11.26 am: Some numbers - India’s Current Account Deficit decreased from about 1% of GDP last year to 0.3% of GDP in first half of 2016-17 - Jaitley

 

11.24 am: 'Have made this budget with housing for the poor, credit support to MSMEs, assistance for pregnant women. There is a priority for women, Dalits, via the MUDRA yojana. Budget focuses on spending more in rural areas and poverty elimination. All economic reform will be for the benefit of people in rural areas'. 


11.20 am: In the first of the numbers, Jaitley says the CAD has come down, while FDI investments have gone up. DeMonetisation seems to have struck a nerve with the govt. Jaitley strongly defends the move, poetically asks for more support. 
 

11.18 am: Demonetisation will clean the economy, make GDP better in the long run, says Jaitley. Quotes the Mahatma while saying - "A right step is never wrong,"


11.17 am: Jaitley goes optimistic about world opinion. Highlights India's rise to sixth place in world manufacturing and says India a shining beacon in the world economy. 
 

11.14 am: The outlook for next year is optimistic, but challenges face developing economies. Issues include US Federal rates, rising crude oil prices and rising protectionism - Jaitley 

 

11.12 am: Inflation has been controlled, growth as been encouraged, began a massive war against black money - Jaitley begins by extolling the NDA's work over the past year. Shall ensure the fruits of work shall reach all sections of society, he adds. 

 

11.08 am: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge stands, unwilling to let the session begin without an angry demand for an adjournment. Some members seem determined to have the day adjourned. Political one-upmanship? But the Budget does go ahead as planned.

 

11.04 am: As expected, the Budget session begins with a condolence for the demise of MP and IUML leader E Ahamed, who passed away today. A short memorial followed by a moment of silence formally opened the session. 

 

10.59 am: Running trains at 200 kmph on the Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes, allocation of Rs 20,000 crore for safety upgrade and customised trains for agri products are likely to be in focus as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the first Rail Budget subsumed in the General Budget.

 

 

10.52 am: Going ahead with the government's reform agenda, Jaitley will discard the 92-year-long tradition of presentation of a separate Rail Budget and instead make it part of the General Budget earmarking a few paragraphs on the public transporter's finance, projects and the roadmap for the next fiscal.

 

10.50 am: The passing away of MP and IUML leader E Ahamed caused some uncertainty in the morning. Traditionally the death of a sitting member causes an adjournment of the day's proceedings. Some parties did ask for a postponement, but eventually logic prevailed that the Budget shall go ahead as planned at 11 am. Arun Jaitley and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha confirmed the same.