sulabh swatchh bharat

Tuesday, 23-April-2019

The Budget Promises Acche Din

The consolidated budget of 2017-18 tabled in the parliament has taken care of all the categories


The very first time the consolidated budget seems to be catering common man as well as rural India, farmers, poor and youth. Along with that, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his budget of 21.47 lakh crore for the financial year 2017-18 specially focused on infrastructure, financial sector, Digital India, and Public Service. While presenting the budget he discussed three main agendas named as TEC (Transform, Energy and Clean India) and said that the government will continue the financial reforms in order to strengthen the economic muscle of the country. It was the first time that the rail budget was also included in the union budget. This time the budget has not been classified into planned and not planned categories.  There is one more interesting thing about this budget is that this time the budget has been presented in the beginning of February that is about a month prior to its scheduled time.

Farmers Take Centrestage  
The union budget 2017-18 has historically set a target of rupees 10 lakh crore for agriculture loans.  A dedicated fund for micro-irrigation will be established with initial corpus of Rs 5,000 crore for achieving the goal of “More crop per drop.” With this a long-term irrigation fund will be established with a corpus of Rs 40,000 crore. A model law on contract farming would be prepared and it will be sent to the states so that they can follow the same. A dairy processing and infrastructure fund for dairy development will be established with Rupees 8,000 crore corpus in three years in NABARD.  

No Poorer Gram Panchayat
The government will work on Antyodya mission and will liberate a million households and 50,000 village panchayats from poverty line by 2019.  The year also marks 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The available resources will also be utilized more effectively to ensure the annual growth and permanent livelihood among the deprived families under central micro plan.  Rupees 187 223 crore and have been allocated for rural and allied sectors and 2,814 crore for Deen Dayal Gram Jyoti Yojana.

Record funds for MGNREGA
Rupees 48000 crores have been allocated for MGNREGA under the budget provision 2017-18 this year as compare to 2016-17 which was rupees 38,500 crores. By far this is the biggest amount allocated for MGNREGA funds in any budget.  

A Million Houses will be built
The budget proposes to complete the construction of a million houses by 2019 for homeless and those living in thatched houses. The estimated budget of last year 2016-17 rupees has been increased from 15,000 crore to 23,000 crore in the budget 2017-18 under the rural housing scheme Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana. The allocation for Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) and Credit Support plan has been increased to more than triple.

High speed internet in villages
Providing high speed internet to every village is the top priority in this budget. As per the provisions in the budget more than 150000 Gram Panchayats will be provided optical fiber based high speed internet facility by the end of the year 2017-18. Rupees 10000 crore budget has been proposed for Bharat Net Pariyojana (Bharat Net Project). 155,000 kilometers of optical fiber lines have been laid under this project. Another mission will be initiated named as DigiGaon.
Women empowerment centres
Many provisions have been made in this budget for women focusing on women empowerment. Mahila Shakti Kendras (women empowerment centres) will be established at 14 million ICDS Anganwadi centers in rural areas at a cost of Rs 500 crore. These centers will provide education for skills development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition, etc. for rural women. Reiterating the scheme announced by the Prime Minister meant for pregnant women on 31 December 2016 the Finance Minister said that under a nationwide scheme for pregnant women a sum total of Rs. 6000 crore will be transferred to the bank accounts of those woman who deliver the baby in the hospitals and complete the vaccination programme. A sum of Rs. 1, 84,632  crore has been allocated for women and children welfare in this budget. Previously the allocated amount was 156 528 crore in the estimated budget for the year 2016-17.

National Testing Agency
The budget lays an emphasis on education at large. The government has propsed for establishing an autonomous and self-sustaining organisation National Examinations Agency (National Testing Agency) that will be responsible for conducting entrance exams for higher education. Through this CBSE, AICTE and other major institutions will be exempt from these administrative responsibilities so they can focus more on academic tasks. An annual knowledge evaluation system will be introduced in all schools to measure the results. In addition to this special emphasis will be on education and curriculum flexibility by promoting local innovation and creativity through material science. An online platform ‘Swayam’ has been proposed for teaching minimum 350 subjects online using information technology. These subjects will be taught online by the best faculties. The curriculum will enable the students to be connected virtually with the subject, accessing best quality study materials, for participation in debates, for taking examinations and academic grades.    

