Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday raised the personal income tax rebate limit, doled out sops on small savings and announced one of the biggest hikes in capital spending in the past decade as she did a tight rope walk in the Budget between staying fiscally prudent and meeting public expectations in the year before general elections.
The personal income tax rebate limit has been increased to Rs 7 lakh from the fiscal year starting April 1 under the new tax regime from the previous Rs 5 lakh. Tax slabs has been cut to five from seven earlier. Also, the maximum income tax rate has been reduced to about 39 per cent from 42.7 per cent after a reduction in the highest surcharge to 25 per cent from 37 per cent.
Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty ended on a mixed note on Wednesday as the euphoria about the Budget fizzled out, with investors going for profit-taking ahead of the Fed interest rate decision.
The 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex climbed 158.18 points or 0.27 per cent to settle at 59,708.08 after it trimmed most of the intra-day gains. During the day, it had zoomed 1,223.54 points or 2 per cent to 60,773.44.
India's Gautam Adani lost his title of Asia's richest person on Wednesday as a rout in his conglomerate's stocks deepened to $74 billion after a short-seller report.
Wednesday's stock losses saw Gautam Adani slip to 10th on Forbes rich list with an estimated $84.1 billion, just below rival Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd who has an estimated $84.4 billion. Before the Hindenburg report, Adani had ranked 3rd.
A report by Hindenburg Research last week alleged improper use of offshore tax havens while flagging concerns about high debt and the valuations of seven listed Adani companies.
Two Polish tourists died in a massive avalanche that hit the upper reaches of Jammu and Kashmir's ski resort Gulmarg on Wednesday, police said.
Skiers, both foreigners and locals, were at the slopes when the avalanche hit. At least 19 foreigners have so far been rescued successfully, police said. The bodies of the two Polish nationals have been recovered and moved to hospital for medico-legal procedures. Rescue operations are still in progress in the tourist town, in Baramulla district, with police teams on the job.
At least 14 people, including women and children, were charred to death on Tuesday after a major fire broke out on the second floor of 'Ashirwad Tower' in the Joraphatak area of Dhanbad, around 160 km from the state capital Ranchi.
The Jharkhand High Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of the Dhanbad high-rise fire tragedy in which 14 people were charred to death. A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh and Justice Deepak Roshan issued a notice to the state government in the incident.
Pakistan's security agencies arrested 17 suspects in connection with the suicide blast in a high-security zone mosque in Peshawar that killed 101 people, including 97 policemen, as Army chief Gen Asim Munir vowed zero tolerance for terror groups and directed his generals to eliminate the threat of militancy.
A Taliban suicide bomber who was present in the front row during the Zuhr (afternoon) prayers on Monday blew himself up, causing the roof to collapse on the worshippers.
About 500,000 people are expected to take part in a massive strike in Britain on Wednesday. Teachers, civil servants, train drivers and university lecturers will take part in the rally demanding pay rises, that would ease a cost-of-living crisis caused by rising inflation.
Authorities expect widespread disruption, with very limited rail services and schools closed.
Air Marshal AP Singh, who has more than 5,000 hours of flying experience, assumed charge as the new Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force on Wednesday.
He succeeded Air Marshal Sandeep Singh who retired on Tuesday after more than 39 years of service.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College and National Defence College, the Air Marshal was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF on December 21, 1984.
Thousands of people, including women and children, hit the streets in Sunjwan-Bathindi on the city's outskirts against the Jammu and Kashmir administration's ongoing anti-encroachment drive to retrieve "illegally occupied" state land.
The residents' protest comes in the backdrop of the authorities serving public notices asking violators to remove illegal constructions within seven days, officials said.
The protesters also observed a complete shutdown in the area. Waving Tricolours and shouting slogans against the eviction drive, the protesters passed the main roads before staging a peaceful sit-in at a vast land adjoining the bypass.
A thief broke into the evidence room of the district and sessions court building in Goa's capital Panaji and fled with cash seized as part of proof in various cases, police said on Wednesday.
The incident took place on the intervening night of Tuesday-Wednesday in the court located in a Portuguese-era building where a guard was on duty on the front side, an official said. The thief entered the premises by breaking a window on the building's rear side, the police official said.