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IAS Interview 2012: Important Topics for Indian Economy

In this era of globalisation when every individual is an integral part of world economy the need of awareness of economic issues grows several times. At a time when you can’t isolate yourself from economic developments world over, it is required for every individual to know the economy thoroughly.
Economy, that covers a considerable proportion of the current affairs syllabus, alone can make a great difference in one’s performance in the civil services interview. Economy, both Indian and international are equally- important as both are interlinked and affect each other a great deal. As an IAS aspirant one is expected to know the economic issues well as it defines one’s sensibility towards the developments that takes place on economic front.

A candidate who has a fair knowledge of economic issues certainly holds an edge over others who are ignorant of economic developments around. Economic terms like inflation, GDP, CRR, SLR are not only economic terms but an important part of your preparation of civil services exams. We are here suggesting you some significant topics that you must read as a part of your preparation for IAS interview..

  • Budget Estimate for Union Budget 2012-13
  • Tax Proposals under Union Budget 2012-13
  • Sector-wise Allocation underUnion Budget 2012-13
  • Budgetary allocation for Infrastructure Sector in Union Budget 2012-13
  • Provisions for Social Inclusion under Union Budget 2012-13
  • Provisions for Health and Education Sector in Union Budget 2012-13
  • Agriculture and allied sector allocation under Union Budget 2012-13
  • Highlights of Union Budget 2012-13
  • Provisions for Rural Development in Union Budget 2012-13
  • Analysis of Economic Survey 2011-12
  • Highlights of Economic Survey 2011-12
  • Union Railway Budget 2012-13
  1. Budget Estimates 2012-13

While the total tax receipts for fiscal year 2012-13 is estimated to be 1077612 crore rupees, the total budgetary expenditure is projected to be 1490925 crore rupees. Budgetary allocations for various sectors including education, health, agriculture, defence also received a reasonable hike.

     The highlights of Budget Estimates 2012-13 are presented below:

•    Gross Tax Receipts estimated at 1077612 crore rupees.
•    Net Tax to Centre estimated at 771071 crore rupees.
•    Non-tax Revenue Receipts estimated at 164614 crore rupees.
•    Non-debt Capital Receipts estimated at 41650 crore rupees.
•    Temporary arrangement to use disinvestment proceeds for capital expenditure in social sector schemes extended for one more year.
•    Total expenditure for 2012-13 budgeted at 1490925 crore rupees.
•    Plan expenditure for 2012-13 at 521025 crore rupees is 18 per cent higher than Budget Estimate of 2011-12. 99 per cent of the total plan outlay met in the Eleventh Plan.
•    Non-plan expenditure estimated at 969900 crore rupees.
•    365216 crore rupees estimated to be transferred to States.
•    Fiscal deficit at 5.1 per cent of GDP in Budget Estimate 2012-13.
•    Net market borrowing required to finance the deficit to be 4.79 lakh crore rupees in 2012-13.
•    Central Government debt at 45.5 per cent of GDP in 2012-13 as compared to Thirteenth Finance Commission target of 50.5 per cent.
•    Effective Revenue Deficit to be 1.8 per cent of GDP in 2012-13.

Union Budget 2012-13: Tax Proposals

The tax proposals in the Union budget 2012-13 were guided by the need to move towards the Direct Tax Code(DTC) in the case of direct taxes and Goods & Services Tax (GST) in the case of indirect taxes. In the Budget Estimates for 2012-13, the Gross Tax Receipts were estimated at 1077612 crore rupees which is an increase of 15.6 per cent over the Budget Estimates and 19.5 per cent over the revised estimates for 2011-12.

After devolution to States, the net tax to the Centre in 2012-13 is estimated at 771071crore rupees. The Non Tax Revenue Receipts were estimated at 164614crore rupees and Non-debt Capital Receipts at 41650 crore rupees. The total expenditure for 2012-13 is budgeted at 1490925 crore rupees. Of this 521025crore rupees is the Plan Expenditure while 969900 crore rupees  is budgeted as Non Plan Expenditure.

The budget stated that individual income upto 2 lakh rupees  will be free from income tax; income upto 1.8 lakh rupees was exempt in 2011-12. Income above 5 lakh rupees and upto 10 lakh rupees will carry tax at the rate of 20 per cent.

The following provisions were stated under Direct Taxes:

•    Tax proposals for 2012-13 mark progress in the direction of movement towards DTC and GST.
•    DTC rates proposed to be introduced for personal income tax.
•    Exemption limit for the general category of individual taxpayers proposed to be enhanced from 180000 rupees to 200000 rupees giving tax relief of 2000 rupees.
•    Upper limit of 20 per cent tax slab proposed to be raised from 8 lakh rupees to 10 lakh rupees.
•    Proposal to allow individual tax payers, a deduction of upto 10000 rupees for interest from savings bank accounts.
•    Proposal to allow deduction of upto 5000 rupees for preventive health check up.
•    Senior citizens not having income from business proposed to be exempted from payment of advance tax.
•    To provide low cost funds to stressed infrastructure sectors, rate of withholding tax on interest payment on ECBs proposed to be reduced from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for 3 years for certain sectors.
•    Restriction on Venture Capital Funds to invest only in 9 specified sectors proposed to be removed.
•    Proposal to continue to allow repatriation of dividends from foreign subsidiaries of Indian companies at a lower tax rate of 15 per cent upto 31.3.2013.
•    Investment link deduction of capital expenditure for certain businesses proposed to be provided at the enhanced rate of 150 per cent.
•    New sectors to be added for the purposes of investment linked deduction.
•    Proposal to extend weighted deduction of 200 per cent for R&D expenditure in an in house facility for a further period of 5 years beyond 31 March 2012.
•    Proposal to provide weighted deduction of 150 per cent on expenditure incurred for agri-extension services.
•    Proposal to extend the sunset date for setting up power sector undertakings by one year for claiming 100 per cent deduction of profits for 10 years.
•    Turnover limit for compulsory tax audit of account and presumptive taxation of SMEs to be raised from 60 lakhs rupees to 1 crore rupees .
•    Exemption from Capital Gains tax on sale of residential property, if sale consideration is used for subscription in equity of a manufacturing SME for purchase of new plant and machinery.
•    Proposal to provide weighted deduction at 150 per cent of expenditure incurred on skill development in manufacturing sector.
•    Reduction in securities transaction tax by 20 per cent on cash delivery transactions.
•    Proposal to extend the levy of Alternate Minimum Tax to all persons, other than companies, claiming profit linked deductions.
•    Proposal to introduce General Anti Avoidance Rule to counter aggressive tax avoidance scheme.
•    Measures proposed to deter the generation and use of unaccounted money.
•    A net revenue loss of 4500 crore rupees estimated as a result of Direct Tax proposals.

