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#India – Whose budget is it anyway?


Brinda Karat

INADEQUATE ALLOCATION: Reduced plan expenditure directly hits funds for sectors which require a big increase in allocation, such as drinking water and sanitation.

PTI INADEQUATE ALLOCATION: Reduced plan expenditure directly hits funds for sectors which require a big increase in allocation, such as drinking water and sanitation.

The budget presented by Arun Jaitley is a continuation from where P. Chidambaram left off, both in its fundamental policy thrust and in its skewed priority in allocations

Modi Sarkar’s first budget offered the Prime Minister the opportunity to spell out his government’s priorities and take steps towards delivering the promises he made during his election campaign. But it was clear from Narendra Modi’s ‘Congress-free India’ slogan during the budget that he was interested only in the removal of individuals, not in a reversal of the economic policies followed by his predecessor.

Fiscal fundamentalism

This budget makes a mockery of the slogan sab ka saath sab ka vikas (with everyone, for everyone). Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said as much when he decried “populism”, which in the dictionary of the corporate world means any scheme which directs national resources towards fulfilling the needs of the poor. The budget presented by Mr. Jaitley is a continuation from where former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram left off, both in its fundamental policy thrust and in its skewed priority in allocations.

Mr. Chidambaram had also adopted the deceitful practice of not spending even the inadequate allocations he made. The gap between allocation and actual expenditure became an instrument to control deficit, while permitting the announcement of grandiose schemes. To illustrate, a sum of Rs.1,000 crore had been allocated for the Nirbhaya fund, but there was zero expenditure. Mr. Jaitley has conveniently used the lower revised estimates to conceal his own woefully inadequate allocations. It is to be seen whether even this lowered amount allocated is actually spent at the end of this fiscal.

This feature of fiscal fundamentalism adopted by the United Progressive Alliance government remains the cornerstone of National Democratic Alliance’s policy. Translated into the everyday experience of people, this basically means that the government will not expand its expenditure to meet their needs because it claims it cannot spend more than its revenue. However, it does not want to take the logical step of increasing its revenue by raising the tax rates for the rich, therefore trapping the country in its circular argument.

The total plan expenditure in this budget is Rs.5.75 lakh crore compared to the budget estimate of 2013-14 of Rs.5.55 lakh crore. Factoring in an inflation rate of seven per cent, this constitutes a cut of four per cent in real terms.

There are two aspects to the impact of reduced plan expenditure. The first is that it directly hits funds for rural housing, provision of drinking water and sanitation — sectors which require a big increase in allocation. It is unbelievable but true that the Rs.15,266.85 crore allocation made by Mr. Jaitley for provision of drinking water and sanitation has increased only marginally since the 2013-2014 budget. Obviously drinking water and sanitation are less of a priority than the statue of Sardar Patel for which the Finance Minister has generously allotted Rs.200 crore.

Equally disturbing is the denial of any increased expenditure for the MGNREGA programme. The budget has reduced the funds available in real terms. With a drought being predicted, a huge expansion of the programme to provide drought relief to the 60 per cent agriculture-dependent working population of our country was essential. But the Rs.33,000 crore allocation made by Mr. Chidambaram — which itself was a reduced allocation — has been essentially repeated by this budget. This means that instead of creating jobs, we are destroying them.

The government is also the largest employer of women. Today more than Rs.50 lakh scheme workers, mainly women, fulfil responsibilities equal to those of government employees, but for a pittance. Shamefully, the budget does not have anything for them. How can you have a slogan of beti bachao, beti padhao (save your daughter, educate your daughter) when the basic unit responsible for looking after the girl child in the under-five age group, the anganwadi centre, is being starved of funds?

The Finance Minister received loud applause when he stated his aim to fulfil the Prime Minister’s dream of developing infrastructure, especially road connectivity throughout the country. He announced Rs.37,880 crore for the National Highway Authority of India and State Roads, including Rs.3,000 crore for the Northeast. A closer look at the figures reveals that far from an improvement, these represent a cut in allocations from earlier.

