Important Indian Bureaucrats

Designation Name National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi Finance Secretary Ratan P. Watal Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar Defence Secretary G. Mohan Kumar Secretary General, Lok Sabha Anoop Mishra Principal Scientific Adviser R. Chidambaram Chairman, Railway Board AK Mittal Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Anil Kumar Sinha Chief, Intelligence Bureau (IB) Dineshwar Sharma Chief, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Rajendra Khanna Director General, NIA Sharad Kumar

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Union Budget 2016-2017

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget for 2016-17.

  • Growth of Economy accelerated to 7.6% in 2015-16.

  • India hailed as a ‘bright spot’ amidst a slowing global economy by IMF.

  • Robust growth achieved despite very unfavourable global conditions and two consecutive years shortfall in monsoon by 13%

  • Foreign exchange reserves touched highest ever level of about 350 billion US dollars.

  • Despite increased devolution to States by 55% as a result of the 14th Finance Commission award, plan expenditure increased at RE stage in 2015-16 – in contrast to earlier years.

  • Tax

    • Infrastructure and agriculture cess to be levied.

    • Excise duty raised from 10 to 15 per cent on tobacco products other than beedis.

    • 1 per cent service charge on purchase of luxury cars over Rs. 10 lakh and in-cash purchase of goods and services over Rs. 2 lakh.

    • SUVs, Luxury cars to be more expensive. 4% high capacity tax for SUVs.

    • Companies with revenue less than Rs 5 crore to be taxed at 29% plus surcharge

    • Limited tax compliance window from Jun 1 – Sep 30 for declaring undisclosed income at 45% incl. surcharge and penalties

    • Excise 1 per cent imposed on articles of jewellery, excluding silver.

    • 0.5 per cent Krishi Kalyan Cess to be levied on all services.

    • Pollution cess of 1 per cent on small petrol, LPG and CNG cars; 2.5 per cent on diesel cars of certain specifications; 4 per cent on higher-end models.

    • Dividend in excess of Rs. 10 lakh per annum to be taxed at additional 10 per cent.

    Personal Finance

    • No changes have been made to existing income tax slabs

    • Rs 1,000 crore allocated for new EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund) scheme

    • Govt. will pay EPF contribution of 8.33% for all new employees for first three years

    • Deduction for rent paid will be raised from Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000 to benefit those living in rented houses.

    • Additional exemption of Rs. 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs. 35 lakh, provided cost of house is not above Rs. 50 lakh.

    • Service tax exempted for housing construction of houses less than 60 sq. m

    • 15 per cent surcharge on income above Rs. 1 crore

    Social

    • Rs. 38,500 crore for Mahtma Gandhi MGNREGA for 2016-17

    • Swacch Bharat Abhiyan allocated Rs.9,500 crores.

    • Hub to support SC/ST entrpreneurs

    • Government is launching a new initiative to provide cooking gas to BPL families with state support.

    • LPG connections to be provided under the name of women members of family: Rs 2000 crore allocated for 5 years for BPL families.

    • 2.87 lakh crore grants to gram panchayats and municipalities – a quantum jump of 228%.

    • 300 urban clusters to be set up under Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission

    • Four schemes for animal welfare.

    Health

    • 2.2 lakh renal patients added every year in India. Basic dialysis equipment gets some relief.

    • A new health protection scheme for health cover upto 1 lakh per family.

    • National Dialysis Service Prog with funds thru PPP mode to provide dialysis at all district hospitals.

    • Senior citizens will get additional healthcare cover of Rs 30,000 under the new scheme

    • PM Jan Aushadhi Yojana to be strengthened, 300 generic drug store to be opened

    Education

    • Scheme to get Rs.500 cr for promoting entrepreneurship among SC/ST

    • 10 public and 10 private educational institutions to be made world-class.

    • Digital repository for all school leaving certificates and diplomas. Rs. 1,000 crore for higher education financing.

    • Rs. 1,700 crore for 1500 multi-skill development centres.

    • 62 new navodaya vidyalayas to provide quality education

    • Digital literacy scheme to be launched to cover 6 crore additional rural households

    • Entrepreneurship training to be provided across schools, colleges and massive online courses.

    • Objective to skill 1 crore youth in the next 3 years under the PM Kaushal Vikas Yojna-FM Jaitley

    • National Skill Development Mission has imparted training to 76 lakh youth. 1500 Multi-skill training institutes to be set up.

    Energy

    • Rs. 3000 crore earmarked for nuclear power generation

    • Govt drawing comprehensive plan to be implemented in next 15-20 years for exploiting nuclear energy

    • Govt to provide incentive for deepwater gas exploration

    • Deepwater gas new disc to get calibrated market freedom, pre-determined ceiling price based on landed price of alternate fuels.

