Highlights Of India Budget 2013-14: Finance Minister Chidambaram Pegs GDP Growth Below 8 Percent

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India Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented the government's budget for 2013-14 in Parliament on Thursday. The budget comes as India, Asia’s third largest economy, saw its growth rate reduced to its lowest level in a decade and its rating downgraded. The budget will also gain significance if it is tabled ahead of the general elections slated for next year.


Highlights of the India budget 2013-14:

-- The Indian economy has slowed down, and growth is expected to drop to 8 percent as the nation is still feeling the effects of the global economic downturn. Only China and Indonesia are growing faster than India, but next year, India will overtake Indonesia, Chidambaram said.

-- Chidambaram emphasized the need for foreign investment for economic growth, saying it is imperative.

-- His main worry is the current account deficit as exports slow down and while oil, coal and the passion for gold weigh on imports, resulting in a higher current account deficit.

-- $75 billion is needed to finance the current account gap over the next two years.

-- Efforts over last few months brought down the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation rate to 7 percent and the core inflation rate to 4.5 percent.

-- The fiscal year 2014 (FY14) budget includes measures to increase economic opportunities for youth.

-- FY14 total expenditures are estimated at 16.65 trillion rupees and planned expenditures are estimated to be 5.55 trillion rupees.

-- India's fiscal deficit is estimated to be 5.3 percent of GDP in 2012-13 and 4.8 percent of GDP in 2013-14.

-- The FY14 plan is to spend 29.4 percent more than FY13's revised estimates.

-- Plan expenditures in 12th Five Year Plan were revised to 14.30 trillion rupees or 96 percent of budgeted expenditures.

-- A sum of 373.3 billion rupees was allocated to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and 47.27 billion rupees was allocated for medical education and research.

-- Allocations to the Ministry of HRD totaled to 658.67 billion rupees in 2013-14.

-- Allocations to mid-day meal schemes were estimated at 132.15 billion rupees. 

-- The Food Security Bill was allocated approximately 100 billion rupees.

-- The alternative medicine industry received approximately 11.06 billion rupees 

-- Emphasizing the country's collective responsibility to ensure the safety and dignity of women, Finance Minister Chidambaram allocated an additional sum of 2 billion rupees to combat the harassment on women.

-- Allocations to India's Scheduled Caste sub-plan totaled to 415.61 billion rupees, while allocations to India's tribal sub-plan were to the tune of 254.98 billion rupees.

-- Allocations to various Ministries for providing scholarships for students hailing from India's Scheduled Caste (SC)/ Scheduled Tribe (ST), and Other Backward Castes (OBC) totaled to 52.84 billion rupees.

-- Allocations for drinking water and sanitation were to the tune of 152.6 billion rupees, while the agriculture ministry attracted funds worth 270.49 billion rupees.

-- The target for agriculture credit for 2013-14 was fixed at 7 trillion rupees compared with 5.75 trillion rupees in the current year. Agriculture production in eastern states attracted approximately 10 billion rupees.

--  The FY14 recapitalization program of public sector banks attracted 140 billion rupees.

-- The FY14 India budget also proposed to amend the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act; to finance waste-to-energy projects through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model; to enable the installation of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in all public sector bank branches by Mar. 31, 2014.

-- The FY14 budget outlined 10 billion rupees' worth of initial capital to set up India's first women's bank, which will be another public sector bank.

-- The FY14 budget proposed additional interest deductions of up to 1 lakh rupees in 2013-14 on first-time housing loans of up to 2.5 million rupees.

-- The Rajiv Gandhi Equity Scheme will be liberalized to allow first-time investors to invest in mutual funds and other forms of equity.

-- Allocations to the defense sector in 2013-14 totaled to 2.03 trillion rupees, and the finance minister announced that additional funds will be disbursed if required for the defense sector.

-- No revision in tax slabs was announced, but taxpayers in the range of 2 to 5 lakh rupees will get a tax credit of 2,500 rupees.

-- Citizens with an annual income of 10 million rupees are required to pay a 10 percent surcharge for only one year.

-- The excise duty on cigarettes was increased by 18 percent and the customs duty on Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) was raised from 75 percent to 100 percent.

-- A 100 percent tax exemption was proposed toward donations to the National Children's Fund.

-- A duty-free limit for gold imports increased to 50,000 rupees for men and 1 lakh rupees for women.



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