The second aspect is that fiscal policies, obsessed with maintaining an arbitrarily decided lakshman rekha for deficit, in this case the Chidambaram-determined 4.1 per cent, will deprive the economy to be kick-started through massive public investment for employment-led growth. The approach to resource mobilisation is to open up every sector — from defence to highways to real estate — to foreign investors and domestic corporates. The plan to push FDI in insurance to 49 per cent from the present 26 per cent will actualise the Indo-U.S. Forum demand, which was resisted by vast sections of the working people.

The pro-business bias has to be seen in conjunction with the stated moves to dilute the already weak Land Acquisition Act to make takeover of land easier for industry. The emphasis on expanding industrial corridors, many of which will go through tribal and Fifth Schedule areas to benefit mining companies, will lead to large-scale displacement and elimination of tribal rights. These are the hidden costs of the budget.

No change in direction

The other big promise was to control prices but the budget will actually increase them. The cuts in fuel subsidies by about Rs.22,000 crore means that the prices of petrol and diesel will increase, leading to a cascading impact on other essential commodities. At the same time, the allocations for the food subsidy are not adequate to cover implementation of the new food security law.

There was an alternative but that would have meant a radical change in direction. That path lay in raising taxes of the corporates and the rich. But Mr. Modi has not raised tax on their profits at all. The revenue from direct taxes is slated to decrease by Rs.22,000 crore. This at a time when India has one of the lowest tax-GDP ratios of 10.6 per cent among the G20 countries.

Instead, for revenue mobilisation, Mr. Jaitley also targets disinvestment in PSUs at Rs.55,000 crore. The target for Mr. Chidambaram’s disinvestment was around Rs.40,000 crore, of which he could collect about Rs.21,000 crore because the corporates wanted the price of the shares they were buying in the PSUs to be even lower. These policies are disastrous for the economy.

The Prime Minister has described the budget as new hope for the poor. If producing a budget that is based on liberalisation and privatisation provides hope for the poor in Mr. Modi’s understanding, then the question clearly is: have burre din (bad days) arrived?

(Brinda Karat is a CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and former member of the Rajya Sabha.)


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#Budget 2014 – P Sainath on Corporate Bailout #Rs. 36.5 trillion

The revenues foregone in 2013-14 could fund the rural jobs scheme for three decades or the PDS for four and a half years.

By P. Sainath,

It was business as usual in 2013-14. Business with a capital B. This year’s budget document says we gave away another Rs. 5.32 lakh crores to the corporate needy and the under-nourished rich in that year.  Well, it says Rs. 5.72 lakh crores  but I’m  leaving out the Rs. 40 K crore foregone on personal income tax since that write-off benefits a wider group of people. The rest is mostly about a feeding frenzy at the corporate trough. And, of course, that of other well-off people. The major write-offs come in direct corporate income tax, customs and excise duties.


If you think sparing the super-rich  taxes and duties worth Rs. 5.32 lakh crores  is  a trifle excessive, think again.  The amount we’ve written off for them since 2005-06 under the very same heads is well over Rs. 36.5  lakh crore.  (A sixth of that in just corporate income tax). That’s  Rs. 36500000000000 wiped  off for the big boys in nine years.

With  Rs. 36.5 trillion  –   for that is what it is  –   you could:

  • Fund the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for around 105 years, at present levels.  That’s more than any human being could expect to live. And a hell of a lot more than any agricultural labourer would. You could, in fact,  run the MNREGS on that sum, across the working lives of  two generations of such labourers. The current allocation for the scheme is around Rs. 34,000 crore.
  • Fund the Public Distribution System for 31 years. (current allocation Rs. 1,15,000 crores).

By the way, if these revenues had been realized, around 30 per cent of their value would have devolved to the states. So their fiscal health is affected by the Centre’s massive corporate karza maafi.

Even just the amount foregone in 2013-14 can fund the rural jobs scheme for three decades. Or the PDS for  four and a half years. It is also over four times the ‘losses’ of the Oil Marketing Companies by way of  so-called ‘under-recoveries’ in 2012-13.

Look at some of the exemptions under customs duty.  There’s a neat Rs. 48,635 crore written off on ‘Diamonds and Gold.’ Hardly aam aadmi or aam aurat items. And more than what we spend on rural jobs.  Fact: concessions on diamonds and gold over the past 36 months total Rs. 1.6 trillion.  (A lot more than we’ll spend on the PDS in the coming year).  In the latest figures, it accounts for 16 per cent of the total revenue foregone.