Given below are the major provisions under the Indirect Taxes

Service Tax

•    Sevice tax confronts challenges of its share being below its potential, complexity in tax law, and need to bring it closer to Central Excise Law for eventual transition to GST.
•    Overwhelming response to the new concept of taxing services based on negative list.
•    Proposal to tax all services except those in the negative list comprising of 17 heads.
•    Exemption from service tax is proposed for some sectors.
•    Service tax law to be shorter by nearly 40 per cent.
•    Number of alignment made to harmonise Central Excise and Service Tax. A common simplified registration form and a common return comprising of one page are steps in this direction.
•    Revision Application Authority and Settlement Commission being introduced in Service Tax for dispute resolution.
•    Utilization of input tax credit permitted in number of services to reduce cascading of taxes.
•    Place of Supply Rules for determining the location of service to be put in public domain for stakeholders’ comments.
•    Study team to examine the possibility of common tax code for Central Excise and Service Tax.
•    New scheme announced for simplification of refunds.
•    Rules pertaining to point of taxation are being rationalised.
•    To maintain a healthy fiscal situation proposal to raise service tax rate from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, with corresponding changes in rates for individual services.
•    Proposals from service tax expected to yield additional revenue of 18660 crore rupees.

Other proposals for Indirect Taxes

•    Given the imperative for fiscal correction, standard rate of excise duty to be raised from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, merit rate from 5 per cent to 6 per cent and the lower merit rate from 1 per cent to 2 per cent with few exemptions.
•    Excise duty on large cars also proposed to be enhanced.
•    No change proposed in the peak rate of customs duty of 10 per cent on nonagricultural goods.
•    To stimulate investment relief proposals for specific sectors - especially those under stress.

Agriculture and Related Sectors
•    Basic customs duty reduced for certain agricultural equipment and their parts;
•    Full exemption from basic customs duty for import of equipment for expansion or setting up of fertiliser projects upto 31 March 2015.

•    Proposal for full exemption from basic customs duty and a concessional CVD of
•    1 per cent to steam coal till 31 March, 2014.
•    Full exemption from basic duty provided to certain fuels for power generation.

•    Full exemption from basic customs duty to coal mining project imports.
•    Basic custom duty proposed to be reduced for machinery and instruments needed for surveying and prospecting for minerals.

•    Basic custom duty proposed to be reduced for equipments required for installation of train protection and warning system and upgradation of track structure for high speed trains.

•    Full exemption from import duty on certain categories of specified equipments needed for road construction, tunnel boring machines and parts of their assembly.

Civil Aviation
•    Tax concessions proposed for parts of aircraft and testing equipment for third party maintenance, repair and overhaul of civilian aircraft.

•    Relief proposed to be extended to sectors such as steel, textiles, branded readymade garments, low-cost medical devices, labour-intensive sectors producing items of mass consumption and matches produced by semi-mechanised units.

Health and Nutrition
•    Proposal to extend concessional basic customs duty of 5 per cent with full exemption from excise duty/CVD to 6 specified life saving drugs/vaccines.
•    Basic customs duty and excise duty reduced on Soya products to address protein deficiency among women and children.
•    Basic customs duty and excise duty reduced on Iodine.
•    Basic customs duty reduced on Probiotics.


•    Concessions and exemptions proposed for encouraging the consumption of energy-saving devices, plant and equipment needed for solar thermal projects.
•    Concession from basic customs duty and special CVD being extended to certain items imported for manufacture for hybrid or electric vehicle and battery packs for such vehicles.
•    Proposal to increase basic customs duty on imports of gold and other precious metals.

Union Budget 2012-13: Sector Based Allocation

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukharjee presented the annual budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 in the parliament on 16 March 2012.
The Union Minister of Finance came up with an increased budgetary allocation for various sectors including agriculture, rural development, defence etc. While, the Plan Outlay for Department of Agriculture and Co-operation increased by 18 percent, the target for agricultural credit raised by 100000 crore rupees to 575000 crore rupees. Budgetary allocation for rural drinking water and sanitation received a hike of over 27 per cent. Flagship programmes like Right to Education-Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan received an increase of 21.7 per cent in the budgetary allocation.

