Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bhagalpur : Manjusha art

Manjushas are temple-shaped boxes, made of bamboo,jute straw and paper. According to legend, Manjusha art traces its origin to the Bihula-Vishahri or Mansha folktale,popular in erstwhile Anga Pradesh and found also in an altered form in West Bengal. The paintings are drawn primarily on the occasion of the Bishari puja, celebrated usually in August to propitiate the snake gods. As Bihula’s boat was decorated by a character called Lahsan Mali, this art has been confined to the Mali or gardener caste. LikeMadhubanis, Manjushas too are pictorial reflections of folklore, poetry and the larger cultural consciousness of the region.

Manjushas are considered by many as modern art, due to their form and abstract themes. This is why the art-lover whodiscovered them for the outside world, W.G. Archer,an ics officer who worked in different parts of Bihar between ‘31 and ‘48,compared them to the works of Picasso and Jackson Pollock. Archer, in fact, took some of these paintings to the India OfficeLibrary in London as part of the Archer Collection.

The Manjusha or the border lining the work is often criticised as merely the "ceremonial" part of the painting, but it’s what sets them apart. A temple-shaped structure with eight pillars, it often has swirling snakes depicting the central character Bihula’s tale of love and sacrifice.

Manjushas, thus, have often been referred to as ‘snake paintings’ by Westerners, including Archer. Other motifs figuring prominently in these paintings are drawn from nature, be it the sun, the moon, fishes, sandal or bamboo, each with its own significance in the folklore. Unlike Madhubani, Manjushas are painted only in three colours -red, yellow and green - on a black background. According to legend, Manjusha art traces its origin to the Bihula- Vishahri or Mansha folktale, popular in erstwhile Anga Pradesh and found also in an altered form in West Bengal.The paintings are drawn primarily on the occasion of the Bishari puja, celebrated usually in August to propitiate the snake gods. As Bihula’s boat was decorated by a character called Lahsan Mali, this art has been confined to the Mali or gardener caste.

"Bihula-Bishari puja" A Regional Festival

Popularly known as the festival in honour of snakes, it is celebrated during the bright fortnight of the month of Shravana.
In the celebration, in the South images of Snakes are crafted in cowdung on either side of the entrance to the house as a mark of welcome to snake God and offering of milks are given in the holes around the house.

The Story :Manasa Debi was a mind-born daughter31 of Siva. She was born of Siva's semen left on a chikanipata32. She is known as Bisahari33 and said to have extraordinary supernatural power to bless her devotees. She can also ruin and kill those who do not believe in her existence and offer their prayer to her. There was a very rich ship merchant, named Chanrakar. He was also known to the people as Chandu Saudagar34. He was a great devotee of Siva. He had six sons and a happy family. He did notconsider Manasa as a Goddess. Manasa Debi did not like this attitude of Chandu Saudagar and killed all his six sons by
sending black snakes. However Chandu Saudagar did not relent. One day pleased with the devotion of Chandu Siva appeared in his dream and expressed his willingness to bless him with some great things as per the desire of Chandu. Chandu Saudagar asked him for a son. Siva agreed to bless him with a son but put a condition before him. " If you want to have a son who will have long life, he would be a fool, lethargic and an idiot. Instead if you want to have an ideal, intelligent and handsome son he will die at the early age of 20", said Siva, "now you tell me what exactly you want." After a serious thought Chandu Saudagar opted for an intelligent son who would have a short life. Later, Chandu's wife gave birth to a male child whose name was Bala Lakshendra or Lakhinder. Lakhinder was bright, intelligent and a very cultured child. Everybody was happy with his behaviour. When he reached the marriageable age his father wanted to solemnise his marriage ceremony with an equally qualified and highly cultured girl. After a great search, Chandu Saudagar saw Bihula. She was very beautiful, meritorious, highly cultured and a homely girl. Chandu also came to know that according to her family tradition every woman dies as a sumangali and none of them would become a widow at any point of time. In this family tradition of Bihula, Chandu Saudagar saw a ray of hope for his dear and affectionate son Lakhinder and as a result he immediately decided to choose her as his daughter-in-law.

