A look at India’s last five annual budgets

With the BSE Sensex gaining nearly 30 percent in 2014 and about 6 percent so far this year, investors are eagerly awaiting reforms in the budget, which is being billed as a “make-or-break” event for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Based on a new calculation method, India grew 7.5 percent year-on-year in the last quarter and is on track to expand 7.4 percent in the year through March 31, but experts say the revised growth numbers are at odds with evidence on the ground.

Here’s a look at budgets between 2010 and 2014 — the hits, the misses, and how they affected the common man.

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ViaReuters.com

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14th Finance Commission gives States a huge tax windfall

The 14th Finance Commission, headed by former RBI Governor Y.V. Reddy,  has recommended a 10 per cent jump in the devolution of tax revenues to States to 42 per cent, in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans for greater flexibility to States. The total devolution to States will rise to 45 per cent of Union tax revenues in 2015-16.

In a letter to all Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister said the increase in resources given to States will give them the required freedom to tailor make development schemes to suit their needs.

The higher tax share to states would also have a significant impact on the Centre’s revenue and expenditure projections and the fiscal consolidation roadmap to be presented in the Union Budget 2015-16 on February 28.

The Commission has also recommended ₹2.87 lakh crore as grants to local bodies, using criteria of population and land area that would be divided into a basic grant and a performance grant. While panchayats would be given ₹2 lakh crore in grants, municipalities would receive ₹87,143 crore.

Though it did not award any special dispensation to debt-ridden States, the Commission has provided ₹1.94 lakh crore as a post devolution revenue deficit grant. This would help wipe out the revenue deficit of  States like Kerala, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

The Commission has also  suggested that the government should set up a GST compensation fund to pay States for revenue losses once the goods and services tax is implemented. The compensation should be given to States for five years, with 100 per cent compensation being paid in the first, second and third years, and 75 per cent and 50 per cent compensation in fourth and fifth year, respectively.

2014 – The year that was

A glimpse of some important events that marked this year.

February-March: The Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa caught the world’s attention. On March 18, Guinean health officials announced the outbreak of a mysterious haemorrhagic fever. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, as of December 10, there have been 17,942 reported cases of Ebola virus disease, with 6,388 reported deaths.

March 08: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 flying from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to China’s capital city of Beijing, with 239 people on board, lost contact and disappeared. Its baffling disappearance launched the world’s most expensive search effort. The debris has not been spotted and the crash site has not been zeroed in on.

April 07: The Indian general election 2014 (16th Lok Sabha elections) was held from April 7 to May 12, making it the longest election in the country’s history. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the elections.

May 26: BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The swearing-in gained much attention because it was the first time that the leaders of SAARC were invited for such an event. Heads of or representatives from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lankan, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal and Bangladesh were invited.

July 23: The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland concluded on August 3, with England finishing at the top with a total of 174 medals. India too put up a memorable performance, finishing fifth with 64 medals.

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via The Hindu.

Six charts that show how India should approach emission cuts

In the face of the much-touted US-China climate deal, India’s strategy of piggybacking on China to avoid taking compulsory carbon emission cuts has backfired.

The international pressure is now firmly on India—the third largest polluter in the world—to act decisively against climate change. However, a closer look at climate data shows that while population and steep economic growth are the two reasons why India has become a major carbon emitter, it is much less responsible for climate change than many other comparable nations.

Here are six charts that show how India should juggle the trinity of international pressure, its own development concerns and the need for a clean environment for its own sake.

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via Livemint.

Germany celebrates 25 years of fall of Berlin Wall; Gorbachov warns of a new ‘cold war’

On 8 November 2014, Germany marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Speaking at the event, former President of Soviet Union Mikhail S. Gorbachev said tensions between the major powers have put the world “on the brink of a new Cold War”. He also called for new trust to be built through dialogue with Moscow, and suggested the West should lift sanctions imposed against senior Russian officials over its actions in eastern Ukraine.

It was Gorbachev’s reforms, including a loosening of Soviet control over its former communist satellites, that triggered the events that led to the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

September 2014 Current Affairs updated

The current affairs sections – Notes on Current Affairs, Current GK, Appointments Etc, Sports News – have been updated and are now available on our Blog and not the main website. We are in process of updating our servers hence the website could not be updated. The blog will eventually be merged with the website.