Some of the major allocations made for different sectors of economy are as follows:
Agriculture and Allied Activities
• Budgetary allocation for agriculture and allied activities 2012-13 increased by 18%
• 9217 crore rupees allocated for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
• 1000 crore rupees for Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) project
• 300 crore rupees to Vidarbha Intensified Irrigation Development Programme under RKVY.
• 200 crore rupees allocated for incentivising research with rewards
• 14242 crore rupees allocated for Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP)
• 500 crore rupees provided to broaden scope of production of fish to coastal aquaculture
Rural Development
• 14,000 crore rupees allocated for rural drinking water and sanitation
• 24000 crore rupees allocated for Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna
• 12040 crore rupees provided for Backward Regions Grant Fund scheme
• 20,000 crore rupees allocated for Rural Infrastructure Development Fund
• 5000 crore  rupees earmarked for creating warehousing facilities

• Sarva Siksha Abhiyan-Right to Education- 25555 crore rupees
• 3124 crore rupees provided for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)

• 20822 crore rupees National Rural Health Mission

Employment and skill development
• 3915 crore rupees provided for National Rural Livelihood Mission
• 1276 crore rupees allocated for Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme
• 1000 crore rupees allocated for National Skill Development Fund

Defence and Security

• 193407 crore rupees aallocated for Defence services including 79579crore rupees for capital expenditure
• 1185 crore rupees to be allocated for construction of nearly 4000 residential quarters for Central Armed Police Forces
• 3280 crore rupees proposed to be allocated for construction of office building of CentralArmed Police Forces

Infrastructure and Industrial Development

• 25360 crore rupees allocated for Road Transport and Highways Ministry
• 3884 crore rupees loan waiver for handloom weavers and their cooperative societies
• 500 crore rupees pilot scheme announced for promotion and application of Geo-textile in the North Eastern Region
• 70 crore rupees allocated to set up a powerloom mega cluster in Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra
• 5000 crore rupees India Opportunities Venture Fund to be set up with SIDBI
• 15888 crore rupees to be provided for capitalisation of public sector banks and financial institutions
Other major allocations
• 37113 crore rupees allocated for Scheduled Castes Sub Plan
• 21710 crore rupees earmarked for Tribal Sub Plan

Union Budget 2012-13: Budgetary Allocation for Infrastructure Development

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Union budget 2012-13 proposed allocation of Rs. 50 lakh crore towards infrastructure investment during the Twelfth Plan period. About half of this is likely to come from the private sector. As part of the General Budget, the Finance Minister doubled the tax free bonds for financing infrastructure projects to Rs. 60000 crore. During 2012-13, the tax free bonds include Rs. 10,000 crore each for NHAI, IRFC, IIFCL and power sector, and Rs. 5000 croreeach for HUDCO, National Housing Bank, SIDBI, and ports.

The Finance Minister also announced the inclusion of more sectors in the list of sectors eligible for Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the scheme for support to Public Private Partnership (PPP) in infrastructure. These sectors are irrigation (including dams, channels and embankments), terminal markets, common infrastructure in agriculture markets, soil testing laboratories and capital investment in fertilizer.

It was announced during the presentation of the budget that India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) set up a structure for credit enhancement and take-out finance with an objective to provide ease of access of credit to infrastructure projects. It was also informed that an Infrastructure Debt Fund with an initial size of Rs. 8000 crore was launched in early March 2012 to tap the overseas markets for long term pension and insurance funds.

It was also stated that the Government has approved guidelines under which defence Public Sector Undertakings adopting the PPP mode, can establish joint venture.

Budgetary provisions for Infrastructure Development

•    The Union Budget 2012-13 stated that investment in infrastructure is to go up to Rs 50 lakh crore with half of the total investment expected from private sector.
•    More sectors proposed to be added as eligible sectors for Viability Gap Funding under the scheme- Support to PPP in infrastructure.
•    Tax free bonds of Rs 60000 crore to be allowed for financing infrastructure projects in 2012-13
•    The Union Budget announced harmonised master list of infrastructure sector approved by the Government.
•     National Manufacturing Policy announced with the objective of raising the share of manufacturing in GDP to 25 per cent and creating of 10 crore jobs.
•    Coal India Limited was advised to sign fuel supply agreements with power plants, having long-term PPAs with DISCOMs and getting commissioned on or before 31 March 2015
•    External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) to be allowed to part finance Rupee debt of existing power projects.

Transport: Roads and Civil Aviation

The Union Budget 2012-13 proposed an increase of allocation of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry by 14 per cent to Rs 25360 crore. ECB proposed to be allowed for capital expenditure on the maintenance and operations of toll systems for roads and highways, if they are part of original project. The budget permitted direct import of Aviation Turbine Fuel for Indian carriers.
The budget also stated that the ECB is to be permitted for working capital requirement of airline industry for one year subject to a total ceiling of US $ 1 billion. Proposal to allow foreign airlines to participate upto 49 per cent in the equity of an air transport undertaking under active consideration of the government was also made.

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

•    Rs 5000 crore India Opportunities Venture Fund proposed to be set up with SIDBI.
•    The launch of two SME exchanges in Mumbai to enable greater access to finance by Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) was announced in the budget
•    The Union budget approved policy requiring Ministries and CPSEs to make a minimum of 20 per cent of their annual purchases from MSEs
•    Of the total 20%, 4 per cent is to be earmarked for procurement from MSEs owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs.


Financial package of Rs 3884 crore for waiver of loans of handloom weavers and their cooperative societies was announced in the Union Budget 2012-13.

Budgetary allocation for textiles includes:

•    The budget also proposed setting up of two more mega handloom clusters, one to cover Prakasam and Guntur districts in Andhra Pradesh and another for Godda and neighbouring districts in Jharkhand
•    Three Weaver’s Service Centres one each in Mizoram, Nagaland and Jharkhand was proposed to be set up to provide technical support to poor handloom weavers
•    Rs 500 crore pilot scheme was announced for promotion and application of Geo-textiles in the North Eastern Region.
•    Powerloom mega cluster to be set up in Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra with a budget allocation of Rs 70 crore.

Union Budget 2012-13: Social Inclusion

The Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukharjee, who presented the annual union budget 2012-13in the parliament on 16 March 2012, proposed some major allocations aiming at social inclusion.

