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Spotlight on aam aadmi, again

The social sector ministries like HRD, Women and Child Development and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is expected to get a hike ranging from 10 to 23 per cent.

delhi Updated: Feb 28, 2008 03:11 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The UPA’s last budget is expected to have overwhelming schemes for the agriculture and social sectors and would be about Rs 2,40,000 crore. With this, the government expects to keep fiscal deficit within 3 per cent limit as prescribed by Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

The social sector ministries like HRD, Women and Child Development and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is expected to get a hike ranging from 10 to 23 per cent but allocation of departments like that of Atomic Energy may be reduced by 2-3 per cent.

While the rural sector is likely to be the emphasis of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s last budget this time, the agenda would clearly be the 2009 polls, budget experts said. Government flagship programmes like Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, Bharat Nirman, Rural Health Mission and Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission would get additional funds for the next financial year, officials said.

Government sources said the Finance minister may announce a scholarship scheme for students, especially for those from the weaker sections, an agriculture loan waiver scheme, additional financial incentives for BPL families and women and children.

Some relief for income tax payers can also be expected. The government is also expected to allocate money for implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations likely to be submitted to the government in the first week of April.

Already, the Planning Commission has allocated funds for implementation of the Pay Commission recommendations in the state governments’ annual plan.