Eye on 2014, govt goes in an overdrive over social spending

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Mar 27, 2013 00:40 IST

With general elections due in less than a year's time and section of UPA's supporting parties already flexing muscles, the government is willing to loosen its purse strings despite a tight budget.

After the drastic cut in the current year's allocation of several ministries, finance minister P Chidambaram has also agreed to release additional money to meet urgent expenses in some flagship social sector schemes. A few days ago, rural development ministry received around Rs 900 crore to meet pressing requirements of MGNREGA wages payment.

Top Congress sources also added the party brass had asked Chidambaram and other ministers to spruce up spending while remaining focused in reducing wasteful expenses.

In fact, at a recent cabinet meeting, finance minister gave a briefing on the budget allocations and pointed out that he has done his part of the job by presenting the budget and now other ministers need to do their bit to ensure smooth running of the various social sector schemes. He also asked his colleagues to spend money faster and more effectively.

In the meeting, however, several ministers expressed their concerns on how they are facing roadblocks from finance ministry itself while trying to speed up expenses. While Chidambaram assured the cabinet that he will try to remove further hurdles some ministers have also reportedly met PM and Congress president to demand more money for the schemes.

 

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