The major provisions for social inclusion under budget 2012-13 are as follows: 

•    8447 crore rupees allocated under NSAP in 2012-13.
•    In the ongoing Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme for BPL beneficiaries, pension amount to beraised from 200 rupees to 300 rupees per month.
•    Lump sum grant on the death of primary breadwinner of a BPL family, in the age group 18-64 years, doubled to 20000 rupees.
•    To enhance access under SWAVALAMBAN scheme, LIC appointed as an Aggregator and all Public Sector Banks appointed as Points of Presence (PoP) and Aggregators.
•    Special grant provided to various universities and academic instiutions.
•    Allocation of 15850 crore rupees made for Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) scheme
•    A multi-sectoral programme to address maternal and child malnutrition in selected 200 high burden districts is being rolled out during 2012-13
•    11937 crore rupees allocated for National Programme of Mid Day Meals in schools
•    750 crore rupees proposed for Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls, SABLA
•    37113 crore rupees earmarked for Scheduled Castes Sub Plan 2012-13
•    21710 crore rupees allocated for Tribal Sub Plan
•    Multisectoral Nutrition Augmentation Programme announced to combat malnutrition
•    Increase in the allocation for NRLM by over 34 percent to 3915 crores rupees in 2012-13
•    200 crores rupees to Women SHG Development Fund to enlarge the corpus to 300 crores rupees
•    Proposal to setup a Bharat Livelihoods Foundation of India through Aajeevika

Union Budget 2012-13: Provisions for Education & Health Sector

Union Finance Minister in his Union Budget 2012-13 speech tabled on 16 March 2012 announced several provisions for both the education and health sector.


In the Union Budget 2012-13 tabled in the parliament on 16 March 2012, the Finance Minister proposed an increase in allocation by 21.7 per cent for Right to Education – SarvaShikshaAbhiyan to Rs.25555 crore. Increase in allocation by 29 per cent for RashtriyaMadhyamikShikshaAbhiyan to Rs. 3124 crore was also proposed.  He proposed to set up a Credit Guarantee Fund to ensure better flow of funds to students.

Budgetary Provisions for the Education Sector

•    For 2012-13, Rs 25555 crore was provided for RTE-SSA representing an increase of 21.7 per cent over 2011-12.
•    Rs 6,000 schools proposed to be set up at block level as model schools in Twelfth Plan
•    Rs 3124 crore provided for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) representing an increase of 29 per cent over BE 2011-12.
•    The Union budget proposed to ensure better flow of credit to students, a Credit Guarantee Fund


Union finance minister in the Union budget 2012-13 proposed to increase the allocation for NRHM to Rs.20822 crore in 2012-13. He also announced the launch of National Urban Health Mission and declared that no new case of polio was reported in last one year.

Budgetary Provisions for the Health Sector

•    The Union Budget 2012-13 proposed modernization of existing vaccine units and setting up of new integrated vaccine unit in Chennai.
•    Enlargement of Scope & remuneration of Accredited Social Health Activist – ‘ASHA’ proposed.
•    Proposal to increase allocation for NRHM from Rs 18115 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 20822 crore in 2012-13
•    National Urban Health Mission proposed to be launched.
•    Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana to be expanded to cover upgradation of 7 more Government medical colleges
•    The Union Finance Minister announced Multisectoral Nutrition Augmentation Programme to combat malnutrition

Union Budget 2012-13: Provisions for Agriculture & Allied Sector

The Union budget 2012-13 presented by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on 16 March 2012 proposed an increase by 18 per cent to Rs. 20208 crore in the total Plan Outlay for the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation in 2012-13. The outlay for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) was increased to Rs 9217 crore in 2012-13.

The Finance Minister proposed to raise the target for agricultural credit to Rs.575000 crore, which represents an increase of Rs. 100000 crore over the target for 2011-12 thereby highlighting the over arching importance of timely access to affordable credit for farmers.

A short term RRB Credit Refinance Fund was proposed to be set up to enhance the capacity of Regional Rural Banks to disburse short term crop loans to the small and marginal farmers. Also Kisan Credit Card Scheme is to be modified to make it a smart card which can be used at ATMs.

With an objective to have a better out reach of the food processing sector, a new centrally sponsored scheme titled National Mission on Food Processing is to be started in cooperation with the States in 2012-13.

Budgetary provision for the Agriculture & allied Sectors

•    An increase by 18% to Rs. 20208 crore in the total Plan Outlay for the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation in 2012-13
•    Outlay for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) increased to `9,217 crore in 2012-13
•    Initiative of Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) had resulted in increased production and productivity of paddy. The budget for the 2012-13 fiscal increased the allocation for the scheme to Rs 1000 crore in 2012-13 from Rs 400 crore in 2011-12.
•    Proposal to allocate Rs 300 crore to Vidarbha Intensified Irrigation Development Programme under RKVY was made
•    All remaining activities related agri sector development was proposed to be merged into following missions in Twelfth Plan:

a.    National Food Security Mission
b.    National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture including Micro Irrigation
c.    National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm
d.    National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology
e.    National Horticultural Mission
f.    National Mission for Protein Supplement

•    Rs 2242 crore project launched with World Bank assistance to improve productivity in the dairy sector.
•    Rs 500 crore proposed to beprovided to broaden scope of production of fish to coastal aquaculture.
•    A new centrally sponsored scheme titled National Mission on Food Processing to be started in 2012-13 in co-operation with State Governments.

Target for agricultural credit was raised by Rs 100000 crore to Rs 575000 crore in 2012-13. It was proposed that interest subvention scheme for providing short term crop loans to farmers at 7 per cent interest per annum would be continued in 2012-13. Additional subvention of 3 per cent is to be made available for prompt paying farmers.

A sum of Rs 200 crore was proposed to be set aside for incentivising research with rewards.

