TheIndian EXPRESS LATE CITY, 22 PAGES, KOLKATA `4.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) ● 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 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 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 anddissipatemountingpressure toaddressdiscontentoverfalling 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, MSME and infrastructure sectors of Indian economy” and is in keeping with the NDA Government’s pursuit of the “New India which we aspire to create”. There was an additional cess 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 longtermcapitalgainsfromthestock market. And suggested this as part of a strategy to route businesssurplusestomanufacturing and real economy sectors, away from financial assets. Announcing the proposal to impose long-term capital gains taxof10percentongainsexceeding Rs 1 lakh arising from sale of listedequitysharesorunitsofequity-oriented mutual funds, Jaitleyalsoproposeda10percent tax on dividend income distributed by equity-oriented mutual funds. Whiledeclaringthatallgains up to January 31, 2018 will be grandfathered and not attract tax, the move, Jaitley said, will lead to a marginal revenue gain of Rs20,000croreinthefirstyear for the government. But the announcementshadanimmediate impact on the market which fell by 464 points from the Wednesday closing before retracting. Jaitley said that with the equitymarketturningbuoyant,the total amount of exempted capital gains from listed shares and units stands around Rs 367,000 crore as per returns filed for NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 CONTINUEDONPAGE2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 Arun Jaitley at Parliament House on Thursday. Renuka Puri Rs 5-lakh health cover for 10 crore poor UNION BUDGET 2018-2019 ABANTIKA GHOSH & GEORGE MATHEW PAGES 7-11, 14-18 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 “theworld’slargestgovernmentfundedhealthcareprogramme”, Union Finance Minister Arun MACRO CONNECTINGINDIA Govt spending slowest in three pre-poll years PAGE 7 Rs 1,014-cr boost to NE air connectivity PAGE 14 SOCIALTHRUST RAILWAYS&DEFENCE Loan model to replace infra grants to IITs, IIMs PAGE 8 Rlys gets Rs 1.47 lakh cr, highest ever PAGE 17 Jaitleyalsoannouncedonemedical 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 sec- ondary and tertiary care hospitalisation... Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation 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 enhanced productivity, well-being and avert wage loss and impoverishment,” Jaitley said. The eligibility for NHPS would be decided on the basis of “deprivations” data from the CONTINUEDONPAGE2 CONTINUEDONPAGE2 For Modi 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 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’sassertionsaboutdoubling farmincomes,“rural”forithasalwaysbeenlessaboutagriculture and more about infrastructure. It’sbeenlessaboutwheat,chana, groundnut, cotton or sugarcane and more about providing people in villages access to roads, puccahouseswithtoilets,irriga- tion,electricity,LPGconnections and banking facilities. Thatmayexplaintherelative 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 comparedtothelevelsduringthelast years of the UPA regime or even theinitialthreeyearsof thisgovernment (see table). By March 2019 - when the next national elections are due it is expected that every rural inhabitation in India with a minimum population of 500 in the plains and 250 in hilly, tribal and CONTINUEDONPAGE2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN JAITLEY’S BUDGET: BLOCKCHAIN, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE & 5G KRISHN KAUSHIK NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 FROM EXPLORING blockchain technologyindigitaleconomyto artificial intelligence applications and even 5G technology, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday used a few brief buzzwords through his two-hour Budgetspeechtodiscussemergingtechnologiesandthegovernment's plans for them. It began with Blockchain, which in simplest terms is a digital, decentralised record-book that keeps track of all the transactions. It was invented for cryptocurrencies, which are also decentralisedandencrypteddigital currenciesthatdonotrequirein- Bags containing Budget papers at the Parliament on Thursday. Praveen Jain stitutions like central banks. Every time cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, is exchanged, a block of informationisaddedtothechain of similarpreviousblocks,which is simultaneously and automat- icallydownloadedon eachcomputerconnectedtotheparticular cryptocurrency without an intermediary. Jaitley said the government does not