Budget 2014: Rs 1000 Cr set aside to improve irrigation facilities

News4u-News Desk- Narendra Modi government has maintained that irrigation and watershed management are critical for agricultural development.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today earmarked Rs. 1000 crore for improving irrigation facilities under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojana.

The scheme, he said, would facilitate assured irrigation, and shield the farmers from the vagaries of monsoon.

The government recognizes water is the most critical input for agriculture. Currently, according to the Economic Survey presented by Mr Jaitley yesterday, 63 million hectares, or 45 per cent of net cropped area, is irrigated.

Under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Rs. 64,228 crore of central loan assistance (CLA)/grant had been released up to December 31, 2013.

An irrigation potential of 8054.61 thousand hectares is estimated to have been created by states from major/medium/minor irrigation projects under the AIBP till March 2012.


Arun jaitley

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Retro tax amendment to be undertaken with extreme caution: FM

News4u-Business Desk- Assuring investors that retrospective amendments to tax laws will be undertaken with extreme caution, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said all fresh cases arising out of the 2012 amendment of I-T Act will be looked into by a high level CBDT committee.

However, the existing tax disputes, arising out of Retrospective Amendment to the Income tax Act, 1961, and are pending in Courts, will be allowed to reach their logical conclusions, he said.

“The sovereign right of the government to undertake retrospective legislation in unquestionable. However, this power has to be exercised through extreme caution and judiciousness keeping in mind the impact of each such measure on the economy and the overall investment climate.

“This govt will not ordinarily bring any change retrospectively which creates a fresh liability,” Jaitley said while presenting the Budget for 2014-15.

He said consequent upon the retrospective amendment of the I-T Act, 1961, undertaken by Finance Bill of 2012, a few cases have come up in various courts and legal fora.

“These cases are at various stages of pendency and will naturally reach their logical conclusion,” he said.

He said the BJP-led NDA government is committed to providing a stable and predictable taxable regime which would be investor friendly and spur growth.

“…Henceforth all cases arising out of retrospective amendment of 2012 in respect of indirect transfer and coming to the notice of Assessing Officers will be scrutinised by a high level committee to constituted by the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) before any action is initiated in such cases,” he added.


arun jaitley

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Govt allocates Rs 500 cr for Internet connectivity in villages

News4u-Business desk- The government on Thursday said it will allocate Rs 500 crore for its ‘Digital India’ initiative to set up broadband network in villages and promote local manufacturing of hardware and Indian software products.

Under the Digital India initiative, National Rural Internet and Technology Mission, the government will focus on setting up broadband in villages, promote local manufacturing of hardware and Indian software products, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said while presenting the Budget for 2014-15.

“A special focus will be on supporting software products startups. A national rural Internet and technology mission service in villages and training in IT…I have provided a sum of Rs 500 crore for this purpose,” he informed Parliament.

Also in what could provide more opportunities for the technology firms, the Minister proposed to set up 100 smart cities for which the government will provide Rs 7,060 crore.

Besides, in a bid to boost the earnings of the small and medium enterprises, Jaitley said manufacturing units will be allowed to sell their products through retail and e-commerce platforms.


arun jaitley

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Tax exemption limit under 80C raised to Rs 1.5 lakh

News4u-Business Desk- Seeking to boost household savings, the government on Thursday hiked the exemption limit for investments by individuals in financial instruments to Rs 1.5 lakh.

Presently the investments and expenditures up to a combined limit of Rs 1 lakh get exemptions under Sections 80C, 80CC and 80CCC of the Income-Tax Act.

The announcement to hike tax savings limit was made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his speech while presenting the Union Budget, 2014-15.

There have been demands from bankers and insurers to hike the tax exemption limit from Rs 1 lakh per annum to encourage household savings.

The savings rate has come down from over 38 per cent of GDP in 2008 to 30 per cent in 2012-13.

The hike in the exemption limit would provide much needed relief to the salary earners who are reeling under the impact of high inflation.

