Archives  >  2020  >  February  >  3rd

Budgeting For India

1. What’s the story?

India’s union budget for this year was presented in the Parliament on Saturday, prompting a wide array of reactions from various sectors. According to a number of experts, the budget is “disappointing” and “disastrous”. Sensex fell sharply over the past few days, indicating the less than favourable reaction of the market.

Tell me more.

Some of the main takeaways of this year’s budget are:

“Scheme focused on encouraging manufacture of mobile phones, electronic equipment and semiconductor packaging to be introduced …

India to provide ₹273 billion ($3.84 billion) for promotion of industry and commerce …

India to develop 100 more airports by 2024 …

India to privatise at least one major port …

Customs duty on autos and auto parts raised by up to 10% …

₹100 lakh crore to be invested on infrastructure over the next 5 years …

FM Nirmala Sitharaman today in Budget 2020 proposed new income tax slabs and lower rates. These income tax rates are optional and are available to those who are willing to forego some exemptions and some deductions…”

So, what now?

We’ll have to wait a few more months for the actual repercussions of this budget to be felt across the economy.

Keep your eyes on this space. We’ll keep you updated.

2. What else should I be keeping my eyes on?

The Shaheen Bagh protests, that’s what. On Sunday, “right wing activists gathered near New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh protest site and shouted provocative slogans like desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaron salon ko” (shoot the traitors of the country) …

Tanushree Pandey, a journalist with television news channel India Today posted a video on Twitter of herself trying to confront a protestor shouting the slogan at the venue. He was, however, courteously taken away by police officials and not allowed to answer. Even the police officials refused to comment.”

3. What more?

On Sunday, the Delhi high court reserved its judgment “on the plea challenging stay on the execution of four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.”

“During a special hearing which began at 3 pm Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told Justice Suresh Kait that the convicts have been deliberately delaying the filing of petitions.

‘There’s a deliberate and well calculated design to derail the process of law”, the solicitor general told the court while relaying to it the timeline of the case and also the timeline of the legal remedies availed by the four convicts.

Mehta alleged that the convicts’ lawyers were “delaying the inevitable”. “The convicts are playing with judicial machinery and trying the patience of the nation”, he said.”

4. Anything else?

Prison abolition is a passionate cause for many. But what would a world without prisons really be like? Here are the arguments by two world-famous prison abolitionists

“Prison abolition doesn’t mean that everybody who’s locked up gets to come home tomorrow,” Butler explains. Instead, activists envision a gradual process of “decarceration,” and the creation of alternative forms of justice and harm reduction. “Abolition, to my mind, isn’t just about ending the prisons,” baliga adds. “It’s about ending binary processes which pit us as ‘us, them,’ ‘right, wrong’; somebody has to be lying, somebody’s telling the truth. That is not the way that we get to healing.”

5. Is that all?

Do science and politics go together? “Is a scientist in politics incongruous?” In Paris’ upcoming mayoral elections, candidate Cédric Villani– Fields medal winning mathematician and politician — doesn’t think so. Here’s a look at his fascinating and unlikely campaign

“On a Wednesday night in December, amid civic strife over proposed pension reforms, Cédric Villani, a prizewinning mathematician and a deputy in the National Assembly, packed the Trianon Theater and made the case that he should be elected mayor when Parisians go to the polls in March.

“Is a scientist in politics incongruous?” he asked. “I do not believe that. Science can provide solutions to the greatest challenges of our time.”

Scientifically, Dr. Villani does not lack for credentials. After winning the Fields Medal in 2010, he became a pundit for sexy math. As a member of Parliament, he led a task force on A.I. that produced the widely discussed report “For a Meaningful Artificial Intelligence: Towards a French and European Strategy.”
Some of the biggest challenges facing Paris, in his view, lie at the intersection of democracy and information technology. His top priorities include a plan to revamp municipal boundaries that would incorporate the suburbs within one metropolis, the environmental crisis and Paris’s traffic problem. “I will use all means to make traffic flow and finally to escape from the traffic jams that undermine the daily lives of so many people,” he vowed at the Trianon.”

6. Before you leave…

Take a look at how the “deadly coronavirus fear is leading nurses to threaten strikes in Hong Kong if borders with China aren’t shut.”

“Nurses in Hong Kong are threatening to go on strike if the city doesn’t shut its border with mainland China. Some nurses have already engaged in unauthorized sickouts to protest what they say is a lack of action by Hong Kong officials.

Hong Kong Secretary for Health and Food Sophia Chan broke into tears while being interviewed on a local radio station on Saturday as she urged doctors and nurses to stay on the job. But Chan also said she’s aware of the incredible stress the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is placing on medical staff. Hospitals in the city are scrambling to set up isolation wards and are already overwhelmed with nearly 700 possible cases (although there have only been about a dozen confirmed cases through the end of January).

“I’m worried about the emotions of health care workers,” Chan said.

Thousands of members of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority Employees Alliance say they will walk off the job starting Monday if the city doesn’t seal its border with China.”

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