Education Innovation Fund
The University Grand Commission has been provided with Navonmesh Kosh (Innovation Fund) for higher and secondary education reforms. Its aim is to ensure wider access, gender equality and improvement in the quality of education primarily in 3479 educationally backward blocks by encouraging local innovation. It will further focus on the flexibility of the curriculum for encouraging creativity in local innovation material.

‘Sankalp’ For Youth
The ‘Sankalp’ programme has been initiated with the objective of increasing employability among youth under which professional training will be provided to 3.5 million youths of the country. The project costs rs. 4,000 crore.  The finance minister said that the government has proposed for increasing the number of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (Prime Minister Skill centers) to reach more than 600 districts across the country. Currently they are operated in 60 districts only. Apart from this 100 India International skill centres will be established where advance training and foreign language courses will be run.  This will help ‘the youth to foster job opportunities outside the country.’ Rupees 2,200 crore will be invested for launching the next phase of ‘Strive Yojna’ with the aim of improving the quality of vocational trainings at ITIs and strengthening industrial apprenticeship.   

Healthy Budget
To ensure a better health care in the country the government has also introduced plans to eliminate maladies like black fever and filariasis within 2017, leprosy by 2018 and measles by 2020. In addition to that the government has proposed to establish two new AIIMS in Jharkhand and Gujarat. Drugs and Cosmetics Rules will be amended in order to ensure availability of medicines at reasonable prices. Similarly, plans to reduce the infant mortality rate (IMR) which was 39 in 2014, to 28 by 2019 and reduce the maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 167 per cent from 2011-13 to 100 by the year 2018-20. 1.5 million sub health centers are proposed to be converted into Health and wellness centers. Five thousand seats will be added in the medical line in order to ensure the availability of expert doctors to strengthen the second and third levels of health care in the country. In addition of starting DNB courses in the large district hospitals, selected ESI hospitals, municipal hospitals and private hospitals will also be promoted to start DNB courses in order to encourage and strengthen higher education.
New rules will be devised in order to regulate the medical devices. These new rules will be in accordance with international rules, hence will attract investment in the sector. This will help in reducing the cost of these devices. India is the world’s largest supplier of generic medications. In terms of quantity India’s shares in the global export of generic medicine is around 20 percent.

The budget allocated a record Rs 3.96 lakh crore for infrastructural development. Such investments will increase economic activity and create employment opportunities within the country. A provision of Rs 2,41,387 crore is proposed for the transport sector including railway, road and shipping. The total capital expenditure for the development of railways in is estimated around Rs 131 000 crore in 2017-18. It also includes the Rs 55,000 crore provisions by the government. Another sum of Rs 64,000 crore has been allocated for the development of national highways in the country this year. This sum was Rs 57,676 crore last year.

Cash Limitations
Taking on the fight against corruption and black money, the Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley has proposed to restrict all cash transaction above Rs 3 lakh in this Budget. This restriction of cash transaction over a limit is being imposed on the recommendation of a special investigation team (SIT) on black money. The SIT recommended the prohibition of cash transactions above three lakhs suggesting such transactions should be declared illegal and punishable under the law.

Tribal Development
The budget allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and tribes was estimated around Rs 38,833 crore in fiscal year 2016-17, which has been increased to Rs 52,393 crore in the2017-18 budget. It is about 35 percent higher than the budget estimates 2016-17. This budget allocation is 35 percent more than the allocations last year. The allocation for schedule castes has increased to Rs 31,920 crore while the same is 4,195 for other minorities. The government will start a results-based monitoring system to monitor the expenses in these areas.

Securing Railway
Rs 1,31,000 crore has been proposed for the development of railway in 2017-18. Rs 55,000 crore of which will be provided by the government. As compared to the 2,800 kilometers of new railway lines in 2016-17, the railway will lay down new lines of around 3,500 km this session. In view of the passengers’ safety, a national rail safety fund will be constituted along with a consolidated fund with over rupee one lakh over the time period of five years. The government will set deadlines for the activities devised by these funds.