The marriage was solemnised in a happy atmosphere. Lakhinder was bitten by a dangerous cobra at the behest of Manasa Debi on his first night of the bridal-bed in the bridal chamber itself. Lakhinder cried in helplessness and breathed his last. The innocent but firm Bihula decided to remain with his dead body on a raft in the river Ganges. Chandu and neighbouring people made futile attempts to dissuade her. But she was determined. Finding no other alternative, Chandu gave permission to Bihula. She started her voyage on a raft along with her husband's dead body. The current slowly carried the raft. She had to face various difficulties in her journey, but she overcame them all. Ultimately she found a washerwoman washing the clothes by the side of the river Ganges. Her small child was disturbing her. Getting irritated with the behaviour of her girl child, the washerwoman killed her baby and started washing her clothes. Once she had washed all her clothes, she sprinkled some drops of water on the face of her baby and the dead baby became alive. Bihula took no time to understand the supernatural power of this lady and took shelter at her feet and narrated her the sad story.

In accordance with the advice of washerwoman, Bihula reached the Mahadeoloka35 with her. On the instruction of the washerwoman, Bihula performed a wonderful dance to please the Lord. The Lord was very impressed by her graceful performance and was moved by the story of her tragic life on earth and heaven. He called Manasa and asked her to give the reasons of her
tragedy. Manasa vehemently denied that she was responsible for the tragedy of Bihula. However, Bihula succeeded in producing definite evidence. But Manasa insisted that she was not responsible for the sad plight of Bihula, and it was Chandu Saudagar, her father-in-law, who was solely responsible, because he always abused and disrespected Manasa Debi and did not consider her to be a goddess worthy of worship. Manasa then told Bihula that if Chandu Saudagar were to worship her, she would bring Lakhinder back to life. Bihula felt the hope of restoration of life for the corpse of her husband in the statement of Manasa and agreed to her proposal. Manasa then brought Lakhinder and other six sons of Chandu Saudagar back to life by chanting spells. At the humble request of Bihula, Manasa recovered all the boats of Chandu Saudagar along with the cargo and crew that had been submerged by the wrath of Mansa Debi. She thus fulfilled the desire of Bihula. With all the seven sons and lost property of Chandu Saudagar, Bihula came down to the city in the earth where the old eyes of Chandu Saudagar and his wife were counting the days to breathe their last. All of a sudden they received all their lost sons along with the cargo and crew.

Now Chandu Saudagar realized the power of Bihula and gave his consent to worship the deity - Manasa Debi. The goddess blessed him. He realized that there was none except Manasa Debi in these three worlds. Finally, he worshipped Manasa with offerings of various fruits and animals.Thus, Chandu Saudagar, a devout follower of Siva, changed his religious ideas and became one of the staunch followers of the Manasa-cult, which was originally a tantric-cum-folk cult.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Temple at Deoghar | Baba Baidyanath Dham

Baidyanath Dham, also known as Baijnath Dham or Babadham, is located in north-eastern Jharkhand, four miles from Jasidih railway station on the main line of the Eastern Railway from Howrah to Delhi. There is a small railway branch line from Jasidih to Babadham. The railway station at Babadham is called Baidyanath Dham. Babadham stands near the G.T. Road connecting Calcutta with Delhi. From the G.T. Road, you can take a turn to the state road at Bagodar or at Dumri. Devotees coming down from Kolkata or other parts of West Bengal can take the route via Jamtara. In the North-East? Dumka, Rajmahal and Bhagalpur; in the North-West? Munger; in the West Hazaribag and in the South Giridih district border the region. Baidyanath Dham is famous for the Baba Baidyanath temple complex consists of the main temple of Baba Baidyanath, where one of the twelve Jyotirlingams is installed, which is called Baidyanath Jyotirlingam , and 21 other temples. These temples are - Narvadeshwar Temple, Ma Kali Temple, Ma Annapurna Temple, Chandrakupa, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Neelkantha Temple, Ma Parvati Temple, Ma Jagat Janani Temple, Ganesh Temple, Brahma Temple, Ma Sandhya Temple, Kal Bhairav Temple, Hanuman Temple, Mansa Temple, Ma Saraswati Temple, Surya Narayan Temple, Ma Bagla Temple, Tulsi Chaura, Neel Chakra, Baba Baidyanath temple, Sri Ram Temple, Ma Ganga Temple, Anand Bhairav Temple, Gauri Shankar Temple and Ma Tara Temple.

