TheIndian EXPRESS LATE CITY, 24+4 (NEWSLINE) PAGES, PUNE, `5.00 ● FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE LAST FULL BUDGET OF MODI GOVERNMENT BEFORE LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Economics with Pollitics Rural, poor are focus, slip in fiscal deficit target 10% market tax in name of helping real economy ANIL SASI & SUNNY VERMA SANDEEP SINGH & AANCHAL MAGAZINE FINANCE MINISTER Arun Jaitley’s last full Budget before the Lok Sabha elections was predominantly a rural-sector budget with a clear political overtone: to reinforce the Narendra Modi government as one with pro-poor credentials and dissipate mounting pressure to address discontent over falling farm income and economic slowdown. The slew of measures for agriculture and a new health insurance scheme for the poor come a month after the bruising Gujarat election results and ahead of the eight states that go to polls this year at the cost of a breach in the fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 and a stock market tax reintroduced after 12 years. On the fiscal deficit, the budget estimate of 3.2 per cent of GDP for this year has been revised to 3.5 per cent — the second year in a row that the government has pushed back its stated fiscal commitment to push through its spending aimed at the Indian hinterland. WHEN DEMONETISATION was announced, the government’s political hardsell was that the rich were not being spared, that they too would have to stand in queues and come clean on their income. On Thursday, unveiling the Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reinforced this political message when he announced taxation on long-term capital gains from the stock market. And suggested this as part of a strategy to route business surpluses to manufacturing and real economy sectors, away from financial assets. Announcing the proposal to impose long-term capital gains tax of 10 per cent on gains exceeding Rs 1 lakh arising from sale of listed equity shares or units of equity-oriented mutual funds, Jaitley also proposed a 10 per cent tax on dividend income distributed by equity-oriented mutual funds. While declaring that all gains up to January 31, 2018 will be grandfathered and not attract tax, the move, Jaitley said, will lead to a marginal revenue gain of Rs 20,000 crore in the first year for the government. But the announcements had an immediate impact on the market which fell by 464 points from the Wednesday closing before retracting. Jaitley said that with the equity market turning buoyant, the total amount of exempted capital gains from listed shares and units stands around Rs 367,000 crore as per returns filed for assessment year 2017-18. NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at Parliament House on Thursday. Renuka Puri Assurance on MSP but for govt, rural is more about infra than agri HARISH DAMODARAN NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 THE UNION Budget Thursday promised that the minimum supportprices(MSP)forallcrops will be fixed so as to guarantee farmersa50percentreturnover their production cost. And that the Centre would ensure that farmers will “get the full benefit of the announced MSPs”. But in the absence of any budgetary provision — there is a “marketintervention-cum-price support scheme”, for which the allocation is a mere Rs 200 crore in the coming fiscal — it is not clear how this is going to be done. All that is stated in Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s speech is that the “Niti Aayog, in consultation with central and state Rs 5-lakh health cover for 10 cr poor ABANTIKA GHOSH & GEORGE MATHEW NEW DELHI, MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 1 THE SHOWPIECE of the Modi government’s pre-poll Budget Thursday is an ambitious National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) for over 10 crore “poor and vulnerable” families 13 THEIDEASPAGE Moving from job to wages Raising wages needs targeting of productivity via multiple reforms — an estimated 50 crore individual beneficiaries — with coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year. Describing the scheme as “theworld’slargestgovernmentfundedhealthcareprogramme”, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitleyalsoannouncedone medical college for every three Parliamentary constituencies, and at least one in every state. “We will launch a flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families... providing coverage upto Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation... Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme,” Jaitley said. BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY governments, will put in place a foolproof mechanism so that farmers get adequate price for their produce.” This lack of clarity isn’t a surprise.ForalltheModigovernment’s assertions about doubling farm incomes, “rural” for it has always been less about agriculture and more about infrastructure. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 UNION BUDGET 2018-2019 PAGES 6-11, 14-18 MACRO CONNECTINGINDIA Govt spending slowest in three pre-poll years Rs 1,014-cr boost to NE air connectivity SOCIALTHRUST RAILWAYS&DEFENCE Loan model to replace infra grants to IITs, IIMs Rlys gets Rs 1.47 lakh cr, highest ever CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Supreme Court makes public: which judge gets what matter, move to elevate two judges EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE CJI Misra keeps all PILs NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 FOR THE first time, the Supreme Court has made public its Judges Roster — a list that shows which judge hears what matter by subject — with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra retaining all matters related to PILs. The roster was posted on the Supreme Court’s official website Thursday, nearly three weeks afteritsfourmostseniorjudges— Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi,MadanBLokurandKurian Joseph — went public with concerns over the conduct of the CJI,especiallyinallocationofcases. The website also posted the Collegium’s unanimous decision on January 10 to recommend the elevationofSeniorAdvocateIndu Malhotra and Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph as Supreme Court judges. Sources close to the four most seniorjudgesdescribedThursday’s move to make the roster