Thursday, 28 February 2013

 Tourism sector, the allocation for Ministry of Tourism in the Union Budget presented today has been hiked by Rs.87.66 crore. The allocation for the Ministry this year is Rs.1297.66 crore while it was Rs. 1210 crore in the Union Budget 2012-13 and Rs. 1110.96 crore in the Union Budget 2011-12.

The Budget allocation for Plan projects/schemes for the benefit of North East region and Sikkim has been hiked from Rs. 121 crore to Rs. 129 crore. The allocation under this head in the Union budget 2011-2012 was 110 crore.

The allocation under tourist infrastructure is for the creation of infrastructural facilities on construction of Budget Accommodation, wayside amenities, Tourist Reception Centers, Refurbishment of Monuments, Special Tourism Projects, Adventure and Sports facilities, Sound and Light Shows, illuminations of monuments, providing for improvement in solid waste management and sewerage management improvement of surroundings, Signages, procurement of equipments directly related to Tourism and Rural Tourism projects etc. This provision also relates to the Large Revenue Generating projects, generating revenue through levy of fees or user charges like Tourist Trains, cruise vessels, Cruise terminals, Convention Centre, Golf Courses etc. and creation of land bank for hotels to provide the hotel accommodation in the country by purchasing land and build hotels through public private partnerships. The provision also includes Externally Aided Projects (including UNDP Endogenous Tourist Projects and assistance to c entral agencies for Tourism Infrastructural Development.

Tripura,Meghalaya,Nagaland assembly elections results

Assembly Elections 2013
Party Lead Won
INC 0 10
BJP 0 0
Left Front 0 50
Others 0 0
Party Lead Won
INC 0 29
UDP 0 8
NCP 0 2
Others 0 15
NPP 0 2
Party Lead Won
INC 0 8
BJP 0 1
NPF 0 37
NCP 0 4

Myth: The Budget has rapidly increased spending on Aam Aadmi:

