Chidambaram announces JNNURM-II; confident of hitting 7% growth in 2 years

The direct benefit transfer scheme will be a game changer and will be implemented across the country by end of the year, said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

Replying to the discussions on Budget 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the Minister said, “DBT is the best way to transfer money directly to poor.

There are some teething problems. But we will overcome them, India has both the hardware and software to implement the scheme successfully.”Chidambaram also urged every State government to come on board this platform. “It doesn’t cost the States anything to join this effort.”

The Minister’s reply marks the completion of the first phase of the Budget.

Bringing some cheer to automobile and infrastructure companies, the Minister announced the roll out of JNNURM-II. A key UPA Government initiative, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is expected to give a big push to urban infrastructure development.

The Minister said, “we will start JNNURM-II”. He said the Urban Affairs Minister will devise the scheme and bring it before Cabinet for approval.

JNNURM-I was introduced to encourage reforms and fast-track planned development of identified cities.

The UPA Government, Chidambaram said, will also look at second edition of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

Bullish on growth

Turning to the India growth story, Chidambaram said the likely 5 per cent GDP growth in 2012-13 should “not demoralise” the country.

“I am confident we will recover in 2013-14 and record over 6 per cent growth. In the subsequent year, we will get back to 7 per cent or more”.

Chidambaram admitted that inflation was high in the economy and pointed out that it was a consequence of running fiscal deficits. “If you run high fiscal deficits, you will get high inflation.

“We cannot sustain even this 5.2 per cent fiscal deficit. We will have to bring it down and the fiscal consolidation roadmap devised by us is the correct path”, Chidambaram said.

He sought the support of the Lower House in ensuring that the fiscal consolidation roadmap is fully implemented.

Food Security Bill

Chidambaram assured the Lok Sabha that the Food Security Bill will be introduced in Parliament. “I will provide enough money for the Bill and that is a promise.”

The Lok Sabha later passed the second and final batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants for 2012-13.

The relevant appropriation Bill to withdraw certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of part of 2013-14 was also approved today.

Srivats.kr@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on March 14, 2013)
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