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Fact-checking the budget: some false claims, some shortcomings, esp the ‘dole’ to farmers



Piyush Goyal

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Seen as an ‘election budget’ by all, including the upbeat members of government and the ruling BJP, the Budget 2019 with provisions that goes well beyond the ‘interim’ period of the three-month remaining term of this dispensation was found wanting by analysts with regard to some facts and promises.

As for the much flaunted sops for the poor and farmers, a look at the provisions made revealed them to be misleading and meaningless. The ‘smart’ move with regard to farmers is that the payment for Rs.6,000 annual income will start retrospectively from December 2018, and the first instalment of Rs.2,000 will be deposited in farmers’ account this March: just in time for 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The allocation for MGNREGA, about which the initial claim of an increase was followed by silence, is Rs. 60,000 crore.

This is 1.8% lower than the Rs 61,084 crore (revised estimate) allocated for 2018-19.

In February 2018, the Union budget had earmarked Rs 55,000 crore to the demand-driven rural employment scheme. In January 2019, the government had to allocate an additional Rs 6,084 crore to the programme to meet its financial demands, thus taking up the total amount to be spent in the financial year 2018-19 to Rs 61,084 crore.

For the last few years, though the demand for MGNREGA has been steadily increasing, the government has not been able to address it fully, leading to pending liabilities.

Prior to the presentation of the 2018 full budget, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a country-wide coalition of organisations and individuals, had submitted a memorandum to the Union finance ministry stating that there should be an annual allocation in the range of Rs 80,000 crore to be able to minimally function as per its legal provisions.

A shortfall would aggravate problems of implementation and pending liabilities, leaving the poor short-changed.

PM Kisan Samman Nidhi

Narendra Modi government’s income support scheme for small farmers – those cultivating up to two hectares of land – is Rs.6,000 a year, or Rs 500 per month. Considering a household size of five, this is 1/8th the rural poverty line of Rs 816 per person per month.

The allocation of Rs.20,000 crore in the interim budget (out of the total Rs.75,000 crore) falls short of meeting even this target. According to 2015-16 Agriculture Census, the  small  and  marginal  holdings  taken  together  (0.00-2.00  ha) constituted  86.21% of total 14.6 crore operational  holdings in  the  country, or a total of over 12.58 crore. If Rs. 2000/- is allocated for each small & marginal farm household as part of 1st instalment, then the total spending (cost) under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi would be 25,160 crore.

But the interim budget has allocated only Rs. 20,000 crore for 2018-19 (R.E.). So, even if landless farmers, SC-ST farmers, women farmers, sharecroppers and tenant farmers are kept aside, not all the small and marginal households can get covered under the income support scheme (assuming that 1 household operates one holding

Agriculture and food policy expert Devinder Sharma who has been advocating a fixed annual income for farmers was surprised at the figures allocated for the purpose. “How can they seriously think that a support of Rs 500 per month will help farmers out of the terrible agrarian crisis. And how will it help reduce the number of farmers suicides.”

The announcement is also discriminatory in nature. The measure is meant for small farmers with less than two hectares of land and does not take into account the 40% tenant farmers and agricultural workers who had been left out of the Budget altogether. The forest rights being demanded by the Adivasis and tribals has not even been acknowledged.

Ashok Gulati, chair professor for agriculture at ICRIER, writing in The Indian Express, said  that the direct income support to farmers of total Rs..75,000 crore is nowhere near the annual loss of about Rs 2,65,000 crore that farmers have been suffering in recent years because of the low prices they have received due to restrictive marketing and trade policies. “Until major marketing reforms are initiated, there is no hope of doubling farmers’ real incomes by 2022-23,” he wrote.

Moreover, the budget has nothing to create jobs. Gulati said: “It is more like using band-aid where surgery was required.”

Apart from the shortcomings in these two of the major announcements, several of the claims of Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal were contested by FactChecker.in of The Spending and Policy Research Foundation which verifies the claims made by those in public life and has been certified by the International Fact-Checking Network, a unit of the Poynter Institute.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)

Claim: 1.53 crore (15.3 million) houses constructed.

Fact: As of December 2018, at least 3.65 million houses were constructed under PMAY, according to government data. Of these, 1.25 million were constructed in urban areas whereas 2.4 million in rural areas.

Foreign Direct Investment

Claim: India could attract massive amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the last five years- as much as $239 billion.

Fact: True. But the rate of growth of FDI inflows have declined from 25 percent in 2014-15 and 23 percent in 2015-16 to eight percent in 2016-17 and one percent in 2017-18.

Distribution of LED Bulbs

Claim: At least 143 crore (1.43 billion) bulbs distributed that will save Rs 50,000 crore.

Fact: Till date, 32.3 crore (323 million) LED bulbs have been distributed, as per official records.

Swachh Bharat Mission

Claim: Mindset change achieved.

Fact: In 2018, 40 percent households with a toilet, according to a SQUAT Survey, had at least one member who defecated in the open

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

Claim: Over one crore (10 million) youth being trained to help them earn a livelihood.

Fact: Between July 2016 to 30 November 2018, under PM’s Skill Development Programme (second edition) as many as 3.6 million or 36 percent of the target had enrolled and 3.39 million (34 percent) had been trained. In the first edition, between July 2015 to and June 2016, 1.9 million were trained, as per government data.

Also Read: No Vote on Account; Modi govt presents an election Budget ‘interim’ only in name

The first edition was severely criticised for several shortcomings including low level of placements, low quality of training and inflated training numbers.

Mobile Manufacturing Units

Claim: Under Make in India initiative, mobiles and part manufacturing companies have increased from two to 268, providing huge job opportunities.

