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This in not Budget, but BJP manifesto for Lok Sabha polls: Congress



Mallikarjun Kharge
Mallikarjun Kharge (ANI File Photo)

New Delhi, Feb 1: The Congress on Friday dubbed the Interim Budget as the “BJP manifesto”, saying the entire exercise was aimed at wooing voters for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls without providing a report card of the Modi governments performance.

“Today’s budget is BJP’s election manifesto. This is nothing but trying to bribe the voters and the entire exercise was done keeping in mind the upcoming elections,” Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told the media after Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented the Interim Budget.

“The budget is silent about the performance of the government in the last five years. What achievements they made, how much of their promises were fulfilled — what about the promise of 10 crore jobs in five years or giving Rs 15 lakh each to the people of India,” he asked.

The Congress veteran also questioned the move to present a “full budget” instead of a vote on account.

He demanded to know who would fulfil the new promises the Narendra Modi government was making as its tenure ends in May.

“This should have been a vote on account, their mandate is till May. Instead of that, they presented a budget for the entire year.

“Who will fulfil these promises they have made? This is nothing but misleading the people ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.”

He also refused to give credit to the government proposing tax exemption for individuals with annual incomes of Rs 5 lakh.

“This has been done to woo the middle class ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. And yet it is not a game changer because the people know what this government has done and how it has performed during the last five years.”

Kharge said the budget neglected the poor, especially the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).

“There is nothing for the poor, farmers and especially for the SCs and STs. They have proposed Rs 60,000 core for MNREGA, which is just Rs 1 crore more than last year.

“The fact is that to pay the dues in this regard to various state governments, the government needs Rs 10,000 crore,” he said.

“They feel they will get the votes through this budget but the farmers and people realise that they have been defrauded.

“They have only listed what they will do in next year but did not inform about what they did in the last five years,” added Kharge.



Markets open on positive note



Sensex Nifty Equity

Mumbai, Feb 20: The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a positive note during the morning session of the trade.

The BSE Sensex opened at 35,564.93 before touching a high of 35,581.14 and a low of 35,520.21.

It was trading at 35,528.69 up by 176.08 points or 0.50 per cent from its Tuesday’s close at 35,352.61.

On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 10,655.45 after closing at 10,604.35.

The Nifty is trading at 10,656.25 in the morning.


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PF funds’ investment in IL&FS bonds have no government guarantee: Finance Ministry



IL&FS Financial Service

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) The provident and pension fund trusts that invested in the IL&FS bonds now fear loss of money as the debt-ridden company’s bonds are unsecured debt, and the Finance Ministry says superannuated bonds do not carry any government guarantee and all such instruments have to face all market-related risks.

“Since these are investments in bonds, the government does not ensure any guarantee on them as such and if these are invested in stock markets, they carry the market risks as applicable. It is between the bond issuer and bond holders…,” the Finance Ministry said in response to IANS queries.

Thousands of crores of money of more than 15 lakh employees of both public and private sector companies have exposure to IL&FS bonds.

However, queries sent to the EPFO Commissioner and Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar remained unanswered.

Over 50 funds that manage retirement benefits of over 15 lakh employees have exposure to IL&FS. PF trusts of state electricity boards, public sector undertakings (PSUs) and banks are among them. The provident and pension fund trusts have filed intervening applications in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) stating that they stand to lose all the money since the bonds are under unsecured debt.

Usually, retirement funds have a low-risk appetite and invest in “AAA” rated bonds (which IL&FS bonds used to be once upon a time) and get assured returns with low interest rates.

The worries of pension and provident fund trusts come from the classification of IL&FS profiling its companies as to which can meet the dues obligations. Many important trust managing funds of PSUs like MMTC, IOC, Hudco, SBI and IDBI are among those filing petitions. From private sector, HUL and Asian Paints are among the petitioners.

IL&FS is currently under resolution process at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The process will decide under Section 53 of the IBC the order of priority for distribution of proceeds of the process.

The beleaguered company has informed the NCLT that of the 302 entities in the group, 169 are Indian companies, out of which only 22 are emerging as those which can meet all obligations (green), while 10 firms can pay to only secured creditors (Amber). There are 38 companies of IL&FS (red) which cannot meet any obligations of payment, and 120 entities are still being assessed.

These PF and provident funds trusts are worried that if payment is limited to secured creditors, then only financial creditors like banks will receive the dues while unsecured bond-holders will be get any payments.

IL&FS bonds attracted investments by PF trusts as it had the shareholding of SBI and LIC giving its bonds the comfort factor.

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Sachin Bansal invests Rs 650 crore in Ola




Bengaluru, Feb 19 (IANS) Internet entrepreneur and Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal has invested Rs 650 crore, or about $92 million, in ride-hailing platform Ola in his personal capacity as investor, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

This investment is part of Ola’s larger Series J funding round. It is also the largest investment by an individual in Ola to date, it said.

“Ola is one of India’s most promising consumer businesses that is creating deep impact and lasting value for the ecosystem. On one hand, they have emerged as a global force in the mobility space and on the other, they continue to build deeper for various needs of a billion Indians through their platform, becoming a trusted household name today,” Bansal said.

He further said he has known Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal as entrepreneur and friend over the years and that he has great respect for what he and the team at Ola have built in 8 years.

“We are extremely thrilled to have Sachin onboard Ola as an investor. Sachin is an icon of entrepreneurship and his experience of building one of India’s most respected businesses ground up, is unparalleled,” Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said.

Ola integrates city transportation for customers and drivers onto a mobile technology platform ensuring convenient, transparent, safe and quick service fulfilment, the statement added.

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