Mar 18, 2013 06:34 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Live Budget Analysis: Budget not to have impact on sovereign rating, says S&P

Finance minister says no choice but to rationalise spending. The total budget estimate for FY14 at Rs 16.65 lakh crore.

Moneycontrol Bureau

5:23 pm: S&P says Budget not to have impact on sovereign rating

Standard & Poor's said on Thursday India's budget for the 2013/14 fiscal year would have no impact on the country's sovereign credit ratings, warning there was potential for the government to exceed its budgeted spending.

S&P also said there had been "little progress" in structural reforms to reduce the "vulnerability" in the government's fiscal position.

S&P last year cut its outlook on India's "BBB-minus" sovereign ratings to "negative," threatening to push the country into sub-investment category.

5:12 pm: Q3 GDP At 4.5% Vs CNBC-TV18 Poll of 4.86%

  • Q3 GDP At 4.5% Electricity Sector Growth At 4.5% Vs 7.7% (YoY)
  • Q3 GDP At 4.5% Construction Sector Growth At 5.8% Vs 6.9% (YoY)
  • Q3 GDP At 4.5% Mining Sector Growth At -1.4% Vs -2.6% (YoY)
  • Q3 GDP At 4.5% Manufacturing Sector Growth At 2.5% Vs 0.7% (YoY)
  • Q3 GDP At 4.5% Farm Sector Growth At 1.1% Vs 4.1% (YoY)

 

5:00 pm: Speaking to reporters after his much-hyped Budget 2013-14, finance minister P Chidambaram says the Budget is simply one event in a series of actions the government intends to take to revive the economy, which he admitted was indeed "challenged".

4:00 pm: Former Finance Minister and senior leader of BJP Yashwant Sinha feels, the Budget announced by P Chidambaram was insipid.

"Chidambaram was not comparing budgeted estimates (BE) with budgeted estimates. He was very comparing next years BE with RE. So, the RE came in handy for him to say it has gone up by 40 percent, 60 percent and 20 percent and the ruling benches were applauding ," he told CNBC-TV18.

3:47pm: Rupee weakens against dollar 

The 10-year yield was up 3 basis points at 7.82 percent from levels before the finance minister began his budget speech.

The rupee weakened against the U.S. dollar, trading at 53.99/54.00 from levels of around 53.70 before the budget.

3:40 pm: The Mauritius problem:

The tax residency certificate (TRC) is now a necessary but not a sufficient condition. Apparently it is being seen as adverse for investors who have come in through the Mauritius route because the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) circular number 789 on Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) appears diluted. The TRC certificates Section 90 and 90A have been amended to say TRC is necessary but not sufficient to claim benefit and penalty for failure to file returns proposed in the Finance Bill.

3:30 pm: Closing Bell: Sensex, Nifty dip over a percent each; Suzlon biggest loser

Some of the top losers of the day: Suzlon down 34 pct, GVK power down around 10 percent, Reliance Infra loses 9.3 percent, NHPC drops 6 percent, Lanco Infra down 5 percent.

SBI ends the day with losses of nearly 6 percent, PNB drops around 5.8 percent. Banking stocks this month: SBI falls 13 percent, ICICI down 12 percent, PNB loses 11 percent

Aviation stocks this month: Jet falls 13 percent ; SpiceJet down 25 percent , Kingfisher loses 23 percent

Sensex is down 4.8 percent, Nifty loses 5.6 percent this month

3:18 pm: Market registers highest-ever turnover at Rs 4.2 lakh crore. The previous record was Rs 4.16 lakh crore. Could a combination of a boring Budget plus F&O expiry.

Sensex will end the month with losses of more than 5 percent

CNBC-TV18’s Udayan Mukherjee feels market regulator owes some answers to investors after the recent carnage in market. It should not happen, because of the events over the last couple of days, foreign investors should get wary of our markets.