Allocations for Irrigation

•    The Union Budget 2012-13 proposed structural changes in Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) to maximise flow of benefit from investments in irrigation projects.
•    Allocation for AIBP in 2012-13 stepped up by 13 per cent to Rs 14242 crore.
•    Irrigation and Water Resource Finance Company was proposed to be operationalised to mobilise large resources to fund irrigation projects.
•    A flood management project approved by Ganga Flood Control Commission at a cost of `439 crore for Kandi sub-division of Murshidabad District.

To further promote agriculture and agro-processing sectors, the Government proposed to reduce basic customs duty from 7.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent on sugarcane planter, root or tuber crop harvesting machine and rotary tiller and weeder and parts for the manufacture of these. Pranab Mukherjee while presenting the budget announced reduction of basic customs duty from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent on specified coffee plantation and processing machinery. The basic customs duty was also reduced on some water soluble fertilizers and liquid fertilizers, other than urea, from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent and from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

The budget sought to provide substantial relief to the fertilizer sector.  It was announced that imports of equipment for initial setting-up or substantial expansion of fertilizer projects were to be fully exempted from basic customs duty of 5 per cent for a period of three years up to 31 March 2015. Government adopted measures to finalise pricing and investment policies for urea to reduce India’s import dependence in urea.

Union Budget 2012-13: Highlights 

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on 16 March 2012, tabled the union budget in the parliament for the financial year 2012-13. Mukharjee, who presented the fourth annual budget after he took over as the finance minister in 2008, seemed to focus on the recovery of the domestic economy.

The budget 2012-13 aims at achieving the rapid growth for the economy which remained on a downward spiral all through the fiscal year 2011-12. Finance Minister in the budget paid due attention on developing the conditions for economic growth. The budget estimated the Indian economy to grow at 7.6% in the fiscal year 2012-13.

Given below are the highlights of the budget 2012-13:

•    Total expenditure in 2012-13 seen at 14.9 trillion rupees, up 29 percent
•    Plan expenditure budgeted at 521.25 billion rupees in 2012-13, up 18 percent
•    Economy expected to grow at 7.6 percent in 2012-13, plus or minus 0.25 percent
•    Income-tax exemption limit raised to 2 lakh rupees from 180000 rupees
•    Fiscal deficit seen at 5.1 percent of GDP in 2012-13
•    Plan expenditure budgeted at 521.25 billion rupees in 2012-13, up 18 percent
•    Net market borrowing seen at 4.8 trillion rupees in 2012-13
•    Proposes to raise service tax rate to 12 percent from 10 percent
•    Gross tax receipts seen at 10.8 trillion rupees in 2012-13
•    Non-tax revenue seen at 1.64 trillion rupees in 2012-13
•    Proposes to levy tax on all services except 17 items in the negative list from 2012-13
•    No change in corporate tax rates
•    Allow external commercial borrowing of up to 1 billion dollar to raise working capital for airlines industry for 1 year
•    To allow qualified foreign investors in Indian corporate debt markets
•    To allow external commercial borrowing to part finance rupee debt in power projects
•    Allocates 1.94 trillion rupees for defence in 2012-13, up from 1.64 trillion rupees in previous year
•    To award contracts to build 8800 km of roads in 2012-13
•    15888 crore rupees to be provided for capitalization of public sector banks and financial institutions
•    Investment in 12th Plan in infrastructure to go upto 5000000 crore rupees; half of this is expected from private sector
•    Allocation of Road Transport and Highways Ministry enhanced by 14 per cent to 25360 crore rupees
•    5000 crore rupees India Opportunities Venture Fund to help small enterprises
•    Allocation to agriculture enhanced; RKVY gets 9217 crore rupees; BGREI gets 1000 crore rupees;.2242 crore rupees project to improve dairy productivity; 500 crore rupees for coastal aquaculture
•    Target for agricultural credit raised to 575000 crore rupees
•    200 crore rupees for awards to incentivise agricultural research
•    National Mission on Food Processing to be started in cooperation with State Governments
•    Rural drinking water and sanitation gets 27 per cent rise in allocation to 14000 crore rupees; PMGSY gets 20 per cent rise to 24000 crore rupees
•    Right To Education-Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan gets 25555 crore rupees allocation, showing an increase of 21 per cent; 6000 schools to be set up at block level as model schools in the 12th Plan; Credit Guarantee Fund to be set up for better flow of credit to students
•    National Urban Health Mission is being launched
•    34 per cent increase in allocation to National Rural Livelihood Mission, to 3915 crore rupees
•    1000 crore rupees allocated for National Skill Development Fund
•    Widow pension and disability pension raised from Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per month
•    Grant on death of primary breadwinner of a BPL family in the age group 18-64 years doubled to 20000 rupees
•    4000 residential quarters to be constructed for Central Armed Police Forces
•    Government doubles allocation for tax-free bonds to 600 billion rupees for financing infrastructure projects in 2012-13
•    Disinvestment target in 2012-13 of 300 billion rupees
•    Expects country to become self-sufficient in urea production in five years
•    Proposes to raise agricultural credit target in 2012-13 to 5.75 trillion rupees
•    To keep 2012-13 subsidies under 2 percent of GDP
•    Current account deficit seen at 3.6 percent of GDP in 2011-12

Union Budget 2012-13: Budgetary Allocation for Rural Development

Rural Development and Panchayati Raj was identified as major thrust areas for the Government to ensure sustainable and more inclusive growth. Both Rural development and Panchayati Raj were emphasized upon to large extent in the Union 2012-13 presented by the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on 16 March 2012.
The Union Budget 2012-13 announced a major initiative to strengthen Panchayats across the country through Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat SAShaktikaran Abhiyan (RGPSA).

Swarnajayanti Gram SwarojgarYojana (SGSY) was restructured into National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) to provide self employment opportunities. Pranab Mukherjee proposed to increase the allocation of NRLM by over 34 percent to Rs. 3915 crores in 2012-13.

