L A T E S T      N E W S

Income tax exemption limit raised to Rs 2 lakh

NEW DELHI: The tax exemption limit for individuals has been hiked to Rs 2 lakh from the current Rs 1.8 lakh, while the tax slabs have been re-jigged to provide relief to tax payers.

Presenting the Union Budget for 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the upper limit for the 20 per cent tax slab would be increased to Rs 10 lakh.

"I propose to enhance the exemption limit for individual from Rs 1.80 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. I also propose to raise the upper limit of the 20 per cent tax slab from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh," Mukherjee said.

"This measure will provide a tax relief of Rs 2,000 to every taxpayer of this category," Mukherjee said.

The new tax slab for the coming fiscal will be 10 per cent tax for income above Rs 2 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh, 20 per cent for above Rs 5 lakh and up to Rs 10 lakh, and 30% for income above Rs 10 lakh. — IANSBack




Defence budget hiked by more than 17 pc

NEW DELHI: With several defence deals, including the one to procure 126 combat aircraft for the IAF, expected to be clinched this year, the defence budget was today substantially hiked by more than 17 per cent to Rs 1,93,407 crore from last year's Rs 1,64,415 crore.

Of the total outlay, over Rs 79,500 crore would be spent on procuring modern weapons systems and military hardware.

This allocation is based on the present needs and any further requirement for the security of the nation would be made, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

The deals which are likely to be signed this year include 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), 145 Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH), 197 Light Utility Helicopters and others weapons and systems for the three services.

Presenting the Budget, Mukherjee said Rs 1,93,407 crore had been allocated for defence forces of which over Rs 79,500 crore would be earmarked for capital acquisition. — PTIBack




Agri credit target increased by Rs 1 lakh cr

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today announced Rs 1,00,000 crore increase in the agriculture credit target to Rs 5,75,000 for the next fiscal and raised the outlay for farm sector by about Rs 3,000 crore.

"Agriculture continues to be a priority to the government.

The total plan outlay for agriculture and cooperation has been increased by 18 per cent from Rs 17,123 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 20,208 crore in 2012-13," Mukherjee said in his Budget speech.

The allocation for scheme "Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India" was also increased by Rs 600 crore to Rs 1,000 crore in next fiscal considering the success of the programme that led to an additional paddy production of 7 million tonne in the kharif season of 2011-12 crop year.

The allocation for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) was also increased by 17 per cent to Rs 9,217 crore.

"Farmers need timely access to affordable credit. I propose to raise the target for agricultural credit in 2012-13 to Rs 5,75,000 crore. This represent an increase of Rs 1 lakh crore," he said.

The credit target for this fiscal has been set at Rs 4,75,000 crore. During April-November period, credit worth Rs 2,94,023 were disbursed by banks to farmers, according to data provided by Economic Survey.

"The outlay for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna is being increased from Rs 7,860 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 9217 crore in 2012-13," Mukherjee said. — PTI




Service tax rate raised from 10 to 12 pc

NEW DELHI: The service tax rate has been marginally raised from 10 per cent to 12 per cent. Presenting the Union Budget, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said to maintain a healthy fiscal situation, the government has raised the service tax with consequential changes in rates from services that have individual tax rates.

Mukherjee said that this was expected to yield an additional revenue of Rs 18,600 crore.

"The share of services in GDP has increased to 59 per cent," he added.

Meanwhile, as a measure of harmonisation between central excise and service tax, Mukherjee also announced a number of alignments. These include a common simplified registration form and a common return for Central Excise and Service Tax, to be named EST-1. This common return will comprise only one page, which will be a significant reduction from the 15 pages of the two returns at present. — ANIBack





New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday presented the Union Budget 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha. The highlights of the Budget are as follows:

* Efforts on for consensus with states on FDI in multi-brand retail

* Direct Tax Code (DTC) Bill to be enacted at the earliest

* Pilot project for direct transfer of subsidiary for kerosene has been initiated in Alwar, Rajasthan.