The Babadham temple has been famous since 8th century AD when the last Gupta Emperor Adityasena Gupta ruled this region. During Mugal period, the temple of Babadham was under their tributory rulers. During Akbar's rule, Man Singh was associated with his court and was also attached to the Gidhaur dynasty for a long time and had contacts with a number of rulers of Bihar. Man Singh's brother, Bhan Singh was married to daughter of Puran Mal. Man Singh got a tank excavated here, which is today known as Mansarovar. An inscription on the Baidyanath
temple states that Puran Mal built it at the request of the priest Raghunath Ojha. However, tradition relates that the inscription was forcibly put by Puran Mal, after he had the temple repaired, to mark his ownership of the surrounding land. Raghunath Ojha was unable to resist Puran Mal for this inscrition. Later, he had a porch created and therein set his own inscription. claiming to have created the entire temple. In the 18th century, the Maharaja of Gidhaur faced political turmoil. He had to fight against the Nababs of Birbhum. Under the Muhammadan government, the chief priest appears to have paid a fixed rent to the Nabab of Birbhum, and the
administration of the temple seems to have been left entirely in the hands of the priest. For a few years the Nabab ruled over Babadham. Subsequently, the Maharaja of Gidhaur defeated the Nabab and Babadham was brought back under his rule till the East India Company came in the picture. In 1757 after the battle of Pallasy the officers of the East India Company paid their attention to this temple. In 1788, under Mr. Keating's order Mr. Hesilrigg, his assistant, who was probably the first English man to visit the holy city, set out to supervise personally the collection of the pilgrim offerings and dues. Later, when Mr. Keating himself visited Babadham, he was convinced and forced to abandon his policy of direct interference. He handed over the full control of the temple to the hands of the high priest. People visit Baidyanath Dham to worship Lord Shiv. The month of Sawan or Shravan is especially important for the devotees. Shravani mela (fair) is held every year. The Kanwarias come from Sultanganj to Deoghar with water of the Ganga or Ganges and pour it to bath the shiv ling here during Shravan month of the Indian Calendar.

The hoary temple at Deoghar (the home of gods) is the most important pilgrim point in Bihar that attracts thousands of Shiv devotees during the month of Shrawan (July/August), when the summer heat has just given way to the early monsoon. Saffron clad pilgrims with pots of holy water, well balanced on their shoulder make a 100 km bare trekking from Sultanganj (where the holy water of Ganges is considered holdier due to its unusual flow northwards) to Baidyanath Dha at Deoghar. Water is poured on the lingam to appease Shiva.

The sanctity of Deoghar lies in its legend of Ravana who went all the way to Mount Kailash, pleading Shiva to make Lanka his hoe. Ravana's other was an ardent devotee of Shiva and she worshipped a Shivling made of clay, which soon dissolved with daily pouring of water over it. This prompted Ravana to implore Shiva if he would reside in Lanka. Lord Shiva did not accede to Ravana's prayer but offered him one of twelve emblems of his divinity (Jyotiralinga) which would be quite as effective and that he might take it away on the condition that the transfer should be effected without breaking the journey. Moreover if the linga was placed elsewhere on earth during the journey, it would remain fixed on that spot forever.