Budgetary Provisions for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj

•    Budgetary allocation for rural drinking water and sanitation increased from Rs 11000 crore to Rs 14000 crore marking an increase of over 27 per cent.
•    The Union Budget 2012-13 proposed increase in allocation for by 20 per cent to Rs.24000 crore to improve connectivity
•    Major initiative was proposed to strengthen Panchayats through Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyan.
•    The budget stated the continuance of Backward Regions Grant Fund scheme in twelfth plan with enhanced allocation of Rs 12040 crore in 2012-13, thereby representing an increase of 22 per cent over the budgetary expenditure of 2011-12
•    The Union Budget also proposed allocation under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) to be enhanced to Rs 20000 crore.
•    For creating warehousing facilities in rural areas, the Finance Minister proposed to earmark an amount of Rs. 5000 crores from the enhanced allocation of Rs. 20000 crores under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).

Economic Survey 2011-12: Analysis

The Economic Survey was tabled by the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on 15 March 2012. Indian economy was estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2011-12 mainly due to weakening industrial growth. The Survey stated that despite dip in the economic growth India remains among the fastest growing economies of the world. Country’s sovereign credit rating was stated to have risen by a substantial 2.98 percent in 2007-12.

The Survey highlighted the slowing down of the global economy as a prime reason for the dip in Indian economic growth. The global economy became adverse in September 2011, owing to the turmoil in the euro-zone countries. The slowdown was reflected in sharp ratings downgrades of sovereign debt in most major advanced countries. While a large part of the reason for the slowing of the Indian economy was attributed to global factors, domestic factors also played role.

The slowdown in Indian economy was attributed largely to weakening industrial growth. The industrial sector has performed poorly, retreating to a 27% share of the GDP.

The services sector however continued to be a star performer as its share in GDP climbed from 58% in 2010-11 to 59% in 2011-12 with a growth rate of 9.4%. Agriculture and allied sectors were estimated to achieve a growth rate of 2.5% in 2011-12. Agriculture & allied sectors were are estimated to achieve a growth rate of 2.5% in 2011-12 with foodgrains production likely to cross 250.42 million tones as a result of increase in the production of rice in a number of states.

Overall growth during April-December 2011 reached 3.6% compared to 8.3% in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The fiscal 2011-12 was marked by a sharp depreciation of the Indian rupee. In the current fiscal 2011-12, on month-to-month basis the rupee depreciated by 12.4 per cent from 44.97 per US dollar in March 2011 to 51.34 per US dollar in January 2012. Rupee reached a peak of 43.94 on 27 July 27 2011 and lowest at 54.23 per US dollar on 15 December 2011 indicating a depreciation of 19 per cent. The RBI was required to sell dollars twice in the fiscal to help raise the value of the rupee.

Also in 2011-12 India’s external debt stock increased by US $ 20.2 billion (6.6 per cent) to US $ 326.6 billion at end-September 2011 vis-à-vis US $ 306.4 billion at end-March 2011, primarily due to higher commercial borrowings and short-term debt.

Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI) remained high during greater part of 2011-12 fiscal, though by year end a noticeable slowdown in price rise was registered. Food inflation, in particular came down significantly. RBI adopted stringent monetary policies to control inflation as well as curb inflationary pressures. The high rate of interest established by the central bank lowered growth rate of investment in the economy as the sharp increase in interest rates resulted in higher costs of borrowings and other rising costs affecting profitability.

Economic Survey 2011-12 stated that India’s foreign trade performance will remain a key driver of growth in the coming fiscal 2012-13. During the first half of 2011-12, India’s export growth was 40.5%, but it failed to remain high for the entire fiscal. Imports grew rapidly, by 30.4% during 2011-12 (April-December). India’s Balance of Payments widened to $ 32.8 billion in the first half of 2011-12, compared to $29.6 billion during the corresponding period of the earlier fiscal 2010-11.
The foreign exchange reserves increased from US $ 279 billion at end March 2010 to US $ 305 billion at end March 2011. Reserves were found to vary from an all-time peak of US$ 322.2 billion at end August 2011 and a low of US $ 292.8 billion at end-January 2012.

Wholesale Price Index (WPI) which remained persistently high throughout 2011 due to increasing global commodity prices and high crude prices began to moderate and it is expected to touch 6.5 to 7 percent by March 2012. Economic Survey 2011-12 observed that in 2011-12 the gap between WPI and CPI inflation narrowed due to sharp fall in food inflation. CPI-IW inflation, after remaining in single digit from August 2010 to August 2011, briefly touched double digits at 10.1 percent in September 2011. It however came down to 6.5 percent in December 2011.

The banking sector- public and private showed impressive increase in priority sector lending. The Economic Survey 2011-12 underlined the fact that flow of agricultural credit was highly impressive. The Indian banking system disbursed credit of Rs 446779 crore to the agricultural sector as against a target of Rs 375000 crore in-2010-11.

The Labour Bureau conducted twelve quarterly quick employment surveys to assess the impact of the economic slowdown on the employment sector. The surveys indicated an upward trend in employment since July 2009 was maintained. Overall employment in September 2011 over September 2010 increased by 9.11 lakh, with the highest increase recorded in IT/BPO (7.96 lakh) sector.

The coverage under the MGNREGA consistently increased from 4.51 crore households during 2008-09 to 5.49 crore households during 2010-11 with averaged employment of 47 persondays per household. Average wage increased from Rs 65 in 2006-07 to Rs. 100 in 2010-11. The Survey stated that to strengthen transparency and accountability in the implementation of the MGNREGA, the Government initiated a service delivery project for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and biometrics related works of the MGNREGA on PPP basis.

