The government on Monday sought Parliament’s nod for gross additional spending of Rs 66,113 crore in 2017-18 including Rs 10 lakh for setting up a special purpose vehicle, as part of the Air India disinvestment plan. Given the savings by ministries and enhanced receipts, the Centre’s net cash outgo would be only Rs 33,380 crore. However, the additional expenditure might not necessarily lead to extra borrowings by the Centre this fiscal year as it is likely to reallocate resources from under-spending departments to performing ones in the revised estimate to be presented along with Budget for 2018-19. The additional spending for which Parliament’s approval has now been sought would be panned out across roads & highways, fertiliser subsidy and job guarantee scheme.
Major spending heads include Rs 15,908 crore towards roads and highways sector, Rs 20,532 crore to clear liabilities towards urea freight subsidy and writing off the loan and waiver of interest in respect of three fertiliser PSUs. Another Rs 8,394 crore was for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme while Rs 5,198 crore extra were provided for immunisation programme.
As much as Rs 5,905 crore was provided to meet 7th Pay panel induced salary increase. Farm sector was granted Rs 3,745 crore more while railways got Rs 2,382 crore for capital expenditure. To fast-track the privatisation of state-run Air India (AI), the government is likely to first divide the enterprise into two: AI and Air India Express (AIE) combine and a special purpose vehicle (SPV).