Editorial

Editorial

Sowing seeds of hope

Reiterating its commitment of doubling of farmer’s income by the year 2022 the Economic Survey has identified agriculture, education and employment to be the focus area for the next budget.

More focused than populist

Limited sway: deficits, direct taxation, but LT equities tax: We see little possibility that budget 2018 delivers reasons for material upside to an already inflated equity market in India. Fiscal expansion (higher deficits) could have created some excitement, but we expect government to stay at 3.2 per cent of GDP for FY19. Indirect taxation is now decided by the GST Council; we expect any budgetary changes to direct taxation to have modest impact on personal disposable incomes or corporate profits.

Govt needs to take some taxing decisions

This year’s budget is going to be a particularly interesting, not just because it is the last full budget of PM Modi’s tenure but also because it is the first budget after the big-bang GST reform rolled out. With dwindling macros and simultaneous pressure around political dominance, the government may face difficulties in pulling off a balancing act. However, having said that, we hope the government continues to be biased towards economic welfare and fiscal prudence.

Want ­A well-oiled 2018

With an eventful year gone by and some positive progress in reforms for the Indian economy, India Inc. and Indian citizens are now eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Union budget 2018. There are huge expectations in terms of various developments that would help to move a step ahead towards the overall economic growth. Talking about growth, I would like to emphasise on the oil and gas sector which is one of the most crucial sector for the nation’s development, and is serving as a critical source of energy for India in the present and the foreseeable future.

Easy as it comes

Although the pace of reforms undertaken by the government are time-bound and fast — such as easing out multiple authority clearances, case-wise deemed approvals, establishing dedicated relationship managers, online monitoring of application status, updation of information in 30 minutes and registering in 15 minutes — and have improved the ease of doing business to an extent, at the micro level issues are still persistent.

It pays to be cautious

In The past, budgets had impacted stock markets hugely, both positively and negatively. Therefore, expectations and concerns regarding the budget occupy centre stage in investment circles, in the run up to the budget. This year is no exception. Since the market is at record highs with stretched valuations, there are genuine concerns whether some budget proposals would spook the markets? What has the final budget of the Modi government in store for the economy and markets?

Aim for a healthy year

As medical inflation is growing at 18-20 per cent per annum, the healthcare expenses of the average household are easily exceeding the medical allowance limit of Rs 15,000 per year. In order to align with inflation and increasing cost of living, the government should not only further rationalise the personal taxation limit significantly, but also hike medical reimbursements limit, from its current yearly slab of Rs15,000 for salaried employees.

THE NEW-AGE TRAVELLER

Till the beginning of the millennium, Indians who travelled for leisure were broadly of two kinds. One comprised families who travel during the school vacations to places that were often, if not always, where they had ancestral homes; while the other were those who travelled to pilgrimage sights like temples and shrines through the year. The agenda for the former when they travelled to a new place was quite simple —  take in as much as possible in as little as time as possible, halting only at famous landmarks for the mandatory family photo.

DISEQUILIBRIUM: Modern Day Drain Inspector

CBI arrests an income tax officer and two others in a bribery case

The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested an Income Tax Officer, Sirhind (Punjab) and two IT Inspectors (one serving, one retired) in a bribery case of Rs 70,000.

India’s rising government bond yields are credit negative for its public-sector banks

As of 12 January, India’s 10-year benchmark bond yielded 7.28 per cent, more than 30 basis points higher than two months earlier. The rising yields and falling prices are credit negative for Indian public-sector banks (PSBs), which are exposed to mark-to-market (MTM) losses from the government bonds’ reduced value in their investment portfolios.

This is especially relevant given that in the last few quarters, a large proportion of PSBs’ operating profit was derived from the profitable sale of investments, which also cushioned necessary high loan loss provisioning.

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