Budget 2019: Let us look at where the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has been spending the exchequer’s money.
Budget 2019: With the budget 2019 just around the corner, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has a very little time to piece together an all appealing budget. Arun Jaitley will present an interim budget on February 1. Let us look at where the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has been spending the exchequer’s money.
This government has focussed more on higher education in the country and has set aside a budget to construct new IIMs, IITs, IISERs and AIIMS. A Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) has been introduced to develop world-class infrastructure in institutes.
To impart skills, schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana receive government backing. “Eklavya Schools” have been introduced to make quality education available to ST (scheduled tribes) and tribals at an affordable cost. Funding has been done to improve and assess the learning outcomes in children. This country’s largest ever, National Achievement Survey, was conducted to assess the quality of education in schools.
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Indian farmers are burdened with severe financial debts as they fail to receive institutional credit. In last year’s budget, pegged as being pro-farmers, the agricultural credit was raised to Rs 11 lakh crore this fiscal from the previous Rs 10 lakh crore. The overall allocation to the agriculture sector was increased from Rs 51,576 crore to Rs 58,080 crore in the 2018-2019 financial year.
Crop loss and dependence on erratic monsoons for irrigation ails Indian agriculture. Hence, funds are allocated for schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. The government has also established a micro-irrigation fund in NABARD to achieve “per drop more crop”.
Out-of-pocket expenditure is undesirably prominent in the healthcare sector. To curb this menace, the government announced the flagship programme Ayushman Bharat–one of the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme. It was allocated 1,200 crore, providing a cover of upto 5 lakh to the insured families. National Health Mission, of which The Ayushman Bharat Programme is a part, received the highest allocation and constituted 55% of the total allocations of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The ministry received an allocation of 54,600 crore, which is a 2% increase from the last financial year. Yet, overall the Ministry ended up receiving funds less than what it did the previous fiscal year.
Under the Modi government, there has been considerable fund allotment to the Ministry of Women and Child Development. This year, the ministry was awarded Rs 2,605 crore more than the previous year that amounted to a total of 12% increase. Major focus areas for spending are women safety, empowerment, education, equality and upliftment.
Nirbhaya Fund receives a government grant of Rs 500 crore in every budget. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao -the government’s flagship scheme- has consistently been receiving high allocations. Budget 2018 allowed 280 crore to this scheme. Others like Udaan and Pragati are aimed at addressing the education of girl child from financially weaker backgrounds. Maternity benefit and mortality is another area of government expenditure. Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) was allocated 2,700 cr in last year’s budget.
Modi government has always considered infrastructure as a prime driver of the Indian economy and central to the Indian growth story. The expenditure is focussed on the development of a multi-modal transportation system in both urban and rural parts of the country. UDAN scheme was launched to make air travel accessible to the common man. Similarly, Bharatmala- the biggest highway construction plan and Sagarmala- a port modernization scheme has been getting impetus from the government. Budget 2018 saw the largest ever allocation of 1.48 lakh crore to the Indian Railways.
Government chiefly lends out credit for affordable housing schemes especially for economically weaker sections (EWS) and the Lower Income groups (LIG). Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- affordable housing scheme got an allocation of 64,500 crore in budget 2018, which aims at building 2 crore houses by 2022.
Money is allocated by the government in order to uplift and empower the vulnerable sections of the society that includes disabled, minorities, SC and ST, OBCs and even Senior Citizens. Government funds Accessible India Campaign-to enable the development of disabled-friendly infrastructure. Schemes like Saksham- a scholarship programme to help the differently abled pursue technical education, receive funds. For the senior citizens, the government offers tax savings and health protection schemes. Pension schemes like Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana receive fund allocations from the government. A clean energy scheme like Pradhan Mantri Ujjwalla Yojana and last mile electrification scheme like Saubhagya Yojana receive a considerable government grant.
- By: Sania Ashraf