Laveesh BhandariThis Budget needed to get a grip on inflation, accelerate growth, restore trust in the government and build confidence in the economy. It does a bit of all, but only tentatively. In a word, the Budget is disappointing: Much talk and a lot of small measures, but little to,Laveesh BhandariThis Budget needed to get a grip on inflation, accelerate growth, restore trust in the government and build confidence in the economy. It does a bit of all, but only tentatively. In a word, the Budget is disappointing: Much talk and a lot of small measures, but little to show by way of major initiatives. It seems the team of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has decided to wait it out till next year by when the NDA Government would have greater experience. India is looking for a grand vision, and actions to go with it. We need leaders at the helm who have conviction and are not afraid to take bold decisions. Such leaders would have convinced us that this is the time to chart a new path for India to shape a great future for our children. Instead, we have got a budget put together by people unwilling to take hard decisions. They may have tried to please all or displease none. But all they have achieved is more of the same, with some extra bits thrown in here and there.Charting a reform pathJaitley’s Budget speech and statements do, refreshingly, identify the direction of reform we can expect in the coming years. It grants that getting the manufacturing sector back on track requires a more credible financial regulator,basic labour reform that ensures flexibility for the employer as well as protection for the worker, skill development and access to basic finance for the small and medium entrepreneur (SME).At the same time, the Budget recognises that India needs to change the regime defined by APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) acts and give the farmer unhindered access to markets anywhere in the country.The recognition that publicprivate partnerships are not delivering and need to be reoriented is welcome.Combine this with improved access to finance for SMEs, including addressing the issue of insolvency law, and we get a clear outline of the direction NDAintends to take the economy in.advertisementRating: GoodSetting inflated targetsThe Budget aims for very high growth in tax revenue in an economy that is not growing very rapidly. At the same time,budgeted expenditures are not as high as one would normally expect in a drought year. Based on this, it manufactures a fiscal deficit target of 4.1 per cent for 2014-15, which it will no doubt fail to achieve-the figure will instead be around 4.6 per cent by the end of the year. It seems that Jaitley’s predecessor P.Chidambaram,with all his numerical skullduggery, is still lurking somewhere in the background. Numbers aside, the Budget also lacks a clear action plan to correct the problem of burgeoning subsidies. India’s subsidy regime, which is aimed at benefiting households, needs to be changed-from incentivising consumption to encouraging investment, and from focusing on leakage-prone items to those that can be better targeted. But we see none of this in this Budget. Neither do we see any change in the subsidy regime that is oriented towards the productive sector-say for the farmer or the SME entrepreneur- but is not very effective.Rating: BadInadequate reform of PSUsAlarge chunk of the Government’s assets is locked up in an unproductive public sector. Therefore, a comprehensive set of public sector reforms combined with large-scale privatisation and disinvestment would have been great. Instead,we will get about Rs 58,000 crore from disinvestment this fiscal. This is a good move but could have been better had some thought gone into what all would be possible to disinvest easily. Both internal and external security have received higher allocations, which is a good step since these have been ignored for years.Greater focus on the North-east was long due and is, thus, laudable.Yet, there was much more that needed to be done in these areas and we can only hope that this is just the start.Rating: AverageWhat lies ahead?The Government has tried to do a little of many things in this Budget and decided against going for big-bang announcements. But then this is a relatively inexperienced team and, perhaps, Modi and Jaitley are giving themselves and their team more time to get better at their jobs. In which case,we have to wait for Budget 2015-16, when they could come out all guns blazing on reforms.Let’s hope it is so.Laveesh BhandariEconomist and head, Indicus AnalyticsTo read more, get your copy of India Today here.
HMD Global chief Juho Sarvikas took to Twitter to announce that Android 9 Pie is now available for the Nokia 6.1 Plus through the Nokia Beta Labs. If you are a Nokia 6.1 Plus user, you can sign up to become a beta tester to be among the first to get your hands on the latest Android update. The Nokia 6.1 Plus is now the second Nokia phone after the Nokia 7 Plus to get Pie. This also keeps in line with HMD’s promise that the Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 6.1 will receive Android 9 Pie in October.HMD Global will likely release a few beta versions before a stable rollout takes place later this month. If you’re eager to test Android 9 Pie on the Nokia 6.1 Plus, all you have to do is head over the Nokia Beta Labs page and sign up to get started. Before downloading the beta update, it would be wise to backup your data as beta versions typically come with some bugs and issues that could put the device at risk.The Nokia 7 Plus recently received the stable Android 9 Pie update. HMD Global is among a few brands that have been part of Google’s beta program for Android 9 Pie. HMD has been consistent in offering the latest and most secure Nokia android phones as all these phones are part of the Android One program. Much like the Nokia 7 Plus, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is also an Android One phone that was launched in India a couple of months ago at Rs 15,999.As an affordable mid-range smartphone, the Nokia 6.1 Pus offers a premium design language with a notched display and all-glass body. The Nokia 6.1 Plus sports a 5.8-inch FHD+ (2280×1080) display with a 19:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 636 chipset coupled with 4GB of RAM. You get 64GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 400GB via a microSD card.advertisementThe Nokia 6.1 Plus bears a dual camera setup which includes a 16-megapixel primary sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor with similar aperture. The phone houses a 3,060mAh battery with support for fast charging via USB Type-C port. During the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale on which starts on October 10 and ends October 14, the Nokia 6.1 Plus will be available at Rs 14,999.ALSO READ: Nokia 6.1 Plus review: Stunning and priced just right
APTN National NewsThe search continues today for a missing girl from the small community of Tulita in the Northwest Territories.APTN’s Cullen Crozier has more.
Willow FiddlerAPTN NewsMore than 1,000 people are expected to be evacuated from Pikangikum First Nation Friday.A forest fire just a few kilometres away has been burning out of control since Wednesday.A Canadian Air Force transport plan has been enlisted to help members of the fly-in community near the Manitoba-Ontario border firstname.lastname@example.org@willowblasizzo