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8% of GDP is spent on govt salaries

India spends a whopping Rs 10.18 trillion on the emoluments of government employees, both at the centre and in states, a staggering 8.15% of the country’s GDP.Taken against the backdrop of spending on education, health and defence, the figures show a large chunk of government budget goes into the salaries, pensions and allowances of government employees, leaving a trickle for social sector and development activities.A note submitted by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to a parliamentary panel highlighted the fact that out of the total GDP of India amounting to 124.88 trillion, Rs 10.18 trillion is spent on paying salaries, etc.The Committee on Estimates chaired by veteran BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, while reviewing the performance of all India services, found that a huge expenditure was met on wages, besides the expenditure on building infrastructure like offices and houses for bureaucracy, rather on delivery.The panel had actually asked the government to furnish details of total expenditure incurred on Indian Administrative Service (IAS) , Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers posted at the Centre and in states and its share in the GDP. But the government while circumventing the request submitted an overall data related to all government employees without specifying services.The government in its presentation stated that there was no study at hand to suggest expenditures incurred on officers belonging to superior services. Taking exception to the fact that there was mechanism to find out the expenditure and its share in the GDP, the panel agreed that bureaucracy was fully committed to citizens and reflects hopes and aspirations, but said it should be held accountable for accomplishments, when it is being paid from the exchequer.According to figures, the salaries of 10 million central government employees account for 12.6% of the central government’s total expenditure. The government recently accepted the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, doubling the minimum starting salary from the current Rs 7,000 per month to Rs 18,000 per month. The Commission’s recommendations added an extra 0.7% burden on the GDP and a yearly burden of 102,000 crore.The government also admitted that payment of salaries, wages and other allowances to government employees is the main element of Gross value added (GVA) — the total output and measure of the value of goods and services.

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Rs 57,000 crore interest free loans to farmers, so far

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In last three and a half years, interest free loans of Rs 57,000 crore has been given to farmers in Rajasthan. The State Government now plans to take this figure to Rs. 75,000 crore in the next 1.5 years. This was stated Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Tuesday at the inaugural session of Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Udaipur. The chief minister speaking at the CTAI college ground during the 3rd GRAM summit said that the interest rate of land development banks and cooperative banks is also being continuously reduced and will soon be as low as 5.5%.The farmers who take these loans will also be given an insurance cover under the cooperative sector Bima Yojna of Rs. 6 lakh and will soon be increased to Rs. 10 lakh.The premium amount for Bima Yojna is Rs. 55 annually, out of which the farmer only has to contribute Rs. 27.50. The remaining amount will be contributed by the district cooperative banks.Highlighting the future plans of the State Government for the benefit of the farmers, Raje said that the Rajasthan Agriculture Marketing Board has designed a scheme for farmers wanting to become entrepreneurs. Under this scheme, incentives are offered to the farmers for the construction of processing units on their agricultural land. These units are eligible for 50% subsidy of the capital cost or Rs. 20 lakh, whichever is less.In addition to this, a separate fund of Rs 100 crore has also been made for milk unions to benefit as many as 9 lakh milk producers. Besides, 2,652 custom hiring centres will be set up in the next three years, the chief minister said.Union Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that by being one of the first states to formulate policies and take steps towards the vision of doubling farmers’ income, Rajasthan has set an example for the entire nation. Despite many challenges in the state, the contribution of Rajasthan’s farmers to the Gross Domestic Product is 30%.Other sopsThe farmers who take these loans will also be given an insurance cover under the cooperative sector Bima Yojna of Rs6 lakh and will soon be increased to Rs10 lakh.The premium amount for Bima Yojna is Rs55 annually, out of which the farmer only has to contribute Rs27.50. The remaining amount will be contributed by the district cooperative banks.

