Central Plan outlay put at Rs 2,54,041 cr Energy, social services & transport corner major chunk

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 28

The Budget has proposed a higher Central Plan outlay of Rs 2,54,041 crore for the next fiscal, compared to budgeted Rs 2,11,253 crore in the current fiscal, marking a growth of 20 per cent, with energy, social services and transport accounting for close to 70 per cent cornering a substantial chunk of outlays.

While the allocations for the energy sector for the next fiscal is Rs 69,593 crore against the revised Rs 53,720 crore for the current fiscal, social services account for Rs 63,313 crore (Rs 51,271 crore).

Transport sector gets a Plan outlay of Rs 48,614 crore (Rs 40,412 crore), while communications segment gets Rs 19,884 crore ( Rs 17,525 crore).

The outlay for agriculture and allied activities for the next fiscal is placed at Rs 7,385 crore (Rs 5,907 crore), while for rural development it is put at Rs 18,269 crore (Rs 16,716 crore).

Lower outlay

It is also significant that except in the case of communications, the revised Plan outlay for all other segments for the current fiscal was considerably lower than what was budgeted for 2005-06.

Thus in the case of 2005-06, while the overall budgeted Central Plan outlay was Rs 2,11,253 crore, the revised figure shows that they amounted to 2,05,338 crore, a shortfall of more than Rs 5,500 crore.

The reason is not far too seek as the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, conceded in his speech that "obviously the bulk of the resources must go to the UPA Government's eight flagship programmes: Sarva Sikshha Abhiyan, Mi-day Meal Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission, Total Sanitation Campaign, National Rural Health Mission, Integrated Child Development Services, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission."

Flagship programmes

In these programmes, the total allocation in 2005-06 was Rs 34,297 crore, while in the ensuing fiscal this has been stepped up to Rs 50,015 crore, representing an additionality of Rs 15,088 crore or 23.2 per cent.

Mr Chidambaram said the Plan expenditure for 2006-07 is estimated at Rs 1,72,728 crore, up by 20.04 per cent, while the non-Plan expenditure is estimated at Rs 3,91,263 crore.

The increase of 5.5 per cent over non-Plan expenditure in 2005-06 (Budget Estimates) is due to normal growth and is one of the smallest in recent years.

Non-Plan expenditure

Of the non-Plan expenditure, the 2006-07 Budget has proposed an increase in the allocation for defence from Rs 83,000 crore in the 2005-06 estimates to Rs 89,000 crore next fiscal, which will include Rs 37,458 crore for capital expenditure.

Even in subsidies, against the estimated Rs 47,424.46 crore and the revised Rs 42,349.35 crore, the next fiscal year proposal for all the major subsidies is only Rs 46,213.52 crore.

Revenue deficit at 2.1 pc

The total expenditure as per the Budget Estimates for 2006-07 is estimated at Rs 5,63,991 crore. While the total revenue receipts of the Union Government is estimated at Rs 4,03,465 crore, the revenue expenditure is at Rs 4,88,192 crore.

Consequently, the revenue deficit is estimated at Rs 84,727 crore which is 2.1 per cent of the GDP.

Fiscal deficit at 3.8 pc

The fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 1,48,686 crore which is 3.8 per cent of GDP.

With the revised figure for the current fiscal year's fiscal deficit being lower at 4.1 per cent against budgeted 4.3 per cent of GDP and the revenue deficit too at 2.6 per cent against budgeted 2.7 per cent of GDP, the Finance Minister said that he has "redeemed the promise that the process of fiscal correction would be resumed in 2006-07".

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 1, 2006)
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