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Fiscal transparency jacks up ‘expenditure’ numbers in the Union Budget 2021-22

In order to understand why the Union Budget 2021-22 is being termed as ‘transparent’, it has to be read simultaneously with the 15th Finance Commission Main Report for 2021-26. But first, let us discuss 'fertilizer subsidy'. The budget documents for Union Budget 2021-22 show that the spending on ‘fertilizer subsidy’ was slashed from Rs. 1,33,947 crore in 2020-21 (revised estimate) to Rs. 79,530 crore in 2021-22 (budget estimate). However, the budgetary...

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What made Centre change its approach from incentivising states to forcing down reforms? -Harish Damodaran

-The Indian Express The Centre is within its rights to enact laws promoting barrier-free trade of farm produce (inter- as well as intra-state) and also dismantling stockholding restrictions. But that can be only after the farmer has sold. In November 2019, the Fifteenth Finance Commission submitted its interim report, wherein it proposed special “performance based incentives” to states that carried out agriculture sector reforms. These reforms specifically pertained to their enacting and implementing...

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Budget again reveals structural fiscal constraint -Rathin Roy

-Business Standard/ NIPFP Strap: It recognises that the medium-term fiscal arithmetic does not afford space for expansionary fiscal policy   In my column on the FY20 Budget (A silent fiscal crisis, July 5, 2019), I had warned that the government faced a structural fiscal constraint that was concealed by using incorrectly optimistic numbers for revenue receipts. This year’s Budget is transparent. But the government continues to be heavily fiscally constrained due to inadequate...

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Continuity and fiscal follow-through -M Govinda Rao

-The Hindu The 15th Finance Commission, by and large, has gone with the approach and methodology of earlier Commissions The appointment of the Fifteenth Finance Commission by the President of India under Article 280 of the Constitution was notified on November 27, 2017. It was required to submit the report by October 30, 2019 for five years for the period 2020-21 to 2024-25. However, due to various political and fiscal developments, notifications...

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Finance panel suggests new structure to rationalise GST slabs -Rajeev Jayaswal

-Hindustan Times The suggestion is to come up with a standard rate of 17%, a lower merit rate for items of common consumption and a higher rate on luxury and sin goods, according to these officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC) has suggested the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council to simplify tax rates by creating just three slabs, two officials with direct knowledge of...

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