3:00 pm: What looked like a good day for market and investors has now turned upside down. The Sensex is down 298.22 points or 1.56% at 18854.19, and the Nifty down 102.20 points or 1.76% at 5694.70.

Top losers on Nifty: Reliance Infra (-8.77%), SBI (-6.89%), PNB (-6.52%), IDFC (-6.12%) and Power Grid Corp (6.11%).

Get the full picture here

2:45 pm: What will be expensive and what will be affordable now: The layman's Budget for 2013

2:41 pm: The FM borrowing assumptions are "reasonable", says RBI deputy governor Urjit Patel.

"The FM has taken steps to encourage savings away from gold," he told reporters adding, the Budget has laid down the roadmap for fiscal consolidation.

Patel also said no separate norms will be required for the all-women's bank. (Full address)

2:15 pm: Here's what Twitterati is saying about #Budget2013

Kiran Bedi:

The budget has provided for all. He has increased the outlays and provided for as well. We need to now demand its delivery and governance.

Women bank was populism. For I have already seen women cooperative banks doing very well.

Pritish Nandy:

Wonderful. We can’t stop rapes, crimes against women. But we want to open a bank for women. As if women can’t use normal banks.

Minissha Lamba:

Reactions on Budget 2013?? The extra surcharge on income of individuals earning above Rs 1 crore a year is simply ridiculous.
 
Milind Deora:

This was my tenth budget and undoubtedly the best, given the economic pressures. Highlight was the impetus given to women & skills training.

2:01 pm: Budget has done a great job of addressing the nation's priorities, says ICICI Bank's Chanda Kochhar.

Despite banking stocks tanking post the Budget announcement, Kochhar, felt that the budget had done a great job of addressing the nation's priorities of fiscal consolidation and bringing back investment.

Even Naina Lal Kidwali praised the Budget for not being a populist, pre-election budget. While expenditure allocations have gone up, the level of populism has not been that significant.

2:00 pm: In his Budget speech, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said that the Direct Tax Code will be introduced in the Budget session of Parliament, indicating that it remains a work in progress.

The proposed tax code was meant to be a combination of major tax relief and removal of most tax-exempted benefits. It is expected to usher in a new tax regime of transparency and greater compliance.

1:52 pm: Missed out on all the market-related annoucements?  Here's a quick recap

1:50 pm: Despite stating that the ballooning current account deficit is a bigger worry than fiscal deficit, Chidambaram did not further raise import duty on gold. (Read the full story here)

1:41 pm: The FM has taken steps to reverse negative sentiments prevailing in the economy, says Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The FM has done a commendable job given economic challenges," he told reporters. 

Singh believes the 10 million jobs per year target 12th Plan can be achieved through 8 percent GDP growth. The 8 percent growth aim is consistent with underlying potential of the country, he says. 

But to achieve that the tempo of growth needs to be accelerated, Singh explains. 

Singh also acknowledged problems with respect to clearances of new projects.  

1:20 pm: Udayan Mukherjee of CNBC-TV18 says

The Union Budget is a non-event for the market and not worthy of the expectations that P Chidambaram might have stoked in his commentary in the past. There are some irritants for the market. The surcharge has gone up. There is a super-rich tax, bank’s convention interest rate subvention will go up which is not very good.

On the other side there are small palliatives like the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) going down on the other hand Commodities Transaction Tax (CTT) has come in.

Barring a couple of small things like maybe a road regulator or the investment allowance, which has come in for infrastructure, and a very small attempt at getting the savings rate higher, not a significant attempt. There is no big bang announcement in this Budget which can re-stroke growth and that is what everybody was looking for.

1:12 am: C Rangarajan says commitment to fiscal prudence positive for economy and FM's roadmap to 4.8% deficit “credible”.

Meanwhile, Uday Kotak believes FM has lived up to his promise on fiscal deficit. 

