Sunday, 21 February 2016

Good news for Central Government Employees! DA likely to be hiked to 125% from existing 119%

Good news for Central Government Employees! DA likely to be hiked to 125% from existing 119%

New Delhi: Narendra Modi government is likely to hike dearness allowance (DA) by 6 percent to 125 percent.

The likely increase in dearness allowance by six percent to 125 percent from existing 119 percent would benefit over 10 million central government employees and pensioners.

The new rate of DA will be implemented from January 1, 2016, which will be applicable for 4.8 million central government employees and 5.5 million pensioners. DA is paid as a proportion of basic pay of employees.

The proposal to hike DA is moved by the Finance Ministry on the basis of accepted formula for calculation. The Union Cabinet approves the DA hike for its employees.

The Centre revised DA twice in a year on the basis of one year average of retail inflation for industrial workers as per the accepted formula.

Earlier in September last year, DA was increased to 119 percent from 113 percent which was effective from July 1, 2015. In April last year, the government had hiked DA by 6 percentage points to 113 percent of their basic pay with effect from January 1, 2015.

Source: Zee news

Budget 2016: After its 7th Pay Commission Rs 40,000 crore ‘request’ denied, Indian Railways wants FinMin to bear PSO bill

Budget 2016: After 7th Pay Commission Rs 40,000 crore request of Indian Railways was denied, Rail Ministry Rail Ministry wants cost of its Public Service Obligations in 2016-17 to be shared by the finance ministry – Indian Railways has demanded that Budget 2016 bear the PSO cost. The PSO, sources said, includes a part of passenger subsidies but not all of it, as the Indian Railways is still to figure out what PSO is.

Even as experts call for an overhaul of the operations of the Indian Railways and its corporatisation, the transporter’s losses from the passenger segment and public service obligations are rising relentlessly and it is now looking for some relief from Budget 2016 (Union Budget 2016 presentation date is February 29).

Indian Railways gives as many as 53 types of concessions in passenger fares. Because of the various subsidises and concessions the transporter provides, Indian Railways had to bear an overall loss of Rs 32,000 core in FY14 for running passenger operations. All of passenger categories except AC three-tier are making losses for the Indian Railways.

Sources in the ministry of railways told FE that Indian Railways social obligation cost would be around Rs 34,000 crore this financial year, steeply higher than about Rs 25,000 crore in FY14. The figure is believed to have stood at over Rs 30,000 crore last financial year, although no official estimate is still out.

The Indian Railways carries out numerous transport activities which are uneconomical in nature but are considered to be in the larger interest of the society. The items which fall under PSOs and are making losses, include transport of essential commodities carried below cost, subsidies and concessions on passenger fares and other coaching services, operation of uneconomic branch lines and new lines opened for traffic during the last 15 years.

“There is no clarity on whether the Indian Railways is a commercial entity or a tool to meet social service obligations. As the transporter needs to invest a lot of money for the expansion and up keep of its infrastructure, there needs to be a proper framework to compensate the Indian Railways on the losses it makes on running passenger operations and the cost it incurs for meeting its public service obligations,” said Abhay Krishna Agarwal, Partner Infrastructure & PPP at EY LLP.

Sources said even the Standing Committee on Indian Railways has recommended the government to work out a procedure on the basis of which the public service obligation costs are reimbursed to the railways. Documents accessed by FE reveal that the finance ministry wants an independent body to evaluate and define what qualifies under ‘public service obligation’ for railways and also decide on the extent of relief which can be claimed from the government under it.

“Utilising your track for providing compensations and subsidises and running below cost operations is not a prudent way of running operations, who is stopping you from increasing passenger fares, political compulsions should not be factored into while deciding fares,” Raghvan Sivadasan, former railway board member said.

While the finance ministry wants an independent body to evaluate and decide on the quantum of burden to be shared, the ministry of railways has proposed an Inter-Ministerial Committee to be set-up for evaluating the impact and the framework of sharing the public service obligation cost borne by the railways. As an interim measure the transporter wants the general revenue to bear a certain percentage losses incurred by the Indian Railways in FY16.


