Policy Briefs

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

PART I : Need For GST in India: UPA InitiativeThe effort to introduce GST in India for the first time was seen in the UPA regime in 2006-2007 Union Budget speechmade by the then Finance minister P. Chitambaram stating that there is a national level consensus on introducing GST. Hefurther stated that GST will be introduced on 1April 2010. The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers agreedto work with the Central Government to prepare a roadmap for introducing a national level GST with effect from 1st April2010.

Black Money: Concerns & Policy Challenges

ContextBringing back black money from abroad was a major poll promise of BJP, and, as is the case with most of thepromises, actions are far from poll rhetoric. The issue of black money captures imagination of common personbecause common person is exposed to it in almost all walks of life - paying bribes to get a legitimate thing doneon time/getting job/getting children admitted in schools, real estate deals where the amount in which theproperty gets registered is far less than the actual amount paid, and the list continues.

The Warehousing Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 2015

THE WAREHOUSING CORPORATIONS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2015

Even after 68 years of Independence India suffers from high levels of malnutrition and chronic hunger. Food Security and Public Distribution System
are important weapons in tackling these problems. For an efficient and effective Food Security and PDS, a well developed network of Warehouses is
therefore crucial. As the Bill constrains the ability of the Warehouse Corporations to borrow, the current government is obstructing the
expansion of public sector warehouses in India at a time when it needs to be expanded.

The removal of Central/State government as a sovereign guarantor for Warehousing Corporations limits their potential to access capital investments,
thus hampering their expansion. This would create a vacuum which will in all likelihood be filled in by the Private sector. The private sector will
obviously be driven by motives of profit and revenue maximisation and a larger role of the private sector will drive up the costs of renting
warehouses, making them inaccessible to a majority of farmers in India. This would in turn drive up input costs of food items resulting in higher food
inflation. The pro-market initiatives sought by the current government will burden the common man and have a detrimental effect on the poor and
marginalized.

In fact as per M.S. Jairath, director National Institute of Agricultural Marketing, Rajasthan, the total storage capacity available at the end of 2010 for
CWC, SWC and FCI is about 75 million tonnes. Keeping in view the agricultural production of the country the available storage capacity is
insufficient and assuming current production trends an additional capacity of 150 MTs is needed (refer Table1 IN Annexe). As the warehousing
capacity of most states is dismally below the national average, the 2011 Bill of the UPA government rightly suggested that states need be more
proactive. But, the present amended bill of the NDA government removes the role of both the central and state government and is an attempt to create
space for private entities in the warehousing arena.

Railway Projects in the North-East

Railway projects Initiated by the UPA Government and their current status (as of March 2013) In the XIth Plan period (2007-2012), INR 8,111 crore have been spent on various projects and other works in the region. In first year of XIIth Plan i.e. in 2012-13, INR 2,655 crore have been spent on Railway infrastructure projects in NE Region.(Ministry of Railways, 2012-13)  

RBI Rate Cuts

IntroductionRepo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (RBI in case of India) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. In the event of inflation, central banks increase repo rate as this acts as a disincentive for banks to borrow from the central bank. The increase in the Repo rate increases the cost of borrowing and lending of the banks which discourages the public to borrow money and encourages them to deposit.

Swine Flu: Update on the Current Threat and Government’s Response

PART I:OVERVIEWFor a party who’s manifesto promised “Health Services - Increase the Access, Improve the Quality, Lower the Cost” and talked about the need to “Move to pre-emptive care model where the focus andthrust will be on child health and prevention” it is indeed shocking that its government has been so lackadaisical in its approach on what is now a predictable part of the annual epidemics that India faces.The H1N1 pandemic broke out across the world in 2009 and the UPA government had created a set of guidelines to pre-empt future outbreaks and reduce morbidity and mo

Visit to China by the Minister of External Affairs

The Minister for External Affairs, Smt. SushmaSwaraj, and Foreign Secretary S. Jaisankar, visited China to participate in thebilateral talks between the two countries.Smt. SushmaSwaraj outlined a Six-Point template(http://www.mea.gov.in/Speeches-Statements.htm?dtl/24748/External_Affairs_Ministers_remarks_at_the_launch_of_the_2nd_IndiaChina_Media_Forum_Beijing)to broaden bilateral engagements between India and China during her address at the India-China Media Forum.The six-point template speaks of:A. Action- oriented approachB.

Sri Lankan President Srisena’s State Visit to India

The Sri Lankan President Maithripala Srisena visited India for two days in February. The visit is significant as it is seen as an attempt to virtually recalibrate Sri Lanka’s ties with India. Mahindra Rajapaksa’s pursuit of closer ties with China had made India extremely wary over the past few years. China has been building ports and constructing highways in Sri Lanka as a means to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean.

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