Economy

Chanda Pravin Katkari, who lives in Panvel on the outskirts of Mumbai, applied for a free LPG connection under the PM Ujjwala Yojana one-and-half years ago, but has yet to get a response. She still uses the traditional chulha, most of the time. Chanda and her sister-in-law share the cost and occasionally use their mother-in-law’s Ujjwala LPG cylinder though. “The cylinder lasts only one-and-half months if the three of us, living in separate households, use it regularly. Since we can’t afford this, we use it sparingly so that it lasts us about three months,” she says. Chanda’s experience outlines the…

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As per a recent report, it was estimated that in 2021-22, only 3% of the population of India pays up to 10 lakh in taxes, alluding that the rest are dependent on this. This begs the following questions: Are you employed? Do you have a regular source of income? Do you pay income tax? Do you purchase provisions, clothing, household goods, eyewear, footwear, fashion accessories, vehicles, furniture, or services such as haircuts, or pay rent and EMIs? If you do any of the above, do you notice the GST charges on your purchases, along with other taxes like tolls, fuel…

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The BBMP budget 2024-25 seems to be full of measures that are contradictory, which also undermine the rule of law. It hopes to garner Rs. 1,000 crore by permitting additional floors on high-rises as ‘premium floor-area ratio (FAR)’, over and above what is permitted by law.  At the same time, the budget has reduced the penalty on property tax defaulters by which it will lose about Rs. 2,700 crore!  Both these measures modify existing laws in an arbitrary manner, conveying the impression that laws may exist on paper but can be allowed to be bypassed at the whims of the…

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Two major announcements were made in February 2024: Karnataka Assembly passed the BBMP Amendment Bill 2024. Bengaluru development/Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar on X (twitter) hailed it as a taxpayer-friendly Bill. The amendment was projected to benefit around 13-15 lakh people in Bengaluru, including 5.51 lakh taxpayers, by reducing the penalty on property tax arrears by 50%. This was followed, on February 20th, by BBMP’s draft notification proposing a new property tax calculation structure in Bengaluru. The new structure, based on Guidance Value (GV), is expected to begin during the next financial year, starting April 1st. Tax computation Municipalities in…

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The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) budget for 2024-2025 was tabled before the council last week. The civic body’s focus in the budget this year is on enhancing physical infrastructure across schools, improving the soft skills of students, upgradation of facilities in health centres across the city and tackling issues with stray dogs and cattle.  The Ward Development Fund for each councillor has also been hiked from Rs 40 lakh per year to Rs 45 lakh. The discretionary fund can be spent by the councillors to fulfil the needs of their ward.  One of the highlights of this year's budget is…

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Getting up early in the morning and picking up the Aavin milk packets delivered to our doorsteps or queuing up at milk booths are vignettes from everyday life that most long-time residents of Chennai have grown up with. But of late, the exercise of getting a regular supply of milk from the State-owned milk co-operative is riddled with obstacles. Many residents have been facing problems in renewing their monthly milk card subscriptions online.  People who are well-versed in using smartphones and other digital devices may not have any major issues in renewing their cards online. But it is not the…

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Chief Minister Siddaramiah announced his second budget during his current tenure as head of the government. With an overall budget outlay of Rs 3.71 lakh crore, the budget has been a promising one on several fronts. The five guarantees: Gruha Jyoti, Gruha Lakshmi, Anna Bhagya, Shakti and Yuvanidhi, which were announced in the election manifesto of 2023 and are being implemented over the past one year, received a budget allocation of Rs. 52,000 crores. Focus on the five guarantee schemes The chief minister justified the additional allocation and spending on the five guarantees, citing inflation and increasing income disparity in…

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The Karnataka budget for FY 2024-25 was recently released on February 16th. To better understand the nuances of the state budget, this expert analysis breaks down the various components for citizens to assess the fiscal health of the state. It also looks at corresponding figures for the financial year 2021-22 to explain what such an assessment reveals about the state's finances. The annual budget of the Government of India is an eagerly awaited event, almost at par with a cricket match. The eagerness and anticipation associated with the budget mainly stems from concerns regarding: Changes in tax rates Impact on the…

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In December 2023, many parts of Chennai received record-breaking rains for two days. Though the event of cyclone occurrence was the same throughout the city, the capacity to recover from the aftermath was not the same for all. Experts say the reasons for this recovery variability could be attributed to infrastructure resilience such as sewage treatment capacity, water supply, water holding capacity of reservoirs and waterbodies encroachment. These physical parameters are intensified by the socio-economic status such as the livelihood, income levels, social status of people and assets across different parts of Chennai. Here, it is important to look at…

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There is a flurry of activity in my house. Furniture is rearranged to make space. Glasses of chilled nimbu pani are kept ready, and everyone waits for the familiar brown truck to come to the gate of the building. Things move quickly with its arrival. Men jump out of it and carry huge, blue plastic tubs filled with goods ranging from pulses to stationery to utensils, up to our house. The goods are checked against a list, the lemonade consumed, and the truck and these grocery Santa Clauses have moved on to their next destination. History of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat…

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