The other gods felt unhappy at the Jyotiralinga being tansported to Lanka which would render them powerless in their fight with Ravana. Accordingly they planned to outwit Ravana. Varuna, the god of water entered the belly of Ravana, urging him to relieve himself. Ravana was left with no alternative but to descend and befriend and old Brahamin (who was Vishnu in disguise) begging him to hold the lingam for a while. On return Ravana found the lingam lying on the ground and the Brahamin was nowhere to be seen. He was in a great rage but equally helpless as he tried hard to reove the linga from the spot but be only succeeded in breaking a piece of the top of it. This place where the jyotiralinga was destined to last for ever is Deoghar, also popular as Baijnath Dham.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Shrawan Mela | Shrawani Mela | Shrawan Mela in 2008 : 19 July to 16 August

Shrawan Mela in 2008 : 19 July to 16 August

The importance of Babadham increases during the month of Shrawan. During this period, lakhs of devotees throng the Baba Baidyanath temple. Most of them first visit Sultanganj, which is 105 km from Babadham.

In Sultanganj, the Ganges flows to the North. It is from this place that the devotees collect water in their kanwars and carry the holy Ganges water, with the kanwars on their shoulders. They walk 109 km up to Baba Baidyanath temple at Babadham reciting Bol Bam on the way.

On reaching Babadham, the kanwarias first take a dip in the Shivaganga to purify themselves, and then enter the Baba Baidyanath temple, where the Ganges water is offered to the Jyotirlingam. This pilgrimage continues during the whole of Shravan for 30 days, during July-August. This is the longest religious fair in the world.

People from foreign lands also visit Babadham not only during Shrawan month but also during the rest of the year. The sight on the way from Sultanganj to Babadham is of a 109 km long human chain of saffron clad pilgrims. It is estimated that within this period of one month around 50 to 55 lakhs pilgrims visit Babadham. Besides the great pilgrimage of Shrawan, almost the whole year remains under fair with Shivaratri in March, Basant Panchami in January, Bhadra Purnima in September.

source :

Why the kanwarias offer ganges water in the Shravana month?

The legend says that when the churning of oceans - Samudra Manthan - took place in the month of Shravan, fourteen different types of rubies came out. Thirteen of these were distributed amongst the deamons, except Halahal (poison). Lord Shiva drank the Halahal and stored it in his throat. Hence the name Neelkantha (meaning blue throat) is attributed to Shiva.

To reduce the strong effect of poison, Lord Shiva wore the crescent moon on his head. All the Gods, thereafter started offering the Ganges water to Lord Shiva to make lessen the effect of poison.Since, this happened in the month of Shravan, since then the Shiva devotees offer the Ganges water in this month.

Source :

Importance of Bol - Bam

The word Bam is a short name for Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The letters BA came from Brahma and Vishnu and M came from Mahesh.

It is a long efficacious mantra (a hymn). When it is chanted during the way, it generates energy and enthusiasm amongst the kanwarias and gives them the psychological strength to carry on walking and succeed in covering the long distance from Sultanganj to Babadham.

According to the Skand Purana, those who complete the holy journey by reciting Bam-Bam obtain the virtues of Ashwamedha Yajna.According to the Puranas, the daemon king Ravana had brought the Ganges water from Haridwar and offered to Lord Shiva.

Source :

Guidlines for the Kanwarias

Essential articles:

1. A kanwar
2. Two water - pots
3. A towel
4. A bag
5. Required money
6. A piece of plastic cloth
7. Two pairs of saffron - coloured dresses
8. A torch and a few candles
9. A carpet and two sheets (Chadar)
10. A match box and a packet of Agarbatti (incense sticks)

Rules and Norms:

1. To maintain celibacy (Bramhacharya)
2. To remember Lord Shiva by keeping mind, heart and speech pure
3. To speak the truth
4. To be inspired by charity and service
5. To take bath before taking the kanwar
6. To recite Bam - Bam
7. Not to use oil and soap
8. Not to wear shoes
9. Not to take any article made of leather
10. To avoid dogs. (dogs should not be touched)

Source :