Reality:  The Actual Expenditure (See RE 2012-13) in key sectors and Ministries is estimated to be either below or only marginally above actual expenditure of last year (See Actual 2011-12)
Sl no.
Actual: 2011-12
(Rs in crores)
BE: 2012-13
(Rs in crores)
RE: 2012-13
(Rs in crores)
Plan Size
Capital Expenditure
Sectoral Allocation
Social Sector Spending
Agriculture and Allied Activities
Rural Development
Irrigation and Flood Control
Ministry of Tribal Affairs
Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
Ministry of HRD
Ministry of Rural Development
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Sl No
Allocation 2012-13 (BE) (Rs in crores)
Allocation 2013 -14 (BE) (Rs in crores)*
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)
No Change
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
6% increase (barely covers inflation)
Mid Day Meal Scheme
10% increase (little over inflation)
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)
2% increase (Much less than inflation)
Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)
11% increase (little over inflation)
Note: * Represents allocations and NOT the revised estimates which are less because of the various budgetary cut. As such, they do not represent the actual increases in some of these expenditures.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Response to Union Budget 2013
Date: 28.2.2013
Aam Aadmi of the country has reasons to feel disappointed, if not cheated, with the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by the ruling coalition that came to power in his name. All over the country, cutting across gender, regions, sectors, classes and the urban/rural divide, the aam aadami faces a crisis of economic opportunity and livelihood. She has suffered from a long period of high inflation, especially in food items. She has long suffered from growth that did not deliver more jobs, a decline in growth now threatens to cut down on existing livelihood opportunities. All the basic amenities that a citizen can expect from democratic governance – public provisions for heath, education and social security – are beyond the reach of the Aam Aadami. Rampant corruption from top to the bottom eats into whatever little could trickle down to them.
The Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister is a clever attempt to mislead the public in an election year. The Finance Minister’s speech offers little remedy for the key problems facing the Indian economy that he himself begins by acknowledging: slowdown of growth, rising fiscal deficit and current account deficit. The current crisis required the government to stimulate domestic investment by encouraging consumption from below; instead the FM remained focused on Foreign investors. Controlling inflation required expansion of PDS and reinforced subsidies on energy and focus on increasing agricultural output in pulses and oilseeds; instead the government has relied on hope. Meeting the demands and aspirations of the people required substantial and real increase in social sector expenditure, instead the government has resorted to statistical tricks and gimmicks rather than put its money where its mouth is. Nor is there any evidence of the government being serious about better usage and monitoring of the funds spent on these public provisions. Shockingly, the government has not come up with any measure to curb corruption and control the parallel black economy that the public is so visibly exercised about.
An analysis of the summary statistics of the budget make it clear that there is little connect between the rhetoric of the budget and its actual numbers.   In his speech the FM claimed that the government has not spared money for welfare schemes; the fact is that the UPA has drastically cut down on most of the key welfare schemes in the current year itself. The FM’s claims about increasing outlays in key sectors is a clear case of statistical fudging; the ‘increase’ claimed by the FM is with reference to the drastically reduced expenditure (Revised Estimates). In most cases the rise in budget allocations is barely enough to cover inflation. In real terms there is no increase in spending for the aam aadami. The FM has also used the age old devise of distracting public attention with the help of some gimmicks that cost very little.
The government needed to increase tax revenue, which has actually fallen by 4% in the current year over what was budgeted; similar false assumptions seem to driving the current projections of 20% increase in revenue. The much talked about move to tax the rich turned out to be a damp squib, for it would affect only 42,000 super rich and bring very small gains for the country. This small gain would be more than made up by the generous increase in the tax exemption, mostly for the well off and the corporate. The amount of ‘Tax foregone’ has gone up from Rs. 5,33,000 crores to Rs. 5,73,000 crores. There is no change in the capital gains regime to curb speculative gains activity in the stock market.The budget gives no indication of a political will to curb black income generation in the economy. The deferment of implementation of GARR to 2016 is another example of the lack of political will to curb tax avoidance. There is nothing in the budget to do away with non-transparent instruments like Participatory Notes or to reformulate the double taxation treaties with ‘tax heavens’ and black economy conduits.
Most of the schemes meant for the aam aadmi have remained static or have in fact gone down in real terms or even compared to the actual expenditure in the year before. The central Plan size has come down from Rs. 6,51,000 crore in the Budget last year to the Revised estimate of 5,56,000 crores, huge shortfall of Rs. 96,000 crores. In 2012-13 expenditure on agriculture and allied activities, rural development, irrigation and flood control and welfare of ST has actually gone down compared to the actual expenditure of the previous year. A similar comparison of the expenditure on health and education shows a marginal increase that barely keeps pace with inflation. The total expenditure on social services has fallen short by Rs. 23,000 crores compared to the budgeted allocations. This fact acquires significance for much of the social sector expenditure takes place at the level of the states where the transfer has been cut down by as much as 10,000 crores.
It is unfortunate that even the opposition has not drawn the country’s attention to these statistical lies and inattention to the needs of the aam aadmi. Aam Aadmi Party resolves to take this collective conspiracy of the political establishment to the people’s court and place the concerns of aam admi at the heart of our economic policy. 

Union Budget 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister

Finance Min P Chidambaram announced a sharp increase of Rs 1.25 lakh crore in agriculture credit target to Rs 7 lakh crore for next fiscal and allocated additional Rs 10,000 crore in subsidy for implementing the Food Security Bill.
Following are some of the key highlights of the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in Parliament.
*No change in income tax slabs
*Relief of Rs 2,000 for tax payers in tax bracket of Rs 2-5 lakh
*10 pc surcharge on persons with taxable income of over Rs 1 crore
*Tobacco products, SUVs and mobile phones to cost more
*Income limit under Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme raised to 12 lakh from Rs 10 lakh
*First home loan of up to Rs 25 lakh to get extra interest deduction of up to Rs 1 lakh
*Duty free limit of gold import increased to Rs 50,000 for male passengers and Rs 1 lakh for female passengers
*India’s first women’s bank to be set up by October
*Concessional six per cent interest on loans to weavers
*Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana benefit extended to rickshaw pullers, auto and taxi drivers, among others
*’Nirbhaya Fund’ of Rs 1,000 crore to empower women and provide safety in the wake of Delhi gang-rape incident
*Fiscal deficit for 2013-14 pegged at 4.8 pc of GDP and 5.2 per cent in 2012-13
*Market borrowings pegged at Rs 6.29 lakh crore, higher
than Rs 5.59 lakh crore in FY13
*Disinvestment target more than doubled to Rs 55,814 cr
*Plan expenditure pegged at Rs 5,55,322 crore and non-Plan at Rs 11,09,975 crore
*New taxes to collect Rs 18,000 crore for government
*Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme launched for recovering service tax dues
*Rs 14,000 crore earmarked for capital infusion in public sector banks in 2013-14

