With the government aiming fiscal consolidation, only a few schemes — Right To Education (RTE), model villages and Unique Identification Authority — are likely to be announced in the general budget to be presented on February 26.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will provide enough funds for the education law. More than Rs 150,000 crore will be needed over five years for its implementation, estimates the government.
School education will continue to get priority. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (education for all) and mid-day meal schemes can expect higher allocation in the next fiscal.
“There are indications that the budget will mark the launch of RTE,” said a government official, requesting anonymity. Funds for food security and low-cost housing for the urban poor will be put on a slow track to allow preparatory work as these schemes involve states’ participation, he said.
To keep the deficit below six per cent as compared to 6.8 per cent for this fiscal, the government is unlikely to provide enough funds for expanding the National Rural Health Mission to National Health Mission, covering urban areas. The National Health Mission is seen as a precursor to the right to health law, which the government wants to finalise in 2010. The minister is likely to restrict himself to signaling the government’s intention to pursue these schemes.
Women, who constitute half of country’s population, could get the National Mission for Empowerment of Women. The grants will be with truncated — Rs 64 crore instead of Rs 120 crore sought by the women and child development ministry. The mission will coordinate between various ministries, and not launch schemes, so not much money will be required, said the official.
The government is looking at gross budgetary support of 14.7 per cent (about Rs 3.73 lakh crore), of which Rs 92,000 crore will be the funding for the states.