One chart that explains why India's economy is on more solid ground this year

While the government has been over-estimating revenues by a few lakh crores in the past few years, this year's estimates were substantially closer to the mark.

Forecasting in India is notoriously bad. The country is too big, there are too many people and the variables are too numerous for anything of consequence to accurately be predicted. We don't anticipate rainfall well enough, don't know when we're going to run out of food, can't tell when the weather it going to be too hot or too cold and certainly don't know how people are going to vote. But we have started to get better at one form of forecasting which has put the government on much more solid ground when it comes to planning out policy for the rest of the year.

According to the Mid-Year Economic Review, published on Friday by the Finance Ministry, for the first time in five budgets, the government has been able to make a reasonable estimation of how much revenue it is likely to earn. In the first half of last year, the government got its revenue forecasts off the mark by a whopping 16%, which substantially altered its budget. Last year a substantially higher rate of error in revenue forecasting was absorbed by the government than the average error percentage in the preceding four years.

In the first half of this year, however, the government seems to have done better on not just planning its revenue but also forecasting its financials. Therefore, the error percentage this time came down to a mere 1.2%.

The issue with misreading of revenues is that it has the potential to derail government's budgetary targets for the financial year as even regular expenditures put further strain on the government's finances. Better estimation of revenues, this year's review says, will allow the government to achieve its fiscal ambitions for the year and prevent end-year unexpected expenditures from delivering a shock.

To put that in perspective, in the Mid Year Economic Review last year, the government noted that it over estimated tax revenue by Rs 1,05,000 crores. Moreover, the review last year stated that there was an overestimation of India's nominal growth rate too and in the light of inflation and tepid growth, it ended up with a revenue optimism of Rs 27,000 crores. Therefore, the government ended up with an overly positive expectation of its revenues and planned for its expenditures in conjunction to that but that's not the case anymore.

"There has been a substantial improvement in forecasting revenues," this year's review notes. "The forecast error this year is less than 20% of the average for the last few years in all categories. The improvement is especially large in relation to last year. Not only does this bode well for future budgeting, better forecasts also mean that the disruption that takes place at the end of the year by having to slash expenditures can be avoided or minimized. "

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.