He also allocated 22 percent more funds to Agriculture Ministry at Rs 27,049 crore for the 2013-14 fiscal, of which Rs 3,415 crore has been earmarked for farm research.
Chidambaram announced extension of interest-subvention on crop loans to private sector banks and commercial banks.
“Agricultural credit is a driver of agricultural production. We will exceed the target of Rs 5,75,000 crore fixed for 2012-13. For 2013-14, I propose to increase the target to Rs 7,00,000 crore,” Chidambaram said while presenting the Budget for the 2013-14 fiscal in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The interest-subvention for short-term crop loan will be continued and farmers who repay loan on time will be able to get credit at 4 percent interest per annum, he added.
“So far, the scheme has been applied to loans extended by public sector banks, Regional Rural Banks and cooperative banks, I propose to extend the scheme to crop loans borrowed from private sector banks and scheduled commercial banks in respect to loans given within the service area of the branch concern,” the Minister said.
Looking at the success of the scheme — Bringing Green Revolution in the Eastern India, Chidambaram allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the next fiscal.
Another Rs 500 crore was allocated for crop diversification in states covered during the Green Revolution such as Punjab and Haryana, which are facing stagnation in farm yields.
On proposed Food law, the Minister said: “I sincerely hope Parliament will pass the Bill as early as possible. Over and above the normal provision for food subsidy, I have set apart Rs 10,000 crore towards the incremental costs that is likely under the Act.”
Fiscal deficit for 2012-13 estimated at 5.2%: Chidambaram
The fiscal deficit for the current financial year has been contained at 5.2 percent of GDP, lower than 5.3 percent as was targeted, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.
“The fiscal deficit for 2012-13 has been contained at 5.2 per cent. I propose to bring it down to 4.8 per cent by 2013-14,” Chidambaram said while unveiling Budget 2013-14 proposals in the Lok Sabha.
Further, the Revenue Deficit has been contained at 3.9 percent in the current fiscal and would be brought down to 3.3 percent in 2013-14.
As per the fiscal consolidation roadmap, the government plans to reduce fiscal deficit to 3 percent by 2016-17.
“We must redeem our promise and bring down the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent and revenue deficit to 1.9 per cent by 2016-17,” Chidambaram said.
Tax benefits in RGESS extended to 3 years: Chidambaram
While presenting the Budget 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday proposed liberalising the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) to enable first time investors to park funds in MFs and listed shares and extended tax benefits to three successive years.
Also, the limit for investors wanting to invest in RGESS has been raised to Rs 12 lakh from Rs 10 lakh earlier.
The RGESS will be liberalised to enable first time retail investors to invest in mutual funds and listed shares and not in one year alone, but for three successive years, Chidambaram said.
The RGESS, which was originally announced in the Budget for 2012-13, seeks to provide tax benefits to first-time investors in stock markets. Under the scheme, an individual with an income of less than Rs 12 lakh would get tax incentives for investing up to Rs 50,000 in the stock market.
Budget quote of Mr. Aneesh Srivastava, CIO, IDBI Federal.
An insipid budget
The Union Budget for 2013-14 seems to be a populist one that neither creates any impact on the economy, nor does it address the long-term growth needs.
While the Budget may prove to be positive for FIIs as they can now invest in corporate & government bonds as collateral to meet margin requirements, the Tax Residency Certificate has again become an issue.
The piecemeal perks in some sectors are just not enough to accelerate growth. India continues to face the challenge of getting back to its potential growth rate of 8% along with bringing down inflation. The target to achieve a higher growth rate and a decrease in fiscal deficit looks unlikely in these conditions. The Budget also does not give any direction to address the issue of high current account deficit. The expenditure programme announced by the government would actually be inflationary.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Egypt hot air balloon crash kills 19 Asian, European tourists

