Taking forward its strategy to counter the global meltdown through enhanced spending,the Union Budget for 2009-10 is all set to provide an additional Rs 40,000 crore to the gross budgetary support (GBS). Added to the funds allocated in the interim Budget, this would take the GBS to Rs 3,25,000 crore. The same for 2008-09 was Rs 2,43,386 crore.
Social infastructure is likely to get the major focus in Budget 2009-10,with the sector expected to receive a chunk of the additional allocations. Giving impetus to the UPA governments commitment to promote economic activity in rural areas,finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to enhance funding for the rural sector.
An additional allocation of Rs 10,000 crore is likely to be set aside to meet the growing demand of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Sources indicate that expansion of the programme as well as enhancement of wages under NREGS has been kept in abeyance as the sheme has been accounting for around 12 per cent of national spending. From around Rs 16,000 crore in 2008-09,the programme will now be getting Rs 40,000 crore for this year, a source said.
The National Rural Health Mission a key programme aimed at social welfare and much publicised during the UPAs last tenure will also get an additional Rs 1,000 crore so as to provide better health services to the rural India. The programme was already allocated Rs 12,070 crore in the interim Budget.
Another of the UPAs flagship programmes,the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM),will get an additional Rs 1,200 crore against Rs 11,842 crore allocated in the interim budget. A chunk of this money would go for providing housing for the urban poor, sources said.
In a bid to win the confidence of the rural voter,the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Viduytikaran Yojana (RGGVY) will get an additional Rs 1,500 crore in this Budget. The programme had already been allotted Rs 6,000 crore in the interim Budget. Under the RGGVY,house-to-house electrification would be ensured which would in turn boost rural economy. So far only electric poles had been set up, sources said.
The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY),which focusses on rural India as well,is likely to be allocated Rs 1,100 crore. The PMSSY envisages the setting up of six new AIIMS-like institutions and the upgradation of 13 existing government medical colleges. A provision of Rs 647.92 crore had been earmarked for the scheme in the interim Budget.
Interestingly,with Arjun Singh no longer in the HRD ministry,flagship programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and mid-day meal scheme may not receive any funding in this budget. The government,however,may consider allocating nearly Rs 8,000 for setting up eight new IITs.
The rural sanitation campaign is also unlikely to be allocated any funds. The programme received Rs 1,200 crore in the interim Budget. The remaining money is likely to go to other sectors that had increased allocations in the interim Budget.