Budget 2016 expectations: From OROP, 7th Pay Commission overhang to sectoral impact, here are 10 points to note

Budget 2016 expectations: From OROP, 7th Pay Commission overhang to sectoral impact, here are 10 points to note

1. The FM’s priority in the 2016-17 budget will be higher growth, with fiscal rectitude, we believe. With the private sector capex yet to pick up, he will budget for higher plan capital expenditure (investments), in addition to the higher spends on OROP and 7th Pay Commission, which need to be factored in. These will be proposed to be financed by higher revenues from divestment/privatisation, higher indirect tax rates, telecom auctions and better tax compliance, apart from a cut in non-plan expenditure (subsidies) via DBT.

2. A lower fiscal deficit will leave more money available for the private sector, help in easing inflation, and moderate interest rates further. We expect targets under the FRBM Act to be largely maintained. We expect the FM to target a fiscal deficit of 3.7% for FY17 and budget for a gradual reduction in fiscal deficit per annum to 2.5% by FY19.

3. Expect FM Arun Jaitley to target real GDP growth of 7.7% in FY17 and bring it to over 8% next year. Larger and targeted plan expenditure capital outlays, with strict implementation timelines, would likely be announced, to ensure economic recovery and sustainable growth. We expect plan expenditure target to increase by 30% over FY16RE.

4. The budget will aim to provide an investment – led supply aid to growth (with private sector participation via Make in India campaign) as well as a consumption – led demand pull growth via 7th Pay Commission, OROP and DBT of subsidies.

5. On taxation front, we expect the Government to initiate reform process in direct taxes, in line with the announcements of the previous budget. The tax rate is expected to gradually come down from 30% to 25%, with a corresponding removal of exemptions / deductions available currently. On indirect taxes, we expect increase in service tax rate to bring it in line with the proposed GST rate of about 17-18%. Similarly, excise duties will likely be levied on various exempt items and increased for various items which are currently taxed at concessional rates. We are not expecting change in base rate of excise duty.

6. FM Arun Jaitley will have to restrict non plan expenditure to meet his FD targets. While the food subsidy burden will be taken up, we believe the FM will budget for lower fuel subsidy bill on the back of lower crude prices. He will also better target subsidies through the JAM trinity. The government has already announced on January 1, the launch of DBT for kerosene subsidy in a bid to cut down the diversion and black marketing of the fuel. The kerosene subsidy in FY15 was pegged at about Rs.248bn. As per reports, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for LPG had resulted in savings of about Rs.140bn in FY15. We expect DBT to be gradually used for more subsidies. Implementation of DBT for fertilizer and crop subsidy could result in substantial savings.

7. To provide higher employment opportunities and to make the workforce employable, we expect measures to promote the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiative. We also expect higher allocations towards agriculture and rural sector to support rural growth, after two continuous drought years in the country.

8. We expect the divestment target to be increased to Rs 500bn in FY17 v/s the FY16RE of Rs.200bn. Tax revenue targets (net) may be set at Rs.10.2trn, an 8% growth over FY16RE. Customs duty may be tweaked on several items to further the ‘Make in India’ cause. We expect implementation of GAAR to be postponed to FY18. We also expect tax benefits for the export-oriented sectors, in view of the consistently falling exports and some measures to restrict dumping.

9. SENSEX AND NIFTY TODAY: The 30-share index on Thursday opened 154.60 points up at 23,536.47 on account of firm global markets.

10. We believe that, the budget may have the following implications for the sectors: BUDGET IMPACT POSITIVE: Sectors – Auto, Banking/NBFCs, Capital Goods, Cement, Construction, Metals & Mining, Oil & Gas, Paints, Power, Shipping & Logistics. BUDGET IMPACT NEUTRAL: Sectors – Agro Chemicals, Aviation, FMCG, Information Technology, Media, Pharmaceuticals, Real Estate.

PTI Via financialexpress

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