Above the Fold
A whistleblower from the Essar Group has revealed how the company "invested" in key people, sending union minister Nitin Gadkari on a French cruise among other gifts doled out to politicians and journalists.
2. Coca Cola
will not be setting up a manufacturing unit in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency, Varanasi.
The government officially notified the Islamic State as a terrorist organisation. 
The ministry leaks scandal got all the way to Reliance Industries president (corporate affairs), Shankar Adawal, who was "informally" questioned by Delhi Police.
The government has proposed publishing the names and photos of those caught speeding as a deterrent.

The Big Story: Insert Railway Pun Here
In one sentence: the commentariat is just about satisfied with rail minister Suresh Prabhu's first budget ‒ ET sums it up best with "Fare Enough" as its pun-based headline ‒ but it didn't provide the spark that people are now hoping Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's budget on Saturday will have.

Well done is half begun appears to be the consensus over Suresh Prabhu's first rail budget. Prabhu stayed away from changing fares or announcing new trains, but increased the plan outlay for the Indian Railways by a whopping 52%, saying he will borrow from unconventional sources to fund some of this. He called for a transformation of the railways starting with small things like passenger convenience and leading up to larger questions of investment and overhauling production and energy. Bullet trains only got a cursory we're-still-looking-into-it mention. The market, as it usually does, tanked.

Former rail ministers took full advantage to call him out, with Nitish Kumar and Dinesh Trivedi both writing in (at least) two different newspapers each, saying there's nothing new in the budget or alternatively that it is too imaginary. The biggest question remains where Prabhu will get his funds from. 

The Big Scroll
Suresh Prabhu's budget could give an indication about about Arun Jaitley's willingness to spend and his speech also made the environmental case for railways. The budget seeks to make life easier for people on trains, but has a rather large funding hole that will need to be filled. Oh, and this is why we don't need a separate rail budget.


1. Opposition uproar prompted the Madhya Pradesh speaker to adjourn the state assembly 29 days ahead of scheduling. Predictably this caused more Opposition uproar.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi finally commented on whether her son, Rahul Gandhi,  would be taking over, saying you'll know when you know.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana tried to blame its low land acquisition compensation rates on the previous Congress government.
Former Congress minister Veerappa Moily claims fellow former Congress minister Jairam Ramesh's "enthusiasm" for the land acquisition bill hurt it.
The Centre is in a stalemate with the Aam Aadmi Party-run Delhi government over a top bureaucratic appointment.



Most Indians are afraid to be out after dark, Milan Vaishnav and Neelanjan Sircar write in the Hindu.
This is Finance Ministry Arun Jaitley's chance to give us a game-changer, say Harish Damodaran and Shaji Vikraman in the Indian Express.
The day real estate is reformed, writes Bhupesh Bhandari in the Business Standard, Indian business will get cleansed of all its sins.

Don't Miss
Priyangi Aggarwal reports on an odd plan to stop killer dogs in Bareilly, after five children died to dog wounds in the last 40 days: paint the good dogs blue.
The teams which had been constituted to track the killer packs were unable to differentiate between normal dogs and the aggressive ones. Therefore, it was decided at a meeting convened by the district magistrate and attended by scientists of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute as well as forest and police officials, to paint the normal ones with blue colour. This will help us in distinguishing the dogs even from a distance," said Rameshwarnath Tiwari, SDM Baheri.