Morning Digest | Farmer leaders announce blockade of highways on Feb. 6, LAC stand-off factored in for defence outlay in Budget 2021, and more


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Farmer leaders heading the agitation against the three farm laws on Monday announced to block the national and State highways across the country on February 6 in support of their demands.

Against the backdrop of the stand-off with China and an impetus for military modernisation, the allocation for capital expenditure in the defence budget saw an increase of ₹21,326 crore, or 18.75%, from the Budget estimates of 2020-21.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has pegged fiscal deficit for the coming year 2021-22 at 6.8% of GDP and aims to bring it back below the 4.5% mark by 2025-26.

The Union Budget sent mixed signals to the tens of thousands of farmers who have been protesting on Delhi’s borders for the last two months, and the wider agricultural community.

Presenting the Union Budget for 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Budget proposals for this financial year rest on six pillars — health and well-being, physical and financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D, and ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’.

The two India-England Tests in Chennai will not be played in front of empty stands after all. Monday was a busy day for TNCA officials, who first held a meeting among themselves and then engaged in deliberations with the BCCI.

The Indian and England cricket teams’ members have returned three negative tests for COVID-19 during their six-day quarantine, clearing the way for their first full strength net sessions three days before the opening Test which begins here on Friday.

The 15th Finance Commission has recommended constitution of a dedicated non-lapsable Modernisation Fund for Defence and Internal Security (MFDIS) to bridge the gap between projected budgetary requirements and allocation for defence and internal security.

The Congress said on Monday that the Union Budget for 2021-22 was full of “deceptions”, with former Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram charging Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with not sharing information such as imposing new cesses on a large number of products, including petrol and diesel.

For India, the return to military rule by Myanmar’s Tatmadaw (Army) and the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and the political leadership of the National League of Democracy (NLD), are a repeat of events thirty years ago, but the Modi government’s reaction, is likely to be starkly different to India’s strong public criticism of the Junta’s actions in 1989-90.

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