From poverty free Panchayats to 100 per cent electrification of villages by May 2019 and majorly hiking the MNREGA fund, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday focused on rural India. In his Budget speech, Jaitley said that 100 per cent electrification of villages will be achieved by May 1, 2019. The government has allocated Rs 4,843 crore for electrification in financial year 2017-18.
The Finance Minister also announced 24 per cent hike for Rural Agricultural and allied sectors as compared to last year, allocating Rs 1,87,223 crore for financial year 2017-18. Announcing to build one crore houses in rural areas in the next one year, Jaitley allocated Rs 23,000 crore for 2017-18 against Rs 15,000 crore allocated last year.
Stating that over one crore households live under poverty, the government aims to make 50,000 Gram Panchayats “poverty free” in next year, he announced.
Stating that 133 km of new rural-roads were paved every day in 2016-17 against 73 km per day during 2011-14, Jaitley dedicated Rs 27,000 crore for rural roads for financial year 2017-18 against Rs 19,000 crore last year.
“100 per cent targets for roads were achieved in the Left wing extremist areas during the last financial year,” Jaitley said in Parliament.
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Speaking of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Jaitley informed that participation of women in the scheme has increased from 45 per cent to 55 per cent. The Finance Minister announced that budget for MNREGA has been increased to Rs 48,000 crore for 2017-18 from Rs 36,500 crore in 2016-17.
Jaitley also announced that for better monitoring, geo-tagging of all MGNREGA assets is being done and space technology will be used for better transparency. He informed that five lakh farm ponds and 10 lakh pits were fully achieved in 2016-17 and about 10 lakh farm ponds will be completed by March 2017 under MGNREGA.