Morning Digest | Union Budget 2022 bets on public capital spending to boost job creation; 6 dead and several feared trapped in abandoned coal mines in Jharkhand, and more


Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the government will auction telecom spectrum in 2022, which will facilitate private players to roll out 5G services before March 2023.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, presenting her fourth Budget and the second one in a pandemic-hit economy on Tuesday, largely stuck to the broad script from last year, scaling up the wager on public capital spending to revive private investments and job creation through a virtuous growth cycle, while keeping an eye on the country’s macro fiscal health.

Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, delivered her fourth Budget in the Parliament on February 1. Here are sector-wise highlights of the 2022 Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget speech was “the most capitalist speech ever read by a Finance Minister” and did “nothing” to deal with challenges like unemployment, loss of household incomes, per capita expenditure and inflation, said former Finance Minister P. Chidambaran on Tuesday.

In a further push for Make in India in defence,the Union government on Tuesday announced additional measures to boost domestic manufacturing and reduce imports. The total allocation for defence in the Budget has gone up marginally to ₹5.25 lakh crore.This isup by 4.43% higher than the revised estimates of last year and 9.8% higher over the Budget estimates of last year.

The Centre’s ₹73,000 crore allocation for the flagship rural jobs scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), in 2022-23 is 25% lower than the ₹98,000 crore revised estimate for the scheme in the current year, reverting to the same insufficient amount allocated in the last budget. In fact the MGNREGA did not find any mention during the Union Finance Minister’s Budget speech on Tuesday.

The Budget has allocated funds for projects related to Afghanistan. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will have ₹200 crore to spend on that country. It will also dedicate ₹600 crore for Myanmar, which is currently reeling under civil war since the military coup of February 2021. Bhutan, as usual, has received the biggest allocation with ₹2266.24 crore.

The Centre has walked a fine line in the Supreme Court on the Pegasus issue. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in a six-page affidavit in August last year, makes do with a sweeping denial on the snooping allegations. But the lone affidavit in the case does not address the basic issue whether India had bought Pegasus in the first place.

Industry reactions to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2022 presented in the Lok Sabha on February 1.

As Budget speeches go, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s address on Tuesday had almost no reference to any poll-bound States and appeared to be a broad strokes oration on the government’s economic interventions without populist announcements.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented a balanced and growth oriented budget with a strong emphasis on long term growth and avoided any announcement of election-related populist measures, says Renu Sud Karnad, Managing Director, HDFC Limited.

Agriculture and allied activities, which still employ the largest bulk of the population, saw a marginal 2% increase in Budget allocations for 2022-23. The sector’s share in the overall Budget allocations fell from 4.26% in 2021-22 to 3.84%.

India’s abstention from the Security Council vote on Ukraine is widely read as a play to balance ties with Moscow and Washington and engaging “both sides of the fence”, rather than of being a “fence-sitter”.

In a major push to develop and improve connectivity in border areas, villages along the northern border will see development under the new Vibrant Villages Programme, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Tuesday.

At least six persons died have died since Monday while several others are feared trapped inside three abandoned coal mines in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. Rescue operations are under way.

One of the U.S.’s most prestigious law schools, the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington DC, has put an incoming faculty member, Ilya Shapiro, on administrative leave, while his Twitter comments are investigated.

Amnesty International on Tuesday labelled Israel an “apartheid” state that treats Palestinians as “an inferior racial group,” joining the assessment of other rights groups which the Jewish state vehemently rejects.

In a sense, Putin is seeking to rewrite history, with an attempt to push NATO back and restore Russian stature. He considers the break-up of the USSR the biggest tragedy of the 20th century and has called the eastward expansion of NATO that added 14 new Baltic and Central and East European member states (in stages) an existential threat.

Top Indian players, including senior opener Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer, along with overseas stars such as Pat Cummins and Kagiso Rabada have been bracketed in the ₹2 crore highest base price category for the upcoming IPL auction.

Country’s tremendous success at the Tokyo Olympics seems to have influenced the sports budget as the Central Government on Tuesday allocated ₹3062.60 crore for financial year 2022-23 — an increase of ₹305.58 crore, compared to the last year’s amount.

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