PC’s poll budget seeks to please all, with prudence

Rural Ministry gets Rs 82,202 crore

Rural development ministry, which implements the government’s flagship programmes, including rural job guarantee programme, PMGSY and livelihood mission, was on Monday allocated Rs 82,202 crore in the Interim Budget, an increase of over Rs 2,000 crore from the last fiscal.
The Ministry was allocated Rs 80,194 crore in 2013-14 fiscal.

In the last fiscal, there was a massive cut in budgetary allocations for the Ministry, which had forced rural development minister Jairam Ramesh to shot off a letter to Chidambaram, expressing displeasure over the decision.

The Finance Ministry had proposed Rs 15,000 crore funds cut in rural development schemes in the revised budget estimates (RE).

Presenting the Interim Budget, finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday said all ministries/departments that run key flagship programmes of the UPA government have been provided adequate funds.

He said that he has provided an amount equal to or higher than in the Budget Estimate of 2013-14 and irrespective of the revised estimates for the year.

The nearly Rs 2000 crore more allocation is expected to give a boost to implement the Ministry’s ambitious programmes like MNREGA, National Rural Livelihood Mission and skill development programmes in Jammu and Kashmir and tribal areas.

Windfall for I&B ministry

New Delhi:
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry was allocated Rs 3,216 crore for the year 2014-15 in the union budget which includes Rs 2331 as grants in aid for public broadcaster Prasar Bharati. Prasar Bharati has been allotted another Rs 200 crore in the budget under the head Investment in Public Enterprises. The funds allotted in the budget for 2014-15 are over 12 percent increase from the amount given in the revised budget for the year 2013-14 which was Rs 2855.03 crore.

Amid modernisation drive, defence ministry gets Rs 2,24,000 crore

Amid its modernisation drive, the defence ministry was on Monday allocated Rs 2,24,000 crore in the interim budget, marking a 10 per cent increase over the last budget.

The allocation for the ministry in the last financial year (2013-14) was Rs 2,03,672 crore, of which around Rs 80,000 crore was to be spent on modernisation.

The allocation was announced in the vote-on-account presented by finance minister P Chidambaram.

Last time, the hike in allocation was 14 per cent compared to the previous year. The ministry had spent 82 per cent of that amount till the start of this month.

The hike in allocation comes at a time when the ministry has a number of procurements in the pipeline while some are in their final stages and expected to materialise in the coming months.
These include the deal for 126 multi-role combat aircraft which is expected to cost thousands of crores of rupees.

Other acquisitions in the pipeline include deals for 22 Apache combat choppers, 15 Chinook heavylift helicopters and the 126 Rafale combat aircraft.

Defence ministry is also in advance stage of negotiations for a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme with Russia, on which it is expected to spend around Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the next 10-15 years.

It is also in the process of issuing the tender for the approximately Rs 60,000 crore deal for procuring six large conventional diesel electric submarines for the Navy.

CBI gets 17% increase in budgetary allocation

New Delhi:
CBI has received Rs 520.56 crore in the interim budgetary allocation for the next fiscal, which is a modest increase of approximately 17% over 2013-14. In the Inerim Budget, the agency has been allocated Rs 520.56 crore as compared to Rs 443.97 crore in the last fiscal, marking an increase of 17.2 per cent. The amount has been allocated for establishment-related expenditure of the CBI which is entrusted with probe and prosecution of corruption cases against public servants, private persons, firms and other cases of serious crime.

Rs 26k cr bonanza to 9L families; FM gives sops on edu loans

New Delhi:
In a big relief to 9 lakh families ahead of elections, the government on Monday said it will waive interest component of education loan taken before March, 2009, a decision that will cost the exchequer Rs 2,600 crore.

‘Since interest concession is being given to borrowers (who have availed of loans) after 1 April, 2009, what we are saying is if there is any outstanding interest on the loan you took as on 31 December, 2013, I am willing to take over interest burden,’ finance minister P Chidambaram said in his post budget interaction with media.

‘We think, our calculation show Rs 2,600 crore is outstanding interest as on 31 December, 2013. We are wiping out that burden from shoulders of families, we are taking over the burden. This is huge relief to 9 lakh families,’ he said.

He, however, clarified that there is no change with regard to principal amount and interest rate as the contract remains the same.

At the end of December 2013, public sector banks had 25,70,254 student loan accounts and the amount outstanding was Rs 57,700 crore.

Earlier in the day in his Interim Budget proposals, Chidambaram said under the Central Scheme for Interest Subsidy (CSIS) with respect to education loans disbursed after April 1 2009, Government took over the burden of interest for the duration of the period of study and a little beyond. CSIS was announced in 2009-10.

‘However, I have noticed a sense of discrimination among students who had borrowed before 31 March, 2009, struggled to pay interest during the period of study, and continued to service the loans after wards. I think they deserve some relief,’ he said.
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