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Budget 2023: Higher spending on education, healthcare; lower fiscal deficit likely

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union budget in the parliament today, its widely projected that the Narendra Modi-led government is likely to seek to lower its fiscal deficit while encouraging investment by offering incentives.

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union budget in the parliament today, its widely projected that the Narendra Modi-led government is likely to seek to lower its fiscal deficit while encouraging investment by offering incentives.

The central government is also expected to ramp up state spending to counter the global slowdown.

Officials believe that in spite of upcoming elections in many states and next year’s Lok Sabha polls in the background, major relief for households may not be on the cards due to fiscal cards as the budget is likely to focus on long-term growth.

Sitharaman is expected to continue the Modi government’s policy of increasing capital spending on public infrastructure, introducing lower tax rates and labour reforms and more subsidies to the poor in a bid to win their support.

The finance minister is likely to announce around 10% to 12% increase in budget allocations for health, education and rural projects as many insiders believe that the annual budget will continue the economic reforms started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since coming into power in 2014.

BJP economic affairs spokesman, Gopal Krishna Agarwal, pointed out that the easing of retail inflation, higher state spending and growing bank credit would help the economic recovery ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

However, critics have claimed that Modi government’s economic policies have majorly benefited large companies while burdening the middle class with more taxes who are facing a dip in growth in real income and jobs.

Read Also: Union Budget 2023: Where and how to watch Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech LIVE?

The Economic Survey released by Sitharaman on Tuesday warned of effects of global slowdown and forecasted that the economy would grow 6% to 6.8% year-on-year next fiscal year, down from 7% projected for the current year.

Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) V Anantha Nageswaran projected that India’s economy was poised to do better and expected to grow at 6.5-7 percent till the end of the decade. Nageswaran said that the inflation is likely to be “well behaved” in the coming fiscal year barring any unforeseen factors.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected India’s growth to dip slightly from 6.1 percent to 6.8 percent during the current fiscal year ending on March 31. IMF also expects some minor slowdown in the Indian economy in the next fiscal year.

According to the January update of the World Economic Outlook released by global fiscal body on Tuesday, global growth is projected to fall from a projected 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.9 percent in 2023, then rise to 3.1 percent in 2024.

Union Budget 2023: 5 big expectations from Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Budget 2023: Budget to be presented today at 11 am, know the full schedule here

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Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav to skip CBI summons in illegal mining case

Akhilesh Yadav will skip the CBI summon as he is scheduled to attend a meeting in Lucknow.

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The Samajwadi Party (SP) chief, Akhilesh Yadav, decided not to be cooperative in the ongoing inquiry by refusing to cooperate with the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) summons over the illegal mining case.

It is uncertain that Akhilesh Yadav will visit Delhi tomorrow since, according to a close colleague of his and a senior party official, the party office is already busy with multiple meetings about the preparations for the next Lok Sabha elections.

According to sources, Yadav has an important PDA (Picchda, Dalit, and Alpsankhyak) meeting scheduled at the party’s Lucknow headquarters later today. The party official stated that Yadav has no intention of going anywhere.

Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhury confirmed Yadav’s intention to attend the planned gathering in Lucknow. He denied any possibility of Yadav traveling to Delhi for the CBI investigation.

He said, Akhileshji will attend a meeting of PDA at the party office today. He will not be going anywhere. In Lucknow, he is scheduled to attend a meeting, said Rajendra Chowdhury.

Officials explained that Yadav is being called as a witness in the illicit mining cases that date back to his time as Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, not as an accused party.

The cases under investigation concerned purported irregularities in the mining lease issuing, which took place between 2012 and 2016, with charges that permits were given for illicit mining activities even in the face of a National Green Tribunal prohibition.

In response to the CBI’s notice, Yadav attacked the BJP and said that the timing of the investigation was motivated by politics. He hinted that these kinds of notices, which cast doubt on the BJP’s actions and intentions, frequently occur during election seasons.

Yadav’s comments alluded to the Samajwadi Party and the ruling BJP’s continued political tensions, with charges and denials frequently occurring in the run-up to elections.

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6 Congress MLAs who cross-voted for BJP in Rajya Sabha election disqualified from Himachal assembly

Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania announced 6 MLAs, who contested on Congress symbol, attracted provisions of the anti defection law against themselves. He declared that 6 people cease to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly with immediate effect.

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6 Congress MLAs who cross-voted for BJP in the Rajya Sabha election were disqualified by the speaker from the Himachal assembly on Thursday. The members have been disqualified under the anti-defection law. Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania announced 6 MLAs, who contested on Congress symbol, attracted provisions of the anti defection law against themselves. He declared that 6 people cease to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly with immediate effect.

The Congress government has managed to contain the political crisis that rose due to cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections and the revolt by a minister. Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu passed the budget on Wednesday, and Minister Vikramaditya Singh said he will not press for resignation until talks with leaders conclude.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi was defeated by BJP’s Harsh Mahajan through a draw of, after the two candidates won 34 votes each in the fight for the lone Rajya Sabha seat following cross-voting by the  6 MLAs. According to reports the Congress and 3 independent MLAs are reportedly camping at a guest house in Panchkula, located in BJP-run Haryana, after voting against the Congress candidate. They attended the assembly session on Wednesday.

Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Wednesday expelled 15 BJP MLAs, including leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur, for misconduct and allegedly shouting slogans in the Chamber of the Speaker. Chief Minister Sukhu dismissed speculation that he was resigning. He said neither the high command, nor anyone else has asked him for resignation and added the Congress government will complete its 5-year term in the state.

Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh, who had announced his resignation as a minister, on Wednesday evening said he wouldn’t press his resignation until a dialogue with party leaders was not completed. He, after meeting party central observers said the government was never in a crisis.

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Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shahjahan arrested in Sandeshkhali case

Following the arrest, Section 144 has been imposed in Sandeshkhali.

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The Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shahjahan was arrested on Thursday morning in Sandeshkhali, West Bengal after escaping for 55 days. Sheikh Shahjahan is accused of sexual abuse and land grabbing by multiple women.

A senior police Aminul Islam Khansaid  that the 53-year-old Trinamool strongman would be appearing in court today after being taken from the Minakhan region of North 24 Parganas.

Three days prior, the Calcutta High Court had said that he should be arrested and chastised the state police for their inaction in prosecuting the Trinamool leader. This arrest has already occurred.

Section 144 has been enforced in Sandeshkhali, including the areas of Sarberia and Akunjipara close to Sheikh Shahjahan’s home, as a result of the arrest.

Shajahan Sheikh and his allies have been accused by many women in Sandeshkhali of land-grabs and forced sexual assault. For almost a month, the riverine area has been the center of protests calling for the arrest of Sheikh and his collaborators.

In response to the arrest, West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said that the Mamata Banerjee administration was forced to take action due to the continuous agitation by the BJP.

The government was is denial mode. They weren’t even acknowledging that anything had actually occurred. They would force the government to arrest Sheikh Shahjahan, as he previously said. The government and Mamata Banerjee are forced to arrest Sheikh Shahjahan today because of the BJP’s and the women of Sandeshkhali’s agitation, he said.

Shahjahan’s arrest was postponed because of the stay order, according to Trinamool MP Santanu Sen, who also remarked that the arrest demonstrates how the government follows rajdharma in an administrative manner. He also said, the TMC is a better source of rajdharma than the BJP.

Abhishek Banerjee claimed that the court’s stay order prevented the police from arresting him. After the stay order was lifted, he was arrested in 3–4 days, according to the Triamool leader.

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