The government today cut Rs 79,790 crore from the budgeted Plan expenditure of Rs 5,55,532 crore for the current financial year against the backdrop of a burgeoning fiscal deficit.
The Interim Budget 2014-15, presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in Parliament, projected revised estimates of the Plan expenditure at Rs 4,75,532 crore for 2013-14.
For the next financial year starting April 1, the government has kept the the Budget Estimates of Plan expenditure unchanged at Rs 5,55,322 crore.
“In order to sustain the pace of Plan expenditure, I have decided to keep Plan expenditure in 2014-15 at the same level at which it was budgeted in 2013-14. I have provided Rs 5,55,322 crore for Plan expenditure,” Chidambaram said.
Last year also, the Finance Minister had cut the Plan expenditure to Rs 4,29,187 crore in the revised estimates of the budget from budgeted Rs 5,21,025 crore for 2012-13.
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However, the actual Plan expenditure for 2012-13 is even lower than revised estimates, at Rs 4,13,625. Thus, the actual cut in the Plan expenditure for the previous fiscal was Rs 1,07,400 crore.
The Plan expenditure is the government spending on social sector schemes such as Bharat Nirman, rural employment guarantee scheme and National Rural Health Mission. Besides, it includes Centre’s assistance to various states and Union Territories Plans.
Chidambaram has pegged the fiscal deficit for the current fiscal at 4.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and at 4.1 per cent for 2014-15. The government had targeted to keep it at 4.8 per cent for 2013-14 in the last year’s Budget.
“I am confident that there will be no cause for complaint. If there are any shortcomings, they can be addressed when the regular budget is presented. There is enough flexibility in the expenditure budget to make necessary changes in the allocations within the overall resource envelope,” Chidambaram said in the Budget speech.