* PAN identity for direct, indirect taxes to check tax evasion

* Divestment target for next yr - 30,000 crore; 51 percent control will remain with government

* Restrict expenditure on subsides to 2 percent to improve quality of public spending

* The Nandan Nilekani panel recommendation on direct transfer of subsidy accepted

* Food security subsidy to be fully provided

* Fiscal 2011-12 interrupted as the year of recovery; reality turned out to be different

* International crude oil prices may cross 115 dollars per barrel

* Government to create financial holding company to meet financial needs of PSU banks * Budget to provide Rs 15,888 crore for recapitalisation of PSU banks, regional rural banks

* Infrastructure investment in 12th Plan to go up to Rs 50 lakh crore; half of it to come from private sector

* Tax-free bond limit enhanced to 60,000 to benefit individual taxpayers

* Corporate market reforms to be initiated

* Bills on micro-finance institutions, national land bank and public debt management among those to be introduced in 2012-13

* New equity savings scheme to provide for income tax deduction of 50 percent for those who invest Rs.50,000 in equity and whose annual income is less than Rs.10 lakh

* Airlines allowed to tap foreign loans on working capital now.

* Government to set up company to finance minor irrigation works

* Rs 242 crore project with World Bank assistance to improve dairy production

* FY13 midday meal scheme outlay at Rs 11937 crore

* UID allocation at Rs 14,232cr in FY1

* New warehouses for foodgrain stocks to be built

* To allow ECB borrowing to part-finance power projects

* Farmers who repay loans on time to be rewarded

* Agriculture credit target to be raised by Rs 1,00,000 crore to Rs 5,75,000 crore

* Kisan credit cards can now be used for ATM machines

* Propose to allocate Rs 10,000 cr for NABARD to refinance RRBs

* Government to set up Rs 5,000 crore venture fund for MSME sector

* Agriculture credit target raised to Rs 5.75 lakh crore in FY13

* Agriculture allocation increased to Rs 5,75,000 crore

* Infrastructure investment in the12th Plan to go up to Rs. 50 lakh crore; half of it to come from private sector, PPP model

* Rs 12,040 cr for backward area projects in FY13

* Propose to set up 6,000 schools in 12th Five-Year Plan

* Allocation for rural drinking water and sanitation scheme increased from Rs 11,000 crore in FY 12 to Rs 14,000 crore in 2012-13

* Rs 15,850 crore to be allocated to Integrated Child Development Scheme in 2012-13 as against Rs 10,000 crore this fiscal

* Propose credit guarantee fund for education loans

* Rajiv Gandhi Equity savings scheme for investment of Rs 50,000 with tax benefit

* Maternal and child nutrition scheme to be launched in 200 districts ICDS to get 58 per cent

* One per cent loan subsidy on loans up to 15 lakh.

* Seven medical colleges to be upgraded to All-India Institutes

* Rs 200 crore for research rewards for agricultural researchers for breakthroughs

* Rs 193,407 crore provision made for defence services in 2012-13

* Rs 24,000 crore allocated for rural road plan in FY13

* Rs 3,915 crore to be spent on National Rural Livelihood Mission

* Interest subvention of 7 per cent to women self groups for loans up to Rs 3 lakh, additional 3 per cent for those making timely repayment.

* Rs 20,000 crore to be spent on rural infrastructure development, including Rs 5,000 crore for creating warehousing facilities

* Rs 200 crore allocated for research on climate change

* Subsidy of 1 per cent on loans up to Rs 15 lakh

* 4000 residential quarters to be constructed for paramilitary forces with an allocation of Rs 1,185 crore

* Tax exemption enhanced to Rs 2 lakh

* Upper limit of 20 per cent tax slab raised from 8 lakh to 10 lakh

* No change in corporate tax rate

* White Paper on black money to be tabled in current parliament session.

* Negative list to include pre-school and high school education, entertainment services.

* Sale of residential property exempted from capital gains if invested in equity or equipment of an SME.

* All services to be taxed except those in negative list

* Interest income from banks tax-free upto Rs 10,000.

* No advanced tax requirement for senior citizens.

