HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014
'Welfare laggard': UPA's reforms are a work in progress
Gaurav Choudhury, Hindustan Times
March 01, 2013
First Published: 00:51 IST(1/3/2013)
Last Updated: 10:39 IST(1/3/2013)
India’s industrial sector welcomes ‘growth oriented’ budget

In a nation's history, a decade is a mere point in the continuum of time. Decades from now, historians are likely to describe the latter part of the first decade of the new millennium as the period when the Indian economy, aided by a well-designed structural reforms programme, had come to a man's estate after two decades of adolescent angst.

When former Coca-Cola executive Neville Isdell agreed in May 2004 to come out of retirement to become chief executive of the global beverage giant, little did he realise that many the direction of his first global move was under keen observation.

Many believed that he would hop across to neighbouring Mexico, the largest market for the soda giant outside the US. He confounded analysts by choosing India, which he felt offered greater growth potential for the company that was troubled by dipping sales volumes.

On his tour to India and populous neighbour China shortly after he took charge as CEO, Isdell realised a different reality: the scorching summers in the two emerging Asian giants would help offset the weak consumer demand in the home markets of North America.

Two years ago, US President Barack Obama arrived with the largest US business delegation to any country, which included the who's who of America's corporate world - a clear sign that India's rising economy has never mattered more than now.

India's gross domestic product (GDP) is set to cross $ 2 trillion, joining an elite league of the US, Japan, Germany, China, UK, France and Italy, as the mass of economic activity shifts to Asia. Yet, keeping hunger at bay has been one constant policy challenge over the last six decades. The World Bank reckons that more than 400 million Indians live on less than $1.25 a day. Indian estimates of poverty range from 270 million to 450 million people.

By most standards, India has been a 'welfare laggard', and has still a long way to go before it can get food into every needy mouth. The Food Security Bill promises to do precisely that.

India's per capita income, calculated by evenly dividing the national income among the population, is nearly Rs. 70,000 a year. The figure gives an idea of the standard of living of the people, although it may hide a stark reality: much of the income growth may have been driven by the richest Indians. In 2011, according to Forbes, there were 57 dollar billionaires in India. The 100 richest in India had a combined net worth of $241 billion or Rs. 12,06375 crore, representing 16% of the country's GDP.

If the first term of the UPA government was about proof of concept - 'growth with equity' - with successful programmes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the next has been about proof of delivery.

Fertiliser and fuel prices are in the process of being fully decontrolled; two of India's biggest tax reforms initiatives - a unified goods and services tax and the direct taxes code - are in the final lap of implementation.

Despite a delicate coalition, the government last year announced what looks like the second innings of sweeping changes, with an eye on India regaining the advantage that seemed lost in 'policy inaction'.

India's reforms have been underway for 20 years, during which the country has achieved an annual average growth rate of about 6%. In the last 9 years, India has grown at over 8%.  Add up all the changes over the last nine years, and the UPA government will have created an enviable body of work.

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Highlights: Budget 2013  »