The break-up of the budget’s revenue foregone figure of Rs. 5.72 lakh crore for 2013-14 is interesting.  Of this, Rs. 76,116 crore was written off on just direct corporate income tax.  More than twice that sum (Rs.1,95,679 crore)  was foregone on Excise Duty. And well over three times the sum was sacrificed in Customs Duty (Rs. 2,60,714 crores).

This, of course, has been going on for many years in the ‘reforms’ period. But the budget only started carrying the data on revenue foregone around 2006-07. Hence the Rs. 36.5 trillion write-off figure. It would be higher had we the data for earlier years. (All of this, by the way, falls within the UPA period). And the trend in this direction only grows. As the budget document itself recognizes, “the total revenue foregone from central taxes is showing an upward trend. “

It sure is. The amount written off in 2013-14 shows an increase of 132 per cent compared to the same concessions in 2005-06.

Corporate karza maafi is a growth industry, and an efficient one.


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#Budget2014- Implications on NGOs and Non Profit Sector in India

By Noshir H. Dadrawala

In his Budget for 2014-15, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed a number of changes to the Income Tax Act. These have been widely discussed. However, what impact does the Finance Bill 2014 have on the Non-profit Sector in India?


Let’s start with what everyone seemed to be most concerned about – “Deductibility of CSR expenditure”

The Finance Minister has proposed that any CSR expenditure incurred by an assesse shall not be allowed as deduction under section 37. However, the CSR expenditure which is of the nature described in sections 30 to 36 shall be allowed as deduction under those sections subject to fulfilment of conditions, if any, specified therein. These provisions will be incorporated in the ‘Charitable Institutions Referencer’ after the Finance (No.2) Act 2014 is passed.

Noshir H Dadrawala


In other words only certain social welfare spending activities by corporates would be eligible for tax benefits. The Finance Minister has maintained that all CSR works cannot be given the same treatment.

“As the application of income is not allowed as deduction for the purposes of computing taxable income of a company, amount spent on CSR cannot be allowed as deduction for computing taxable income of the company,” the Finance Minister said. He further emphasized that the “objective of CSR is to share the government’s burden in providing social services. If such expenses are allowed as tax deduction, this would result in subsidizing of around one-third of such expenses by the government by way of tax expenditure”.

As CSR expenditure, being an application of income, is not incurred for the purposes of carrying on business, such expenditures cannot be allowed under the existing provisions of section 37 of the Income Tax Act. Under this section, deduction for any expenditure, which is not mentioned specifically in section 30 to section 36 of the Act, shall be allowed if the same is incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of carrying on business or profession. However, only few projects as provided for in section 30 to 36 of the Income Tax Act would be eligible for tax benefits. The FM has included slum development under CSR ambit.

Withdrawal of exemption of income otherwise exempt under section 10

It has been proposed that a charitable institution whose registration under section 12AA/12A is in force will not be entitled to exemption under section 10 [except agricultural income and exemption under section 10(23C)]. Thus, such income will be included with other income of the institution and will have to applied to charitable/religious purposes in order to claim exemption under section 11.

Thus far, Courts in India have held that a charitable institution is entitled to an exemption under section 10 (e.g. agricultural income, dividend income, etc.), whether its income is exempt under section 11 to 13 or not.

Withdrawal of deduction of depreciation of assets in certain cases

A charitable institution which has been allowed the entire cost of asset as application of income will not be allowed a further deduction in respect of depreciation in computation of its income.

Up to now, the preeminent view of courts has been that a charitable institution is entitled to deduct depreciation in computation of its income, even if it has been allowed the entire cost of acquisition of asset as application of income.

Cancellation of registration of a charitable institution in certain cases

The registration of an institution may be cancelled if it is noticed that violates section 13, that is, its income does not enure for the benefit of general public;

it is for benefit of any particular religious community or caste (in case it is established after commencement of the Act);
any income or property of the trust is applied for benefit of specified persons such as author of trust, trustees etc.; or
its funds are invested in prohibited modes

However, registration will not be cancelled if it is proved that there was a reasonable cause for the activities to be carried out in the above manner.

