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Dada’s budget has a bit for all
New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS):
Published on 1 Mar. 2011 12:41 AM IST
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India’s Rs.12.58 lakh crore federal budget for 2011-12 Monday sought to address the want of every constituency with tax relief to cheer households and corporates alike while also promising fair doses of reform on subsidies and foreign investment along with measures to curb inflation, check corruption and push growth.
Seemingly aware of polls due soon in five states and the overall downbeat sentiment on issues such as graft, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee also proposed more money toward health, infrastructure, education, farming and even defence, and outlined a strategy to bring back black money stashed abroad -- all this with a check on fiscal deficit.
In a 110-minute budget speech in the Lok Sabha, Mukherjee said he proposed to enhance the income tax exemption limit to Rs.1.8 lakh for the next financial year, from Rs.1.6 lakh, and said corporate tax surcharge will be lowered to 5 percent from 7.5 percent. While announcing these give-aways, Mukherjee also promised to bring down fiscal deficit to 4.6 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) from 5.1 percent of GDP in the revised estimates, while hiking allocation for education by 24 percent, health by 20 percent, infrastructure by 23 percent and defence by 11 percent.
“As en emerging economy, with voice on the global stage, India stands at the threshold of a decade which presents immense possibilities. We must not let the recent strains and tensions hold us back from converting these possibilities into realities,” the finance minister said in his largely uninterrupted speech.
“Our growth in 2010-11 has been swift and broad-based. The economy is back to its pre-crisis growth trajectory. While agriculture has shown a rebound, industry is regaining its earlier momentum. Services sector continues its near double-digit run. Fiscal consolidation has been impressive,” he said.
The proposals drew immediate praise from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was particularly pleased with the decision to hike tax income tax limit. “The finance minister deserves congratulations for maintaining a high growth rate despite the adverse international economic climate.”
The finance minister said concerned remained over inflation, public delivery of goods and services and inclusive growth. “To address these concerns, I do not foresee resources being a major constraint, at least not in the medium-term.”
A packed Lok Sabha listened attentively as Pranab presented the budget, quite different in mood and tenor just three days ago when Mamata Banerjee read out her rail budget to loud protests and a constant din.
The leader of the house barely paused to drink a sip of water during the lengthy speech that started exactly at 11 a.m. There were some moments of levity, however. He invoked the god of rains Indra and the goddess of learning Saraswati right at the outset. A little later, he said three was his lucky number.
“Honourable members must be wondering why all new projects have been allocated Rs.300 crore. It is because number three is lucky for me,” he said with a smile on his face. The house, including the opposition, obligingly broke into laughter before lapsing into silence again.
NE Allocation doubled to Rs 8,000 cr
The allocation for the development of the northeast region has been doubled to Rs 8,000 crore, Pranab Mukherjee announced on Monday while presenting the budget for fiscal for 2011-12.
“In order to boost development in the northeastern region and special category states, the allocation for special assistance has been almost doubled to Rs 8,000 crore for 2011-12.
Out of Rs 8000 cr: Rs 5400 cr allocated as united untied Special Central Assistance
DoNER has been allocated Rs 1,550 cr for infrastructure development (12% lower than the Rs 1,760 allocated for 2010-11).
Out of Rs 1500 cr: Rs 700 cr will be for schemes of the North Eastern Council (NEC)
Rs 800 cr as grant from the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR)
Rs 50 cr for the schemes of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
Additional: Rs 170 cr earmarked under the Social and Infrastructure Development Fund for creating and upgrading infrastructure facilities, specially in Arunachal Pradesh and other border areas.
Rs 191 cr for central plan schemes. This includes Rs 60 crore as loans to the North East Development Finance Corporation (NEDFC), Rs 68 cr for North East States Road Project (NESRP) and Rs.35 cr for the North Eastern Region Livelihood Project (NERLP).
Boost to air transport: Allocate Rs.93 cr in the union budget 2011-12 to airport development in the region. “Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been provided with budgetary support of Rs.280.15 crore, out of which Rs.93.48 crore has been earmarked for development of airports in the northeastern states,” according to the union budget 2011-12.
Cheaper: •Basic food•Stainless steel•Refrigeration system •Mobile phones •Agriculture machinery-Tractors •Cement •Gas dispensers •Yarn/Raw silk •LED lights •Solar lanterns •Solar module cells •Hybrid fuel kits •Bio-based Asphalt•Printers •Paper •Battery driven vehicles •Home loans •Baby and Adult Diapers •Sanitary napkins •Homeopathic medicines •Soap •Cinematographic films •Ambulances •Non-branded Gold/Silver Jewellery •Medical syringes •Some Electronic components •Hosting Art Exhibitions •Equipment used in building roads and Highways •Pistachio nuts •Incense sticks.
Dearer: •Branded garments •Air travel (Rs 250 on international travel and Rs 50 on domestic travel) •Gold •Hotel accommodation charging tariff above Rs 1000 •Air-conditioned Bars •Air conditioned private hospitals (Govt hospitals exempt) •Life Insurance •Legal services.

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