The route from Sultanganj to Babadham

Baba Ajgaibinath (Sultanganj) to Kamrai ------------6 km
Kamrai to Masumganj ------------------------------2 km
Masumganj to Asarganj -----------------------------5 km
Asarganj to Rangaon --------------------------------5 km
Rangaon to Tarapur --------------------------------3 km
Tarapur to Madhodih-------------------------------2 km
Madhodih to Rampur -------------------------------5 km
Rampur to Kumarsar -------------------------------8 km
Kumarsar to Vishwakarma Tola --------------------4 km
Vishwakarma Tola to Mahadev Nagar --------------3 km
Mahadev Nagar to Chandan Nagar -----------------3 km
Chandan Nagar to Jilebia More ---------------------8 km
Jilebia More to Tageshwar Nath --------------------5 km
Tageshwar Nath to Suiya ---------------------------3 km
Suiya to Shivalok -----------------------------------2 km
Shivalok to Abrakhia -------------------------------6 km
Abrakhia to Katoria --------------------------------8 km
Katoria to Lakshman Jhula -------------------------8 km
Lakshman Jhula to Inaravaran ---------------------8 km
Inaravaran to Bhulbhulaiya River ------------------3 km
Bhulbhulaiya River to Goryari Inn -----------------5 km
Goryari Inn to Patania Inn -------------------------5 km
Patania to Kalakatia Inn ---------------------------3 km
Kalakatia to Bhutbangla ---------------------------5 km
Bhutbangla to Darshaniya -------------------------1 km
Darshaniya to Baba Baidyanath Temple -----------1 km

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ajgaivinath Temple | Ajgaibinath Temple

Situated at Sultanganj in Bhagalpur District, Ajgaivinath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the deity of the temple is Swayambhu. The temple is constructed on a rock and has a series of excellent rock sculptures and inscriptions. The sculpture dates back to the Pala period. The splashing waters of the Ganga sanctify the area.

Sultanganj has a railway station on the loop-line of the Eastern
Railway running from Kolkata to Kiul. It is also served by road connecting Bhagalpur with Monghyr and Patna.

Ajgaivinath Temple in 1811- 1878

Jungeira Pagoda at Sultan Gunge" [on the Ganges, in Bihar], a steel engraving by E. H. Locker and W. Alexander, from 'A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World' by John Pinkerton (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme, 1811)

"Janghera on the Fakeer's Rock on the Ganges" (at Sultanganj), a steel engraving by C.Stanfield and J. Sands, 1850's

"Devinath, Sultangunge on the Ganges" (in Bihar), a wood engraving by Bickers & Son, London, 1878

For More Information

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Sultanganj Buddha in detail.

The Sultanganj Buddha is 2.3m high and 1m at its widest point and weighs about 500kgs. It was cast by the technique known as the 'lost wax' process, in which a solid core of clay is overlaid with wax. The sculptor models the fine details in the wax coating. The wax is covered with a liquid layering of clay and plaster which hardens to form a mould. When heat is applied the wax melts and molten metal is poured in. The finished statue is finally obtained by removing the outer casting when cool.

The Sultanganj Buddha is a splendid example of the renowned Gupta sculptural style which itself had been shaped by European and Persian influences that came to India through the trade routes with Rome and West Asia.

The Sultanganj Buddha conveys an image of calm and tranquillity and a spiritual detachment from the material world . The Buddha's sangathi (monastic robe) clings so closely to the body that it is almost invisible, but for a series of string-like folds, giving the figure a wet-looking appearance. The right hand is raised in abhayamudra (a gesture of reassurance or protection) while the left hand, with palm outward and held downwards indicates the granting of a favour.

"The Sultanganj Buddha is a great example," continued Martin. "It's a fantastic object. The first object to ever enter the museum's collections and many people would say it's the single most important object in Birmingham Museum."

"It tells us so much. It tells us this incredible history of ancient art and Buddhism, the story of the building of the Indian Railway system, and the impact of British colonialism. The fact that this amazing piece of sculpture was snatched away and brought to Birmingham, to a museum that wasn't even built at the time.

"It was considered it would be a great starting object for the people of Birmingham to have.

"It's been on show in Birmingham ever since it was acquired in 1864, and been on show in the museum ever since the museum opened in 1885, and so that gives it part of Birmingham's own history."

