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Benchmark 10-year bond yields have fallen 135 bps and the NSE share index has surged 55 per cent since Modi took power in May 2014. In July 2017, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) had cited the opinion of the attorney general to the government and the CAG on this issue: “Sebi is not obliged to remit from its general fund to the public fund account under Article 266(2) of the Constitution of India. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to deviate from the legislative intent of Parliament as elucidated in Section 14 of Sebi Act, 1992.” The issue of retention of surplus funds was first highlighted in 2008 by the CAG. Sources said this time around, Sebi has not objected to the government’s proposal on transfer of funds. According to a 2017 report of the CAG, these regulatory bodies together hold surplus cash of Rs 60.6 billion as of March 2017. The Centre has been eyeing these resources, which would enable it to reduce the fiscal deficit.
Jaitley will tomorrow present the current NDA government's fifth and arguably his toughest Budget yet as he seeks to address agriculture distress, create jobs and boost growth while at the same time stick to fiscal prudence.