‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ scheme to be launched: Jaitley

‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ scheme to be launched: Jaitley

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday announced that ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ scheme will be launched with an aim to connect states and districts of the country.

“The states and districts will be connected through varied cultures and tourism under ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ scheme,” said Jaitley, presenting the union budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha

Investment of Rs.97,000 crore in road sector: Jaitley

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) In a major push on infrastructure, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday announced allocation of Rs.97,000 crore for the roads sector in the union budget for the next fiscal.

This amount includes the Rs.19,000 crore he has allocated for rural roads under the Pradhanmatri Gram Sadak Yojna.

The finance minister also announced that road transport in the passenger segment would be opened up to the private sector.

Describing the legacy of problems in the roads sector that his government had inherited, Jaitley said around 70,000 road projects had got stalled, locking investment of up to Rs.1 lakh crore.

“I am happy to announce that our efforts have put back on track 85 percent of these stalled road projects,” Jaitley told parliament.

Union Budget announcements depress equity markets (Lead)

Mumbai, Feb 29 (IANS) Union Budget announcements, combined with negative Asian cues, and a dip in the rupee value depressed the Indian equity markets during the afternoon trade session on Monday.

Consequently, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) plunged by over 151 points.

Similarly, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded in the red. It was lower by 62 points or 0.88 percent to 6,968.15 points.

The Sensex, which opened at 23,238.50 points, traded at 23,002.77 points (at 12.00 p.m.) — down 151.53 points or 0.65 percent from the previous day’s close at 23,154.30 points.

During the intra-day trade so far, the Sensex touched a high of 23,293.80 points and a low of 22,956.80 points.

Vaibhav Agarwal, vice president and research head at Angel Broking, elaborated that markets traded on a negative note, led by mixed Asian cues and cautiousness prevailing around the budget.

“Expectations continue to remain low with markets not having witnessed any pre-budget rally this year.”

Nitasha Shankar, senior vice president for research with YES Securities said: “Markets eagerly watch out for an increased spending in the infrastructure space, road map to bank recapitalisation and a rural thrust.”

“Along with this it will be crucial for the finance minister to strike a right balance between growth and fiscal consolidation.”

Arun Jaitley flaunts suave fashion sense at Budget 2016-17

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who presented India’s national budget for the next fiscal in the Lok Sabha on Monday, gave every bit of a competition to the fashion savvy Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a suave light blue Nehru jacket.

Jaitley, 63, wore a blue kurta — a shade lighter than his Nehru jacket — and white pyjama, for his look as he presented the Modi government’s third budget. Standing out in his ensemble was his brown briefcase which added a dash of contrast.

The look was reminiscent of what Jaitley wore while presenting last year’s budget, with slight changes in the colour tones. While the Nehru jacket that he wore in 2015 had a tad darker shade of blue, he picked a more pleasing blue for this year.

In fact, last year, famous astrologer Bejan Daruwalla had suggested that Jaitley could wear blue for the budget announcement, which sets the stage for the country’s economic growth for the next fiscal.

For the day, Modi chose a crisp, pristine white kurta and pyjama with his trademark Nehru jacket style.

Over the years, several ministers have made various fashion statements on budget day.

R.K. Shanmukham Chetty, who presented Independent India’s first budget in 1947, chose pinstripes, while in 1950, John Mathai chose an ultra-formal look in a three-piece grey suit, complete with a tie.

But largely, it has been the bandhgala — a fashion fad popular among the old and the young alike — which has ruled the roost as far as the budget day is concerned.

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