"Budget good for capital markets and investments," he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

1:03 pm: R Jagannathan's Final takeout:

Chidambaram has kept his macro promises on the fiscal deficit; he has taxed the rich in a token way, but nothing significant. His revenue take of Rs 18,000 crore is not a big blow for the economy, but this means one can’t be sure how good his estimates are. His assumptions will tell us whether his Budget outlays are based on reality or just built on hope and hype.

We have to wait for the fineprint to figure out whether he has delivered a clean budget or one with gaping holes and doubtful arithmetic. Given the huge expectations before the budget, Chidambaram has done nothing to rattle the markets or business. But he has not excited the jholawala crowd either before the elections. It is a "responsible" budget, for the simple reason that he has done little for anybody. Compared to expectations, he has delivered a mouse. But that may be better than promising the moon and not delivering.

12:47 pm: "The total tax changes will earn government Rs 13,300 crore from direct taxes, and Rs 4,700 crore from indirect taxes. That's Rs 18,000 crore in all. Chidu calls for voluntary compliance to ensure all service tax payers to start filing returns," Jagannathan comments.

12:46 pm: R Jagannathan says "Excise on cigarettes up 18 percent, SUVs from 27 to 30 percent. Bad for ITC and Mahindra and Mahindra.Duties on mobile phones up, especially those above Rs 2,000 price. Service tax on all airconditioned restaurants even if they don`t serve liquor. The markets have taken the increase in corporate surcharge, and the hike in dividend distribution tax badly despite cut in STT."

12:45 pm: With that Chidambaram concludes his Budget speech. No big bang announcements came through.

The Sensex is down 56.28 points or 0.29% at 19096.13, and the Nifty down 27.10 points or 0.47% at 5769.80. 

Market will probably forget it by tomorrow and look ahead.

12:43 pm: FM increases in import duty on high end motor vehicles from 75% to 100%; and on motor cycles from 60% to 75%.

Excise duty on SUVs raised from 27% to 30%. Will not apply to SUVs registered as taxis

12:43 pm: Eating out becomes expensive! Finance minister plans to impose service tax on all AC restaurants.

12:43 pm: Finance minster hikes Special Excise Duty (SED) on cigarettes by 18%

12:42 pm: Finance minister to introduce DTC Bill in Budget session of Parliament

12:42 pm: Finance minister no change in standard rate of excise duty, service tax

12:42 pm Finance minister: 20% final withholding tax on unlisted companies' share buyback

12:41 pm: Finance minister: Modified provisions under GAAR effective April 1, 2016

12:40 pm: Finance Minister says to incorporate January decisions on GAAR

12:39 pm: Finance minister STT reduced to 0.1% on equity futures

12:37 pm Finance Minister: CTT of 0.01% on non-agri commodity futures

12:36 pm:  Finance Minister: To reduce STT on equity futures, MF units

12: 26 pm: "Only 42,000 people with incomes of over Rs 1 crore. Surcharge of 10 percent for them. Tax administratin reform commission to be set up. Will raise tax-GDP ratio 11.9 percent. Says time for prudence, restraint and patience. Rates of taxes 10-20-30 percent won't be changed. Level of tax-free threshold to be raised: for 2-5 lakh bracket, tax credit of Rs 2,000 to be given. Rs 3,600 crore revenue loss," R Jagannathan says

12:25 pm: Super rich tax; 10% surcharge on income above Rs 1 crore. The surcharge has been hiked to 10% from 5%. 

FM announces 10% surcharge on companies with income over Rs 10 crore.

The 80IA has been extended by one-year. The DDT surcharge raised to 10% from 5%. 

The government will continue with education cess at 3%. 

"The additional surcharge on taxes only for 1 year," FM says.

12:21 pm: The finance minister to set up tax administration reforms commission. He says there is “no case to revise direct tax rates or slabs.

"The tax credit of Rs 2,000 for income up to Rs 5 lakh," the FM announces.