GDP growth slips to lowest in 3 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s economy grew by 5.7% in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first quarter of the current financial year (April-June) while the new growth parameter, Gross Value Added (GVA) came at 5.6%, highlighting the adverse impacts of several factors, with disruptions associated with introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) being the most direct and immediate cause.The fall in economic growth comes at a time when expectations were riding high of India overtaking China’s growth. China reported a quarterly growth of 6.9% for April-June period, overshooting its own estimates.As per the data released on Thursday by the Central Statistics Office, India’s economy grew at a slowest pace in over 13 quarters, raising questions about the Reserve Bank of India’s prediction of 2017-18 GVA growing by 7.3% topping previous year’s 6.6%, as per the annual report released by the banking sector regulator just a day before.The first GDP quarter growth figures contrast sharply against the 7.9% growth in the corresponding quarter in 2016 and 6.1% growth reported in January-March.What factors contributed to these not-so-enviable growth figures? Extreme destocking, disruption in production schedules and discounts offered ahead of the implementation of the GST could be the major reasons, apart from Wholesale Price Index deflator, says chief statistician TCA Anant.”A major sector that has seen a sharp decline is industry. Corporate entities were pulling down their stocks in April-June, which seems to be in anticipation of GST,” Anant said.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said manufacturing sector growth has gone down due to GST’s impact on destocking, and with GST woes now behind us, the curve could turn for better. As the global economy is improving faster than anticipated, domestic public investment is going to be high. But before that happens, policy actions and investment are both needed to ensure that economic growth picks up, he said.Anant stuck to his theory of WPI deflator pulling down industrial growth figures.Economists also point an accusing finger at the government’s demonetisation drive. “The lingering impact of demonetisation, as well as the effect of the real estate regulatory authority (RERA) are visible in the low 2% growth of construction in the first quarter. The combination of lower volumes and higher discounts offered to reduce inventories ahead of GST, and the turnaround in average WPI inflation weighed upon the manufacturing GVA growth in April-June, 2017,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist, ICRA Ltd.”Crucially, the government has also revised down GVA growth for the fourth quarter of last fiscal by 50 basis points to 5.6%, suggesting that the impact of demonetization on the economy was more than earlier estimated,” said Crisil Research in a report.Doubling of value-based items in the new Index of Industrial Production (IIP) series might have inflated manufacturing growth in the previous year when wholesale price inflation was negative compared with the current situation when WPI is positive.”Trends of IIP are now increasingly affected by movements in WPI. The new series is likely to show inflated growth during times of falling inflation. Therefore, the sharp rise in the growth of IIP need not be on account of actual rise in production volume in industries,” says a research report by Radhika Pandey of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.Manufacturing fell sharply in the quarter from 10.7% to 1.2% with the predominant pressure coming from the private sector SME segment. Agriculture, growing at 2.3% could match up to 2.5% seen in the corresponding quarter last year.Whatever be the reasons for slow growth, the figures were way off the mark from most of the estimates. HDFC, for example, was expecting a GVA of around 6.7% on the assumption that consumption spending, government services coupled with buoyancy in agricultural sector would have helped the country post a modest growth in economic activities.Rating agency ICRA, however was more conservative, predicting a figure of 6.3% on the back of headwinds like GST disruptions, impact of rupee appreciation on export earnings and troubles in banking and telecom.The figures, coming after India’s moral victory at Doklam standoff, could be some embarrassment for the Indian government as India’s GDP growth has now slipped below that of China.

Highway sector requires Rs. seven lakh crores investment for

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has estimated a fund requirement of about Rs. 6.92 lakh crore for the development of National Highways in the country during the next five years. This requirement will be met from the Gross Budgetary Support of the Ministry, the Central Road Fund, Toll remittance, Monetization of National Highways through Toll-Operate-Transfer (TOT) model, external borrowings by National Highway Authority of India and private sector investment. This information was given by Minister of State for Road Transport and highways and Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. He also informed that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has identified 208 level crossings on National Highways for construction of ROBs under Setu Bharatam Scheme and feasibility study of 87 ROB projects has been completed so far. Mandaviya also informed that the Government has envisaged to increase the existing National Highway network of 1.15 lakh kms in the country to two lakh kms. The requirement of funds for development of these National Highways will be met through different sources as mentioned above. In a separate written reply, Mansukh Mandaviya informed the House that the Government encourages the use of plastic waste in construction of National Highways specially within 50 km periphery of the urban areas having population of five lakhs or more. However, at present, no National Highway has been constructed using plastic waste.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Opposition SAD, AAP attack Cong on budget estimates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition AAP and Akalis today picked holes in Punjab government’s maiden budget, claiming it lacked “sufficient” funds for farm debt waiver and improving health and education sectors. Participating in the general discussion on the budget estimates for 2017-17 in the Assembly here today, Leader of Opposition and AAP MLA H S Phoolka rejected the state budget and said the Congress government’s intentions on fulfilling poll promises stood exposed with meagre funds allocated for essential sectors. “Government hospitals are in very bad condition and several seats of doctors are still vacant. Just Rs 266 crore has been provided as capital expenditure on health sector,” he said. Lashing out at the treasury benches for deficient funds for education, Phoolka said only nine per cent of state’s total budget was allocated for education as against 15 per cent in Haryana and 17 per cent in Himachal Pradesh. “Congress had promised 6 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) as funds for education which was not fulfilled,” he said. Taking on the state government on debt waiver issue, the AAP MLA said only Rs 1,500 crore has been provided for debt waiver while the requirement for the same was estimated to be Rs 21,000 crore. The budget also lacked provisions for giving promised jobs despite 1.75 lakh seats being vacant in government departments, he said. Phoolka took a jibe at the government for not making any efforts to raise additional resources to fund expenditure. The Leader of Opposition also suggested dismantling of sand and liquor mafia by giving the job of liquor sale and sand distribution to state-owned corporation for generating more revenue. Akali MLA and former finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa defended the previous government on the cash credit limit issue. The session witnessed war of words between the Opposition and treasury benches on many occasions. The speaker had to intervene many a times to calm the situation. The Congress government in Punjab that came to power in March had presented its maiden budget for 2017-18 yesterday, with a focus on reducing the crushing debt burden and restoring fiscal stability. Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal proposed the budget of Rs 1,18,237.90 crore, with an emphasis on education and social sectors. He also proposed an outlay of Rs 1,500 crore for waiving the debt of distressed farmers of the state. For the agriculture sector, the minister proposed to increase allocation by 65.77 per cent to Rs 10,580.99 crore in 2017-18.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India should aspire to become global power of happiness: Prez

