s priority. Last year, India spent Rs1,422 crore, or 0.02%, of its gross domestic product (GDP), on the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), the government of India’s flagship programme. This limited expenditure costs India heavily. A recent study by the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank estimates that inadequate sanitation costs India the equivalent of 6.4% of its GDP due to costs associated with death and disease, accessing and treating water and loss of work among others.
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Coloured money--all about tax?
On 6 July 2009, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, in his budget speech, indicated the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s intent to expand the scope of tax treaties by empowering the government to enter into TIEAs (tax information exchange agreements) with non-sovereign jurisdictions. Since then, India has completed negotiations with 10 ostensible tax havens—the Bahamas, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Argentina and the Marshall Islands. This is from 22 identified jurisdictions to facilitate the exchange of information for tracking tax evaders. It would not be out of place to mention the role of the Group of Twenty communique that threatened action against such jurisdictions, which opened the dialogue for such agreements.
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Budget is not going to become redundant anytime soon
In an economy where the private sector is replacing the government as the biggest investor, the relevance of the Union budget may be waning, but the annual exercise is not going to become redundant anytime soon, said panellists at the Mint Clarity Through Debate discussion in Mumbai on Thursday.
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19 February 2011
UPA to make reform push
In what could be an indication of fresh reformist intent from an embattled government, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) plans to push forward with a package of legislation in the budget session of Parliament, due to start on Monday.
Among the key economic Bills to be tabled before lawmakers is one to pave the way for the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), three separate Bills on the financial sector, the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill and the Women’s Reservation Bill.
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Video story
If I were FM: Ashvin Parekh, Partner, Global Financial Leader, Ernst & Young
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18 February 2011
Child nutrition an area of concern
Food Economics | Yamini Aiyar
Much of the current debate on the National Food Security Bill has focused on the Public Distribution System. Crucial as this is, the Bill’s vision of food security aims to address wider nutritional concerns including maternal and child nutrition and not just through PDS but through existing programmes such as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). Performance on these schemes thus merits urgent attention.
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Video Story
If I were FM: Russel Parera, CEO, KPMG
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17 February 2011
Literacy: a mixed report card
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was the government’s marquee programme to fix this literacy deficit
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Ensuring children learn a challenge
HRD ministry is seeking a budget of Rs34,000 cr for implementing the RTE. This is a significant jump from last year’s elementary education allocation of Rs22,667 crore.
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16 February 2011
Banks likely to get subsidy of Rs140 for each no-frills account
Mumbai/New Delhi: Banks will likely get a subsidy of Rs140 from the government for each so-called no-frills account they open, according to top bankers and finance ministry officials.
The move will make banking accessible to many of India’s unbanked and help banks meet their target of opening, by 2012, 50 million such accounts in 73,000 villages with a population of at least 2,000. The target was set by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee last year; subsequently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had asked banks to submit reports on how they planned to achieve the target.
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Rural health: Still room for optimism
Health Economics | Yamini Aiyar
In the last five years, the government’s health budget has risen significantly from Rs10,040 crore in 2005-06 to Rs24,494 crore in 2010-11. The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), an umbrella for health programmes, is the largest scheme, with a budget of Rs16,219 crore in 2010-11. Significant as this rise is, overall health expenditure remains woefully inadequate. Public health expenditure accounts for 1.45% of India’s gross domestic product. This is substantially lower than many developing countries: Cuba spends 5.5% and Namibia 4.7%. How have these limited resources been spent?
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14 February 2011
Ministry wants more money for rural job guarantee scheme
The ministry of rural development has demanded a nearly 60% increase in the allocation for its marquee job guarantee scheme in the forthcoming Union budget for fiscal 2011-12.
Cost pressure: The demand for a steep hike in funds for MGNREGS is unlikely to be met with the Planning Commission indicating a cap of Rs72,000 crore for the entire ministry. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
The ministry has sought an allocation of around Rs 64,000 crore, up from Rs 41,100 crore, for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), a ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
MGNREGS, the flagship programme of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government promises 100 days of work a year to each rural household. Currently, it provides employment to 41 million households, generating 1.45 billion person days of employment.
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Mukherjee has little room for path-breaking budget
Thirty-five kilograms of cut-price foodgrain for each of India’s below poverty line, or BPL, families is about all that one should reasonably expect from this year’s Union budget, according to Saugata Roy, junior minister for urban development and a key leader of the Trinamool Congress—one of the biggest allies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre.
Describing India’s finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as “conservative”, Roy said all budgets presented by him since 1983 were about “balancing figures”. Much of the annual expenditure is already committed—on heads such as defence, subsidies, interests and salaries—so there was little that Mukherjee could do with his traditional “accountant’s budget” to launch new policy initiatives, or to remove regional imbalances in growth, he added.
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Video stories
If I were FM: Chittaranjan Dhar, CEO, ITC Foods
If I were FM: Saugata Gupta, CEO, Marico
If I were FM: Sudhir Kapadia, tax markets leader, Ernst & Young Pvt Ltd
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Bridging the execution deficit
Domain Experts | Manish Sabharwal
The execution deficit matters more than the fiscal deficit to the demographic dividend. The budget must focus on expenditure reforms rather than expenditure.
The 2011 budget will be presented by a politician with an economist as prime minister. This contrasts with the 1991 budget that was presented by an economist with a politician as prime minister. But “bees saal baad” is also an interesting point to reflect on economic reforms and increase the effectiveness in government spending. Economic reforms — and Union budgets — are not about fiscal deficits, government spending or goofy rich guys buying Mercedes cars, but creating what Sunil Khilnani calls the “infrastructure of opportunity”. This involves fixing the 3Es (education, employability and employment) so that the most important decision a child in India makes is not choosing their parents wisely.
