The central government, it was officially confirmed on Friday, managed to rein in its fiscal deficit for 2014-15 at four per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), against the 4.1 per cent pegged in the Budget Estimate (BE) and its Revised Estimate (RE).
Tentative indications in this regard had been issued recently but were awaiting confirmation.
However, in the first month, April, of the new financial year, 2015-16, the deficit was Rs 1.27 lakh crore or 23 per cent of the full-year BE of Rs 5.56 lakh crore, due to front-loading of spending. This was higher than the 21.4 per cent of the BE in April 2014.
In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit was checked at Rs 501,880 crore in 2014-15 against the RE of Rs 512,628 crore and the BE of Rs 531,177 crore.
The deficit is estimated at 3.9 per cent of GDP for 2015-16.
April 2015 had no tax receipts; rather, refunds amounted to Rs 2,813 crore. Non-tax revenue was Rs 28,126 crore or 12.7 per cent of the full-year target of Rs 2.22 lakh crore. Total receipts for the month were Rs 27,094 crore or 2.2 per cent of the full-year BE of Rs 12.22 lakh crore, compared with 0.6 per cent for April 2014.
Non-plan expenditure for the month was Rs 1.19 lakh crore or 9.1 per cent of the full-year target of Rs 13.12 lakh crore. For April 2014, it was eight per cent of the full-year target. Plan spending for April 2015 was Rs 35,160 crore, about 7.6 per cent of the BE of Rs 4.65 lakh crore, compared with four per cent for the year-ago period.
As a norm, successive governments front-load spending for the financial year, while most revenues come during the second half.
Investments into Indian markets through participatory notes (P-Notes) has surged to the highest level in over seven years at Rs 2.72 lakh crore (over $43 billion) in March 2015.
P-Notes, mostly used by overseas HNIs (High Networth Individuals), hedge funds and other foreign institutions, allow such investors to invest in Indian markets through registered Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs).
This saves time and costs for investors, but the flip side is that the route can also be used for round tripping of black money.
According to the data released by Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the total value of P-Note investments in Indian markets (equity, debt and derivatives) rose to Rs 2,72,078 crore at the end of March from Rs 2,71,752 crore in the preceding month.
This is the highest investment since February 2008, when the cumulative value of such investments stood at Rs 3.23 lakh crore.
Inflows from overseas investors hit a record high as they pumped in over Rs.2.7 lakh crore into the Indian capital markets last fiscal, which ended on March 31, 2015.
Foreign Institutional Investors made a net equity investment of Rs. 1.09 lakh crore in 2014-15, and a further Rs. 1.64 lakh crore into debt markets — Rs. 2.73 lakh crore in all, as per the latest data available with Central Depository Services Ltd (CDSL).
This was the highest net inflow by FIIs since being allowed to invest in Indian capital markets (equity and debt) over two decades ago in November 1992. The previous high was in 2012-13, when the net investments climbed to Rs. 1.68 lakh crore.
These investors got re-christened as FPIs or Foreign Portfolio Investors in the current fiscal under a new regulatory regime that promises to make it easier for them to invest in India. They have emerged as the key drivers of the market rally here and are likely to remain so.
FIIs had made a net infusion of nearly Rs. 80,000 crore into equity markets during 2013-14, while a record high amount of Rs. 1.4 lakh crore was pumped in the preceding financial year.
This is the fourth time in history that net FII inflows for a year have crossed the Rs. 1 lakh crore mark and analysts are optimistic about the current fiscal year as well. However, they had pulled out about Rs.28,000 crore from the debt markets in 2013-14.
According to market analysts, foreign investors remained bullish on the Indian equities and debt markets throughout the fiscal year 2014-15, mainly on account of several reform measures taken by the Central Government.
Experts believe that the inflows will remain equally strong or become even better in the current fiscal in view of Parliament clearing Bills related to insurance, coal allocation and mining as well as assurances in the Budget to revisit controversial tax areas like General Anti-Avoidance Rule.
Corporates and business houses provided 90 per cent donations to national political parties in 2013-14, even as Bharatiya Janata Party was the only party not to furnishdetails of financial assistance to the Election Commission.
Advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms in a report on Wednesday said total donations received by Congress, NCP and CPI during 2013-14 rose by Rs 62.69 crore – an increase of whopping 517 per cent from the previous financial year.
The ADR said donations to Congress rose from Rs 11.72 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 59.58 crore in 2013-14 which is an increase of 408 per cent. In 2012-13, donations declared by BJP was more than the aggregate declared by Congress, NCP, CPI and CPI-M during 2013-14.
BJP had declared a total of Rs 83.19 crore received above Rs 20,000 during 2012-13.
The Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) procurement operations could come to a halt by February unless it is paid a good part of its outstanding dues of a record Rs 58,000 crore soon.
For the Centre, which has admitted to a tax revenue buoyancy overestimate of R1 lakh crore, and could face a shortfall of R20,000 crore in disinvestment receipts, the demand from the FCI could not have come at a worse time.
Official sources told FE that for FCI, which is somehow managing the minimum support price (MSP) operations of wheat and rice at present thanks to the three short-term bank loans of R20,000 crore taken since the start of the current fiscal, the ability to sustain the operations is already waning. These loans carry an interest of 11.28%, which gets added to the government’s food subsidy burden.
The food ministry has requested the finance ministry for R1.47 lakh crore (including R92,000 crore budgeted for FCI’s MSP functions and overall food subsidy arrears from previous years) in the current fiscal, a tall order given the Centre’s strained fiscal situation.
Investments into domestic shares through participatory notes (P-Notes) surged to the highest level in more than six-and-half years at Rs 2.65 lakh crore (about $ 43 billion) in October.
According to the data released by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the total value of P-Note investments in Indian markets (equity, debt and derivatives) rose to Rs 2,65,675 crore at the end of October from Rs 2,22,394 crore in September.
This is the highest level since February 2008, when the cumulative value of such investments stood at Rs 3,22,743 crore.
P-Notes, mostly used by overseas HNIs (High Networth Individuals), hedge funds and other foreign institutions, allow them to invest in Indian markets through registered Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), while saving on time and costs associated with direct registration.
According to market analysts, investment into the equity market via P-Notes had been rising in the past few months, mainly on account of the government’s reforms agenda and a rally in the country’s equity markets.
It shot up in May, post the General Election results, primarily on the new government’s promise to revive economic growth and the momentum continued till October.
P-Note investments in Indian markets have climbed to Rs 1.86 lakh crore in October from Rs 1.68 lakh crore in the preceding month.
The total wealth of the 35 Mumbai MLAs who are seeking re-election increased by 137 per cent since 2009, according to affidavits submitted by them along with their nomination papers. Their wealth grew from Rs 350 crore in 2009 to Rs 830 crore in 2014.
Over half-a-dozen MLAs registered an increase of more than 400 per cent in their wealth, with NCP’s MLA from Kurla Milind Kamble leading the list. Kamble’s wealth grew by 29,900 per cent — from Rs 25,000 in 2009 to Rs 75 lakh in 2014.
Mumbai has 36 constituencies. Of the total 36 MLAs, 35 are seeking re-election. Former BJP MLA Gopal Shetty is not contesting this time as he has been elected to the Lok Sabha.
The major gainer in wealth in terms of parties are the four Shiv Sena MLAs, whose cumulative wealth grew at 601 per cent, from Rs 4.68 crore to Rs 32.81 crore. They were followed by the Congress, whose 17 MLAs showed a cumulative growth of 238.40 per cent, from Rs 86.79 crore to Rs 293.7 crore. They are followed by the six MNS MLAs, whose cumulative wealth grew by 173.45 per cent, from Rs 27.09 crore to Rs 74.08 crore.
After NCP’s Kamble, the major individual gainer in wealth is Sena legislator Bala Sawant whose wealth increased by 1,945 per cent, from Rs 0.11 crore to Rs 2.25 crore. The third highest increase has been registered by Shiv Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar from Jogeshwari, who has shown an increase of 1,071 per cent, from Rs 1.75 crore in 2009 to 20.5 crore in 2014.
· No changes in tax rates for individuals · Personal income tax limit increased by Rs 50,000 for people below 60 years · Tax exemption limit for small and marginal, and senior tax payers changed from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh · Investment limit under 80C raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh · Rs 100 crore for modernisation of madrasas · Development of Metro rails in PPP mode; Rs 100 crore set aside for Metro scheme in Ahmedabad and Lucknow · Rs 500 crore for digital India programme to ensure broadband connectivity at village level, transparency in governance · Govt proposes to set up five new IIMs, four new AIIMS and five new IITs · Jaitley announces ‘Beti padhao, beti badhao yojana’, sets aside Rs 100 crore for this · 15 new Brail presses to be established and revival of 10 existing announced · Rs 200 crore set aside to support Gujarat govt in the Sardar Patel statue installtion: Jaitley · Sanitation: Government intends to cover every household in the country by 2019 · Govt to provide finance to five lakh landless farmers through NABARD · Rs 100 crore set aside for Kisan Television to provide real time information on various farming and agriculture issues · Trade facilitation centre to promote handloom work in Varanasi