The government today proposed an increase in the Plan expenditure or spending on social sector schemes to Rs 5,75,000 crore for the current fiscal, a 26.9 per cent higher over the actual spent in the previous fiscal.
The Plan expenditure is the government spending on social sector schemes such as Bharat Nirman, rural employment guarantee scheme and National Rural Health Mission. Besides, it includes Centre's assistance to various states and Union Territories Plans.
"In 2013-14, plan funds to the tune of Rs 4,53,085 crore could be utilised. Plan allocation of Rs 5,75,000 crore in the main Budget 2014-15 marks an increase of 26.9 per cent over actual (spending) for 2013-14," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech in the Lok Sabha.
The previous government had cut the total Plan spending to Rs 4,75,532 crore (revised estimates) for 2013-14 compared to the budget estimates of the Rs 5,55,532 crore, for keeping a tab on the fiscal deficit. This was second year in a row when the UPA government cut Plan spending substantially to keep fiscal deficit under control.
He said, "While preparing estimates of plan expenditure, attention was paid to the absorptive capacity of the department and on achieving greater outcome with the same financial outlay."
According to the Minister, the plan spending has been targeted towards agriculture, capacity creation in health and education, rural roads and national highways infrastructure, railways network expansion, clean energy initiatives, development of water resources and river conservation plans.
The Minister also said that thorough convergence of programmes or social sector schemes, greater impact from the money spent will be achieved.
The budget estimate for non-Plan expenditure for this fiscal is Rs 12,19,892 crore compared to revised estimates of Rs 11,14,902 crore for 2013-14. Last year, the government had made provision of Rs 11,09,975 crore for non-Plan expenditure for 2013-14 in the budget.
The non-Plan expenditure which is recurring in nature includes salaries, payment of interest, defence spending etc.
"While preparing Non-Plan estimates, due care has been taken to fully provide for all the essential activities. Additional amounts have been provided for fertiliser subsidy and capital expenditure of Armed Forces," Jaitley said.
The total budgeted expenditure estimates including Plan and Non-Plan stand at Rs 17,94,892 crore which are higher than revised estimates for 2013-14 at Rs 15,90,434 crore. Last year, the government made a provision of Rs 16,65,297 crore for total expenditure in the