At least 19 people, mostly Asian and European tourists, were killed on Tuesday when a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed near the southern historic Egyptian city of Luxor.
The hot air balloon carrying 21 people caught fire mid-air before crashing to the ground, General Mamdough Khaled, director of security for Luxor Governate said in a statement.
Luxor International Hospital received 19 badly burned bodies, Khaled said. The balloon was operated by a company named Sky Cruise, state-run news agency reported.
Ahmed Aboud, who runs another balloon company, was quoted by the media as saying that gas tanks ignited the balloon about 1,000 feet.
Two people survived, a tourist and the pilot, Aboud said.
Both are in critical condition, the statement from Khaled said.
Passengers in the balloon included 19 foreign tourists, nine from Hong Kong, four from Japan, three from Britain, two from France and one from Hungary, officials said.
An Egyptian pilot and another Egyptian were also on board, Luxor province spokesman Badawi al-Masri said.
Balloon rides offering scenic aerial views of the Nile river and the ancient temples of Karnak and Hatshepsut are a popular tourist attraction in Luxor, about nine hours’ drive southeast of Cairo.
The catastrophe may be the deadliest hot air balloon accident in history.
In 1989, 13 people were killed when two hot air balloons collided in Australia.
Luxor lies on the banks of the river Nile and is home to some of Egypt’s most famous pharaonic-era ruins.
US photographer Christopher Michel was in another balloon, taking some aerial shots, at the time.
“We flew over the ancient ruins. Just before landing in the cornfields, I heard an explosion and saw smoke. I think it was the balloon behind mine,” he was quoted by the news agency as saying.
“I wasn’t sure what had happened at first. It was only when we landed we heard the full extent of what happened,” he said.

Tourism, Railways and Telecom Continue to Lead

Tourism, Railways and Telecom Continue to Lead Other Sectors
Foreign Tourist Arrivals (Ftas) Grow by 9.2% In 2011
Telecom, Tourism and Railways have shown better performance compared to other services like aviation, shipping, ports and storage. The telecom connections (wire and wireless) increased from 4297.25 lakh in 2008-09 to 9513.4 lakh in 2011-12. The data till 31st December, 2012 shows that 8955.1 lakh connections have been provided. In the tourism sector the number of foreign tourists visiting India increased from 5.28 million in 2008-09 to 6.31 million in 2011-12. The number of arrivals as on 31st December, 2012 was 6.65 million. The foreign exchange earnings from foreign tourist arrival grew from US $ 11832 million to US $ 16564 million in 2011-12. The earnings till 31st December, 2012 were US $ 17737 million. The Railways sector also performed well by registering 969.78 million ton of freight traffic carried by Railways in 2011-12 as compared to 833.31 million ton of freight transported in 2008-09. The net ton kilometres of Railways increased from 538226 million in 2008-09 to 639768 million in 2011-12.

As per the 12th Five Year Plan approach paper, India’s travel and tourism sector is estimated to create 78 jobs per million rupees of investment compared to 45 jobs per million rupees in the manufacturing sector. The foreign tourist arrivals in the country grew by 9.2% in 2011. This however was moderated to 5.4% in 2012 as a result of the global slowdown and Euro-zone crises. Domestic tourism continues to be an important contributor to the sector with 14.34% CAGR of domestic tourist visits from 1991-2011. The hotels and restaurants sector with 1.5% share in India’s GDP for 2011-12 is an important sub component. 

Dear N.K-:Brazil’s top rail projects for 2013

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