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee today underscored the need for India to be a global powerhouse not just in terms of economic parameters but also ‘Gross National Happiness’. “If we aspire to be one of the leading economic powers of the world, yes, we can be, but merely in statistical terms, in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), in terms of skill are not adequate,” Mukherjee said after laying the foundation stone for the Bengaluru Dr B R Ambedkar School of Economics here. The President said the concept of development has changed now and international organisations like the World Bank and IMF are talking about development in terms of GDP as well as Gross National Happiness (GNH). “Along with GDP, GNH is considered as one of the important factors of development,” Mukherjee emphasised. He expressed concern over unemployability of the youth in India, saying “600 million youth are entering the job market, but their employability is not adequate”. “They are educated, but not employable. Their employability is not up to the world standard,” he said. Mukherjee observed that skill development may not appear glamorous but most important in the Indian context. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Union ministers Ananth Kumar and D V Sadananda Gowda, state Governor Vajubhai Vala were present at the event, along with state higher education minister Basavaraj Rayareddi and academicians.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bihar receives 14 proposals for setting up pvt univs: Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bihar Legislative Council today passed seven bills including the Bihar Private University (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which paved way for running private universities from rented premises in the state. State Education minister Ashok Choudhary introduced the bill proposing to allow private universities to function from rented premises with a built up area of 5,000 sqm up to two years till construction of permanent infrastructure. Countering BJP member Vinod Narayan Jha’s assertion that not a single university has shown interest in opening its campus in Bihar, Choudhary said the state government has received 14 proposals for setting up universities. Out of them, the government has set up a committee to look into the Detailed Project Report of 12 proposals. Three universities would start running their courses soon and the government has decided to allow such universities to run their academic activities from rented accommodation for two years if they fulfil all requisite criteria, he said. “Our aim is to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in universities. So, we opened the door for private institutions. At present, the state’s GER is 13.9 per cent against the national average of 24 per cent. The government intends to push that up to 30 per cent by 2020,” he said. State Parliamentary Affairs minister Shrawan Kumar introduced the Bihar State Legislature (Members’ salaries, allowances and pension) (amendment) Bill, 2017 which was passed by the legislative Assembly yesterday. An amendment has been proposed in the preamble of the State Legislature (Members’ salaries, allowances and pension) (Amendment) Act to incorporate provision of pension for retired members of the bicameral state legislature. The House passed Bihar Farmers and Rural Areas Development Agency (Repeal) Bill, 2017, the Patna University (Amendment) Bill, 2017, the Bihar State University (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Bihar Appropriation Excess Expenditure Bill, 2017. The Legislative Council also passed the Bihar Protection of Interest of Depositors (in financial establishments) (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which proposes to strengthen mechanism for protection of the interests of small investors who deposit with non-banking financial institutions.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Haryana’s revenue deficit down at 0.9 pc: Finance Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Haryana government today said it has been successful in bringing down the revenue deficit from 1.9 per cent during previous Congress regime to 0.94 per cent in the state budget for the year 2017-18. Making the statement in the state assembly, Finance Minister Abhimanyu added that the state government has set a target to further reduce the deficit to zero per cent by 2019. Replying to the discussion on budget estimates for the year 2017-18 during the ongoing budget session, Abhimanyu said the suggestions received by the government from members of state assembly and other stakeholders would also be considered while framing the future development policies and programmes. “The budget of over Rs one lakh crore presented by the state government is aimed at the welfare of all sections of the society including farmers, labourers, traders, employees, women and youth,” he said. Referring to the “strong financial health” of the present state government, the Finance Minister said various statements were being issued by the opposition parties on the fiscal health of the government suggesting the fiscal and revenue deficit have increased. “The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state which was 5.7 per cent in the year 2014-15 has first increased to 8.7 per cent last year and GDP of 9 per cent is projected for the year 2017-18,” he said. He said the growth rate of per capita income has been projected as 7.2 per cent whereas it was four per cent in the year 2014-15. Hhe said when the BJP government took over reins of Haryana in October 2014 “the agriculture growth rate stood at minus two per cent, but now after two years it has increased with positive growth of seven per cent and the 11 per cent people engaged in agriculture and allied sector were getting the benefit of this increased growth rate of agriculture”. The Finance Minister further said Haryana was among the best states of the country having better financial management. “It has not crossed the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) limit of 25 per cent. The government has taken over the debt of Rs 25,950 crore of power distribution companies. This has resulted in annual savings of Rs 3,000 crore to DISCOMS as interest,” he added. He said the total revenue receipts of GDP including tax and non tax was 9.33 per cent in the year 2014-15 whereas it has been projected as 11.12 per cent in 2017-18. Abhimanyu said the total return rate (TRR), which was 17 per cent in the year 2014-15 has been reduced to 14.3 per cent. (MORE)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Prez calls for reservation for women in Parliament