Also Read: Opposition parties calls Interim Budget a jumla, can’t be implemented

Fact: As of August 2018, there were 127 mobile manufacturing units in the country, the government told Lok Sabha citing information provided by the Indian Cellular Association.


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Flipkart Big Billion Days sale to begin from October 8; check discounts and offers here

The Flipkart Big Billion Days 2023 sale for this year will begin on October 8 and last until October 15. Members of Flipkart Plus will once again have access to the deal one day early.



Flipkart Big Billion Days

Dates for Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sales are officially confirmed. On October 8, the seven-day online sale will start in India. The e-commerce company promises exciting deals and offers on hundreds of products, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, earbuds, and smart TVs, among others, with new product launches and more.

Flipkart Plus members will receive 24-hour early access to the sale, just like in previous years. In order to provide immediate discounts for purchases made using their cards and EMI transactions during the sale, Flipkart is collaborating with a number of lenders, including ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, and Kotak Bank. Also available to interested purchasers are Paytm-based promotions.

Price reductions are expected for smartphones from companies including Apple, iQoo, OnePlus, Samsung, Realme, and Xiaomi during the sale.

During the sale, the recently introduced Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, Vivo T2 Pro 5G, and Moto Edge 40 Neo will all be made available for the first time in the nation. With a coming soon tag, the website’s page teases the Vivo V29 series. On October 4, the lineup is expected to debut in India.

On Wednesday, the world’s largest online retailer unveiled some smartphone bargains, which you can view here.

The Flipkart Big Billion Days 2023 sale for this year will begin on October 8 and last until October 15. Members of Flipkart Plus will once again have access to the deal one day early.

It is official that the sale event would provide up to 80% off of smartphones, other electronics, accessories, smart TVs, and home appliances. Up to 90% off will be offered on fashion items, while up to 80% off will be offered on sports, cosmetics, and home décor items.

Flipkart will provide customers an instant discount of up to 10% on purchases made using specific ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, and Kotak Bank debit and credit cards.

During the event, Paytm customers can take advantage of guaranteed savings on Paytm, UPI, and wallet transactions. For their purchases, customers can also use the Flipkart Pay Later function. There are also exchange savings and no-cost EMI options.

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Reliance Jio Air Fiber to be launched today: Checkout features here

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, during the annual general meeting on August 28,2023 announced the launch of Jio AirFiber on Ganesh Chaturthi. JioFiber features integrated security firewall, support for WiFi 6 and parental controls.



Reliance Jio Air Fiber to be launched today: Checkout features here

Reliance Jio is set to launch Jio AirFiber, a wireless internet solution today. This service is intended for both offices and homes. It offers speeds upto 1.5Gbps which can be used for activities like lag free video conferencing, online gaming and high definition video streaming.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, during the annual general meeting on August 28, 2023 announced the launch of Jio AirFiber on Ganesh Chaturthi. JioFiber features integrated security firewall, support for WiFi 6 and parental controls.

Jio AirFiber is looking to tap a massive untapped market of over 200 million Indian households. JioAirfiber will be priced competitively at around Rs 6000 as it includes a portable device unit. Jio AirFiber uses 5G technology to provide high speed internet access. It accommodates sets top boxes, smart TVs, tablets, PCs, smartphones and multiple devices while maintaining top notch internet speed.

Jio AirFibre makes a wireless approach establishing digital connections between offices and homes through wireless signals. This eliminates the need for fibre cable and depends on clear line of sight communication with Jio towers. Another major advantage of Jio AirFibre is its extensive coverage potential as it does not depend on physical infrastructure limitations like JioFiber. It is designed to be user friendly plug and play solution.

Jio AirFibre will be available in select cities only. Reliance plans to expand the service more cities in the coming months. Jio AirFibre has large number of features like WiFi 6 support, unlimited data usage and high speed internet connectivity. The WiFi6 support provides faster speeds, better performance and OTT subscription.

The launch of Jio AirFibre will have a major impact on the Indian broadband market. Jio is known for innovative plans and aggressive plans. The rollout of the Jio Air Fibre can lead to other broadband providers to improve their services and reduce their prices.

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India News

Uday Kotak steps down as MD and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank

Kotak Mahindra Bank’s managing director and chief executive officer, Uday Kotak, resigned with effect from September 1.



Kotak Mahindra Bank’s managing director and chief executive officer, Uday Kotak, resigned with effect from September 1.

The bank has said that as an interim arrangement, Dipak Gupta, the joint managing director will perform the duties of the managing director and CEO until December 31, subject to the approval of the RBI and the members of the bank.

Uday Kotak said he is stepping down to facilitate the succession plan at the bank in a communication on social media on Saturday.

Kotak will continue as a non-executive director of the bank. Uday Kotak’s tenure as the chief executive officer and managing director of the bank ends on December 31, 2023.

Uday Kotak said on X that the chairman of the bank, Joint MD and including himself to step down by year-end. He said the succession at Kotak Mahindra Bank has been foremost on his mind. He is keen to ensure a smooth transition by sequencing these departures. He initiated this process now and stepped down voluntarily as CEO, Kotak said.

Kotak said the bank awaits RBI approval of the proposed successor and as an interim his colleague Dipak Gupta, currently Joint MD, will function as MD & CEO, subject to approvals.

He further said that he is deeply attached to the brand Kotak as he is the founder of the bank and he will continue to serve the institution as a Non-Executive Director and significant shareholder. He said that having an outstanding management team to carry the legacy forward. Founders go away, but the institution flourishes into perpetuity, Uday Kotak said.

Uday Kotak stated that JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs dominate the financial world and dreamed of creating such an institution in India. He further said that it is with this dream that he started Kotak Mahindra 38 years ago, with 3 employees in a 300 sqft office in Fort, Mumbai. He had deeply cherished every bit of this memorable journey and lived his dream.

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