LATE CITY, 26 PAGES, AHMEDABAD, `3.00 ● FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TheIndian EXPRESS 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 is focus, cost is breach of fiscal target 10% market tax in name of helping real economy ANIL SASI & SUNNY VERMA SANDEEP SINGH & AANCHAL MAGAZINE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 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. For the middle-class, investors and corporates, there was little to celebrate in the subtext of the budget that Jaitley clearly said “is aimed at the agri, rural, health, education, employment, mentation of this programme,” Jaitley said. The NHPS will be part of an umbrella Ayushman Bharat scheme, along with a preventive healthcare component worth Rs 1,200 crore. “These two farreaching initiatives under the Ayushman Bharat will build a New India 2022 and ensure 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 longterm 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 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at Parliament House on Thursday. Renuka Puri Rs 5-lakh health cover for 10 crore poor families, prescription awaited 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 — an estimated 50 crore individual beneficiaries — with coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year. Describing the scheme as “the world’s largest governmentfunded healthcare programme”, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also announced one 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 imple- Assurance on MSP but for govt, rural is more about infra than agri HARISH DAMODARAN BUSINESS AS USUAL NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 THE UNION Budget Thursday promised that the minimum support prices (MSP) for all crops will be fixed so as to guarantee farmers a 50 per cent return over 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 “market intervention-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 governments, will put in place a 3 BY UNNY foolproof mechanism so that farmers get adequate price for their produce.” This lack of clarity isn’t a surprise. For all the Modi government’s assertions about doubling farm incomes, “rural” for it has al- ways been less about agriculture and more about infrastructure. It’s been less about wheat, chana, groundnut, cotton or sugarcane and more about providing people in villages access to roads, pucca houses with toilets, irrigation, electricity, LPG connections and banking facilities. That may explain the relative success of the Modi government’s schemes focusing on rural development and infrastructure creation. Thus, 57,000 km of rural roads are planned to be constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) during 2018-19, over and above the 51,000 km likely to be achieved in the current fiscal — a substantial step-up compared to the levels during the last years of the UPA regime or even UNION BUDGET 2018-2019 PAGES 8-11, 14-20 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 share jumped almost 25 per cent 12 THE EDITORIAL PAGE INSIDE ● TRINAMOOL SWEEPS BENGAL BYPOLLS, BJP SECOND, PAGE 2 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 the BJP’s Dr Jaswant Singh Yadav. BJP incumbent Mahant Chand Nath had died in September last year following a prolonged illness. The Congress vote share increased from 33.71 per cent of votes polled in 2014 to almost 58 per cent in 2018. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Wages of nervousness BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA SC makes public: which judge gets what matter, move to elevate 2 judges MACRO CONNECTING INDIA Govt spending slowest in three pre-poll years PAGE 8 Rs 1,014-cr boost to NE air connectivity PAGE 15 SOCIAL THRUST RAILWAYS & DEFENCE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Loan model to replace infra grants to IITs, IIMs PAGE 9 Rlys gets Rs 1.47 lakh cr, highest ever PAGE 18 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 TAX Accounted for 11 months, GST revenue to fall short PAGE 11 EXPLAINED What political and economic message the budget has sent out PAGE 20 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 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 after its four most senior judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — went public with concerns over the conduct of the CJI, especially in allocation ofcases. The website also posted the Collegium’s unanimous decision CJI Misra keeps all PILs on January 10 to recommend the elevation of Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra and Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph as Supreme Court judges. Sources close to the four most senior judges described Thursday’s move to make the roster public as an acknowledgement that “something was amiss” and a “moral victory” for their stance. However, they said the substance of the solution CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR GUJARAT GUJARAT SLASHES WATER TO CITIES, PLANS CONSERVATION LESSONS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE GANDHINAGAR, FEBRUARY 1 CM ORDERS CID PROBE INTO GROUNDNUT WAREHOUSE FIRE, OPPN ALLEGES CONSPIRACY ● SC bars govt from implementing final fees, Page 7 IN THE wake of less availability of Narmada water, the Gujarat government is now planning to reduce water supply from major dams like Narmada and Kadana to cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar after March 15. It has already issued instructions to Ahmedabad and Vadodara city administration of the required cut in water supply. The government is also planning to launch a social awareness campaign to inculcate habits of “good water us- age” among people, especially those living in the cities. The state government has already announced reduction in water supply from Narmada Main Canal to farmers and industries in the state. “For Ahmedabad and Vadodara, instructions of water cut have been given to the urban bodies. Whereas, for urban centres in Saurashtra, plan is on to slash water supply,” said a senior government official. While Ahmedabad city, which gets a daily supply of 1,200 MLD water, 75 per cent of which (900 MLD) comes from Narmada. The remaining 300 NARMADA RATIONING THE LIFELINE AN EXPRESS SERIES MLD comes from Mahi river (200 MLD) and groundwater (100 MLD). Vadodara, on the other hand, receives a daily supply of 140 MLD of water, most of which comes from Narmada, Vishwamitri and Mahi rivers. “It is a fact that compared to previous years, we have limited Narmada water available this year. However, it is more than Government is said to have instructed Ahmedabad and Vadodara about possible water cut from March 15. Archive enough to meet drinking needs... People’s behaviour in using water is required to be examined and changed for optimum use of available water. Therefore, a campaign is being planned by the government to create awareness among people about water usage,” said a senior officer, adding that the campaign would mainly focus on using minimum water in bathrooms, toilets and kitchens “where generally, people tend to waste a lot of water”. For the Gujarat government, another issue of concern is water lifting from canals and water grids which have been laid specially for supplying drinking wa- ter by Gujarat Water Infrastructure Limited, a Gujarat government-owned company that supplies drinking water to a large portion of the state. “If water is not used for irrigation in summer, then we have ample stock of drinking water. The issue is water lifting by farmers from canals and water grids. Farmers are to be sensitised not to lift water for summer crops. With that, the government is also considering to rope in the Home Department on a bigger scale to stop water lifting from canals and water grids,” a senior government official said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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