This provision will be effective from 1st October 2014.

Up to now registration of a charitable institution was liable to be cancelled under two circumstances:

The activities of a trust or institution are not genuine, or;
The activities are not being carried out in accordance with the objects of the trust or institution.

Applicability to earlier years of the registration granted to a charitable institution

With effect from 1st October 2014, in case where an institution has been granted registration:

a. the benefit of sections 11 and 12 shall be available for any earlier assessment year if:

i. the assessment proceeding for such year is pending before the Assessing Officer as on the date of such registration; and

ii. the objects and activities of the institution in the said assessment year are the same as those on the basis of which such registration has been granted.

b. an assessment shall not be reopened under section 147 for any assessment year preceding the first assessment year for which the registration applies, merely for the reason that such institution had not obtained the registration under section 12AA for the said assessment year.

The above benefits would not be available in case of any institution whose:

a. application for registration was refused under section 12AA or

b. a registration once granted was cancelled.

So far, a trust or an institution could claim exemption under sections 11 and 12 only from the first day of the financial year in which it has made an application for registration under section 12AA. Thus, its income for earlier years is not exempt under section 11.

Anonymous donations (Section 115BBC)

The income-tax payable shall be the aggregate of the following:

a. 30% of the anonymous donations in excess of (i) 5% of the total donations received by the assessee or (ii) Rs. 1 lakh, whichever is higher, and

b. the amount of income-tax on the total income as reduced by the anonymous donations referred to in (a) above on which 30% tax is charged.

For example:

(a) Total Income Rs. 1,00,00,000

(b) Aggregate amount of anonymous donations received Rs. 40,00,000

(c) Total donations received Rs. 60,00,000

(d) 5% of total donations (5% of c.) Rs. 3,00,000

(e) Deduction (d or Rs. 1 lakh, whichever is higher) Rs. 3,00,000

(f) Amount liable to tax under section 115BBC @ 30% (b-e) Rs. 37,00,000

(g) Income liable to normal tax (a-b) Rs. 63,00,000

(h) Amount of tax on anonymous donations @3o% (f * 30%) Rs. 11,10,000

Under the existing provisions of Income tax, in case of certain charitable institutions receiving anonymous donations the income tax payable is the aggregate of the following:

a. 30% of the anonymous donations in excess of (i) 5% of the total donations received by the assessee or (ii) Rs. 1 lakh, whichever is higher; and
b. the amount of income tax on the total income as reduced by the full amount of anonymous donations.

Clearly some of the changes proposed by the FM will have far reaching consequences on charities in India.

Read ,pre here –

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#Budget2014 – Health components of Union budget 2014-15

Compiled by Dr Anant Bhan’


HIV/AIDS drugs and diagnostic kits will be cheaper

– Portable X-ray machines will be more expensive

– Health budget 2014-15 Rs 30,145.00 cr; AIDS Control: 1,785 cr; AIIMS like inst 1,456 cr (Rupee figures via Vidya Krishnan on Twitter)

– The science and technology department has received an allocation of Rs 3,544 crore, an 11 per cent increase over last year’s figures, and the highest increase among the departments associated with scientific and medical research. The allocation for biotechnology is Rs 1,517 crore, only Rs 15 crore (0.9 %) higher than last year’s outlay (Source:

-“In an attempt to provide Health for All, the Government will introduce two key initiatives i.e. the Free Drug Service and Free Diagnosis Service which would be taken up on priority.

-The Government is to set up two National Institutes for Ageing at AIIMS, New Delhi and Madras Medical College, Chennai

– A national levelresearch and referral Institute for higher dental studies would be set up in one of the existing Dental institutions.

– It is also planned to set up AIIMS like institutes in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (Rs 500 crores allotted). ”

-The Central Government has decided to set up fifteen Model Rural Health Research Centres in the States for better health care facilities in rural India, which shall take up research on local health issues concerning rural population

–  At present, 58 Government Medical Colleges have been approved and proposed to add 12 more such colleges. In addition, dental facilities would also be provided in all the hospitals.