The Direct Taxes Code (DTC) too had recommended that the combined ceiling for investments and expenditures be raised to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum.

The financial instruments which enjoy exemption include life insurance premium, public provident fund, employees provident fund, National Savings Certificates, repayment of capital on home loan, equity linked saving schemes sold by mutual funds and bank FDs of five year maturity.


FM Jaitley

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Jaitley provides relief to Income Tax Payers

News4u-News Desk- In a relief to tax payers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a number of changes to the Income Tax Act.

The FM has raised the exemption limit on income tax from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh.

For senior citizens, the exemption on income has been raised to Rs. 3 lakh per annum.

Mr Jaitley has also hiked the exemption limit on long-term financial savings, currently capped at Rs. 1 lakh, by Rs. 50,000.

Savings instruments such as housing loan repayment (principal), five-year and above tenure fixed deposits, provident funds (PFs) and life insurance policy premiums are some investment vehicles that qualify for tax exemption under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

The Finance Minister has also hiked the tax-free cap on home loan interest from Rs. 1.5 to Rs. 2 lakh.

However, income tax rates and slabs have not been changed.

Jaitley: Cannot spend beyond our means, Stresses Fiscal Prudence

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his first Union Budget in Parliament stated that the Narendra Modi government “looks forward to lower levels of inflation,” stressing on fiscal prudence and stating, “we cannot spend beyond our means.”

The Budget, which Mr Jaitley said would be a “broad policy indicator of the direction we intend to take,” is being seen as the first major test of the Narendra Modi government’s reform credentials.

Mr Jaitley presented the Modi’s government first Union Budget 2014 in Parliament today. Here are the highlights:

• Slowdown in India broadly reflects the trend in many economies. Fortunately, there are green shoots of recovery seen in the global economy

• People have decided for a change

• Those below poverty lines anxious to free themselves

• Look forward to lower levels of inflation

• Country in no mood to suffer unemployment, lack of infrastructure

• Broad policy indicator of the direction we want to take

• Poor who suffer the most

• We have to ensure anti-poverty programmes are well targeted

• Mandate of sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas will be followed

• Will leave no stone unturned in creating a vibrant India

• Need to revive growth in manufacturing and infrastructure sector • Can’t spend beyond our means, need fiscal prudence

• Conscious choice has to be made by all of us…should we allow our future to suffer because if our indecisiveness

• Need to revive growth in manufacturing and infrastructure

• The task is simple if we accept we cannot spend beyond our means

• We need to introduce fiscal prudence

• We have large subsidy burden

• Target of 4.1% fiscal deficit is daunting

• I have accepted this target as challenge

• Tax-to-GDP ratio must be raised

• Will streamline taxation and avoid harassment. This government will not bring any restrospective amendments

• Banking Sector needs to be strengthened

• There is urgent need to generate more resources

• We need to revive growth particularly in manufacturing sector and infrastructure • Anti-poverty programmes will be targeted well.

• We wish to achieve 7 to 8 per cent growth in next 3-4 years

• Will leave no stone unturned to create a vibrant India

• Will usher in policy regime that will usher in higher growth, low inflation

• Slow decision making has resulted in loss of opportunity

• Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojana -1000 crores set aside

• Swach Bharat Abhiyaan - sanitation is of prime importance

• Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana launched with initial allocation of 100 crores for welfare of tribals

• Rs. 500 crore for Deen Dayal Upadhyay rural electrification programme.

• Sardar Patel statue work will be completed in Gujarat

Women Safety:

• Outlay of Rs. 50 crores for a pilot scheme on road safety

• Another 150 crores to be spent by MHA on safety on women in larger cities

• ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana’ - 100 crores


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

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A Meaningless Controversy

News4u-Features Desk- The question Shankaracharya Sarupanandji has raised aboutShirdi’s Sai Baba being a God or not, is totally against the basics of sanatan dharm. Sanatan dharm has survived through ages because of its tolerance to other religions and giving them due respect.