_PAGEBREAK_

12:16 pm: Key economic figures

The finance minister says FY14 fiscal deficit seen at 4.8% versus 5.2% in FY13. The FM pegs FY14 revenue deficit target at 3.3%.  (More details read here)

Holding it firm for sometime, the market seemed to be giving up all its gains. The FM has not allocated any major boosters so far. The Sensex was down 5.80 points or 0.03% at 19146.61, while the Nifty slipped below 5800 at 5792.90 down 4.00 points or 0.07%.

12:05 pm: Finance Minister sets defence spending at Rs 2.03 lakh crore.

12:01 pm: Good news for MF sector! Finance minister allows MF distributors to become members of stock exchanges. 

Also, ETFs will be eligible for pension, insurance investments. Insurance and pension companies can directly trade in debt segment, FM announces. 

Moreover, FIIs can now participate in currency derivative segment. However, the exposure will be subject to forex exposure.

Finance minister says India will follow international best practices for differentiating between FII and FDI. 

Importantly, the finance minister is keenly looking into the proposal to amend the SEBI Act to give more powers to the market regulator.

The stock exchanges will have a dedicated debt segment.

"Sebi Act to be amended. Sebi to unify various FII categories. FIIs to be allowed to participate in currency derivatives. FII and FDI holdings to be based shareholding. Below 10 percent, a stake will be classified as FII. This is a route for those keen to build up a clandestine stake through the FII route. Pension and provident funds can invest in exchange-traded funds. Mutual Fund distributors allowed to become stock exchange members. Markets still under the weather," R Jagannathan says.

Market Update: At 12.11 hrs IST, the Sensex is up 43.90 points or 0.23% at 19196.31, and the Nifty down 4.20 points or 0.07% at 5792.70.

Top 5 Nifty Losers: BPCL down 1.99%, Maruti down 1.65%, ICICI Bank down 1.59%, Powergrid down 1.18%, Lupin down 1.17%

Top 5 Nifty Gainers: DLF up 3.02%, CoalIndia up 3.01%, JPAssociates up 2.28%, Siemens up 1.49%, NTPC up 1.46%

11:55 am: A first for India! FM announces his plans to set up an all-women's bank via public sector. It will be a women bank, by women, for women.  

The FM will provide Rs 1,000 crore initial capital to the proposed all-women's bank.

11:48 am: Finance Minister will provide Rs 14,000 crore for PSB recapitalization. He will constitute a panel on transaction costs, and financial policies.

11:46 am: The finance minister doubles Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) Refinance Fund to Rs 10,000 crore.

11: 45 am: The government plans to encourage PPP projects along with Coal India. 

It will encourage shale gas projects and review the natural gas pricing policy. 

Finance Minister says blocked NELP blocks will be cleared and there will be a policy on shale gas based on revenue sharing.

11:42 am: Finance minister inflation-indexed bonds to be announced On June 1. The government will introduce inflation-indexed instruments, the minister announced.

"Will up to Rs 25 lakh 1st home loan to get more tax cuts," he says.  

The income limit for RGESS eligibility has been raised to Rs 12 lakh. 

11:40 am: Finance Minister will allocate additional Rs 10,000 crore for Food Security Bill in FY14.

11:39 am: FM says 3000 km of road projects will be awarded in first six months of FY14.

"To constitute regulatory authority for roads sector," he says.

11:38 am: The finance minister will approve Rs 50,000 crore tax-free bonds in FY14. The government expects to raise Rs 25,000 crore via tax-free bonds in FY13

As per the Budget announcement, IIFCL will give credit enhancement to companies.  

Finance minister says infra debt funds will be encouraged going forward.

Interest subvention on farm loans repaid on time will continue, he told the House.

Market Update: At 11.38 hrs IST, the Sensex is up 64.86 points or 0.34% at 19217.27, and the Nifty up 17.75 points or 0.31% at 5814.65.

11:31 am: The finance minister allocates Rs 27,049 crore to agriculture ministry in FY14 -- a hike of 22% from FY13

11:25 am: The FM hikes rural development spending by 46% to Rs 80,194 crore. He has allocated Rs 33,000 crore for MGNREGA. To allot Rs 14,873 crore for JNNURM in FY14.