– The Central Government will provide assistance to strengthen the States Drug Regulatory and Food Regulatory Systems by creating new drug testing laboratories and strengthening the 31 existing State laboratories

– Proposed to establish National level institute for Mental Health Rehabilitation

– Pay more for #tobacco products, pan masala and aerated drinks with sugar (“I propose to increase the specific excise duty on cigarettes in the range of 11 percent to 72 percent. Similar increases are proposed on cigars,cheroots and cigarillos. Likewise, the excise duty is being increased from 12percent to 16 percent on pan masala, from 50 percent to 55 percent onunmanufactured tobacco and from 60 percent to 70 percent on gutkha and chewingtobacco. I also propose to levy an additional duty of excise at 5 percent on aeratedwaters containing added sugar. These are healthy measures and I hope everyonewould welcome them from the point of view of human and fiscal health.”)

– The Government intends to cover every household by total #sanitation by the year 2019, the 150th year of the Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi through Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan

-. It is proposed to earmark Rs 3,600 crore under National Rural Drinking Water Programme for providing safe drinkingwater in approximately 20,000 habitations affected with arsenic, fluoride, heavy/toxic elements, pesticides/ fertilizers through community water purification plants in next 3 years.

– Biotech clusters in Bangalore and Faridabad

– Global partnerships will be developed under India’s leadership totransform the Delhi component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) into a world-leader in life sciencesand biotechnology.

– A national programme in Mission Mode is urgently required to halt thedeteriorating malnutrition situation in India, as present interventions are notadequate. A comprehensive strategy including detailed methodology, costing,time lines and monitorable targets will be put in place within six months.


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#Budget2014: Narendra Modi eyes Rs.700 bn privatisation target New Delhi, July 6, 2014 | UPDATED 16:19 IST

The National Democratic Alliance, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has come to power on the growth plank, is all set to usher the economy into a vibrant mode. Come Budget 2014, and the government will seek to raise up to a record $11.7 billion in asset sales, it has been learnt. The budget is due on Thursday.

July 6 | Railways plans X-ray system to detect train faults
July 2 | Need to check mindless populism: Jaitley
According to Reuters, the privatisation target could reach Rs.700 billion, “almost equal to all proceeds over the last four years, in a budget Prime Minister Narendra Modi hopes will launch the growth and jobs agenda”.

The report has quoted a senior official, with direct knowledge of the budget process, as saying, that the finance ministry has approached different ministries “to increase the divestment target”.

While opening up industries like defence is an option, selling controlling stakes in bloated state enterprises is out of the question, the report has said.

India’s business confidence at 3-year high

Confidence of India Inc. in the economy has risen to the 14-quarter high ahead of the first budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, according to a survey conducted by industry chambers FICCI.

“A clear mandate in elections, followed by a slew of announcements undertaken by the government has lifted the spirits of industry members,” IANS quotes the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry as saying in a survey report.

“However, going ahead, it will be imperative to back these announcements with speedy and timely action,” it said.

FICCI’s latest Business Confidence Survey reflects signs of rebound in the economy.

The Overall Business Confidence Index inched up eight notches in the current survey vis-a-vis the previous round.

This is the third consecutive improvement in the business confidence in the country.

The survey report comes days ahead of the first Union budget of the Modi government to be presented July 10.

Respondents are clearly more upbeat about the near term prospects and this is true for expected performance at all the three levels – economy, industry and firm level, the survey report said.

In fact, a whopping majority of 93 per cent participants said that they expect the overall economic situation to be “moderately to substantially better” in the coming six months.

The investor sentiment which had taken a sharp hit in the past also seems to be recuperating.

According to the current survey results, a plunge was noted in the percentage of participating companies anticipating investments to decline in near term.

About 6 per cent of the respondents indicated lower investments over the next two quarters. The corresponding figure was 20 per cent last time. Also, 40 per cent companies said that they foresee higher investments over the next two quarters, vis-a-vis 24 per cent stating likewise in the last round.

Outlook of the participating companies with regard to employment and exports also improved.

However, low demands remain a key constraint. Nearly 74 per cent of the surveyed companies said demands remained weak. Majority of them expect it to improve over the next six months.

Read more at:

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#India – world’s ninth largest military spender and number one arms importer #WTFnews

India is the world’s ninth largest military spender and number one arms importer, according to data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. By R. SURESH

According to the figures released on April 14 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India is the world’s ninth biggest military spender. The data on trends in international arms transfer reveal that India has also emerged as the biggest importer of arms during 2009-13.

