Budget 2018-19: Balanced but Not a Boon for Real Estate

All eyes were on the Finance Minister as he delivered his fifth full Union Budget – the last one before the general elections in 2019. As expected, the budget turned out to be populist and sounded excessively cautious while the need of the hour was to provide a positive boost to the economy, which is reeling under the pressure of structural changes and policy reforms.

 The Budget did not offer any substantial incentives to individual taxpayers, with slabs remaining constant. A change in the standard tax deduction in lieu of transport and medical expenses, which now stands at INR 40,000, was the only gift to the salaried class. There was no change in tax savings on home loans, nor were the 80C limits raised. While this put paid to any hopes for significantly increased home buying appetite, there were some notable announcements with positive implications for the real estate sector:


Create Conditions For Army To Operate In J&K

The Chief Minister of J&K in a television interview recently praised the Army as an institution post the Shopian incident. She also said that the Army has some “black sheep” and the matter needs investigation. So Madam CM you have already judged the incident and labeled the persons concerned as ‘black sheep” and decided that they are guilty before the inquiry?
What may one ask gives you this first hand insight without a proper inquiry? Is it a biased mindset or will the inquiry be fair now that the CM has pronounced her verdict?  The CM also stated that the defence minister had been contacted and then she gave the impression that the inquiry has been ordered with the defence ministry’s concurrence. The defence ministry till date has not given a clarification but May I bring to the attention of all what another civilian military leader had to say to his soldiers. 


Besides Business, ASEAN Countries Can Learn From India Regional Integration

The recent Republic Day celebrations where ten ASEAN leaders were Guests of Honour,saw the MEA say such statements like “India has such a positive role in the Indo-Pacific region,” and “India is a very important component of peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”

The Prime Minister himself said, “Indians have always looked East to see the nurturing sunrise and the light of opportunities. Now, as before, the East, or the Indo-Pacific region, will be indispensable to India's future and our common destiny.”

What was left unsaid however or rather implied was that the ASEAN countries also have a lot to learn from India in coordinating with each other in terms of regional interaction and cooperation in mutual topics like science and defence.

Cs Thapa

Gorkhas: Time To Reconcile

The Gorkha community in India is deeply hurt by the chain of events that have occurred in the last couple of months. Gorkha civil society made umpteen sacrifices and gave all out support for the cause of Gorkhaland. The people of Darjeeling in addition to other forms of deprivations also suffered from food shortages; in addition of other hardships during the 105 days peaceful agitation. The common man feels his sacrifices have gone in vain at the hands of all political classes.

The hurt is even sharper as the Gorkhas feel let down by one of their own taking up the mantle of governance, instead of the much hyped demand of Gorkhaland. There is also a leadership vacuum which has been the bane of the community, thus the community feels silently enraged and let down. It’s easy to write it’s a time to reconcile but how is the question?

The literalmeaning of the word reconcile means “to find a way in which two situations or beliefs are opposed to each other can agree”. Gorkha civil society is divided by various issues but stands united for the cause of Gorkhaland. Thus the path of Gorkhaland and the goal is set, the modalities however differ, and the differentness is being exploited by both, the state and the centre. One of the first issues that civil society needs to address is provide help to those who have suffered from the after effects of the agitation.

Sidharth Mishra

One Nation-One Election: Need For Discussion On Larger Forum

One of the main driving forces behind the promulgation of the Anti-Defection Law by the Rajiv Gandhi government in the 1980s was the brute majority enjoyed by the Congress party in the Lok Sabha. It had won more than 400 seats in the 1985 General Elections thanks to the sympathy wave which followed assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Congress strategists loyal to Rajiv Gandhi at that point of time had advised for bringing such law which would keep the folk together lest the old school veterans carry out a coup against the reformist agenda of the ‘young’ Prime Minister. The law has withstood the trial of time and survived to end the politics of “Aya Rams, Gaya Ram”, which had come to make mockery of people’s mandate.

Three decades later, another government led by a Prime Minister belonging to another party is now pushing for another major electoral reform – simultaneous holding of the elections of the Parliament and the State assemblies. The move comes as for the first time since Rajiv Gandhi’s term, we have a Prime Minister whose party enjoys absolute majority in the house and is also undisputed leader of his party.