Country’s top advisory body the Planning Commission has trimmed the funding for India's socio-economic development for the 12th plan (2012-17) with no signs of abatement of economic slowdown.
The panel has projected Rs. 27,10,840 crore funding for the 12th plan allocation as against the earlier estimate of Rs 35,00,000 crore.
The final allocation will be decided on Saturday at a meeting headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh."It is because we have scaled down growth target to 8.25-9% for the plan from 9.5-10%," a senior plan panel functionary said.
“In the present scenario achieving even 8% will not be easy.”
Still, it is more than double of the budgetary support during the 11th plan (2007-12) of Rs 11,67,885 crore.
With the slowdown impacting the manufacturing sector and exports in a big way, the panel believes that its revenue generation would be much less than earlier projected.
In addition, the inability of the government to reduce its subsidy burden because of UPA alliance related compulsions is another reason for the plan not being able to spare huge funds for the social sector.
Despite the constraints, health and education would get major chunk of Central funds in the 12th plan.
“As the PM (Manmohan Singh) has announced the focus of the plan would be health and education,” the functionary said.
The panel has almost tripled the allocation for health sector from Rs. 90,765 crore in the 11th plan to Rs. 3,00,018 crore for the next plan.
The additional allocation would be utilised to have a National Health Mission, in place of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and a system for free medicines through public sector health institutions.
The casualty of the fund constraint would be the launch of Universal Health Scheme, providing minimum health facilities to all residents free of cost.
Education is expected to get Rs. 4,73,728 crore, almost two and a half times more than the allocation in the 11th plan. Majority of the funds would go for strengthening school education and improving quality.
The panel has also allocated funds for bringing pre-school under the ambit of Right To Education (RTE).
The RTE covers children in 6-14 age group. Around Rs. 10,000 crore has been allocated to start 2,500 model schools under Public Private Partnership model.
Jairam Ramesh’s rural development sector is set to witness a huge increase in allocation for water supply and sanitation and management of land resources.
In addition, agriculture and food processing sectors are set to get over 100% increase in allocations as compared to 11th plan, the projections for the 12th plan say.
One area where the UPA government will increase its focus is financial inclusion. The funding for the same would be tripled with every Indian resident expected to get a Unique Identification (Aadhaar) number by end of 2013.
There will also be special incentive for the banking sector to ensure that every household has an Aadhaar linked bank account by end of the plan.
The losers in the bargain are sports and youth affairs ministry and department of expenditure whose allocations would be less than in the previous plan.