Budget 2016: In a Budget aimed almost exclusively at bettering the lot of the underprivileged, the government on Monday left the subsidy bill at a hefty Rs 2.2 lakh crore — across food, fuel and fertilisers. Moreover, the large outlay for programmes in rural India, is aimed at creating jobs in the hinterland.
In specific initiatives targetted at poorer sections of society, the government has set aside a sum of Rs 2,000 crore for a programme to provide LPG connections in the names of women of poor households. The scheme, which will benefit nearly 1.5 crore households below the poverty line in 2016-17, will improve the health of women. The scheme will be continued for at least two more years to cover a total of five crore BPL households and will provide jobs to rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.
The government also hopes to double farmers’ incomes in five years. “This Budget deals with the reality of India there is a distress as far as the agrarian sector is concerned so we need to address the rural sector. We also need to ensure social sector commitments,” the finance minister, Arun Jaitley, said at a media interaction.
The allocation for the MGNREGA programme has been pegged at Rs 38,500 — at least five lakh farm ponds and dug wells in rain fed areas and 10 lakh compost pits for production of organic manure will be taken up by making productive use of the allocations under MGNREGA.
The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana will see a substantially increased allocation at Rs 19,000 crore in 2016-17. Together with states’ share, about Rs 27,000 crore will be spent on this Yojana in 2016-17. Around 65,000 eligible habitations will be connected by constructing 2.23 lakh kms of roads. As such, the pace of road construction currently 100 kms per day, will be substantially stepped up.
One of the three major schemes to help the weaker sections is the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana — the farmer will pay a nominal premium and receive highest ever compensation. The second is a health insurance scheme to protect people against hospitalisation expenses. The scheme will provide health cover up to Rs 1 lakh per family while for senior citizens, an additional amount of Rs 30,000 will be provided.
The government will make available quality medicines at affordable prices by reinvigorating the supply of generic drugs. Around 3,000 stores under Prime Minister’s Jan Aushadhi Yojana will be opened, Jaitley said in his speech.
The National Dialysis Services Programme will also be launched and resources will be made available via the PPP mode under the National Health Mission, to provide dialysis services in all district hospitals.
The government also plans to electrify the 18,542 villages that are not electrified in the next 1,000 days.
The allocation towards education, under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, continues to be meaningful. Further, 62 new Navodaya Vidyalayas will be opened in the remaining uncovered districts over the next two years.
Having a field day
Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, farmers will pay a nominal premium and receive highest ever compensation
Health insurance scheme will provide health cover up to Rs 1 lakh per family while for senior citizens, an additional amount of Rs 30,000 will be provided
Quality medicines will be available at affordable prices