The performance of broad sectors and sub sectors in key infrastructure areas in 2011-12 was both good and bad. Whereas there was improvement in growth in power, petroleum refinery, cement, railway freight traffic, passenger handled at domestic terminals and upgradation of NHAI, coal, natural gas, fertilizers, handling of export cargo at airports and number of cell phone connections show negative growth. Steel sector witnessed moderation in growth.


The real GDP growth is expected to pick up to 7.6% in 2012-13 and 8.6% in 2013-14 as per the survey. Pranab Mukherjee predicted 7.6% GDP growth in 2012-13. As per the survey, given that fiscal consolidation is back on track, savings and capital formation should is likely to start rising. Also the RBI policy rates are expected to be reduced in the back of easing of inflationary pressures. The lowered interest rates will encourage investment activity and have a positive impact on growth. These projections were all made on the basis of assumptions regarding factors like normal monsoons, reasonably stable international prices, particularly oil prices, and global growth. The progressive deregulation of interest rates on savings accounts is expected to raise financial savings and thus improve transmission of monetary policy.

Survey Suggestions

Sustainable development and climate change were recognized by the survey as central areas of global concern. The Survey suggested need to examine the linkages and trade-offs between policy rate changes and inflation in the Indian context, for better calibration of monetary policy.

The Economic Survey 2011-12 stated that it was essential to make lower carbon sustainable growth a central element of our Twelfth Five Year Plan commencing in April 2012.

In Conclusion

The Economic Survey in conclusion mentioned that India is more closely integrated with the world economy as its share of trade to GDP of goods and services tripled between 1990-2010. The extent of financial integration, measured by flows of capital as a share of GDP also increased leading to an expansion of India’s role in the world economy.

The Economic Survey of India 2011-12: Highlights

The economic survey 2011-12 was presented in the parliament by the Finance Minister Pranab Mukharjee on 14 March 2012. According to the economic survey 2011-12 the Indian GDP pegged at 6.9% in the fiscal year 2010-11. Figure for the agriculture, services and industry sector stood at 2.5%, 9.4% and 4-5% respectively. The survey, which is presented annually by the Ministry of Finance, of government of India, maintained that the Indian economy despite global slowdown remained exuberant and was among the fastest growing economies of the world.

Given below are the highlights of economic survey 2011-12

•    Growth Rate is estimated to be 6.9%. Outlook for growth and stability is promising as the real GDP growth expected to pick up to 7.6% in 2012-13 and 8.6% in 2013-14.
•    At 2.5 %, Agri sector performed well. Services sector grew by 9.4 %, its share in GDP grew up to 59%.
•    Industrial sector growth stood at 4-5 %
•    Inflation on WPI which was on a upward trajectory in the initial part of the year witnessed a sharp slow down by the year-end.
•    WPI food inflation dropped from 20.2% in February 2010 to 1.6% in January 2012. The low inflation rate is likely to improve promote investment
•    India remains among the fastest growing economies of the world. Country’s sovereign credit rating rose by a substantial 2.98 percent in 2007-12.
•    Fiscal consolidation on track - savings & capital formation expected to rise.
  • Exports grew 40.5% in the first half of this fiscal and imports grew by 30.4%.
  • The trade deficit stood at 8% of the GDP. 
  • Forex reserves enhanced - covering nearly the entire external debt stock
•    Central spending on social services goes up to 18.5% this fiscal from 13.4% in 2006-07.
•    MNREGA coverage increases to 5.49 crore households in 2010-11.
•    Sustainable development and climate change concerns on high priority.

Union Railway Budget 2012-13: Analysis

The Union Railway Budget 2012-13 was presented in the Lok Sabha on 14 March 2012 by Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi. While preparing the budget he drew heavily from the recommendations of Kakodkar committee on railway safety and Pitroda committee on modernization of infrastructure. Based on the recommendations of the two committees, Trivedi zeroed on five focus areas: Track; Bridges; Signaling & Telecommunication; Rolling Stock; Stations & freight Terminals. The emphasis on the focus areas would eventually lead to strengthening of the basic infrastructure of Indian Railways resulting in safety, decongestion, capacity augmentation and modernization of system, creating more efficient, faster and safer railways.

Summarising the Budget

Dinesh Trivedi took oath as Minister of Railways on 12 July 2011 immediately after the unfortunate rail accident at Fatehpur Malwa near Kanpur on 10 July, 2011. The Union Railway Budget 2012-13 was thus designed with special emphasis on Railway Safety. He seized the opportunity to announce that commitment made in 2001 to reduce accidents per million train km from 0.55 to 0.17 has been achieved.

Considering the overall parameters set out in Vision 2020 document, the budget stated that a huge sum of Rs 14 lakh crore is required in the next ten years. The total union budget outlay for 2012-13 stood at Rs 60100 crore.

Informing that 40% of the consequential train accidents, involving 60% to 70% of the total casualties occur at unmanned level crossings, he decided to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) named Rail-Road Grade Separation Corporation of India with an objective to fast track elimination of level crossings in the next five years.

The decision to set up a committee to examine the current standards of safety on Indian Railways and to suggest suitable benchmarks and safety protocols were also announced.

By way of initiating a long term approach to safety and in line with recommendations of the Committee, I propose to set up an independent Railway Safety Authority as a statutory regulatory body. The functions of the Authority are to be chalked out in line with international practices.

In tune with the recommendations of the Expert Group for Modernisation of Indian Railways which suggested following of a ‘Mission Mode' approach, the budget announced the formation of Missions headed by Mission Directors in each of the identified areas for a three year term. Also, a High Level Committee is to be set up to facilitate coordination amongst the Missions, fast-track implementation, and address bottlenecks.