Military spending continues to fall in the West but rises everywhere else, says SIPRI, an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

Expenditure and arms transferThe SIPRI data reveal that global military expenditure at 2.4 per cent of the world gross domestic product totalled $1.75 trillion in 2013, a fall of 1.9 per cent in real terms since 2012. The fall in the global total comes from decreases in Western countries, led by the United States, and despite increases in all other regions. In fact, military spending in the rest of the world excluding the U.S. increased by 1.8 per cent.

The volume of international transfers of major weapons during 2009-13 was 14 per cent higher than in 2004-08. The five biggest exporters in 2009-13 were the U.S., Russia, Germany, China and France and the five biggest importers were India, China, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

India’s import dependenceIndia has been expanding its arms imports thanks to its perception of threat from Pakistan and its militarily better-equipped neighbour, China. The country has failed in its effort to develop weapons indigenously and has had to increasingly look to global weapons manufacturers for its needs.

India is expected to spend over $100 billion in shopping for arms over the next few years. It has already inked several deals with major suppliers, but several have run into controversies. Interestingly, the share of the U.S. in the Indian arms pie is steadily increasing, although Russia still remains its main supplier.

In the Interim Union Budget for 2014-15, India has allocated Rs.2,24,000 crore for defence, an increase of 9.98 per cent over the 2013-14 defence budget. India has the second largest standing army after China and a bulk of its defence budget goes into servicing revenue expenditure. Defence experts feel that the hike in capital expenditure, which mainly caters to the modernisation requirement of the armed forces, is still very low.

China’s military expenditureMilitary expenditure in Asia and Oceania rose by 3.6 per cent in 2013, reaching $407 billion. The increase is mostly accounted for by a 7.4 per cent increase by China, whose spending reached an estimated $188 billion.

Printable version | May 1, 2014 2:05:28 PM |

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BJP’s advertisement plan may cost a whopping Rs.5,000 cr

Flag of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a na...

Flag of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a national political party in India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Himani Chandna Gurtoo, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 13, 2014



First Published: 00:19 IST(13/4/2014) | Last Updated: 13:20 IST(13/4/2014)


Pick up any newspaper, switch on any TV channel, drive down any main street or tune into any FM channel and chances are that you will be bombarded with advertisements exhorting you to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.


The tab? Media buyers and sources close to the BJP’s campaign said the party could end up spending about Rs. 5,000 crore by May 12, when the last phase of polling takes place. Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, which is handling the BJP’s media planning, refused to say anything beyond “we are moving as per the approved plan”.

But a veteran media planner, who is working closely with the BJP, told HT on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media: “Planned spends on all media, including print, television, outdoor, internet and radio would be close to Rs. 4,500 crore. The party has set aside an additional Rs. 500 crore, which will be used, based on need, to beef up the campaign in critical constituencies and states in the last few days of campaigning.”

“The strategy, apart from carpet bombing voters with BJP’s message, is to block out all other political parties across the print, television, online and offline media irrespective of cost,” said a media planner from Madison on condition of anonymity.

The party has booked 15,000 hoardings across India for up to three months. The cost: From Rs. 2-3 lakh per hoarding per month in cheaper locations to as much as Rs. 20 lakh per hoarding per month in Mumbai’s Nariman Point. The total cost: Rs. 2,500 crore.

In the print media, the BJP has bought the most prominent ad slots across national, regional and vernacular newspapers for 40 days. “We have chosen 50 top national and regional newspapers across India and plan to release about four to five ads everyday till the end of the election process,” said the planner. The budget: Rs. 500 crore. The advertisement budget for magazines is an additional Rs. 150 crore.

In TV, the BJP has bought about 2,000 spots a day across Hindi, English and regional news, general entertainment and sports channels. A spot in most popular entertainment channels cost about Rs. 80,000 per 30 seconds. The budget: Rs. 800-1,000 crore. It spent another Rs. 150 crore during the T20 World Cup. The online and radio budget is about Rs. 35 crore.

Asked to comment on its ad budget, a senior BJP leader said, “The expenditure would be about Rs. 700-750 crore.”

