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Budget 2017: Major boost for social sector ahead of key polls

The social sector has received a major boost in the Union Budget Rural with finance minister Arun Jaitley allocating Rs 10,000 crore to the rural job scheme and enhancing the Scheduled Caste sub-plan by 35%.

union budget Updated: Feb 01, 2017 16:42 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Union Budget 2017,Social sector allocation,Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrives in the Parliament to present the Union budget in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

Rural India and poverty alleviation came under major focus in the Union Budget with finance minister Arun Jaitley allocating Rs 10,000 crore to the rural job scheme and boosting the Scheduled Caste sub-plan by 35%.

Total allocation for rural agriculture and allied sector was pegged at Rs 1,87,223 crore, or 24% higher than last year.

Affordable housing will be given infrastructure status, Jaitley announced.

The finance minister also announced setting up of integrated Mahila Shakti Kendras with a corpus of Rs 500 crore. “They will provide one-stop convergence centre for employment, digital literacy, nutrition among other things,” Jaitley said.

The annual allotment for welfare of women and children has also been increased from Rs 1,56,528 crore to Rs 1.84,000 crore.

Setting the target of bringing bring one crore rural household out of poverty, Jaitley allotted a record Rs 48,000 crore for the government’s rural job scheme, MGNREGA.

The Rs 10,000 crore hike in MGNREGA will focus primarily on creating assets that boost employment and agriculture production.

“We shall continue to undertake many more measures to energize youth to reap the benefit of growth. My overall approach: to spend more in more rural areas, infrastructure and poverty alleviation,” Jaitley said in his budget speech.

Jailtey also announced that Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra will be spread to more than 600 districts and 100 India international skill centres would be set up.

He also said that under the PM’s rural road scheme, 133 km of roads are being built per day in the current fiscal as compared to an average of 73 km under the UPA government.

“Allocation to PMGSY will be Rs 19,000 crore in 2017-18. With the states’ contribution the total money available will be Rs 27,000 crore,” he said.

Jaitley also increased allocation for rural housing from Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 23,0000 crore and proposed to provide safe drinking water in 28,000 arsenic-fluoride affected areas.

“Will continue economic reforms for the benefit of the poor,” Jaitley announced.

First Published: Feb 01, 2017 14:11 IST