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GS Paper III- Government Budgeting.

Highlights Political Parties, Health, Energy of Union Budget 2017-18

What’s Happening-
The 2017 Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
It was broadly focused on 10 themes — the farming sector, the rural population, the youth, the poor and underprivileged health care, infrastructure, the financial sector for stronger institutions, speedy accountability, public services, prudent fiscal management and tax administration for the honest.

Following are the highlights of Mr. Jaitley’s Budget speech:

For the poor and underprivilege health care:

  • Rs. 500 crore allocated for Mahila Shakthi Kendras.
  • Under a nationwide scheme for pregnant women, Rs. 6000 will be transferred to each person.
  • A sum of Rs. 1,84,632  crore allocated for women and children.
  • Affordable housing will be given infrastructure status.
  • Owing to surplus liquidity, banks have started reducing lending rates for housing.
  • Elimination of tuberculosis by 2025 targeted.
  • Health sub centres, numbering 1.5 lakh, willl be transformed into health wellness centres.
  • Two AIIMS will be set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.
  • Will undertake structural transformation of the regulator framework for medical education.
  • Allocation for Scheduled Castes  is Rs. 52,393  crore.
  • Aadhaar-based smartcards will be issued to senior citizens to monitor health.

Funding of political parties:

  • The maximum amount of cash donation for a political party will be Rs. 2,000 from any one source.
  • Political parties will be entitled to receive donations by cheque or digital mode from donors.
  • An amendment is being proposed to the RBI Act to enable issuance of electoral bonds.
  • A donor can purchase these bonds from banks or post offices through cheque or digital transactions. They can be redeemed only by registered political parties.

Defence sector:

  • The defence sector gets an allocation of Rs. 2.74,114 crore.

Background-
Union Budget of India is the Annual Financial Statement mandated by Article 112 of .
It was presented before the  on 1 February 2017 by the ,  with 21.47 lakh crore rupees (US$ 317 billion) Budget size.
Earlier Budget used to be presented at the end of February Month.

Energy sector:

  • A strategic policy for crude reserves will be set up.
  • Rs. 1.26,000 crore received as energy production based investments.
  • Trade infra export scheme will be launched 2017-18

GS Paper III – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources.

Second PSB recapitalisation plan on the anvil

What’s Happening-
The government plans to come out with ‘Indradhanush 2.0’, a comprehensive plan for recapitalisation of public sector lenders, with a view to make sure they remain solvent and fully comply with the global capital adequacy norms, Basel-III.

Key Points discussed were:

  • ‘Indradhanush 2.0’ will be finalised after completion of the Asset Quality Review (AQR) by the Reserve Bank. The review is likely to be completed by March-end.

Impact on stocks

  • The RBI had embarked on the AQR exercise from December 2015 and had asked banks to recognise some top defaulting accounts as non-performing assets (NPAs) and make adequate provisions for them.
  • The central bank has set a deadline of March 2017 to complete the AQR exercise.

75% funds released:

  • In line with the plan, public sector banks were given ₹25,000 crores in 2015-16, and a similar amount has been earmarked for the current fiscal.
  • Besides, ₹10,000 crores each would be infused in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • The government has already announced fund infusion of ₹22,915 crores, out of the ₹25,000 crore earmarked for 13 PSBs for the current fiscal. Of this, 75% has already been released to them.

 

Background-
Under Indradhanush roadmap announced in 2015, the government had announced an infusion of ₹70,000 crore in state-run banks over four years while they will have to raise a further ₹1.1 lakh crore from the markets to meet their capital requirement in line with global risk norms, known as Basel-III Norms.
What is an AQR?
Typically, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) inspectors check bank books every year as part of its annual financial inspection (AFI) process.
However, a special inspection was conducted in 2015-16 in the August-November period. This was named as Asset Quality Review (AQR).
However, in the AQR, the sample size was much bigger and in fact, most of the large borrower accounts were inspected to check if classification was in line with prudential norms.

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 17

GS Paper III –  Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Green drive on blue waters — solar power lights up naval vessel

What’s Happening-
In a first, a warship of the Navy has turned to the sun to generate a share of its on-board power.
Naval survey vessel  INS Sarvekshak, based at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi, has innovatively deployed the zero-maintenance solar power system, capable of generating 5.4KW electricity, by customising and installing ‘razor-thin, flexible’ solar panels on the canopy of its telescopic (retractable) helicopter deck.

Key Points discussed were:

Low cost system:

  • The project, taken up by the ship’s electrical wing headed by Commander Sreejith Tampi as part of an innovation drive, cost about ₹19 lakh, which is recoverable in under three years, Captain Rajesh Bargoti, commanding officer of the ship said.
  • “Rigid, glass-topped solar panels are unsuitable in the humid, salty marine environment, as they cannot withstand high wind speeds. They were found to be unfit for fitment on ships and they needed to be stationary for the sensors to receive sunlight. Conventional, fume-emitting batteries posed a further challenge, as they are not advisable over turbulent seas,” Capt. Bargoti .
  • Given these constraints, the team then decided on the ‘light weight, extra-thin and flexible panels that would not break’.
  • The industrial grade panels are found to be performing well in all-light conditions and are shade-tolerant.
  • The system is expected to save ₹8.98 lakh used to run the vessel’s emergency diesel alternator.

Background-
INS Sarvekshak  is a hydrographic  in the , under the .
The ship was awarded the   in the 2015 Innovation Trophy awards given out on  as a operational unit by  .
The award was given for developing a innovative solution for  measurement during Hydrological Surveys by use of land based  equipment and floating  mounted with .
Built by   in 2002, Sarvekshak is the Indian Navy’s eight  and perhaps the last ship under Sandhayak-class to have been  designed and constructed.

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 18