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Big-ticket reforms for rural sector on cards

business Updated: Feb 12, 2015 23:33 IST
Mahua Venkatesh
Mahua Venkatesh
Hindustan Times
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The forthcoming Union Budget could spell out the launch of some mega schemes for the rural sector, along with big-bang announcements on economic reforms.

The announcements in the budget are likely to focus on job creation and skill development for people in the rural areas. The new schemes would be directly aimed at addressing the basic issues of the “aam admi”, although the ‘Make in India’ campaign would create thousands of jobs.

“A lot of work is being done by the government, but it needs to be projected too, and more needs to be done because there are huge expectations,” said an official source. “Also, since there is little time left for the budget, it could well be after that.”

Economists, however, are concerned over any return to populism.

“There should be focus on the rural sector, but also the schemes should be self sustaining and not turn into a fiscal burden,” DK Joshi, chief economist, Crisil said.

The government is expected to announce measures, which would boost financial savings in the country. A few more small savings instruments targeted at various segments of the society, including the youth and girl child could also be announced.

The government is also considering a proposal to come up with infrastructure bonds, and further expansion of ceiling for investment in the public provident fund could also be considered.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), under which 115 million zero balance bank accounts have been opened for those who were outside the banking net.

The government has already said that it would provide life and accidental insurance to all the underprivileged with a savings bank account under the PMJDY. Now, a pension scheme could also be linked with the bank accounts.