The Budget has extended the 4% farm loan scheme to private sector banks. "Interest subvention on farm loans repaid on time to continue," Chidambaram announces.

Importantly, Rs 65,877 crore has been allocated to education development -- 17% hike from FY13.

11:20 am: Finance minister says no choice but to rationalise spending. "The total budget estimate for FY14 at Rs 16.65 lakh crore."

11:16 am: Finance Minister says FY14 plan expenditure to be 30% more than FY13 revised estimates. FM says FY13 plan expenditure cut to Rs 3.9 lakh crore versus budgeted estimate of Rs 5.9 lakh crore.

Chidambaram admits the FY13 plan expenditure was "too ambitious".

Nomura said earlier that the credibility of Chidambaram's budget would depend on the government's underlying assumptions on growth, asset sales and subsidies.

Some government economic estimates in the past have proven wildly over-optimistic. In the 2012-13 budget for example, the government predicted the economy would grow at 7.6 percent, sharply higher than the 5 percent that is now forecast.

Also, the government has given additional sum of Rs 200 crore to Women and Child Development Ministry.

11:10 am: Finance minister says foreign investment is an imperative for current account deficit, which he puts on top of his list of worries. 

The current account deficit is bigger worry than fiscal deficit, he told the House. Finance minister says foreign investment is an imperative to finance CAD

Finance minister says need USD 75 billion to finance CAD over next two years.

Market Update: At 11.10 hrs IST, the Sensex is up 121.69 points or 0.64% at 19274.10, and the Nifty up 34.85 points or 0.60% at 5831.75.

11:07 am: Finance Minister says the final GDP growth rate would be lower than CSO, RBI estimates. RBI estimated GDP growth of 5.5% in FY13. 

FM says not unaffected by what is happening in rest of the world. 

He says global economic growth slowed to 3.2% in FY12 versus 3.9% (YoY)

11: 00 am: Finance minister P Chidambaram begins his Budget speech in the Parliament, says "no reason for pessimism."

_PAGEBREAK_

10: 58 am: Economists say FM may also unveil measures to widen the tax net to boost government revenues, lay the groundwork for a goods and services tax, reduce the government's huge subsidies bill, sell more stakes in state-owned enterprises and raise import duties to dampen demand for gold.

Investors will watch closely to see whether the three-time finance minister - seen as a possible candidate for prime minister in 2014 - will fulfil his promise of fiscal prudence or sow the budget with vote-winning, but expensive, welfare handouts.

10:52 am: News Alert! Cabinet Endorses FY14 Union Budget

10.50 am: Even more musings before the Budget

Budgets can signal and impact sentiment, but they cannot really push up growth. If the Economic Survey talked about 6.1-6.7 percent GDP growth in 2013-14 even before the budget, the forecast is probably based on hunch or expectations of big election-eve spending which will anyway push up growth.

But if the Finance Minister is to give the economy a real leg up, he has to make announcements about not just his budget finances, but how the system will change to provide the right environment for investment and growth.

(Firstpost's R Jagannathan tells you what to expect)

10:42 am: Manish Chokhani, MD and CEO, Axis Capital says investor expectations moderate going into FY14 Budget. 

Chokhani says FM has taken many steps to alleviate investor concerns.

10: 36 am: Uday Kotak says need a gradual moderation in fiscal deficit.  

Kotak says aggressive fiscal consolidation needs monetary policy support. Market is expecting good macro news from the Budget.

He says there is a need for stable tax regime for higher investments. 

Hiking tax rates will hurt risk-taking, enterprise

10:35 am: Market bear Shankar Sharma says headline index moves masking weak internals. Sharma expects 2013 to continue to be challenging year for the market

He says market internals worrying; carnage across midcap space. He expects global macros to be worse than 2012.

10: 33 am: Investors are betting big on the Indian market ahead of the Union Budget to be presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram today.

