Budget 2015 Live

All eyes on Jaitley; Sensex rides high on big hopes

  • 10.50 am
  • Markets just ahead of the Budget presentation
  • The Sensex was up 199.04 or 0.68 per cent at 24,419.16 while the NSE Nifty was up 57.10 points or 0.65 per cent at 8,901.70.
  • Union Budget 2015 papers arrive at Parliament House. Photo: Kamal Narang
  • 10.25 am
  • The Budget speech and the document has two parts – Part A and B. Part A is the macroeconomic part of the budget where various schemes are announced, and allocations are made to several sectors. The priorities of the government are also announced in this part.
  • Reforms, the watchword: Priority should be on reviving the investment cycle, driven by increased public spending, say analysts. Read more
  • 10.00 am
  • Infra stocks rally
  • With a huge expectation on the first full Budget of the Narendra Modi-led Government triggering a next growth phase for infrastructure, the infrastructure stocks extended gains today.
  • The stock of GMR Infrastructure was up by about 3.5% at Rs 20.30. GVK Power & Infrastructure’s scrip rose 1.86 per cent to Rs 10.40, Lanco Infratech 6.10 per cent to ₹7.13, NCC 2.48 per cent to ₹78.40, and L&T 2.3 per cent to ₹1,799.
  • Ramky Infra was up 2.96% at Rs 48.65, while IVRCL rose 2.69 per cent to ₹19.10.
  • Many infrastructure stocks on Friday rallied on optimism that the Centre is committed to shore up the sector’s prospects and present an industry-friendly Budget.
  • 9.50 am
  • Tax breaks for individuals?
  • The common man or the middle class segment of the population wants the threshold limit to be increased from Rs.2.5 lakh to Rs.4 lakh. Ideally, the threshold limit increase should automatically be aligned with the inflation rate and adjusted accordingly. Household savings, as a percentage of the GDP, have seen a decline, and, hence, there is a crying need to increase limit under 80C from Rs.1.5 lakh to Rs.2.5 lakh.
  • 9.40 am
  • Market news
  • At 9.40 a.m., the 30-share BSE sensitive index Sensex was trading higher by 273.88 points or 0.94% at 29,494 and the 50-share NSE index Nifty was trading up by 72.95 points or 0.82 per cent at 8,917.55.
  • 9.30 am
  • Call for rate cut
  • The RBI should consider cutting lending rates on the back of lower inflation, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian said on Friday.
  • His comments came a day ahead of the Union Budget and in the backdrop of RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan earlier saying that the central bank will wait for Budget cues before taking a decision on further easing of monetary policy.
  • Survey on fiscal deficit
  • The Economic Survey has diagnosed the daunting challenge for the Centre in maintaining fiscal discipline while boosting public investments to revitalise growth. he advice from the Survey is not to go in for excessive belt-tightening, which could affect public investments and thereby hurt growth. An overhaul of the subsidy regime will be a centrepiece of the expenditure compression strategy that could help the Government achieve its medium-term fiscal deficit target of 3 per cent of GDP.
  • Market news
  • The Sensex was trading 234 points higher or 0.80 per cent at 29,454.43 while the NSE Nifty jumped 57.45 points or 0.65 per cent to 8,902.05 in early trade.
  • 9.15 am
  • Arun Jaitley with Minister of State Jayant Sinha leaves North Block to present Union Budget in Parliament.
  • Jaitleyspeak
  • As expectations continue to build up on the first full Budget of the Modi government, Jaitley had said the sum total of the reform measures and other policy initiatives already taken would be much more than "the big bang".
  • "I am not going to be swayed by these phrases that are used in television studios. If you take the sum total of all the steps we have already taken, it will be much more than the big bang. Even big bang looks small in comparison."
  • Asked if he was tempering expectations, the Minister said: "I am not tempering expectations. Opening up sacrosanct sectors like Railways, Defence, is that not big bang? GST, which everyone thought will never see the light of the day, is that not big bang?
  • "In the mining sector, in allocation of natural resources, what we have done, is it not big bang? These are steps which our predecessors had failed to take. The Budget will be a very important occasion for this government, but then the next 364 days are equally important."
  • 9.05 am
  • Modi government's first full year Budget, hyped as a ‘make or break’ exercise, is widely expected to unveil sops for tax payers while pushing forward the ‘Make In India’ campaign. Read more
  • On high alert
  • SEBI and the stock exchanges are on high alert. Markets are expected to witness a huge turnover, including by foreign entities. Various market entities have also been asked to ring-fence their systems and infrastructure from any sudden volatility. The day, being a Saturday, may add to trading volumes and volatility as overseas markets, including Singapore where many foreign investors take position before trading begins in India on normal days, would be closed and the foreign investors are expected to trade directly on Indian bourses.
  • 8.50 am
  • Ahead of the Budget, Jaitley had hinted at more reforms for faster economic growth and rationalisation of expenditure, saying the government does not believe in living on borrowed money. "We’re trying to rationalise expenditure as far as the Government is concerned because we do not want the government to live on borrowed money indefinitely. The whole concept of spending beyond your means and leaving the next generation in debt to repay what we are overspending today is never prudent fiscal policy," he said.
  • 8.45 am
  • Stock markets are open today and trading will be conducted during normal hours from 9 am to 3.30 pm, despite it being a Saturday. This is probably the first time in many years that the Union Budget is being presented on a Saturday. The stock markets are generally closed on Saturdays and Sundays, except for special circumstances.
  • 8.40 am
  • Decisive policy shifts by the Centre that have stabilised the macro-economic situation, a declining trend in inflation, and a benign external environment make India the cynosure of investors, says the report-card on the economy for 2014-15, tabled in Parliament on Friday.
  • Reader's Poll
  • 68% of our readers say the Budget will be less populist this time. What's your opinion? Vote and comment here
  • 8.30 am
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is all set to present the Budget today. The Economic Survey on Friday said India has reached a sweet spot and could finally be on a double-digit medium-term growth trajectory, while projecting over 8% growth in 2015-16.
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    Today's Poll
    Do you think the Budget will be less populist this time?
    Can't say