Union Railway Budget adopted a Multi-pronged Approach

The Union Railway Budget proposed a multi-pronged approach with an objective to build a new, safe and modern, passenger and freight transportation system which would contribute at least 2 to 2.5% to the GDP of the nation as against less than 1% at present. Multi-pronged approach focused on: Safety; Consoliation; Decongestion & Capacity Augmentation; Modernization; To bring down the Operating Ratio from 95% to 84.9% in 2012-13 and to 74% in the terminal year of 12th Plan

Areas of Focus

The Union Railway Budget 2012-13 announced a number of new passenger services keeping in view the needs and aspirations of the people. 75 new Express trains, 21 Passenger trains, 8 new MEMU services and 9 DEMU services were proposed. Also it was proposed to extend the run of 40 trains and increase the frequency of 23 trains.

The fares were raised in the budget. The fares were raised 2 paise per km for suburban and ordinary second class. Fares for mail express second class was raised by only 3 paise per km; for sleeper class by only 5 paise per km; for AC Chair Car, AC 3 tier & First Class by only 10 paise per km; AC 2 Tier by only 15 paise per km; and AC I by only 30 paise per km. Corresponding rationalisation in minimum distance and fare chargeable in various classes was also proposed.

It was also decided to incorporate a rounding off mechanism in the fare structure to address the problem passengers face at the ticket windows because of non-availability of loose change.

Investment proposed by Railways

The 12th Plan investment proposed by Railways at Rs 7.35 lakh crore up from the investment during XI Plan of Rs 1.92 lakh crore. The required resources for the plan are proposed to be met by:-

i. Gross Budgetary Support of `2.5 lakh crore;
ii. Government support for national projects of `30,000 crore;
iii. Ploughing back of dividend of `20,000 crore
iv. Internal Resources of `1,99,805 crore
v. Extra Budgetary Resources of `2,18,775 crore
vi. Railway Safety Fund of `16,842 crore.

The budget put forth a demand for additional funding assistance of about Rs 5 lakh crore under the Pradhan Mantri Rail Vikas Yojana from the government

The Wide-angle View

The Union Railway Budget proposed a progressive shift to flash butt technology for welding of rails, progressive use of 60 kg rails instead of 52 kg, provision of thick web switches at points & crossings, mechanised maintenance with the latest track machines and increased frequency of ultrasonic testing of tracks.

Plan to modernize nearly 19000 km track through renewals, upgradation of track, replacement and strengthening of 11,250 bridges to run heavier freight trains of 25 tonne axle load and to achieve passenger train speeds of 160 kmph and over was proposed in the budget. The estimated expenditure of Rs 63212 crore was proposed for the same.

Signalling system on Indian Railways will be modernized with the provisioning of advanced technological features. Panel/Route Relay Interlocking covering 700 more stations by 2014 was proposed as a part of the modernization of the signaling system. Provisioning of Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS), which ensures automatic application of brakes whenever a driver over-shoots a signal at danger, thereby eliminating chances of collision of trains was also proposed.

The total cost of various signalling and telecom works was estimated to be Rs 39,110 crore in the next 5 years. The railway budget proposed to provide Rs 200211 crore in 2012-13, which is more than double the allocation of the current year and the highest ever.

Upgradation of coaches including EMU coaches, locomotives and wagons was noted to be one of the key areas of modernization during the next 5 years for improving safety and convenience & comfort of passengers. The highest ever allocation of Rs 18,193 crore was proposed for the 12th five year plan for the purpose of upgradation.

In the areas of Stations and Freight Terminals, Trivedi proposed to set up a separate organisation namely Indian Railway Station Development Corporation, which will redevelop the stations and maintain them on the pattern of airports.

Creation of Logistics Corporation for development and management of existing railway goods sheds and multimodal logistics parks

Proposal to undertake surveys and feasibility studies for developing coaching terminals at Nemam and Kottayam in Kerala, Mau in Uttar Pradesh and Dankuni in West Bengal during 2012-13, besides undertaking a pre-feasibility study for development of Roypuram station in Tamil Nadu was stated in the Union Railway budget 2012-13.

The Union Railway budget 2012-13 proposed to allocate about Rs 4410 crore to capacity augmentation works.

To recognize the efforts of the dedicated railway workforce the budget suggested benefits in the form of improvements at work places, better housing facilities, improved service at hospitals and other facilities. Accordingly, allocation of Rs 717 crore in the current year has been almost doubled to Rs 1388 crore in 2012-13.

The Union railway proposed to electrify 6500 route kilometers during the 12th Plan period. This would include electrification of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla line and hence provide pollution free traction to the pristine Kashmir Valley. An allocation of Rs 828 crore has been provided in 2012-13. Propulsion System for use in high power electric locomotive was proposed to be introduced.

Union railway Minister proposed to raise the allocation under passenger amenities from Rs 762 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 1102 crore in 2012-13. A slew of passenger and other user friendly measures were proposed during 2012-13. To facilitate easy movement of passengers, installation of 321 escalators at important stations of which 50 will be commissioned during 2012-13 were proposed. He also proposed integration of the RPF Helpline with the All India Passenger Helpline to facilitate much faster response to the security needs of passengers.

Initiative to start manufacturing especially designed coaches having earmarked compartments and toilets adapted to the needs of wheel chair borne/differently-abled person was a prime focus of the Union Railway Budget. The Union budget proposed to set up a factory at Shyamnagar in West Bengal on PPP basis for manufacture of next generation technology and also proposed to utilize and augment the electric loco Ancillaries Unit of CLW being set up at Dankuni for fabrication of locomotive shells. Several measures were initiated/ proposed to promote clean environment.

On the occasion of the 175th Birth Anniversary of Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, propose setting up of a Coaching Terminal to be named after him at Naihati. Also it was decided that a special train would run across the country to disseminate his legacy to the young generation. Institution of a Rail Khel Ratna Award was also proposed to honour 10 sports-persons every year, based on their current performance. The awardees would be provided world class training to hone their skills further.






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