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Pranab Hikes Social Sector Expenditure

New Delhi, Feb 28: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today  announced a number of measures to strengthen the agricultural sector particularly in the areas of pulses, vegetables and oil palm .He announced Rs. 300 crore expenditure
PTI February 28, 2011 15:09 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Feb 28: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today  announced a number of measures to strengthen the agricultural sector particularly in the areas of pulses, vegetables and oil palm .He announced Rs. 300 crore expenditure to promote 60,000 pulses villages in rain fed areas for increasing crop productivity and strengthening market linkages. 

He also proposed to spend Rs. 300 crore to promote oil palm plantation in 60,000 hectares and Rs. 300 crore for the initiative on vegetable cluster. 

 Rs. 400 crore is proposed to be spent to improve  rice based cropping system in the Eastern Region.  Capital investment in fertilizer production is proposed to be included as an infrastructure sub-sector since investment in the sector is capital intensive.The allocation for social sector has been increased by 17% to Rs. 1,60,887 crore which amounts to 36.4% of the total plan allocation. 

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Bharat Nirman, which includes Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), accelerated irrigation benefit programme, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana, National Rural Drinking Water Programme and Rural Telephony have together been allocated Rs. 58,000 crore. 

Remuneration for Anganwadi workers have been increased to Rs. 3000 per month from Rs. 1500 per month while the Anganwadi helpers will get Rs. 1500 per month.  This will be effective from 1st April 2011 benefiting about 22 lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers. 

On the tax front, Mukherjee said, for  sustaining growth, tax reform will continue with the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) to be operationalised from April, 2012 while a Constitution Amendment Bill is proposed to be introduced during the current session of Parliament as a step towards roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). 

He said the introduction of DTC and GST will result in moderation of rates, simplification of laws and better compliance. 

The Finance Minister reiterated the Government's resolve to move towards direct transfer of cash subsidy to people living below poverty line in a phased manner.  He said that the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) has improved the availability of fertilizers and the Government is actively considering extension of NBS regime to cover urea.            

The allocation on education has been increased by 24% to Rs. 52,057 crore.  Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan gets Rs. 21,000 crore which is 40% higher than the previous year's allocation of Rs. 15,000 crore. 

The Finance Minister also proposed to introduce a scholarship scheme for needy students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes studying in classes IX and X.  It would benefit about 40 lakh students.  Plan allocation for Health has also been increased by 20 per cent to Rs. 26,760 crores.  The Rashtriya Swasthaya Bima Yojana will be extended to the unorganized sector workers in hazardous mining and associated industries.  

Underlining the need to strengthen Public Sector Banks (PSBs) the Finance Minister proposed to provide Rs. 6000 crore to maintain tier 1 capital to risk weighted  asset ratio.  He also proposed to infuse Rs. 500 crore into Regional Rural Banks (RRB) . 

A Women's Self Help Groups Development Fund with a corpus of Rs. 500  crore is proposed to be created.  He also proposed to create a micro finance equity fund of Rs. 100 crore with Small Industrial Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for providing equity to smaller micro finance institutions. Rs. 3000 crore will be provided to NABARD to help handloom weaver cooperative societies to become financially viable.  

Interest subvention of 1 per cent on housing loans will now be available for loans upto Rs. 15 lakh where the cost of house does not exceed Rs. 25 lakh.  The present limit for the loan amount is Rs. 10 lakh while the cost of the house should not exceed Rs. 20 lakh.  

The total plan expenditure has been increased by 18.3 per cent to Rs. 4,41,547 crore and the non-plan expenditure increases by 10.9 per cent to Rs. 8,16,182 crore. 

The gross tax receipts are estimated to grow by 24.9 per cent to Rs. 9,32,440.  Rs. 2,01,733 crore will be transferred to the Sates and UTs as plan and non plan transfers.  This also marks a rise of 23 per cent over budget estimates of last year. The fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs. 4,12,817 crore which works out to 4.6 per cent of the GDP. 

Please click on this link to read the entire Finance Bill, 2011:
http://www.indiabudget.nic.in/bill