“The BJP’s spending is at least four times that of the Congress,” said Santosh Sood, former COO, Rediffusion Y&R, a media buying agency.


Read more here–


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Budgetary allocations for UIDAI till 31 March 2014 #UID #Aadhar

Kindly note that according to a October 2013 report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance submitted to both the Houses of Parliament, the total budgetary allocations made for UIDAI since its inception up to 31 March 2014 is Rs 5, 440.30 crore, as per details given below:


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


S.No Financial Year Amount (Rs. crore)
1. 2009-10 25.65*
2. 2010-11 268.41*
3. 2011-12 1187.52*
4. 2012-13 1338.72*
5. 2013-14 2620.00^
   TOTAL 5440.30


*Actual Expenditure, ^ Budget Estimates
The budget of this project comes under the ministry of planning. The budgetary support to Aadhaar was increased by 47% to Rs1,758 crore in 2012-13 from Rs 1,200 crore in 2011-12 for UIDAI to enroll Indian residents for their unique IDs/Aadhaar to 60 crore from 20 crore. A provision of Rs 2, 620 crore has been allocated in Budget Estimate (2013-14) for UIDAI and a major part of the budget provision for Rs 1,040 crore is earmarked for ‘Enrolment Authentication and Updation’, out of which Rs 1,000 crore has been earmarked under the head ‘other charges’. What is this “other charges”?




Besides this allocations must have been made in Chidambram’s last Interim Budget for expenses beyond March 31, 2014.





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Dear Mr FM, why give me discounts on cars when I can’t afford food?

Open letter  By Amit Daga






English: India's Minister of Finance Palaniapp...

English: India’s Minister of Finance Palaniappan Chidambaram is the special guest at a plenary session titled Risks to India’s Economy in a Post-Crisis World held at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit 2008 in New Delhi, 16-18 November 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Dear Mr Finance Minister,


I graduated around the same time when UPA came into power first time, in 2004.Despite belonging to a middle class strata of society and from a tier-III city with no higher education or degree I rose the ladder of financial market world as a commodity & currency trader.


I even managed to work in some of the great cities of our country and even abroad and earn well enough to spend and enjoy my life. I even survived the financial crisis of 2008-09, but thanks to various steps taken in last two years and apathy towards the FCRA bill many careers ended in the last few years. But I am not writing this to discuss those issues, after all I am part of a very small constituency.


The Finance Minister presenting the vote on account. Reuters I have a few points to make which I discuss later in brief here point by point. But before that I must applaud you for all the juggling of numbers and mockery of statistics in broad daylight.


a) In your interim budget you propose excise duty cut in automobiles sector specially in small segment car by 4 percent i.e. roughly Rs 10,000 – 17,000 discount in that segment. We know the automobile sector, specifically the small car segment, is bleeding and facing its toughest time in last decade. But a mere 4 percent cut in this segment while giving larger sops to SUV market,which is anyway growing far more than other segments, is a complete nonsense in my view. People like me are not buying cars because inflation is eating into my household budget, job uncertainty does not allow me to opt for a car loans. Why would I buy a car for a mere discount of a few thousand rupees when my I have greater concerns. Dear FM, you need to fix other things first before you ask me to buy a car.


b) You are bailing out Air India, but have no future plan for our shrinking public transport system facility. Subsides are so high that I prefer to leave it for an economist to tell you the reality. However, the Rs 2,600 crore subsidy as a moratorium on student loans is not what exactly me,my colleague or my brother will be looking for. On the contrary, the fact is jobs are shrinking even as graduates are being produced by our shattered education system. Instead of doing that, you could help those students get jobs then they will take care of principal and interest themselves. It also is discrimination against those who paid the their loans on time.


c)     By reducing excise duty on consumer and capital goods by 2 percent you are laughing at our misery. When food inflation and rising cost of living is a threat to many, buying an air-conditioner will be the least of my priorities. You smartly reduced taxes on cheap mobile handsets, but your recent spectrum auction bill (to fund your extravagant spending on flagship schemes) will definitely increase my mobile bill by more than 10-15 percent as per various reports in media.


