Centre wants transparency: Sitharaman on freebies
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday referred to freebies or sops by various states, and said: “All we (the government) want is transparency and compliance with statutory fiscal rules
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday referred to freebies or sops by various states, and said: “All we (the government) want is transparency and compliance with statutory fiscal rules.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently criticised fiscally draining largesse and sops by states beyond their budgetary capacities as “revdi” (a kind of candy).
“It is important to recognise that when you are transparent in your methods, there is no debate over it (freebies),” Sitharaman said.
“Subsidies and freebies are to be contextualised. If you are able to put it in your budget and make a provision for it when your revenues come and you give the money, why would anyone have an objection? Education, health and many subsidies given to farmers are fully justified,” Sitharaman said.
“There are media reports that one state government is unable to pay the salary of its employees in time and the employees are protesting. It’s perhaps because funds are being used to give numerous different advertisements all over the country,” the finance minister added in her speech. While she did not name any state, her reference is likely to Punjab which has faced this problem recently.
Meanwhile, Parliament approved the first batch of supplementary demands for grants, authorising the Union Government to spend an additional ₹3.25 lakh crore during the current fiscal year (2022-23).
The first batch of supplementary demands for grants for 2022-23 includes 75 grants and 6 appropriations. The additional expenditure includes ₹13,669 crore and ₹12,000 crore for of telecom and railways ministries. Besides these amounts, nearly ₹10,000 crore will go towards the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation fund for compensating states and Union Territories.
The Appropriation (No 5) Bill, 2022 and the Appropriation (No 4) Bill, 2022, earlier passed by Lok Sabha, were cleared in the Upper House with a voice vote following detailed discussions held on Monday and Tuesday.
“The first batch of SDG for 2022-23 includes 75 grants and six appropriations. The approval of Parliament is sought to authorise gross additional expenditure of ₹4,35,938.87 crore. Of this, the proposals involving net cash outgo aggregate to ₹3,25,756.69 crore and gross additional expenditure, matched by savings of the Ministries/Departments or by enhanced receipts/recoveries aggregates to ₹1,10,180.59 crore,” the finance ministry’s proposal for additional grants had said, paving the way for appropriation bills.