    Investments and infrastructure

    • Rs. 27,000 crore to be spent on roadways

    • 65 eligible habitats to be connected via 2.23 lakh kms of road. Current construction pace is 100 kms/day

    • Shops to be given option to remain open all seven days in a week across markets.

    • Rs. 55,000 crore for roads and highways. Total allocation for road construction, including PMGSY, – Rs 97,000 crore

    • India’s highest-ever production of motor vehicles was recorded in 2015

    • Total outlay for infrastructure in Budget 2016 now stands at Rs. 2,21,246 crore

    • New greenfield ports to be developed on east and west coasts

    • Revival of underserved airports. Centre to Partner with States to revive small airports for regional connectivity

    • 100 per cent FDI in marketing of food products produced and marketed in India

    • Dept. of Disinvestment to be renamed as Dept. of Investment and Public Asset Management

    • Govt will amend Motor Vehicle Act in passenger vehicle segment to allow innovation.

    • MAT will be applicable for startups that qualify for 100 per cent tax exemption

    • Direct tax proposals result in revenue loss of Rs.1060 crore, indirect tax proposals result in gain of Rs.20,670 crore

    Agriculture

    • Total allocation for agriculture and farmer welfare at Rs 35984 crores

    • 28.5 lakh heactares of land wil be brought under irrigation.

    • 5 lakh acres to be brought under organic farming over a three year period

    • Rs 60,000 crore for recharging of ground water recharging as there is urgent need to focus on drought hit areas cluster development for water conservation.

    • Dedicated irrigation fund in NABARD of Rs.20.000 cr

    • Nominal premium and highest ever compensation in case of crop loss under the PM Fasal Bima Yojna.

    Banking

    • Banks get a big boost: Rs 25,000 crore towards recapitalisation of public sector banks. Jaitley says: Banking Board Bureau will be operationalised, we stand solidly behind public sector banks.

    • Target of disbursement under MUDRA increased to 1,80,000 crore

    • Process of transfer of government stake in IDBI Bank below 50% started

    • General Insurance companies will be listed in the stock exchange

    • Govt to increase ATMs, micro-ATMs in post offices in next three years

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    Economic Survey 2015-16

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tables Economic Survey 2015-16 report.

    Fiscal Deficit

    • India must meet its medium-term fiscal deficit target of 3 percent of GDP

    • Government will adhere to fiscal deficit target of 4.1 percent of GDP in 2014/15

    • Govt should ensure expenditure control to reduce fiscal deficit

    • Expenditure control and expenditure switching to investment key

    Growth

    • 2015/16 GDP growth seen at over 8% y/y

    • Double digit economic growth trajectory now a possibility

    • Economic growth at market prices seen between 8.1 – 8.5 percent in 2015/16 on new GDP calculation formula

    • Total stalled projects seen at about 7 percent of GDP, mostly in private sector

    Reforms

    • There is scope for big bang reforms now

    • India can increase public investments and still hit its borrowing targets

    Inflation

    • Inflation shows declining trend in 2014/15

    • Inflation likely to be below central bank target by 0.5 – 1 percentage point

    • Lower inflation opens up space for more monetary policy easing

    • Govt. and central bank need to conclude monetary framework pact to consolidate gains in inflation control

    • Consumer inflation in 2015/16 likely to range between 5-5.5 percent

    Fiscal Consolidation

    • Govt. remains committed to fiscal consolidation

    • India can balance short-term imperative of boosting public investment to revitalize growth with fiscal discipline

    • Outlook for external financing is correspondingly favourable

    Current Account Deficit

    Estimated at about 1.3 percent of GDP in 2014/15 and less than 1.0 percent of GDP in 2015/16

    Subsidies

    Overhauling of subsidy regime would pave the way for expenditure rationalisation

    Liquidity

    Liquidity conditions expected to remain comfortable in 2015/16

    Taxation

    • Tax base should widen to over 20% from 5.5% now

    • Need to phase out tax exemptions

    • Property taxation an area needing “urgent attention”

    • Higher property tax rates to check realty speculation

    • Higher property tax to improve local govt finances

    External Sector

    • Exports may pick up FY17

    • Headwinds to growth may come from weak global demand

    • Export slowdown may continue for a while

    • FTAs leading to higher imports, exports

    • India must plan for major currency readjustment in Asia

    • India compares favourably with peer economies

    • Foreign demand seen weak

    Farm Sector

    • India farm growth seen low for second year in a row

    • La Nina to have positive impact on farm

    • Fertiliser subsidy should shift to direct cash transfer

    • Subsidised fertiliser bag purchase cap to improve targeting

    • Must bring urea under Nutrient Based Subsidy programme

    • Need to rationalise fertiliser subsidy based on inputs, crops

    • Need deft supply management as rabi output seen low

    Service Sector

    Services sector growth in 2015-16 seen at 9.2%

    Railway Budget 2016

    Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 25 February 2016 presented the Railway Budget 2016-17 in the Parliament.

