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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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Happy Birthday Mark Zuckerberg: Social media users wish Facebook co-founder on his 40th birthday

Born on May 14, 1984, Zuckerberg has grown from a Harvard dropout into a billionaire philanthropist, owning many tech ventures over the years. He started Facebook in 2004 and took it public in 2012.



Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook (Meta), is celebrating his 40th birthday on May 14. Zuckerberg, one of the most influential figures in the tech industry, has had a major impact on how people connect and communicate with each other all over the world.

At 40, Zuckierberg continues to lead Facebook and its parent company, Meta, towards new technological frontiers. Born on May 14, 1984, Zuckerberg has grown from a Harvard dropout into a billionaire philanthropist, owning many tech ventures over the years. He started Facebook in 2004 and took it public in 2012.

In 2021 the social media platform changed its name to Meta to shift the company’s focus to the metaverse. Under his leadership, Facebook has grown into a global platform with over 2.8 billion active users. Apart from this, he has also expanded his influence through the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, which is run by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan and focuses on philanthropy in health, education, and scientific research with an investment of 99% of the couple’s wealth over their lifetime.

There has been a rise in the net worth of Mark Zuckerberg over the last few years. According to Forbes, his net worth stands at $177 billion, which makes him the 4th richest man in the world. Since Facebook (now Meta) acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has grown significantly.

In 2014 his net worth was approximately $26.1billion, which now stands at around $177 billion, which reflects a substantial increase in the net worth due to Meta’s expanding business and strategic acquisitions over the year.

Before Zuckerberg turned 40, he gifted himself a brand-new superyacht, Launchpad in March 2024. According to reports, Zuckerberg purchased $59 million worth of waterfront property on Lake Tahoe in California in 2019. He spends his money on luxury vehicles and owns a Acura TSX, a Honda Fit, and a black Volkswagon Golf GTI.

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Google restores delisted Indian apps after government intervention

Google on Saturday restored all Indian apps it had removed.



Google has started to restore all the delisted Indian mobile apps on Play Store agian, which they had removed due to a disagreement over service fees. After a discussion between company representatives and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the decision was made, according to sources.

The step was taken in response to Vaishnaw’s strong statement in which he said that it is not allowed for apps to be removed from the Google Play Store. The minister had said, India is very clear, our policy is very clear…our startups will get the protection that they need.

Vaishnaw  continued saying that he has already given Google a call. They will be speaking with the app developers who were delisted this week. This is not acceptable. The minister said this kind of delisting cannot be permitted.

Ten Indian companies’ apps were banned by Google on Friday, causing outrage in one of its fastest-growing markets. With 94% of phones running on its Android platform, Google holds a large portion of the Indian market. Popular names like Naukri and Bharatmatrimony were on the list.

The main point of contention is Google’s in-app purchase fees, which range from 11% to 26%. Indian startups have long opposed the US tech giant’s actions, believing them to be unfair.

The founder of Bharat Matrimony, Christian Matrimony, Muslim Matrimony, and Jodii, Matrimony.com, expressed shock at the matchmaking apps’ removal from the Google Play Store.

Shaadi. Com CEO Anupam Mittal described it as a dark day for India’s internet, highlighting the possible broad effects on matchmaking services. He also called Google an evil.

While, Kuku FM Co-founder Vinod Kumar Meena in a statement had said that Google was behaving like a monopoly.

Meanwhile, Google temporarily withdrew the famous Indian payments app Paytm from the Play Store in 2020, claiming a few policy infractions. Due to this decision, the founder of the company as well as the larger startup community came together to build their own app stores and file lawsuits against Google.

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Anant Ambani says he is 100% lucky to get Radhika Merchant in his life

Anant Ambani said he was grateful to get Radhika as his life partner. He said he is 100% lucky to get Radhika Merchant in his life. He said every day he is falling more and more in love with her. He added although he had known Radhika for the last 7 years, it felt he had met her only yesterday. He thanked Radhika for everything.



Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s grand three-day wedding celebrations began with a glamorous cocktail night on Friday in Jamnagar. During the celebrations, Anant Ambani also gave a speech wherein he thanked his late grandfather Dhirubhai Ambani and grandmother Kokilaben Ambani for inspiring him. Anant Ambani said he was grateful to get Radhika as his life partner. He said he is 100% lucky to get Radhika Merchant in his life. He said every day he is falling more and more in love with her.

He expressed his gratitude to his mother for pulling together the lavish three-day wedding celebrations in Jamnagar. Anant thanked his mother for all she had done. He said all the arrangements had been done by his mother and nobody else. He added his mother had gone all out and she had worked 18-19 hours a day and he was extremely grateful to her.

He also thanked all the guests who were present there at the pre-wedding celebrations. He said everyone had made it to Jamnagar to make him and Radhika feel special. He said both of them were honored and humbled to have all of them present there. Anant said he was sorry if they had caused an inconvenience to anyone. He asked for forgiveness. He hoped everyone is going to enjoy the coming three days. He also thanked his mother, father, sister, brother, his sister-law and his brother in-law for making this event memorable.

Anant said everyone has been sleeping for less than 3 hours a day for the last 2-3 months and he was very happy to share this joy with everyone. The youngest Ambani talked about his personal struggles and how his parents had always supported him. He further added his life had not been entirely a bed of roses. He said he had also experienced the pain of thorns. He said he had faced many health crises.

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