    Economic Survey 2014-15 highlights

  • Following are the highlights of Economic Survey 2014-15 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament today
  • GDP growth seen at 8.1–8.5 per cent in 2015-16
  • Double digit growth trajectory; 8–10 per cent GDP in coming years
  • Inflation shows declining trend during April-December
  • Current Account Deficit (CAD) to decline to about 1 per cent in 2015-16
  • To adhere to fiscal deficit target of 4.1 per cent of GDP; to aim for 3 per cent
  • Committed to fiscal consolidation; to enhance revenue generation
  • More reforms on anvil; Goods and Services Tax, expanding direct benefit transfers to be game-changers
  • Foodgrains production for 2014-15 estimated at 257.07 million tonnes; will exceed last 5-year average by 8.5 million tonnes
  • NITI Aayog, 14th Finance Commission to enhance fiscal federalism
  • External Sector returning to strength, resilience
  • Need balance between ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skilling India’
  • Services sector negotiations at WTO crucial for India in removing many market access barriers
  • Revitalise PPP model to revive investment
  • Manufacturing and services equally important for growth
  • Consumer inflation in 2015-16 to be between 5-5.5%
  • Lower inflation opens up space for more monetary easing
  • There is scope for big bang reforms
  • Labour, capital, land, market reform and skills to be engines of growth
  • JAM Trinity — Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar, Mobile — to help transfer of funds to poor without leakage
  • Shield domestic industry to promote ‘Make In India’
  • Borrowings to fund investment, not for meeting expenses
  • Food subsidy bill in April-Jan up 20% to Rs 1.08 lakh cr
  • Reform Railway’s structure, commercial practices, overhaul of technology
  • Public investment key growth engine in short-run for Railways, but not a substitute for private investment
  • More disinvestments on the anvil in current fiscal
  • Under-recoveries on petroleum products to come down to Rs 74,664 crore in 2014-15, from Rs 1.39 lakh crore in FY14
  • 4Ds — Deregulation, Differentiation, Diversification, Disinter (better bankruptcy laws) — to push financial sector growth
  • Implementation of GST to boost GDP, exports
  • Suggests medium to long term fiscal policy to target deficit, expenditure
  • Global commodity prices to remain weak in 2015
  • Ecommerce sector to witness 50% growth in 5 years
  • Urban land and labour costs are pushing garment units in South India to small towns »

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