public as anacknowledgementthat“somethingwasamiss”anda“moralvictory” for their stance. However, theysaidthesubstanceofthesolutionproposedhasdonelittletoassuage the concerns of the judges. The13-pagerosterstatesitwillbe applicable only to fresh cases and will take effect from February 5, 2018, “till further orders”. INSIDE ● AFTER GUJARAT, BJP BANKS ON PRO-RURAL BUDGET, PAGE 4 ● BUDGET GIVES NEW WINGS TO ASPIRATIONS OF POOR, SAYS AMIT SHAH, PAGE 4 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Cong takes Alwar, Ajmer LS seats, Mandalgarh. Rohit Jain In election year, BJP handed a drubbing in Rajasthan bypolls HAMZA KHAN JAIPUR, FEBRUARY 1 IN A major setback to the BJP in Rajasthan, which goes to assembly polls later this year, the Congress swept bypolls to three seats in the state earlier held by the ruling party. Thursday’s results in the Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha seats and Mandalgarh assembly constituency seats indicated a massive swing in vote share towards the Congress. The Congress vote share in Alwar and Ajmer increased by 25 per cent and 11 per cent compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while the BJP’s share in the same seats dipped by 20 per cent and 10 per cent. In Alwar, the Congress vote sharejumpedalmost25percent compared to its showing in 2014 when it lost by 2.83 lakh votes. The BJP had polled more than 60 per cent in 2014 and was down to 40 per cent this time. On Thursday, the Congress’ Dr Karan Singh Yadav defeated theBJP’sDrJaswantSinghYadav. BJP incumbent Mahant Chand Nath had died in September last 12 THEEDITORIAL PAGE year following a prolonged illness.TheCongressvoteshareincreased from 33.71 per cent of votespolledin2014toalmost58 per cent in 2018. State Congress President Sachin Pilot, in 2014, had lost the Ajmer seat to the BJP’s Sanwar Lal Jat - who died in July last year - by a margin of almost 1.71 lakh votes, a trend that reversed Thursday. After securing 40 per centof thevotesharein2014,the Congress, under candidate Raghu Sharma, recorded 51 per cent of the vote share. The BJP had fielded Jat’s son Ramswaroop Lamba. The Congress also gained an assembly seat after winning the Mandalgarh constituency bypoll, necessitated after the death of BJP incumbent Kirti Kumari, in August last year while undergoing treatment for Swine Flu. Kumari,in2013,hadcornered 50.07 per cent of total votes polled, ahead of Congress candidate Vivek Dhakar’s 38.90 per cent.OnThursday,Dhakar,nominated again, won 39.50 per cent of total votes polled, while the BJP’s Shakti Singh Hada secured 32.19 per cent of votes polled. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Wages of nervousness BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA DEATH IN NAIR HOSPITAL MRI ROOM Resident doctor in charge of radiology dept arrested TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 1 THE AGRIPADA police Thursday arrested resident doctor SiddhantShah,whowasonduty and in charge of the radiology department at BYL Nair Hospital whenapatient’srelativediedaf- ter getting sucked in by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine on January 27. Shah has been booked under Section 304(A) of the IPC for “causing death by negligence”. His statement was recorded by the police along with Nair hospital’s radiology department head Dr Devdas Shetty. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR NEW TECH IN THE BUDGET: BLOCKCHAIN, AI AND 5G KRISHN KAUSHIK NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 FROM EXPLORING blockchain technology in digital economy to artificial intelligence applications and even 5G technology, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday used a few brief buzzwords through his two-hour Budget speech to discuss emerging technologies and the government’s plans for them. It began with blockchain, which in simplest terms is a digital, decentralised recordbook that keeps track of all the transactions. It was invented for cryptocurrencies, which are also decentralised and encrypted digital currencies that do not require institutions like central banks. Every time cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, is exchanged, a block of information is added to the chain of similar previous blocks, which is simultaneously and automatically downloaded on each computer connected to the particular cryptocurrency without an intermediary. Jaitley said the government does not consider cryptocurrencies “legal tender” and that it would “take all measures” to eliminate its use in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system. However, the FM did say in his speech that the government would “explore use of block chain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy”. Jaitley also acknowledged the development of “cuttingedge” technologies like machine learning, AI, Internet of Things and 3D printing. In his speech, he said the NITI Aayog “will initiate a national program to direct our efforts in the area of artificial intelligence, including research and development of its applications”. The Department of Science and Technology, he said, would Budget documents under tight security prior to be taken to Parliament on Thursday. Praveen Jain support the setting up of centres of excellence that would push investments in “research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication”. According to Jaitley, the country is also preparing for upcoming technologies, like the fifth generation of mobile wireless technology or 5G, which is still a few years away. To harness the benefits of “emerging new technologies, particularly the ‘Fifth Generation’ (5G) technologies and its adoption” Jaitley said the Department of Telecom would help in establishing an “indigenous 5G Test Bed” at the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai. To attract investment for new technologies, Jaitley mentioned that “hybrid instruments” were more suited to attract foreign funding for niche areas “especially for start-ups and venture capital firms”. Hybrid instruments are primarily debt instruments that can be converted into equity. They include optionally and partially convertible debentures, warrants and foreign currency convertible bonds. The government, the FM added, “will evolve a separate policy for hybrid instruments”.
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