  • Expect higher revenue next year: Chidambaram
  • Unclear what the expense on food subsidies be at this stage: Chidambaram
  • Fuel subsidy likely to be lower this year: Chidambaram
  • Immediate goal is to achieve growth rate of 6%: Chidambaram
  • We have to be patient and wait for the economy to pick up: Chidambaram
  • We have not put impossible burdens on people: Chidambaram
  • The only way to contain current account deficit is to increase exports: Chidambaram
  • Confident that RBI will do it's part: Chidambaram
  • Economy is challenged in a number of ways: Chidambaram
  • This is a lollypop election budget: CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta
  • Budget has ignored SC/ST: Mayawati
  • Budget will only benefit industrialists, not common man: Mayawati
  • Budget will give impetus to Bihar's demand for special status: Nitish Kumar
  • FM has taken important steps to reverse pessimistic mood with regard to our economy: PM
  • There is need to convert challenges into opportunities: PM
  • The Finance Minister has done a commendable job: PM
  • Direct Benefit Transfer scheme to be rolled out
  • Ships and vessels exempted from excise duty
  • Direct tax code to be introduced in budget session of the Parliament
  • Set-top box import duty hiked
  • Gold duty limit raised to Rs. 50,000 for men; Rs. 1 lakh for women
  • 100% customs duty on luxury cars
  • Increase in import duty on high end bikes from 75% to 100%
  • 6% duty on mobile phones worth more than Rs. 2000
  • Excise duty on cigarette, cigar and cheeroot increased by 18%
  • Import duty on raw silk hiked to 15%
  • Luxury imported items to cost more
  • Donations to National Children's fund will be eligible for 100% tax deduction
  • No plans to revise direct taxes
  • No change in customs and excise duty
  • Tax credit of Rs. 2000 for those with income upto Rs. 5 lakh
  • Education cess at 3%
  • donations to be tax free
  • Surcharge of 10% on individuals, companies whose income is above Rs. 1 crore per year
  • No revision in tax slabs
  • Planned expenditure to be 33% of total expenditure
  • Rs. 1,000 crore allocated to women safety fund
  • Defence budget allocation increased to Rs. 2 lakh crore
  • Insurance and pension funds can now directly invest in debt funds
  • Domestic workers, Anganwadi workers, others to get group insurance
  • 13 public sector banks to get Rs. 14,000 crore
  • Propose to provide Rs. 14,000 cr for capital infusion in public sector banks
  • Inflation indexed bonds and NSCs to be introduced
  • JNNURM is being continued in the 12th Plan; Rs. 14,873 cr to be provided to the Mission
  • Rs. 33,000 crore to be allocated to MNREGA
  • Rs. 6000 crore for rural housing fund, Rs. 2000 cr for urban housing fund
  • Two new ports to be built in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh
  • All towns having population of 10,000 to get LIC office
  • Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna to be extended to rickshaw pullers and rag pickers
  • List of eligible securities will be enlarged: Chidambaram
  • SEBI to simplify procedures for entry of foreign portfolio investors in India: Chidambaram
  • India's first all-women public sector bank to be set up
  • All public sector bank branches to have ATMs
  • Focus on modernisation of powerloom sector
  • Propose to continue with the technology upgradation, funds scheme for textile sector: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 1650 cr allocated for AIIMS like institutes
  • Natural gas pricing policy will be reviewed: Chidambaram
  • Person taking home loan for the first time to get tax cut of Rs. 1 lakh
  • Regulatory authority to be set up for road sector
  • Rs. 17,700 crore to be allocated for Integrated Child Development Scheme
  • Rs. 5000 cr allocated to NABARD
  • Income level of Rajiv Gandhi equity schemes increased by Rs. 2 lakh
  • Rs. 80, 194 crore allocated for rural development: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 25,000 cr to be raised through tax free bonds: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 10,000 crore for food security bill promised by UPA: Chidambaram
  • Infrastructure debt fund to be encouraged: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 37,330 cr allocated to ministry of health and family welfare: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 41,000 allocated for scheduled caste welfare: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 27,49 cr to be allocated to the agriculture ministry: Chidambaram
  • Plan expenditure in 12th Five Year Plan revised to Rs. 14,30,825 cr or 96% of budgeted expenditure
  • Scholarships for students from SC/ST, minority communities: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 110 cr to be allocated to department of disability: Chidambaram
  • Increased allocation for safe drinking water and sanitation: Chidambaram
  • Increased allocation for mid-day meal schemes: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 65,000 cr allocation for education schemes: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 110 cr to be allocated to department of disability: Chidambaram
  • Need $ 75 billion to bridge current account deficit: Chidambaram
  • 2013-14 budget has sub-plans for SC, ST, youth and women: Chidambaram
  • Foreign investment imperative for growth: Chidambaram
  • Our economy has slowed down after 2010: Chidambaram
  • No choice but to cut spendings to control inflation: Chidambaram
  • China and Indonesia are growing faster than India: Chidambaram
  • Getting back to 8% growth is a challenge for country: Chidambaram
  • Our goal is higher growth: Chidambaram
  • Between 2004-2008 and again in 2009-10, 2010-11 the growth rate was over 8%: Chidambaram
  • P Chidambaram begins budget address in Lok Sabha
  • Cabinet endorses Union Budget 2013-14, to be presented in Parliament shortly.
  • Finance minister P Chidambaram reaches North Block.
  • Chidambaram set to present India's 82nd national budget.
  • Today's Union Budget will be Chidambaram's eighth personal exercise.
  • It's two short of the record of 10 set by former PM Morarji Desai.
  • Since Independence, the country has seen a total of 25 ministers hold the finance portfolio.
  • India has also seen budgets - 65 normal annual budgets, 12 interim budgets and four mini-budgets.
  • Morarji Desai presented eight normal and two interim budgets.
  • Thursday will see Chidambaram equal the eight-budget track record of Pranab Mukherjee.
  • Chidambaram will surpass Yashwant Sinha, YB Chavan and CD Deshmukh who all presented seven budgets each.
  • PM Manmohan Singh and TT Krishnamachari have presented six budgets each.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi have presented one budget each.
  • Sensex closed up more than half a percent a day before the union budget 2013-14
  • It will be the eighth such personal exercise for him
  • Chidambaram set to present India's 82nd national budget in Lok Sabha


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