Hundred of years of foreign rule, torture in the name of conversion and even destruction of a thousand temples could not diminish the light of this religion, called Hinduism.

Actually, Hinduism, as always emphasised, is not a religion but a way of life. Thats the reason no Gauri, Ghajnavi or the persistent Christianity could destroy it. Now an esteemed guru of such a faith had no reason to start a controversy about Sai Baba being worshipped in temples along with other Hindu Gods.

The truth is that Idols of Gods and Godesses are nothing but statues carved out of stones like any other piece of art. They become Gods and Godesses when we do the idol’s pran prathishtha with chanting of certain mantras and a special puja. It is we who turn a simple stone into a God to worship. Therefore if some people look up at Sai Baba as God and put him on a pedestal for his followers to worship, why should any one object to it.

The main point is that any one who is above human failings, one who puts the good of people above his own and ceaselessly works for the happiness and well being of the people around him, is worthy of worship. He attains the stature of a God. And Gods should not be categorised into Hindus and Muslims.

Any one who instigates such divisive feelings should not be allowed to have his way.

-Veera Chaturvedi

veera@news4u.co.in


Shankaracharya Sarupanandji

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Rani ki Vav in Unesco heritage site list

News4u-Travel desk- New Delhi: Rani ki Vav (queen`s stepwell), in Gujarat`s Patan town, has been added to Unesco`s list of World Heritage sites, an official statement said Sunday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the decision, calling it a “matter of great pride” for the state.

“Rani Ki Vav in Patan, Gujarat, has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list! A matter of great pride for us. Next time you visit Gujarat, you must visit Rani Ki Vav, an excellent symbol of our great art and culture,” he tweeted.

Rani ki Vav has been added to Unesco`s list of World Heritage sites, an culture ministry release said.

“Rani ki Vav has been approved for inscription on the World Heritage list,” said the release, adding that the decision was taken by Unesco at the World Heritage Committee session currently on at Doha.

“Unesco has recognised this masterpiece as an exceptional example of technological development in utilizing ground water resources in a single component, water management system and it illustrates the exceptional capacity to break large spaces into smaller volumes following ideal aesthetic proportions,” it added.

“The ancient stepwell was built in the 11th century and is an example of a unique Indian subterranean architectural structure. Its seven storeys of ornamented panels of sculptures and relief represent the height of the Maru-Gurjara style,” said the release.

“Following the flooding and disappearance of the Saraswati river due to geotectonic changes, the property was buried under layers of silt for almost seven centuries and has been preserved underneath in an exceptional state of conservation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),” the release added. The stepwell was nominated for the title by the ASI in February 2013. IANS


Rani ki Vav

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$10 mn for information on leader of Islamic State: US

News4u-News Desk- Washington: The US has offered a bounty of 10 million dollars since 2011 for the information on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the top leader of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” spanning parts of Iraq and Syria, the State Department said on Wednesday.

The reward was offered in October 2011 but remains “active” as Washington is seeking information that can lead to al-Baghdadi’s location and arrest, Xinhua quoted the State Department as stating in response to an enquiry by the press.

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is led by al-Baghdadi, have overrun swathes of territories in northern and western Iraq since early June.

The ISIL declared June 29 the establishment of a caliphate in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq with al-Baghdadi as its caliph, and changed its name into the Islamic State.

In his first public appearance in a video clip posted online Saturday, al-Baghdadi appealed for aid and advice.

“I became your leader, though I am not the best of you, so if you see me right, assist me,” al-Baghdadi said in the video. “If you see me wrong, advise me and put me on the right path, and obey me as long as I obey God with you.”

The State Department said al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Du’a, was born in Samarra, Iraq in 1971. IANS


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

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U.S. Presses China on Currency

News4u-News Desk- BEIJING—The U.S. and China launched formal economic talks Wednesday, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew arguing that exchange rate liberalization and other proposed measures were in China’s interest and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang calling for balance.

