Outlay up 29 pc

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 28

THE Central Plan outlay for the next fiscal 2005-06 has been substantially stepped up by 29 per cent in nominal terms at Rs 2,11,253 crore against the budgeted Rs 1,63,720 crore for the current fiscal, with important segments such as agriculture, rural development, energy and transport accounting for considerable hike in outlays.

The revised Central Plan outlay for the current fiscal is put at Rs 1,50,818 crore.

Thus against this year's revised outlay of Rs 4,799 crore for agriculture and allied activities, the outlay for the next fiscal is proposed at Rs 6,425 crore, while in the case of rural development, against Rs 11,196 crore (revised) for the current fiscal, the next fiscal, this would be Rs 13,992 crore.

In the case of energy, against Rs 43,557 crore (revised) for this fiscal, the next year outlay would be Rs 58,191 crore, though the budgeted one for this fiscal under this head was Rs 46,788 crore.

Similarly, in transport sector against this fiscal's budgeted Rs 30,696 crore and revised Rs 26,332 crore, the proposed outlay for the next fiscal is Rs 42,147 crore.

However, it needs to be mentioned that against the budgeted outlay of Rs 1,63,720 crore, the revised estimates showed an outlay of Rs 1,50,818 crore in the current fiscal, reflecting a shortfall of Rs 13,000 crore.

Of this, as much as Rs 8,203 crore was accounted for by gaps in budgeted and revised amounts of budgetary support for the Central Plan and the Central assistance for the States and the Union Territories' Plans.

The balance in shortfall was accounted for by gap in internal and extra budgetary resources of public enterprises.

In his speech unveiling the 2005-06 Union Budget, the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, said that Plan expenditure for the next fiscal is, on a like-to-like basis, estimated at Rs 1,72,500 crore.

He said the Budget shows Plan expenditure for 2005-06 at Rs 1,43,497 crore since the balance amount of Rs 29,003 crore would be raised as loans by the State Governments directly in concert with the recommendations of the Twelfth Finance Commission (TFC).

The increase in Plan outlay for the next fiscal is due to increased allocation for social sector in particular elementary education and literacy, health and family welfare, rural development, agriculture and physical infrastructure, particularly roads.

Non-Plan expenditure for the next fiscal is estimated to be Rs 3,70,847 crore, which is Rs 35,108 crore higher than the revised Rs 3,35,739 crore for the current fiscal.

The increase was spread evenly across major heads such as interest payments at Rs 1,33,945 crore for 2005-06 (Rs 1,25,905 crore revised for the current fiscal), non-Plan grants to the States at Rs 33,269 crore (Rs 14,144 crore this fiscal), Defence Rs 83,000 crore (Rs 77,000 crore), pensions Rs 19,542 crore (Rs 18,338 crore), police Rs 12,237 crore (Rs 10,542 crore).

There would be an increase in fertiliser subsidy by Rs 592 crore between the revised for the current fiscal and the proposed for the next fiscal, Rs 400 crore increase in food subsidy, Rs 592 crore on expenditure of the Union Territories without legislatures and a massive Rs 3,646 crore in other non-Plan expenditures.

The total expenditure for 2005-06 is estimated at Rs 5,14,344 crore, against the revised figure of Rs 5,05,791 crore and the budgeted Rs 4,71,368 crore proposed in the current fiscal.

As this year's runaway rise in total expenditure is any pointer, even the Rs 5,14,344-crore total expenditure outlined for the next fiscal might outrun the target in all probability.

This has prompted Mr Chidmabaram to state that he was left with "no option but to press the `pause' button vis-à-vis the Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management (FRBM) Act".

He also cautioned that "we are perilously close to the limits of fiscal prudence and there is no more room for spending beyond our means".

It is estimated that the total revenue receipts of the Central Government were at Rs 3,51,200 crore and the revenue expenditure at Rs 4,46,512 crore.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 1, 2005)
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