Editors Column

Expectations for relief and incentives on the taxes front seem to be huge ahead of budget presentation by finance minister Arun Jaitley. Competitive demands from industry to individual taxpayers, and exporters to farmers’ representatives seem to have inundated finance the minister’s inbox while the mood in North Block seems to be more poignant and measured.

Investments and savings are two major propellants for economic growth. This is particularly so in the Indian context where both private and public savings have had a lasting impact on economic growth rates.

Economic Surveys are supposed to provide details of what had happened in the economy during the last one year and based on those data points, they identify the likely path the economy could follow over next year.

The first phase of Parliament’s budget session that spreads over the next 10 days will have to send out a strong signal that lawmakers mean business. Unlike the winter session where the Rajya Sabha’s output did not cross 54.5 per cent and the Lok Sabha clocked 91.6 per cent, a significant improvement in functioning of the two Houses will have to be ensured.

It is one of those socmedia thingies, but it is bang on – a republic without public participation becomes a mere relic of its original self. Since socmedia at one level is a mirror of the nation’s contemporary discourse, those in authority and pre-eminent positions can ignore this at their own peril.

The rape count is increasing in Haryana and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his colleagues in the Bharatiya Janata Party have nothing much to offer other than lip service. In fact, at times, the focus is on trivialising the incidents.

Last year, it was Chinese president Xi Jinping. And, now, prime minister Narendra Modi has made a big impression at the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in Davos, often described as an influential talking shop where world leaders exchange ideas over fondue.

The move to increase the total amount used in deciding how many shares are included in one tradeable contract of  stock futures and options from existing Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh by the capital market regulator, securities and exchange board of India (Sebi), is a step in the right direction.

Elected representatives of people cannot hold offices of profit. This principle, settled in law, has been upheld in several states. In over half a dozen states, the judiciary has set aside similar steps taken by incumbent governments. In effect, the judiciary has indicated that it has zero tolerance in such matters.

The segregation of taxation policy from the annual budget exercise must be achieved across investor classes, products and services categories. With the GST rollout last July and periodic tweaking of rates on products and services, the Union budget will limit itself to changes in direct taxes only.