New Delhi

Oil PSU capex drops to a four-year low

Capital expenditure of public sector enterprises in the oil and gas sector has hit a four-year low. Oil PSUs will invest Rs 94,438 crore this financial year, which is much lower than Rs 132,003 crore invested in 2017-18.

Chanda Kochhar may have to forfeit Padma Bhushan

The NDA government is considering a proposal to take back the Padma Bhushan awarded to disgraced former chief executive and managing director of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar (in pic).

Home ministry and PMO officials will shortly take a call on the coveted award presented to Kochhar by the UPA government in 2011. She may be the first Padma awardee who will be forced to forfeit the decoration given by the President of India.

Tax collections trending up: Secy

Revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey (in pic) said tax collections have increased in the last three years, thanks to demonetisation and various tax reform measures.

In a post-Budget interview to Financial Chronicle, Pandey said, "First, the tax grew by 15 per cent, then 18 per cent, this year it has grown by 20 per cent and in FY20 we have kept direct tax collection growth at 15 per cent. The GDP growth in nominal terms has been about 11 per cent. So, the tax buoyancy has ranged from 1.5 to touching nearly 2. This is a good trend.”

Govt open to raising cash dole to farmers

Facing the opposition onslaught over the direct income support of Rs 6,000 offered to the small farmers in the interim budget, the government is reportedly weighing the idea of increasing the dole to a more meaningful level.

Sources said the cash dole, now coming to Rs 500 a month or ‘Rs 17 a day’ as ridiculed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, could be increased in the future, as the government's resources grow. Moreover, states can also top up this amount with their own income support schemes.

Fiscal deficit deviation is not worthy of notice: Garg

Confident of its prudent fiscal management, finance ministry is looking to end FY19 with its targeted 3.3 per cent fiscal deficit while countering the relentless criticism on the quantum of direct income support to the a farmers, asserting that the Rs 6,000 offered is an addition to the existing schemes and should not be seen in isolation.

A push towards divestment

Even before the election code of conduct sets in next month, the BJP-led NDA government’s disinvestment programme is set to get into top gear with a slew of market offers of bluechip public sector companies including Power Finance Corporation’s (PFC) proposed takeover of entire government equity in REC.

Fiscal deficit, borrowings up ahead of polls

The eagerness to appease the farmers has cost the government its goal of fiscal discipline as the NDA government on Friday once again slipped on fiscal deficit and set a slightly revised FY19 deficit target at 3.4 per cent of GDP from the estimated 3.3 per cent while the GDP growth for the year is estimated at 7.2 per cent .

Monthly pension for unorganised sector workers

Wooing unorganised workers, in his first-ever Budget speech Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday announced a mega launch of Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan or PMSYM scheme to provide them an assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 after 60 years of age.

The new pension scheme will help millions working in India’s bustling unorganised sector who continue to remain outside any social security net. The scheme will cover all those unorganised sector workers like autorikshaw driver, plumbers, domestic helps and others whose income is up to Rs 15,000 per month.

Masterstroke or too-little-too-late?

Ahead of the Lok Sabha Polls, distressed farmers have reason to cheer as the government on Friday announced a direct income support of Rs 6,000 per year to those holding cultivable land up to two hectares.

The move of the Modi-led government would benefit around 12 crore farmers, while it would cost the exchequer Rs 75,000 crore annually. Also, about Rs 20,000 crore extra has been provided for the scheme in the revised estimate for the current fiscal.