d)     Dear FM, you specifically mentioned that your mother and faculty at Harvard taught hard work. No one taught us, but we are forced to work hard at our daily chores. Thanks to the financial crisis, the hot money from various stimulus packages from developed countries keep your forex reserves full so that you can take credit for all the goodies in parliament. The fact is a $15 billion  rise in FX reserve is doing nothing but adding more debt on your books. You pat yourself for manufacturing and export sales rising, but you must admit that a small country formed in 1971 is exporting far more garments. The reality is rupee depreciation just ensures some healthy competition in pricing for them. You did very little to discourage import in various sectors except hitting gold imports and curbing currency trading to inflate the currency. CAD comes down heavily because many imports become impractical. However, you and your government must be lauded for all the good steps you have taken in the last ten years to revive economic growth and ensure large scale ‘development’.


ps: I am no Amartya Sen, Jean Dreze, or a economist. I am just a small trader who is waiting for next government in the hope of it creating employment opportunities through real reforms. I end my painful letter with this simple quote: “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” –Mark Twain

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#Budget2014 – Finance Ministry committed to concerns of corporate sector


Budget (Photo credit: LendingMemo)



18 Feb, 2014, ET
Far from being an election year special, this year’s Interim Budget is a marked shift from the UPA II’s stated ideal of growth with a human face. This Budget pays scant attention to social sector needs. Its primary objective and stated achievement is the reduction of the fiscal deficit to meet the requirements of the FRBM Act.

The Finance Minister’s commitments to meet the requirement of the FRBM Act have been ongoing. Despite the Union Minister for Rural Development calling these ‘savage cuts’, the finance ministry continued with its mission to please credit rating agencies abroad. Those of us who work in rural areas have heard reports from across the country about how the MGNREGA was drying up due to a paucity of funds.

One state government after the next has been petitioning the Union Government for fun for funds to meet demand. The Union Government has used excuse after excuse to deny these funds, and the net result has been to critically undermine this ‘demand based’ legal entitlement.

Indira Awas, Rural Roads and the National Rural Livelihood Mission, all had their budget slashed. Barring an increase in expenditure on food subsidy, as mandated by the Right to Food law, all other social sectors continue to face a monetary drought. In fact, the marginal increases in some do not even  ..

keep pace with inflation and are therefore facing a reduction in real terms.

MGNREGA is a case in point. It is now clear that the finance ministry is committed to the affluent, and to the concerns of the corporate sector.

The budget cuts of 2013-14 only continued the trend of 2012-13 where fiscal consolidation was achieved through reducing social sector expenditure. It might have been imagined that an election year budget (even an interim one) might bring some relief for the poor and economically disadvantaged, or even apply to the wider notion of the common citizen. However, this budget prides itself on further reducing the fiscal deficit, not by increasing taxes but through keeping control over social expenditure.

The Interim Budget projects a reduction of the fiscal deficit from 4.8 per cent to 4.6 per cent of  ..

of the GDP without attempting to increase tax revenue. India’s tax to GDP ratio remains unjustifiably low. People who work with India’s poor and disadvantaged would have no problem with the Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management Act if it were accompanied by an equally mandatory ‘Responsibility to Meet Basic Human Needs Act (RMBNA)’.

After all, isn’t the existence of democratic governments predicated on this commitment? It is only when that commitment is understood that governments understood that governments will stop pandering to the corporate sector and begin to raise tax revenues to ensure resources are available for the basic responsibilities of government. The most shocking fiscal callousness is this government’s attitude to the destitute elderly.

UPA II in its whole term had no problem in keeping old age pensions at a miserly amount Rs 200 per month. Despite assurances in March this year by the Prime Minister to revamp the NSAP, universalise and increase this amount to Rs 500, through all of last year none the assurances were met.

The interim budget this year could have been a chance to take this small step forward. The budget, of course, did no such thing. However the government has no compunction in increasing pension expenditure for its own employees.

In 2013 there was a 10 per cent hike in Dearness allowance for 50 lakh Central government employees and 30 lakh pensioners. The hike would amount to a total of Rs 19,000 crore. Budgets matter. For people at the lowest end it’s a difference between life and death.

At some point one has to wonder how financial mandarins can have no compunction about increasing their own entitlements while ignoring the basic human needs of the poorest and most destitute people in the country.

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