Morning Brief: Modi Government May Cut Expenditure By Rs 50,000 Crore; First Rafale Fighter Built For India Makes Debut Flight; And More
Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news brief for today.
Budget 2018-19: Government May Cut Expenditure By Rs 50,000 Crore
The Narendra Modi government is likely to cut spending by Rs 50,000 crore to meet the tough fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of the GDP, The Financial Express has said in a report. This is significant because an analysis in Mint points out that governments tend to raise overall spending before elections. Trimming of the budget is likely as non-tax revenues could be significantly below budget target and uncertainties over indirect tax receipts continue. The Centre may also see a shortfall of Rs 20,000-25,000 crore on the disinvestment front, the target for which was set at Rs 80,000 crore. The sale of 51 per cent stake in HPCL to ONGC last year had helped the Centre generate a record Rs 1 lakh crore disinvestment revenue.
After refunds and devolution to states, tax revenue grew little over 7.5 per cent in H1FY19. The budgeted amount for the full year could only be raised if tax revenue grew at around 19 per cent, the report says. Although there has been some improvement in the past few months, the gap in revenue is unlikely to be bridged in five months. A Rs 20,000 crore shortfall is also expected in telecom revenues, budgeted at Rs 48,700 crore.
First Rafale Fighter Built For India In France Makes Debut Flight
The first Rafale fighter jet, built by Dassault Aviation for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in its facility in France, made its debut flight on 30 October, Livefist has reported. According to the portal, the fighter, which has India-specific enhancements, will be the last to be delivered to India. The platform, it is reported, will act as a "technology proof" and the testing of this aircraft will continue until April 2022.
Earlier, the Indian Express had reported that only one of the 36 fighters would be delivered to India from France until the end of the contract period in April 2022 with India-specific enhancements. The other 35 fighters for the IAF will be delivered without the enhancements starting September 2019. Enhancements will be made in India at the rate of seven aircraft per month. Work on this will begin after the end of the contract period. (The Rafale Saga - A curated list articles on the Rafale deal and the needless controversies surrounding it.)
Ready To Contest Bypolls To 20 Assembly Seats In TN: Kamal Haasan
Kamal Haasan said on Wednesday that his party, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), is ready to contest bypolls to 20 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu. Haasan, who was addressing the media on his 64th birthday, said his party had already filled 80 per cent of posts at the field level in all these 20 assembly seats.
This development comes after the Madras High Court upheld the disqualification of 18 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLAs. By-elections will be held for a total of 20 seats, including two that have been vacant since the death of members. The Tamil Nadu assembly's strength is down from 234 to 214.
Trump Fires US Attorney General Jeff Sessions
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been fired by President Donald Trump nearly a year after he recused himself from the Russia investigation. White House had received a resignation letter from Sessions earlier Wednesday and it had been accepted. Before this development made headlines, Trump had said that the Russia investigation “should end because it’s very bad for our country” and called it a "disgusting witch hunt".
Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, has been named as the acting attorney general. Whitaker, who has criticised the Russia inquiry, is a former US attorney from Iowa. Whitaker is now expected to oversee the probe.
Ram Temple Was There, Is There, Will Always Be There: Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath offered prayers at the makeshift Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya on Diwali Wednesday. “Mandir tha, mandir hai, aur mandir rahega. Isme koi sandeh kisi ko thode hi hai. (There was a temple, there is a temple and there will always be one. No one doubts this),” he said after visiting the site amid speculations that the government would bring an ordinance ahead of the elections for the construction of a temple in Ayodhya.
Adityanath also visited the Hanumangarhi temple, Kanak Bhawan and Sugreev Qila, and announced that “a grand statue” of Lord Ram would be built in Ayodhya, location for which has been shortlisted by the state government.
Why INS Arihant’s First Deterrence Patrol Is Significant But Does Not Give India A Credible Deterrent At Sea: Why the first deterrence patrol of INS Arihant, India’s first submarine equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles, is significant but does not give India a credible, continuous at sea deterrent.
Diwali Cheer For ONGC But What About The Oil Marketing Companies? In contrast to the stellar show by ONGC, oil marketing companies have reported a rather lacklustre performance in the September 2018 quarter.
Dharmasthala – An Abode Of Dharma And All Else That A Temple Can Be: This temple town in Karnataka shows what inspired leadership can do for a temple and its devotees, only if the state keeps out.
We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!
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