On previous Budget promises, Centre’s glass is half empty, half full

Seven months since it presented the Union Budget 2014-15, the Centre has fulfilled a number of announcements…

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Ahead of the Union Budget on Saturday, FM Arun Jaitley tables Economic Survey 2015 report; economic growth in India seen at 8.5 pct in 2015-16 – indicating scope for big bang reforms. PTI

Seven months since it presented the Union Budget 2014-15, the Centre has fulfilled a number of announcements made back then, but several proposals such as smart cities, Skill India and a special institution to support public private partnerships remain on the drawing board.

Many announcements from the Budget presented on July 10 have been implemented such as Swachh Bharat, financial inclusion and an expenditure management commission. Senior officials assert efforts are on to complete many of these projects and formal announcements would be made over the next few months, if not during the current fiscal.

For instance, the Centre had announced the setting up of a Rs 10,000 crore fund to act as a catalyst to attract private capital to boost of entrepreneurship and start up companies.

While the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship is expected to work on boosting entrepreneurs, sources said the department of financial services is yet to set up the corpus. “The corpus is to be set up with unclaimed deposits lying in the banks. The financial services department has to work out the modalities for this,” said two officials familiar with the development.

Meanwhile, plans for Skill India through a national multi-skills mission is still being firmed up. Similarly, a plan to set up a special agency call 3P with a Rs 500 crore corpus to support mainstreaming of PPPs is also in the stage of discussions with. Earlier, the finance ministry had earlier also circulated a not for the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs but it was returned for some changes. Another key announcement was a plan to set up 100 smart cities “as satellite towns of larger cities and by modernising the existing mid-sized cities”.

Though some smart city projects such as Gujarat International Finance Tech city, Dholera Special Investment Region have taken off, the government is still working on a blueprint on such cities.

A few smaller announcements too are yet to be fully implemented. An announcement for uniform KYC norms and inter-usability of the KYC records across the entire financial sector has been partly implemented although discussions are still on amongst financial sector regulators.

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