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Video stories
If I were FM : Thomas Varghese, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd
If I were FM : B.S. Nagesh, vice chairman, Shoppers Stop
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Finmin, RBI should join hands on inflation
Mint View | Tamal Bandyopadhyay
Last year’s Budget had two surprises for the Indian financial sector. First, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s announcement that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would soon issue licensing norms for new private firms in the banking space and, second, the formation of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).
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Budget may subsidize interest on loans
The government is likely to subsidize interest on loans taken by beleaguered state electricity boards (SEBs) to cut distribution losses in its budget on 28 February.
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The budget and the markets: The pain is already in the price
Mint View | Manas Chakravarty
The reaction of the markets to the budget depends entirely on whether it measures up to expectations. To be sure, there are a whole lot of items whose excise or customs duties will be tinkered with, and that will affect individual stocks. But, for the market as a whole, the big concerns are overall changes in taxation and the fiscal deficit.
At first glance, there seems to be little correlation between the fiscal deficit and the stock market. Equities have sometimes done well when the deficit has been high and sometimes when it has been low. Markets are moved by lots of things, and the fiscal deficit is only one of them.
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Govt should fund education, leave running to private firms
The government will deliver its budget for 2011-12 later this month amid inflationary and fiscal concerns. The budget should promote infrastructure, create opportunities for entrepreneurs and new businesses, and encourage research and development, said panellists on the Bangalore leg of Mint’s Budget Agenda 2011, a four-city pre-budget discussion.
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What the budget numbers say about Mr India
Mint View | Monika Halan
Graphics by Shyamal Banerjee / Mint
To see an account statement of a person is to get an insight into who he or she is. One can judge fairly accurately this person’s age, stage, situation and future. How we earn, how we save and how we spend is a reflection of who we are. The young leverage the future and have large loans on their books. Older people will be low debt and should be asset rich. A reckless entrepreneur will nearly always show a heavily leveraged personal balance sheet. A zero-risk employee has a highly conservative spending and saving pattern. The conservative person with a view to growth would take a loan to build an asset, but will still keep his saving ratio high and curb current consumption. The reckless youth will use a credit card to fund current consumption.
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Labour ministry likely to get more funds this Budget
The labour ministry may get about 36% more money under planned allocation in the Budget for the year starting 1 April to expand welfare programmes such as health insurance for the poor.
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The year of living dangerously
Mint View | Niranjan Rajadhyaksha
Twenty years ago, India was hurtling towards an unprecedented economic crisis that took it close to an international default.
The famous budget presented by Manmohan Singh in July 1991 was a turning point in economic management, but the first clear warnings on the coming crisis and the need for radical reform were sounded by Yashwant Sinha, in the course of the interim budget he presented in March 1991 as finance minister in the short-lived Chandra Shekhar government. Pointing to the noxious combination of elevated fiscal deficits, a high current account deficit and double-digit inflation, Sinha had said: “I need hardly stress that neither the government nor the economy can live beyond its means for long. The room for manoeuvre, to live on borrowed money or time, has been used up completely. The soft options have been exhausted.”
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IT industry seeks clarity on tax levies
The information technology industry is looking for a clarification on taxation changes when finance minister Pranab Mukherjee unveils the budget on 28 February.
The ambiguity in the current rules has to led to a situation such as the one at Chennai port. For the last two months, a consignment carrying software licences (expected to be worth upwards of Rs50 crore) has not been cleared by the customs department.
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Power sector may get a foreign fund break
The power sector may get a boost in the forthcoming budget as withholding tax on overseas investment in the sector may be removed to attract investments.
“Our consultations with the finance ministry are over. Removal of withholding tax will accelerate overseas lending to the Indian power sector,” a senior official in the power ministry said on condition of anonymity. “We have asked for the removal of the tax and to our understanding this request may be accommodated.”
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Budget likely to permit new private banks
India is considering allowing new private sector banks, including by industrial houses, and a roadmap for the same could be announced in the Union Budget to be presented later this month.
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Will UPA meet the challenge or succumb to it?
Mint View | Anil Padmanabhan
In the trade-off between growth and inflation, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had last year plunked for the former and delivered a budget that was growth-oriented but potentially inflationary. Looking back, he would have reason to be pleased that not only did he manage to protect the growth trajectory but was also on course to achieve unprecedented fiscal consolidation—at the end of December, about 45% of the fiscal deficit target for 2010-11 had been used up, compared with an average of around 60% at this time of the year.
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Budget likely to have environmental edge
The Union budget is likely to have a strong green element when it’s announced later this month, in line with recent comments by environment minister Jairam Ramesh.
On Monday, the environment ministry released an updated compendium of manuals outlining rules and procedures that companies ought to adhere to when seeking regulatory approvals.
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Airports pitch for relaxed alcohol, duty-free allowances
India’s largest airports want to sell more spirits and wine at shops inside their facilities and have sought a relaxation in duty-free limits in the upcoming budget.
India currently allows 2 litres of spirits or wine per passenger. That should be changed to allow 2 litres of spirits and the same amount of wine, according to a letter written by industry lobby group Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
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Govt may hike tax exemption limit in Budget
Taxpayers can expect some relief from high inflation in Budget 2011-12 as the government may raise the income tax exemption limit for individuals.
“Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is alive to the price situation and its impact on the common man,” sources said, adding he would favourably consider the issue of hiking tax exemption limit.
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First Published: Fri, Feb 11 2011. 01 21 AM IST