At 10.33 hrs IST, the Sensex is up 112.31 points or 0.59% at 19264.72, and the Nifty up 31.30 points or 0.54% at 5828.20.

10: 30 am: Morgan Stanley does not expect significant surprise on fiscal deficit target.

MD Chetan Ahya says meeting 5.3% fiscal deficit in FY13 'a tough task'. He expects FY14 fiscal deficit  at 5%. 

Moreover, he expects realistic GDP growth projection from FM.

10:28 am: A major need to channelize saving in long term infra bonds, says infra analsyst Vinayak Chatterjee

"Won't take moves that will impact sentiments in the markets," he told CNBC-TV18.

10: 22 am: Won't take moves that will impact sentiments in the markets: Malvinder Singh

10:06 am: News Alert: FM Arrives For Cabinet Meet; Cabinet To Approve Budget

According to Raamdeo Agrawal of Motilal Oswal, Chidambaram has the opportunity to make serious policy changes today.

As far as expectations, he does not foresee change in excise duty for diesel cars.

Meanwhile, Sandeep Bhatia, Kotak Institutional Equities does not expect any material change in fertiliser subsidy.  “We expect the market to react positively to the Budget,” he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

FMCG company ITC is down in today's trade factoring in a 10-12% rise in excise duty, Bhatia says 

9: 51 am: Rupee at 3-week high; GDP data awaited

Rupee rose to 53.59/60 in opening trade, its highest since February 8 and stronger compared with its close of 53.86/87 on Wednesday.

Traders say a risk-on mood globally pushing the dollar lower, while market is also hopeful for a fiscally disciplined budget.

Asian shares and other risk assets rise as sentiment improves after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirms his commitment to strong stimulus, while a smooth debt sale calms fears over Italy's political turmoil.

Traders expect good support for the dollar around 53.55 levels, while month-end dollar demand from oil firms may also aid.

*The December quarter GDP data due around 0530 GMT will also be watched for direction.

9: 36 am: No one in mood for 'flashy Budget', focus on cutting 'flab'

Sources tell CNBC-TV18 the country is not in the mood for a "flashy Budget". That means no more subsidies a.k.a government handouts. The FM may focus on schemes for women and youth. He may announce an all women’s bank. Sources say youth-oriented schemes may get a push.

Source say direct cash transfer to be a big pivot in the Budget. The flab from social sector sectors will be cut. All in all, source say expect a realistic, practical Budget 2013-14. 

9: 27 am: Whether the government will reduce borrowing in the next fiscal year is too close to call, but economists polled by Reuters say its resolve to cut spending and giveaways in next week's budget will reignite investor confidence.

In the Reuters poll, conducted between February14-21, 19 of 23 economists expected the budget to help bring in foreign investment.

Almost as many, 18, predicted the focus of Chidambaram's budget speech will be on slashing subsidies and government handouts.

Eighteen said they expect spending cuts to mainly focus on fuel subsidies and defence. India's fuel subsidy bill swelled by almost 73 percent in 2011-2012, compared to the previous year, while defence allocation rose 18 percent in the last budget.

The poll also predicted the finance ministry will axe spending on rural development and food subsidies.

9: 15 am:  Sensex, Nifty open almost 1% higher

Good start to the market. The Sensex is up 162.61 points or 0.85% at 19315.02, and the Nifty up 37.45 points or 0.65% at 5834.35.

But it’s all to do with the global markets. The Budget reaction will follow afterwards. Top gainers on the Sensex: Larsen (1.88%), Tata Motors (1.82%), Coal India (1.68%), ONGC (1.52%) and Hindalco (1.27%)

The midcaps are also opened nicely baring the odd UB Group stocks. Stocks to watch out for today: Suzlon which goes out of the F&O market.