* Remove cascading effect of dividend distribution tax

* Withholding tax on external commercial borrowings reduced from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for power, airlines, roads, bridges, affordable houses and fertiliser sectors.

* Propose common tax code for service tax and excise

* Government services, public transport exempted from service tax

* Common one-page return for excise and service tax

* Rs 18,660 crore additional revenue expected from service tax hike

* No change in peak custom duty

* Withholding tax on power, airlines, road and brides, ports and shipyard, fertilisers, dams and affordable houses lowered to 5 per cent from 20 per cent for 3 years.

* Service tax rates hiked from 10 per cent to 12 percent

* Introduction of compulsory reporting of assets held abroad

* Securities Transaction Tax (STT) reduced from 0.125 per cent to 0.1 per cent.

* Most luxury items, eating out, air travel, leisure activities to cost more

* Exemption of customs duty of 5 per cent on equipment for fertiliser plants

* Excise duty on large cars raised from 22 per cent to 24 per cent * Service tax to yield additional revenue of Rs 18,650 crore. — ANIBack


Budget aimed at giving boost to growth with stability: Pranab

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the Budget was aimed at giving boost to "growth with stability" and there was a "determined effort to regain the path of fiscal consolidation."

"This is a Budget for growth with stability. Stability on the prices front and on macro economic front at a time when there is growing uncertainty in the global economy. There is a determined effort to regain the path of fiscal consolidation," Mukherjee told reporters outside Parliament House.

"There is a determined effort to regain the path of fiscal consolidation," he said.

Observing that there is "special thrust" on all forms of investment especially on infrastructure and in agriculture to overcome the supply constraint, Mukherjee said it would help the government manage the inflation front and comeback to the path of higher growth trajectory.

"The initiative for improving employability and opportunity for livelihood had been further strengthened for inclusive growth in both rural and urban areas," the Finance Minister said. — PTIBack




SP says it will continue to support govt even if TMC quits

NEW DELHI: With the Trinamool Congress turning on the heat on the issue of rail fare hike, Samajwadi Party today offered solace to the Congress, saying its outside support to the coalition will continue.

"If Trinamool pulls out, our outside support will continue to the government," Samajwadi Party MP Shailendra Kumar told reporters here.

He dismissed speculation that the Samajwadi Party will be part of the Union Cabinet, saying, "There is no such thing".

Asked if the Congress and the SP were in talks on the issue, he said, "No talks are going on".

Kumar's reaction came a day after Congress President Sonia Gandhi sent Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal to the swearing-in of Akhilesh Yadav as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

It was a subtle signal from Gandhi that the Congress would like to bank on the support of the SP which has 22 members in the Lok Sabha.

The Trinamool Congress, which is the second-largest ally of the Congress, has 19 members in the Lower House.

Commenting on the Union Budget for 2012-13, Kumar said, "They have not done much for students and farmers and have not given much attention on the commodities used by poor people...

“It is a mixed budget". — PTIBack



A century of centuries for Tendulkar

NEW DELHI: A mythical statistic attributes one third of India’s road accidents to drivers craning their neck out to catch a glimpse of Sachin Tendulkar reaching a century on a television set in a roadside shop. Roads in India should be marginally safer for the pedestrians after the man from Mumbai finally got his long-awaited 100th international century against Bangladesh in an Asia Cup match on Friday.

Industry bosses must curse him as India’s biggest single cause for sudden falls in productivity levels. Every time Tendulkar nears the 100-mark, the world’s second-most populous nation comes to a standstill, almost as a ritual. Since his 1989 Karachi debut, what the 38-year-old has accumulated is much more than scoring almost 34,000 international runs from 188 test matches, 462 one-dayers and one T20 international.

The curly-haired boy with a sing-song voice has acquired an aura that only grew over the last couple of decades. Some of his fans, and they are sizeable, have lost interest in the Don Bradman v Sachin Tendulkar debate. They suggest it is rather Don vs. God.

Putting aside the obvious exaggeration, the great Australian once remarked that the diminutive Indian’s batting reminded him of his own playing days and many feel the debate should rest there.

