Good Morning, Swarajya Readers! Here's What You Need To Know Today.
Jaitley To Present Union Budget Today: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is set to present the Union budget today, breaking the decade-old practice of presenting it on the last working day of February. It comes less than three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation initiative. The Economic Survey for 2016-17 pegged India's economic growth at 6.5 per cent for the current fiscal year, down from 7.6 per cent recorded in the last financial year, but added that growth is expected to rebound in the range of 6.75-7.5 per cent in 2017-18.
Government Committed To Growth, Says President Mukherjee: Listing the achievements of the Narendra Modi government, President Pranab Mukherjee said it is committed to growth and sabka saath, sabka vikaa’. Addressing both houses of Parliament on Tuesday, a day before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union Budget, he said: “At the core of all my government policies, is the welfare of gareeb, peedit, Dalit, vanchhit”.
UBI – The Next Big Thing? The Economic Survey has flagged the Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme as “a conceptually appealing idea” that may work as an alternative to social welfare programmes targeted at reducing poverty. The flagging of the topic comes close on the heels of the Jammu and Kashmir government announcing its commitment to UBI for all citizens of the state below the poverty line.
Operation Clean Money: The Income Tax Department has identified 18 lakh taxpayers who made large deposits after 8 November. They will be served notices seeking explanation within 10 days. The process has been labelled as “Operation Clean Money”, in which data analytics has been made use of to analyse the data received between 9 November and 30 December 2016, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said on Tuesday.
India Seeks Credible Pakistani Action Against Hafiz Saeed: A day after Pakistan said it had detained the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder and four of his deputies, India said that only a credible crackdown on Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed will be proof of Pakistan’s sincerity. Pakistan's military, however, said the house arrest of Saeed was a policy decision in national interest.
Non-Bailable Warrant Out For Liquor Baron Vijay Mallya: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Tuesday issued a non-bailable warrant against Vijay Mallya in a loan default case after the premier investigative agency moved extradition plea against the liquor baron. The CBI in its chargesheet had last week accused Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines of diverting Rs 263 crore from Rs 900 crore IDBI loan for “personal use”.
Shivpal Yadav To Form New Party After UP Polls: Former Uttar Pradesh chief of Samajwadi Party (SP), Shivpal Yadav, on Tuesday announced that he would form a new political party after 11 March, the day election results of five states would be declared. Shivpal Yadav, who filed his nomination papers on SP ticket for Jaswantnagar, said that he will be campaigning for candidates who were denied party tickets by Chief Minister and SP chief, Akhilesh Yadav.
Bad Days Ahead For Indians Abroad: Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are facing a tough time ahead. Even as the Donald Trump administration’s decision to tweak H-1B visa rules in the US affects the prospects of Indian techies, the savings of about three million Indians living in Saudi Arabia could end up taking a hit as the tax-free nation has introduced value-added tax, leaving less income for savings, which could reduce NRI remittances to India.
US Technology Firms Defiant: According to reports, a broad coalition of US technology firms has begun planning a joint legal strategy challenging President Donald Trump's executive order barring refugees from American soil. More than 20 firms are expected to attend a meeting to discuss legal options on the ban, which was expected to have a large impact on Silicon Valley and other tech firms that employ thousands of immigrants.
MUST READ OP-EDS
The Poor Standards Of Rating Agencies? India compares favourably to other countries such as China on other metrics known to be closely related to the risk of default. Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman say the ratings received by India and China bear no resemblance to the dramatically different evolution in underlying risks.
Remonetisation And Banks: The Pain Pangs Stay: The crux is really that the turnaround in the state of public sector banks will take a longer time to work out with most of the indicators moving below acceptable levels on account of this unique colligation of events in the last 50 days.
Surveying Ideas For India: Economic reforms are not, or not just, about overcoming vested interests, they are increasingly about shared narratives on problems and solutions. Economic Survey builds on this idea.
The Message From H1B Visa Reforms: The US visa reform bill seeking to double the minimum wage payable to H1B visa holders is only the most recent instance of Donald Trump’s protectionist stand. Trump’s protectionist stand and H1B visa reform bill carry a message for India that the game has changed, and we better recognise this quickly.
Red Flags That FM Must Not Ignore: If the finance minister chooses valour over vision and sticks to a fiscal deficit target of three per cent for 2017-18, the red flag of fiscal cowardice should go up. The brave accept challenges and fight them openly.
Is Indian IT Slipping? ‘The Economist’ Misses The Woods For The Trees: The remarkable global domination of the Indian IT industry has come about not because of its “cheap engineers”, but the extraordinarily high standards in delivery of IT services.
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