consider cryptocurrencies “legal tender” and that it would “take all measures” to eliminateitsuseinfinancingillegitimate 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”technologieslikemachine 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 support the setting up of centers of excellence that will push investments in “research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication”. According to Jaitley, the country was 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 ‘FifthGeneration’ (5G) technologiesanditsadoption”Jaitleysaid the Department of Telecom will help in establishing an “indigenous 5G Test Bed” at the Indian Instituteof Technology,Chennai. Toattractinvestmentfornew technologies, Jaitley mentioned that “hybrid instruments” are more suited to attracted foreign funding for niche areas “especially for start-ups and venture capital firms”. Hybrid instruments are primarily debt instrumentsthatcanbeconvertedinto equity. They include optionally and partially convertible debentures, warrants and foreign currency convertible bonds. The government,theFMadded,“will evolve a separate policy for hybrid instruments”. ULUBERIA & NOAPARA Trinamool sweeps bypolls, BJP comes second on both CPM pushed to third spot, Congress candidates lose deposit SANTANU CHOWDHURY & RAVIK BHATTACHARYA KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 1 THE RULING Trinamool Congress on Thursday swept UluberiaLokSabhaandNoapara Assembly bypolls, with the BJP bagging the second spot in both seats and the CPM being relegated to the third position. Congress came fourth in both seatsanditscandidateslosttheir deposits. In Uluberia, Trinamool retained its seat by receiving 4.74 lakh votes — doubling its winning margin from the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. It wrested Noapara from Congress by a margin of 63,018 votes. In terms of vote share, too, the ruling party emerged supreme with 61 per cent in Uluberia and 54.5 per cent in Noapara. At state secretariat Nabanna, Chief MinisterMamataBanerjee said: “This is people’s victory. They have blessed us.” Trinamool candidate Sajda Ahmed, wife of late MP Sultan Ahmed(whosedeathhadpaved the way for the Uluberia bypoll) received 7.67 lakh votes. While she won by a margin of 4.74 lakh votes,in2014,SultanAhmedhad won the seat by over 2 lakh votes. The party also increased its vote share by 13 per cent. “The people of West Bengal arewiththeTrinamoolCongress and this victory is for them. Today’s election results showed that we are way ahead of the Opposition, which conspired to defeat us. CPM and Congress helped BJP to defeat Trinamool. However, they could not succeed,” party secretary general Partha Chatterjee said. The BJP, meanwhile, not only emerged as runner-up on both seats, it also increased its vote share,givingimpetustoitsclaim that it is the main Opposition party in Bengal. In Uluberia, the party received 2.93 lakh votes (around 1.6 lakh more than what it had received in 2014). The CPM, on the other hand, received 1.38 lakh votes (2.3 lakh less than in 2014). While BJP got 23.2 per cent votes, a 12 per cent increase from 2014, CPM managed to get only 11 per cent votes — a decrease of 20 per cent from 2014. In Noapara Assembly bypoll, Trinamool’sSunilSinghreceived 1,01,729 votes. On the other hand, BJP bagged 38,711 votes and CPM 35,497. While Trinamool witnessed a 12 per centincreaseinitsvoteshare,for BJP,thefigurewas8percent.The bypoll was necessitated following the demise of Congress MLA Madhusudan Ghosh. Speaking to mediapersons, Singh said: “It is a great win and shows people’s faith on Trinamool. There was a rumour that former Trinamool leader Mukul Roy will be a factor in CONTINUEDONPAGE2 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. Cong takes Alwar, Ajmer LS seats, Mandalgarh. Rohit Jain 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. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SC makes public: which judge gets what matter, move to elevate 2 judges EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 1 FOR THE first time, the Supreme Court has made public its Judges Roster — a list that shows which judgehearswhatmatterbysubject — with Chief Justice of India DipakMisraretainingallmatters 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 CJI Misra keeps all PILs concerns over the conduct of the CJI,especiallyinallocationofcases. The website also posted the Collegium’sunanimousdecision onJanuary10torecommendthe elevation of Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra and Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph as Supreme Court judges. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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