    Theme of the Budget

    • Overcoming challenges : Reorganize, Restructure Rejuvenate Indian Railways: ‘Chalo, Milkar Kuch Naya Karen’

    • Three pillars of the strategy i.e. Nav Arjan – New revenues, Nav Manak – New norms, Nav Sanrachna – New Structures.

    Financial Performance

    • 2015-16: Savings of Rs. 8,720 crore neutralizing most of the revenue shortfall, expected OR 90%;

    • 2016-17: Targeted Operating Ratio (OR) – 92%, restrict growth of Ordinary Working Expenses by 11.6% after building in immediate impact of 7th PC, reductions planned in diesel and electricity consumption, Revenue generation targeted at Rs 1,84,820 crore.

    • 44 new projects valued Rs. 92,714 crores to be implemented this year.

    • By 2020 Rs.4,000 Crores of estimated revenue to be generated.

    Investments and Resources

    Process bottlenecks overhauled including delegation of powers to functional levels; average capital expenditure over 2009-14 is Rs. 48,100 crore, average growth of 8% per annum.

    2015-16 investment would be close to double of the average of previous 5 years.

    2016-17 CAPEX pegged at Rs. 1.21 lakh crore; implementation through joint ventures with states, developing new frameworks for PPP, etc.

    7 Missions

    Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu while talking about his plans to transform Indian Railways also mentioned the 7 “Mission activities – Avataran”

    1. Mission 25 Tonne  – make our infrastructure suitable to carry 25-tonne axle-load.

    2. Mission Zero Accident: Elimination of unmanned level crossings: & introduce TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System

    3. Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency): This mission aims to improve our procurement & consumption practices to improve the quality of goods and services.

    4. Mission Raftaar: To target doubling of average speeds of freights trains & increasing the average speed of superfast mail/express trains by 25 kmph in the next 5 years.

    5. Mission Hundred: To commission at least a 100 sidings in the next 2 years.

    6. Mission beyond book-keeping: Establish an accounting system where outcomes can be tracked to inputs.

    7. Mission Capacity Utilisation: For making full use of the carrying capacity at Dedicated Freight Corridors.

    Each of the ‘mission’ will be headed by a ‘Mission Director, reporting directly to the Chairman, Railway Board. Each Mission will have annual outcome based performance targets.

    New Trains & Initiatives

    • Antyodaya Express , Long distance superfast train for unreserved passengers to be started

    • Deen Dayalu coaches for unreserved passengers with potable water & higher number of mobile charging points to be introduced.

    • Humsafar – fully air-conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals

    • Tejas – Trains to operate at speeds of 130 kmph & above. Will offer entertainment, local cuisine, Wi- Fi, etc.on board.

    • UDAY (Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri), double decker trains would be introduced on busiest routes.

    • Aastha circuit trains to connect important pilgrim centres

    • Expanding Sarthi Seva in Konkan Railways for help to senior citizens

    • High speed passenger corridor from Ahmedabad to Mumbai

    • India’s First Rail Auto Hub will be inaugurated in Chennai

    • New freight corridors to come up at Delhi-Chennai, Kharagpur-Mumbai, Kharagpur-Vijayawada.

    • New locomotive factories at cost of Rs 40,000 crore to be setup under the ‘Make in India’

    • Children’s menu, baby foods, changing boards to be made available for travelling mothers.

    • Rail University to be established at Indian Railway Academy at Vadodara.

    • SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) coaches are to be introduced.It shall offer new amenities including automatic doors, bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, etc.

    • Rakshak, a device that will intimate about approaching trains will be provided to all gang men.

    • Rail Bandhu magazine shall be made available in all regional languages.

    Technology, Cleanliness, Service & Other Initiatives

    • Expansion of Vikalp service – train on demand to provide choice of accommodation in specific trains to wait listed passengers.

    • E-booking of tickets facility

    • Wi Fi facility at 400 stations

    • 17,000 bio-toilets

    • Clean My Coach service by SMS

    • Rail Display Network – GPS based digital displays to provide real time information about upcoming stations shall be installed.

    • 33% sub-quota for women under all reserved categories.