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How Have NDA, UPA Governments Fared On Budget Projections?

This story was first published on Livemint.

When the finance minister Arun Jaitley presents the budget on 1 February, he will present three sets of numbers. The first is the budget estimates, which are projections for the coming year (FY2018-19).

The second is the revised estimates for the ongoing year that still has two months to run (FY2017-18), and indicate how close or how far the government was in meeting the projections it made in February last year. The third is the actual numbers for FY2016-17, which shows what the government delivered for the period that ended 10 months ago.

The tables below show how governments in the last 18 years fared on what they budgeted for and what they delivered in three key areas. Green is good and red is bad. Roughly, half the time governments miss key projections, at times by a long way, as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) did in its ­first term and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) did in its second term.hil-kNCD--621x414@LiveMint

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How NDA Compares With UPA On Government Workforce

This story was first published on Livemint.

For a government whose stated calling card is “minimum government, maximum governance”, for a government battling to create jobs, its own house paints another picture: in four years under this Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the number of central government employees is projected to increase 7.2%.

Staff strength

In the past, even the government—more specifically, the Fifth Pay Commission—has said the central government is overstaffed. So, what has happened to the government in the past 14 years? The number of central government employees under United Progressive Alliance-I (UPA-I) rule fell 2.7% and those under UPA-II rose 3.4%. In the four years under BJP, the number of central government employees is projected to increase 7.2% by 2017-18. And across ministries, an increase is projected for 50 out of 55 ministries.

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Top 20 ministries

Just 20 of the 55 ministries account for 98% of the 2017-18 projected central government staff. Even among them, just four ministries account for 91% of staff: railways, home affairs (includes Delhi Police), communications (includes India Post) and finance. Under the previous two UPA governments, several of the top 20 ministries registered cuts. But under the present government, 19 have seen an increase in staff strength, the exception being health and family welfare.

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Where is the increase of government employees happening?

239,453: That’s the total addition to central government employees projected between 2013-14 and 2017-18. While about 70% of this addition is earmarked for three ministries—finance, home and defence—sizeable numbers are also being added in other ministries. In finance, the big increase is in direct taxes and indirect taxes departments, both of which are expected to double their counts.

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How are salaries increasing?

In 2017-18, the central government is projected to pay one-tenth of its budget in salaries to employees. In the last 14 years, a period that has seen the recommendations of two Pay Commissions being implemented, the total salary outgo has increased at a compounded annual rate of 14%. As a result, the median salary of ministries has increased more than four-fold.

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2017-18 figures are projections for the year made by the government in February 2017; figures exclude defence forces personnel.

Howindialives.com is a database and search engine for public data.

Source: indiabudget.nic.in

 

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News in Numbers, Oct 24, 2016: The power of Five

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This February is likely to see a lot of action: the Union Budget is expected to be announced and five states likely to go for polls. The situation in each of the five states seems interesting: in Punjab, the ruling BJP-SAD alliance is looking to retain power even as Congress and new entrant AAP are looking to dethrone the alliance after two successive terms. Goa has a similar situation: BJP wanting to be back in power and up against the same two parties. In Uttarakhand, the Congress, which reclaimed power after a brief President’s rule, is all set to battle it out with the BJP. In Manipur, BJP is looking to strengthen its northeastern presence while the Congress is trying to hold on to its authority. The battle in Uttar Pradesh is getting more and more interesting by the day: the BJP is trying to re-create the magic it weaved during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections (it won 71 of the 80 seats), SP is dealing with its own set of problems while BSP is trying to get the better of both. Here’s to interesting times ahead.

 

 

5

What is it? The number of states – Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Punjab – likely to go on polls simultaneously in February-March.

Why is it important? The results in the five states would be an indicator of BJP’s popularity (which swept the 2014 Lok Sabha elections) and how people perceive its performance at the Centre whereas for the Congress, it would be a way to gauge if the party can see a revival as just 6% of India’s population live in Congress-ruled states – the lowest since Independence. For Aam Aadmi Party, it would indicate the progress it has made outside Delhi even as it nurtures ambitions to grow into a national party.