9:05 am: Market Pre-opening:  Sensex up 100 points in pre-open trade as expected. Bharti, ITC, BPCL, Ambuja Cement, Hero Moto, Bajaj Auto all lead the list of gainers. (More details)

8:58 am: Trader Atul Suri says market pessimism and Nifty shorts may be trigger for the next upmove. Suri feels the market is "delicately poised" at key technical level currently. He says the Nifty may slip to 5,500 if current levels are not held.

But if the Budget is good, he expects a rally to 6100

But you don't have to worry about market volatilty. Make cool, cool money by playing moneycontrol's Moneybhai (Click here)

8: 48 am: Economists say Chidambaram may also unveil measures to widen the tax net to boost government revenues, lay the groundwork for a goods and services tax, reduce the government's huge subsidies bill, sell more stakes in state-owned enterprises and raise import duties to dampen demand for gold.

Chidambaram will likely spell out plans to narrow fiscal and current account deficits, which have alarmed ratings agencies and triggered warnings that the country's sovereign bonds could lose their investment grade status and be downgraded to 'junk' if urgent steps are not taken to rein in spending.

He is expected to announce plans to keep a lid on government spending in fiscal 2013-14, capping it at roughly the same level as the year ending next month, despite fears that lower public expenditure risks deepening India's sharpest economic downturn in a decade.

8: 30 am: On CNBC-TV18's show Super Six, market gurus Manas Jaiswal, manasjaiswal.com, Rajeev Agarwal, dynamixresearch.in and Vikrant Jadeja, vibranttrades.com, place their bets on two stocks each, thus offering investors a variety of options to choose from. (Catch the stock bets)

8:20 am: Well known market expert Ramesh Damani believes bold moves are needed from the FM on the fiscal consolidation. He says negatives are priced into the market post the February correction. "The midcaps are correcting due to funding crunch," he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

Damani sees a good probability of a market rally post Budget. But he adds tight liquidity may pressure midcaps until March 31.

8:14 am: The biggest number everybody will watch out for will be the fiscal deficit numbers for the current year. The FM has already said 5.3 percent and next year 4.8 percent. Economists believe that the FM will stick to 5.3 percent, so that the FM can promise even 4.7-4.6 percent for next year on a higher base it is easier.

There are some who believe that the FM might want to surprise the market with a 5.2 percent this year and a 4.7 percent next year. If he does anything like that, it will be seen as extremely positive by the market.

However, the market is more worried about the exact fiscal deficit number because the exact government borrowing number will depend on that. There the guesses are between Rs 5.1 and 5.4 lakh crore.

8:05 am: Asian stocks have rebounded sharply in trade today helped by the Wall Street rally overnight and with the Yen easing back against major currencies. Bernanke reaffirming his support of the central bank's stimulus policy, upbeat earnings and economic reports supported the gains.

The Dow ended at 14,075.37, up 1.26 percent. The S&P 500 jumped 1.27% while the Nasdaq advanced a percent. (More on global cheer)

Thank heavens for Ben Bernanke, says Udayan Mukherjee of CNBC-TV18. "He (Bernanke) has given us the lift that we required in the morning. We are not going in with global depression and if the morning shows the day hopefully we will come out of it alright," he commented on the channel.

8:00 am: Good Morning Everyone! It is a big day for market. Finance Minister P Chidambaram will present one of the most highly anticipated Budgets of recent years today, a blueprint for austerity that forms the centrepiece of India's efforts to stave off a damaging credit ratings downgrade.

The 2013-14 Budget caps an intensive seven-month campaign by the energetic Chidambaram, who was appointed last August, to turn around the fortunes of Asia's third-largest economy after years of policy drift and global economic turmoil.

Economists say he may also unveil measures to widen the tax net to boost government revenues, lay the groundwork for a goods and services tax, reduce the government's huge subsidies bill, sell more stakes in state-owned enterprises and raise import duties to dampen demand for gold. (Check out views of country's top economists)

Investors will watch closely to see whether the three-times finance minister - seen as a possible candidate for prime minister in 2014 - will fulfil his promise of fiscal prudence or sow the budget with vote-winning, but expensive, welfare handouts.

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