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No society can call itself civilised if it does not honour women, President Pranab Mukherjee said today as he emphasised on providing reservation for women in Parliament. Addressing a function here, Mukherjee said the recognition of women in the country’s growth has not been taken into account while calculating the GDP, which reflects the attitude of discrimination of the society. “It’s really a dichotomy in our society where we call women as a source of power, embodiment of motherhood. We worship women as deities. Our core civilisational values tell us to respect a woman. “But unfortunately, we are really disturbed when day-in and day-out we are confronted by news of brutalising of women. Sometimes we wonder. Today we are called as civilised society. Can any society be described as civilised if it doesn’t honour its women?” Mukherjee asked. “The primary objective of civilisational values is to respect the women but we still have to walk many miles to achieve it,” he said. The contribution which the women make is unique but it is not recognised, the President noted. “When we calculate our GDP (Gross Domestic Product), we take into account various factors. But we do not take into account the contributions made by our womenfolk in whatever capacity they may work. “It is truly reflective of the attitude of discrimination and non-performance on behalf of the society,” the President said while inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Women’s Indian Association. He said despite equal rights, the representation of women in Lok Sabha is just 11.3 per cent against the global average of 22.8 per cent. Mukherjee said without appropriate reservations, representation of women will be difficult to achieve on basis of voluntary actions by political parties and institutions, as reservations provide Constitutional guarantees and earmarking of constituencies to be represented by women. He said in order to have true representation of women in all decision-making bodies, and not making one or two exceptions by making isolating cases of brilliance, opportunities need to be given to them. “It is good that scope of education has expanded. The scope of opportunities for employment has expanded. But it will have to be expanded in many other areas,” the President said. He said there is aspiration of women that opportunities are to be created for them in society. The Women’s Indian Association is working towards empowerment of women. The President also paid floral tributes to Annie Besant and Muthulakshmi Reddy, founders of the association.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Jaitley proposes incentives to boost investment in NPS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to boost NPS, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today proposed higher tax rebate for investment in flagship social security programmes and allowed tax relief on partial withdrawal of up to 25 per cent of the contribution. Under the Income Tax Act, employee or other individuals are allowed deduction for amount deposited in the National Pension System Trust (NPS). The deduction cannot exceed 10 per cent of salary in case of an employee or 10 per cent of gross total income in case of other individuals. However, further deduction to an employee in respect of contribution made by his employer is allowed up to 10 per cent of the employee’s salary. Effectively, it means that in the case of an employee, the deduction allowed under section 80CCD adds up to 20 per cent of salary whereas in case of other individuals, the total deduction is limited to 10 per cent of gross total income. “In order to provide parity between an individual who is an employee and an individual who is self-employed, it is proposed to amend section 80CCD so as to increase the upper limit of 10 per cent of gross total income to 20 per cent in case of individual other than employee,” Jaitley said while unveiling his tax proposals in Parliament. In order to provide further relief to an employee subscriber of NPS, it is proposed to amend the Act so as to provide “exemption to partial withdrawal not exceeding 25 per cent of the contribution made by an employee”. The existing provision provides that payment from NPS trust to an employee on closure of his account or opting out is exempted up to 40 per cent of total amount payable to him. The amendments will take effect from April 2018 and will accordingly apply in relation to the assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent assessment years.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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