When it comes to accumulating runs, Tendulkar has established himself as the greatest cricketer of all time and if the bowlers he has tormented for over 22 years wanted to blame someone for his never-ending run spree, accusing fingers would be pointed at Dennis Lillee and Waqar Younis.  Lillee for not entertaining then school student Tendulkar’s request at a Chennai bowling academy to mould him into a fast bowler and instead advising him to work on his batting.


Waqar for hitting Tendulkar on the mouth in the 1989 series in Pakistan where both made their debuts. The wunderkind batted with a blood-soaked shirt in that match and more than two decades since that incident, bowlers across the cricketing world continue to bleed boundaries to the little master. Javed Miandad was part of the squad Tendulkar made his debut against and the former Pakistan skipper said he could sense he was watching someone very special.

“We had heard a lot about this teenager from Mumbai and there was lot of hype surrounding his debut in the Karachi test,” Miandad told Reuters.

“He looked a good player but as the series progressed, we knew here was a great player in the making. “The first real signs of his immense talent came during a match in Peshawar in that series when he hit Abdul Qadir for (three) sixes (in a row) even when he was under pressure.” Shoaib Mohammad was also part of that Pakistan team and he recollected how the teenager negotiated an attack that included Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar and Qadir. “I recall how Imran, Wasim and Waqar bounced at this 16-year-old and how he responded with courage. At that time I remember some of us discussing how this young fellow appeared to have loads of talent,” he said.

Even Vinod Kambli, who starred in a 664-run unbroken partnership with Tendulkar in a school match, had considerable talent as evident from the couple of double centuries and two centuries he struck in his first seven Test matches. But while Kambli’s international career stalled in 1995, Tendulkar combined talent with toil to reach where he is today.  Even after so many years, Tendulkar spends as much time at the nets as the youngest member of the side, is meticulous about his fitness and prepares with the same seriousness.


The man eats cricket, drinks cricket and even sleeps cricket—and teammates vouch for the last.

Salil Ankola, who played his only five-day match in the same Karachi Test with Tendulkar, revealed in a 2009 interview that Tendulkar sleepwalked into a teammate’s room in Pakistan and asked if the bats he had ordered had arrived. There are also apocryphal stories that if he loses his wicket cheaply to any unheralded bowler, he keeps muttering his name in his sleep and tries to settle the score in their next meeting.

Tendulkar never clears the air and the enigma grows on. A fiercely private man, Tendulkar’s success is partially because of his ability to insulate himself from the maddening adulation showered on him by a cricket-crazy nation. Miandad insists Tendulkar is a guiding light for all aspiring cricketers.

“He is a role model for a generation of cricketers. I keep on telling our youngsters—here is a cricketer they can learn so much from. Just learn from the way he has dedicated his life to cricket,” he said.

Another former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif, who spent time with the Indian at Lashings Cricket Club in England, was stumped by Tendulkar’s humility.

“What impressed me was that despite his success, he was so humble and simple,” he said.

For a man who possess virtually every batting record worth possessing—including the first ODI double century.

Tendulkar burnt his fingers with captaincy and has swiftly transformed into the kingmaker since. He is a vital part of every Indian think-tank and it was at his recommendation that Mahendra Singh Dhoni was named the captain of the side.

Tendulkar is omnipresent in this part of the globe, peeping from television screens and giant billboards peddling cement, credit card, educational loan, digital camera, cold drinks, energy drinks and even promoting egg consumption, milking every ounce of the brand Sachin.

He dismisses retirement talk like a rank full toss and maintains he is enjoying his game and that is not good news for the bowlers. — ReutersBack



India set 290-run target for Bangladesh

MIRPUR: Invited to bat, India scored 289 for five against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup cricket tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, here today.

Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar achieved a rare feat of scoring 100 international centuries during the innings.

Brief scores: India: 289 for 5 in 50 overs. (Sachin Tendulkar 114, Virat Kohli 66, Suresh Raina 51; Mashrafe Mortaza 2/44). — PTIBack





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |