International relations: Nepal gets a high Rs. 650 crore outlay(The Hindu) India’s annual financial allocation to Nepal for 2018-19 has nearly doubled under the Union Budget presented on Thursday. Indian Constitution and Polity: Should India have simultaneous elections? (The Hindu Opinion) Free and fair elections are integral to democracy. Continuity, consistency and governance are also integral to democracy.
Economy: Farmer Sutra: Jaitley focuses on the rural sector (The Hindu) With a clear eye on the Lok Sabha election, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pulled out all the stops in the Narendra Modi government’s last full Budget to promise a better deal for farmers, boost the rural economy and make the poor less vulnerable to health exigencies. Ayushman Bharat: the big budget scheme(The Hindu) Health insurance coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakh a family a year, and setting up of health and wellness centres A shot in the arm for Urban Rejuvenation Mission(The Hindu) In a boost to infrastructure development in cities, the total outlay for the Urban Rejuvenation Mission, which includes projects under AMRUT and Smart Cities Mission, will be Rs. 12,169 crore, according to the Budget proposals for 2018-2019. Goodbye to fiscal consolidation (The Hindu Opinion) The Narendra Modi government has taken pride in having restored the economy to the path of fiscal consolidation. The fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 had been set at 3.2% of GDP for 2017-18 and 3.0% for 2018-19. The Budget for 2018-19 puts paid to these objectives for now. The fiscal deficit for 2017-18 has ended up at 3.5%. For 2018-19, the government has set a target of 3.3%. The fiscal deficit target of 3% of GDP has now been pushed to 2020-21. Promise and delivery: on Union Budget 2018 (The Hindu Editorial) If the Union Budget is construed as an annual tug-of-war between populism and fiscal prudence, arguably it is the latter that prevailed in the past four budgets tabled by the NDA. The question of credibility (The Hindu Opinion) There were considerable expectations from the Budget. Given that this is the last full-year Budget by this government and the first one after the revenue uncertainties arising from implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) reform, there were apprehensions about the slippages as well. Indeed, there are electoral budget cycles in every democratic polity and considering the dissatisfaction shown by rural electorate in the recent Gujarat elections, there were definite apprehensions about fiscal laxity. Fiscal glide path pushed back to 2021(The Hindu) The last full budget of the Narendra Modi-led Bhartiya Janata Party government before the general elections due in 2019 missed the fiscal deficit target of 3.2% for 2017-18.
Yesterday’s current affairs material by Forum IAS
7 PM Editorial: The importance of in-house mechanisms for clean judiciary 9 PM Current affairs brief: 10 PM Current affairs MCQs