In a cementing of the government’s plans to reinvent India, Rs 50,000 crore more has been allocated for education, health, urban infrastructure and other core sectors.
This increase, likely to be announced in Budget 2009-10, is over the Rs 2,85,000 crore plan allocation announced in the interim budget presented in February.
Finance minister Pranab Mukerjee will present the budget in the first week of July.
Plan allocation is the budget portion that provides for new schemes and expenses in government programmes.
President Pratibha Patil, in her address to Parliament on June 4, had laid stress on education, health and urban infrastructure as the focus of the new UPA government.
A meeting of finance ministry and Planning Commission officials on Friday decided that a special allocation of Rs 8,500 crore would be made in the budget for setting up eight new Indian Institutes of Technologies and 16 new central universities announced by the government in 2008.
The total allocation for education is expected to be about Rs 49,500 crore — a four-fold increase since 2006-07.
In the interim budget, the sector had got Rs 34,000 crore.
The allocation for higher education would go up from last year’s Rs 11,340 crore to Rs 21,679 crore. The HRD ministry will also get Rs 7,000 crore more for setting up model schools and colleges in educationally backward areas and the expansion of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan to the upper primary level.
“The proposed increases could mean a jump in fiscal deficit by 1 per cent,” said a senior government official. The interim budget had projected a fiscal deficit of 5.5 per cent.
Saumitra Chaudhuri, a Planning Commission member, said the fiscal deficit could be managed if government could generate resources through disinvestments. “Our revenue generation should improve with the economy showing signs of revival,” he said.
To give a boost to low-cost housing and modern public transport systems such as the Metro in urban areas, the government is set to increase the budget of the urban development ministry by about 80 per cent. The interim budget had allocated Rs 4,724 crore for the ministry. Allocations are likely to be increased for rural development and power.
Delhi will get Rs 2,000 crore for Commonwealth Games 2010 — up from the Rs 500 crore promised in the interim budget.