“If we move too fast, we will be tripped by the demons of details,” Mr. Wang said in an afternoon session of the annual Strategic & Economic Dialogue in Beijing. “But if we move too slow, reform will be affected.”

“The U.S. is stepping up the pressure” on currency and other issues, Mr. Wang said, but China is seeking to find “balance.”

Mr. Lew outlined a list of changes the U.S. is seeking, including a market-determined exchange rate, financial sector overhaul and intellectual property protection. He framed these changes as part of Beijing’s reform agenda and thus in China’s interest.

“We are encouraged that the reforms outlined in the Third Plenum reflect many of the steps we believe are needed for China to have a prosperous future,” Mr. Lew said, referring to a Communist Party session that endorsed a large set of economic changes.

The Strategic & Economic Dialogue is an annual meeting of top Chinese and U.S. security and economic officials. This year, the U.S. is represented by Mr. Lew and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, while Mr. Wang is joined by State Councilor Yang Jiechi from China.

It is far from clear whether the two sides will reach any concrete deals in the two-day session.Wall Street Journal


Wang Yang

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FIFA World Cup: Argentina beat Netherlands to reach final

News4u-Sports Desk- Sao Paulo: Goalkeeper Sergio Romero pulled off two stunning saves as Argentina edged out the Netherlands 4-2 in the penalty shootout in a grinding semifinal match to set up a World Cup summit clash against Germany here Wednesday.

The second semifinal between the two heavyweight teams ended scoreless in the regulation 90 minutes and 30 minutes of extra time and its result had to be decided via penalty shootout.

Captain Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez scored for Argentina while only Arjen Robben and Dirk Kuyt could found the target for the Netherlands.

Romero turned out to be the hero for Argentina as he blocked shots from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder to take his side to the fifth World Cup final.

Two-time champions Argentina now take on three-time winners Germany in the summit clash at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

This will be Argentina`s first World Cup final entry in 24 years after 1990 when they lost to Germany in the final under Diego Maradona.

In stark contrast to the goals galore in Germany`s 7-1 humiliation of Brazil in the first semifinal yesterday, today`s match was more of a battle of attrition with very few goal-scoring chances with both sides trying to break down their opponents gradually.

The clash between the two heavyweights was though not without some tense and gripping spells with some fine build-ups but none of the two sides either blinked or committed mistakes to give the other team a chance.

The Dutch were able to keep Argentine captain Messi quiet for most part of the match with Ron Vlaar doing a great job by denying the four-time World Player of the Year free space, stopping him with fine tackles on a couple of occasions.

Messi`s opposite number in the Dutch team, Robin van Persie, who made it to the starting line-up after recovering from a stomach problem just in time for the match, had a forgettable outing though he played the full 90 minutes before being substituted six minutes into the extra time.

Rodrigo Palacio had a glorious chance to score for Argentina five minutes before the end of extra time but he headed into the hands of Dutch goalie Jasper Cillessen who was at his mercy.

The first half was a cagey and tense affair with both sides unable to create clear chances, the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock was Messi`s free kick in the 20th minute that Cillessen dived to his right to comfortably save.

Argentina came close to scoring in the 75th minute when an Enzo Perez delicious through ball was toe-poked towards the goal by Gonzalo Higuain only to hit the side nettings.

The Netherlands pressed hard and laid seize of Argentina citadel towards the close of regulation time and Arjen Robben was sent clean through inside Argentine penalty area by Wesley Sneijder in the 90th minute but Javier Mascherano made a remarkable recovery to deflect the Dutch winger`s shot.

Just before kick-off, a moment of silence was observed at Arena de Sao Paulo to pay homage to Argentine-born Real Madrid legend Alfredo de Stefano who passed away yesterday at the age of 88. The Argentine players wore armband in the match in honour of de Stefano, one of the greatest footballers in history.PTI


Goalkeeper Sergio Romero pulled off two stunning saves

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