Some of the items chosen have great monetary value, others have little or none, but all are priceless in how they bring to life moments from history.

Friday, March 21, 2008

From Sultanganj To Deoghar

Baidyanath Dham is situated in the Santhal Pargana of Jharkhand. Kamana Linga of Lord Shiva is situated here. Every monsoon (in the month of Shravan) countless devotees undertake a rigorous 100 km pilgrimage on foot from Ajgaibinath (Sultanganj) to offer holy water to Baba Baidyanath. The pilgrimage is deemed complete with homage paid at Basukinath, almost 43 km from Deoghar.

The auspicious month-long Shravani Mela, as the pilgrimage is called, began Monday with worshippers walking all the way from Bihar's Sultanganj town, the only place where the Ganga flows northwards before turning east again.

Legend has it that Ravana was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He urged Shiva to travel with him to his kingdom Lanka so that it would be easy for him to pray to him. Ravana travelled all the way from Lanka to Kailash to bring the Lord,' explained Parmeshwar Panda, who belongs to the family of temple head priests.

The Royal University of Vikramsila

The royal university of Vikramsila, 38 km from Bhagalpur ranks next to Nalanda and owes its origin to Dharmapala (770-810 A.D.), the devout Pala king who loved to call himself Paramasaugata (chief worshipper of the Buddha)and was a great patron of Mahayana Buddhism.

Dharmapala was impressed by two things which prompted him to establish Vikramsila university. Firstly, the rocky hillock anchored around the confluence of Kosi and Ganga at Vateshwarasthan was not only a scenic attraction but a popular tantric site as evident from the presence of a Kali temple (instead of Parvati’s) in front of Shiva temple, besides various other caves and rock cut sculptures dating back to the 6\7th century A.D. Secondly, the place was associated with pilgrimage due to Uttarbahini which drew large crowds during Varsavardhana.

Unlike Nalanda, sources of information on Vikramsila is confined to Tibetan texts and they make us believe that Dharmapala in his earlier birth was an accomplished acharya, Kampilya, who had attained siddhi or perfection in Mahayana mudra mysticism here and was determined to build a monastery one day. For More Info

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vikramshila University

Remains of the ancient Vikramshila University have been excavated at village Antichak in the Bhagalpur district.

Excavation at this site were done in 1960-61 and have disclosed different periods of habitation. The natural structures exposed and the anfiquites discovered reiterate that the site was probably the remains of a large monestery. A number Buddha images of stone and terracottas have been discovered. Some inscribed seals and stupas have also been found.

King Dharampala who founded the University had generously endowed it with his minificent grants. The University building made provisions for the maintenance of 108 residential Professors and also for a number of non-residential Professors, pilgrims and other members of the staff. A big Vihara (monastery) was constructed in the university quarters and it was profected by strong wells. In the centre there was a big Buddhist temple, surrounded by 108 smaller temples

The affairs of the University were entrusted by king Dharampala to one very eminent and learned scholar who was also highly religious. The controlling authority which administrate the affairs of the Vikramshila University also looked after the Nalanda University.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sultanganj is a place of hoary antiquity

Sultanganj is a place of hoary antiquity. It is traditionally associated with the sage Jahnu, whose ashram was a centre of learning and culture. Jahnu Muni's ashram was located on the rock jutting out of the bed of the Ganga River. Now the site has the Shiva temple of Ajgaivinath, also known as Gaibinath Mahadeo. The story is that the river Ganga on her way to the ocean interrupted the Muni in hismeditation by the rush of her currents. The sage swallowed the river in a gulp. Bhagiratha intervened and the Muni again let her out by making an incision in his thigh. That is why the river Ganga is also called Jahnavi.
Traditionally Sultanganj formed a part of the great Anga, State. In the days of the Mahabharata, Karna, the sixth brother of the five Pandavas, ruled in Anga. The capital of Anga was Champa. Champa is the present Champanagar situated three miles to the west of Bhagalpur. King Karna had his castles at Champa (modern Champanagar) and Jahnugiri (modern Sultanganj). At present Champanagar, the- site of Karna''s castle, is well known as Karnagarh. Karnagarh is practically a part of Bhagalpur town now.