Tell me more: The Indian government has reportedly approached the Election Commission to seek its permission to present the General Budget in the Lok Sabha on February 1 in order to avoid violating themodel code of conduct that would kick in from the day the election schedule is announced until the results are declared.

 

Rs 1.25-1.5 lakh crore

What is it? The quantum of stressed assets Indian banks are reportedly looking to recover in the next few months.

Why is it important? After having identified the extent of bad loans and having provided capital for them, banks are now progressing to the next step of recovery. Last week, Essar Group sold 98% stake in its oil unit and other assets (largest debt reduction exercise by an Indian business) and three banks – ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and StanChart – got back an estimated $2.5 billion (around Rs 16,750 crore) as part of the first payment for their loans to the group. This is expected to give a boost to the recovery process initiated by the banks.

Tell me more: The lenders are hoping to recover the loans through resolution methods such as sale of assets, transfer to asset reconstruction companies and strategic debt restructuring (allows creditors to convert debt into equity and take over the management of defaulting companies).

 

Rs 3,050 crore

What is it? The penalty recommended to be imposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular for not providing sufficient interconnect points to Reliance Jio.

Why is it important? This brings an end to the three-month long dispute between the three incumbents and the new entrant Reliance Jio. The telecom regulator ruled that the three firms deliberately blocked the calls made from Reliance Jio’s network, a move considered to have been done with the intention of stifling competition. This was in response to Reliance Jio’s complaint that 75% of the calls made on its network were failing as the incumbents were not providing it with adequate points of interconnection necessary to complete the calls.

Tell me more: For Airtel and Vodafone, the regulator has recommended a penalty of Rs 50 crore per circle for 21 service areas while for Idea Cellular, it is Rs 50 crore for 19 service areas. The regulator has floated a consultation paper that aims to review the existing provisions for interconnection. Interconnection is thearrangement under which telecom firms connect their networks, equipment and services to enable their subscribers to get access to the subscribers, services and networks of other telecom firms

 

$85.4 billion

What is it? The deal size of US telecom giant AT&T buying out entertainment group Time Warner.

Why is it important? If approved by the regulators, this would be the biggest deal in the world this year. The deal would help the third largest cable TV provider in the US (owns mobile phone, broadband and cable TV networks) to transform itself into a full service media provider – owning content would help provide a competitive advantage over the others. This is likely to spark industry consolidation and bring in changes in the way people consume content.

Tell me more: However, it remains to be seen if the deal is allowed to happen as US lawmakers and both the presidential candidates have raised questions about it – the acquisition is considered to be anti-competitive by some. A Senate sub-committee, which is responsible for competition, will hold a hearing in November.

 

$1.7 billion

What is it? The amount Chinese consumers spent on Apple-sanctioned apps in the July-September quarter this year, according to a report.

Why is it important? With this, they have exceeded the spend by Americans (nearly $1.45 billion) by 15% in this period. Chinese consumers spent five times more on Apple apps in the third quarter of 2016 than what they spent two years ago. The report noted that China is likely to drive the largest absolute revenue growth for any country by 2020. Apple recently announced the opening of its research and development centre in China even as it saw its year-on-year revenues fall by 33% in Greater China in its fiscal third quarter.

Tell me more: In terms of market share, domestic firms – Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi – command a 56% market share in China, pushing Apple to the fifth position (8% market share), according to research firm IDC.

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Union Budget: The difference between Jaitley-I and Jaitley-II in words

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

At 115 times, the word ‘tax’ appeared the most in finance minister’s Arun Jaitley second budget speech — about twice its count in his first speech in 2014. And the other top five words of 2015 — excise, service, duty and act — were not even in the top five in 2014.

Overall, Jaitley’s speech this time round seemed much more narrowly focused, especially on taxes. His 2014 speech, in contrast, touched a lot more bases, ranging widely on issues such as development, growth and infrastructure. Look for other top 100 words appearing in the two speeches, and how their usage changed between 2014 and 2015.

 

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