Plan and Policy

Plan & Policy

Actual rollout of Modi’s mega schemes not before mid-FY19

The actual rollout of mega budget announcements for agriculture and social sectors could very well roll into the second half of the next fiscal. It would be closer or just before the announcement of dates for general elections.

The primary reason for this is that the finance ministry wants a clear picture on oil price movements, monsoons and tractions in goods and services tax (GST) revenue, which is key to funding these mega schemes.

Differences between ministries delay commercial coal auction

The long wait for private miners to enter regulated coal sector in the country has just got longer with sharp differences surfacing between coal, mines, power and finance ministries over modalities to auction mines for commercial operation.

3 PSU insurers to be merged and listed

With the three state-owned non-life insurance companies (National Insurance, United India Insurance and Oriental Insurance) in dire need of capital and their solvency position remaining weak, the government has proposed to merge them into one single entity and subsequently list it on the stock exchanges by FY19. This would be part of the government’s disinvestment programme.

FM fails to enthuse rural housing sector

For the country’s real estate sector, the only highpoint in the Union budget 2018-19 was possibly the announcement of a dedicated fund for the affordable housing segment under the National Housing Bank.

Otherwise, most stakeholders of the sector admitted that the budget did not have any direct impact on the real estate sector, which has been reeling for a while and was expecting some big-ticket announcements to revive it. There have been no changes in income tax concessions or other direct steps that influence the sector. 

A bilingual budget that speaks to India & Bharat

Nearly four years of tough structural reforms, fiscal consolidation and courageous measures such as demonetisation and GST have allowed finance minister Arun Jaitley to boldly venture into unchartered social security territory.

The National Healthcare Protection Scheme (NHPS) will be the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme that will benefit 500 million people. That is roughly the entire population of US and Russia put together.

There are three pillars to budget 2018:

*Recognition of healthcare of young and old

NHPS a great move, but funding suspect

The Union budget for 2018-19 rightly provides a focus on agriculture, he­althcare and education. The big move towards the path of universal healthcare coverage under the flagship National Health Pr­otection Scheme (NHPS), which will bring over 50 crore citizens with Rs 5 lakh per family income for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation is a transformational move for the country.

The question to answer is how will the scheme be funded and executed given the fact that health is also a state subject. 

Modicare ambitious, sans allocation

World’s largest government funded health cover’ under the new National Health Protection Scheme was announced in the Budget to provide Rs 5 lakh cover to 10 crore underprivileged families or 50 crore beneficiaries. While the government has not yet made any specific allocation for the scheme, at the current commercial rate of premium, this could cost the government up to Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Experts are still unclear about how government will implement such a scheme without specifying allocation.

‘TOP’ priority for Operation Greens

The government has given ‘TOP’ priority to address the concerns of farmers and consumers of sensitive crops such as tomato, onion and potato (TOP) that each year pose a challenge for the policy makers with frequent incidence of sky-rocketing prices due to shortages on one end and rotting crop on account of glut production on the other.

Ten tourist sites to become “iconic” tourist destinations

The Union budget proposed developing of 10 tourist sites into “iconic” tourist destinations. As the budget did not mention which these cities are, there was lack of clarity as to whether they are already included in the PRASAD scheme of previous budgets.