The 1500 year old Sultanganj Buddha

The 1500 year old Sultanganj Buddha was one of the first items acquired by BM&AG and has been on continuous display in the city for over 140 years. The Buddha was discovered during the building of the East Indian Railway, a project that involved the export of over two million tons of rails, sleepers and carriages made in England. The Buddha was brought to Birmingham at a time when the city, as a centre of world metallurgy, was forming a museum for the inspiration of its craftsmen. At over two metres tall and weighing over 500kg, the statue is probably the most important work of Indian art in the country and its complicated history speaks of the complicated processes by which England has been bonded to parts of the world, such as the Indian subcontinent. This bond continues through the many people of South Asian origin who, following in the footsteps of the Buddha, have made Birmingham their home.

HIGHLIGHTS - India's 2008/09 annual budget

Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram presented the union budget for 2008/09 on Friday, the fifth and final full one of the administration before elections due by May 2009.

Here are the major highlights:

  • Senior citizens threshold tax limit increased from Rs 1,95,000 to Rs 2,25,000
  • Tax exemption for women increased to Rs 1.8 lakh
  • New tax slabs: 10 per cent for 1,50,000 to 3,00,000, 20 per cent for 3,00,000 to 5,00,000 and 30 per cent above 5,00,000
  • Excise on packaged softwares to be lower from 8% to 12%
- No excise duty on refrigerating equipments
- Anti-Aids drug exempted from excise duty
- Small cars to become cheaper
- Reduced excise duty on two, three wheelers
- Excise duty on hybrid cars cut from 24 pct to 14 pct
- Excise on small cars cut to 12 pct from 16 pct
- Rs 50 cr for tiger conservation
- Sixth Pay Commission report by March 2008
- Defence allocation up by 10% from Rs 96,000 cr to Rs 1,56,000 cr
- 22 Sainik schools get Rs 44 crore
- Rs 624 cr for Commonwealth Games
- PAN sole identification in securities market
- Debt waiver scheme and relief to small and marginal farmers
- Duty reduced on life saving drugs
- Rs 750 crore for upgradation of 300 ITIs in 25 districts.
- No change in peak customs duty
- Central sales tax cut from 3% to 2%
- Govt withdraws banking transaction tax
- Revenue implication of Indirect taxation to be 5900 cr
- Direct taxation changes to be revenue neutral
- Levy on STT only on option premiums
- Commodities transaction tax introduced like STT
- Short term capital gains to be taxed at 15%
- No change in surcharge of corporate tax
- Money changers and people running gains of chance and tour operators to be brought under service tax net
- Revenue Deficit is Rs 55,184 cr at 1% of GDP and fiscal deficit is Rs 1,33,287 cr at 3.1% of GDP
- Estimated planned expenditure at Rs 2,43,086 cr and non-panned expenditure Rs 57,409 cr
- Central Plans Scheme monitoring system under Plan Panel to be unveiled
- Non-agri peak rates for customs raises to 10% from 2% in 2004
- Tax to GDP ratio at 9.2% in 2004 up by 12.5% in 2007-08
- Custom duty on steel scrapped
- Set-top boxes to become cheaper
- Custom duty on vitamin pre-mixes to lower from 30% to 20%
- Agri loans disbursed by rural banks, RRBs and Cooperative banks before March 2007 and overdue on Dec 2007 waived
- Overdue agri loans amount to Rs 50,000 cr under the waiver and Rs 10,000 cr under the one time settlement
- Implementation of waiver to be completed by June 2008
- Farmers eligible for fresh agri loans post the waiver or one time settlement
- Haryana and Chandigarh to introduce smart card based delivery system under PDS
- National Agri Insurance scheme get Rs 640 cr
- National Highway development program gets Rs 12966 cr
- Rs 8000 cr plan for faster power reforms
- National housing bank gets Rs 1,200 cr for refinancing
- Govt asks commercial banks to add 250 rural household accounts every year in rural and semi-urban banks
- States urged to open bidding for 5 more ultra mega power projects
- All 30 integrated textile parks approved
- Rs 340 cr insurance scheme to cover 17 lakh farmers and weavers
- SITP gets Rs 450 crore
- Rs 275 cr earmarked for state data centres
- NHDP allocation up from Rs 10,866 cr to Rs 12,966 cr
- Move towards nutrient-based fertiliser subsidy stressed
- National fund for transmission and distribution reforms for power sector
- FDI in Apr-Dec at $12.7 billion, FII inflow over $18 billion
- PNB says banks to be reimbursed accordingly
- Tea Research association gets Rs 20 cr
- 500 soil testing labs to be set up in the 11th plan, govt to give 1 time budgetary assistance of Rs 75 cr to agri ministry for setting up mobile soil testing facilities
- National Horticulure Mission to get Rs 1,100 cr
- Govt sets up irrigation and water resource finance corp with an initial corpus of Rs 100 cr
- Schedule Commercial Banks farm credit 75%
- Micro irrigation scheme gets Rs 500 cr to cover 4,00,000 additional hectares
- Rs 12050 cr for strengthening rural health services
- 24 pct allocation hike for women, child development
- Inflation will be kept under check
- Jawaharlal Navoday Vidyalaya to be set in 20 new districts for SC/STs
- Healthcare allocation to be raised by 15%
- Bhopal and Tripura to get one IIScR each and 2 colleges of art
- 3 IITs to be set up in Bihar, AP, Rajasthan
- 288 public sector bank branches to be opened in areas with concentration of minorities
- Irrigation outlay increased
- National Minority Development and Finance Corp to get Rs 75 cr
- Special attention, more funds for North East
- 54 gender budgeting cells set up
- Agriculture share in total investment up from 10.2% in 2003-04 to 16% during the 11th Plan
- Agri credit target to be Rs 2,80,000 cr for 2008-09
- LIC to cover all woman SHGs linked to the bank
- Mobilisation of additional resources of Rs 10,000 cr as planned capital expenditure under Plan-B
- Allocation for ministry of minorities doubled to Rs 1,000 cr
- Schemes for woman to get Rs 1,460 cr this fiscal
- Child related schemes to get Rs 33,434 cr
- 54 departments to be set up gender budgeting divisions
- Rajiv Gandhi drinking water mission to get Rs 7,300 cr
- Rs 3,966 cr for SC/STs schemes
- Allocation of Rs 75 cr for 2008-09 for the Rajiv Gandhi felicitation programme
- Sanitation to get Rs1,200 cr
- Rs 200 cr for providing portable water system in each school in areas of water scarce regions
- IT industry gets Rs 100 cr for connecting knowledge institutions
- NREGS to be extended to 596 rural distt with an outlay of Rs 16,000cr
- The remuneration Angan Bari workers has been increased from Rs 1000 cr-1500 cr per month
- Women entitled to equal share and equal say
- Science scholarships for young learners
- 16 Central universities to be set up
- 6000 model high schools to be started
- Science scholarships for young learners
- Inflation will be kept under check
- More allocation for polio and AIDS
- Health covers of Rs 30000 for workers in unorganised sectors
- Education sector gets a boost
- Agri credit doubled in first two years
- Bharat Nirman allocation to go up to Rs 31,280 cr from Rs 24,603 cr
- Gross Budgetary support to be Rs 24,3386 cr about Rs 38,286 cr more than 2007-08
- Agriculture credit to touch 2,40,000 cr in 2008
- Focus on achievement of self-sufficiency in food grain
- Soyabean output to be 9.45 mn tonnes
- Maize production to be 16.78 mn tonnes
- Rice production to be 94.08 mn tonnes
- Total agri production to be 219.32 mn tonnes at all time high
- Agriculture disappointing at average annual growth of 2.6%
- Keeping inflation under check to be on focus
- Focus on management of supply side of food, market, capital inflows next year
- India has registered a growth of over 8%$ for 12 successive quarters till Dec 2007