Union Budget 2017: Ministries that got the most from Jaitley’s briefcase
Budget 2017 saw steep increase in allocations to certain key ministries, underlining the government’s political and administrative priorities. Sources in finance ministry said more money had been allocated to ministries that have met their expenditure targets.
While others explain that as the government is keen to establish its pro-rural, pro-poor image, money has been pumped accordingly.
Road, transport and highways
With a 59.5% increase in money given to NHAI over the revised estimate of budgetary allocation, the government has kept its focus on building infrastructure.
“Project approval and awards are on track. Over 80% of NHAI’s projects under the engineering procurement construction route, additional government funds will be required,” a finance ministry official said.
As minister Piyush Goyal said, the focus of the government was to energise India and in keeping with this motto, there has been a 32% increase in the budget allocation to the power ministry. The two big achievements of this ministry over the last few years have been the restructuring of the ailing state electricity boards and pushing rural electrification. There is a 34% increase in the allocation to coal ministry also under Goyal.
With an estimated 2% of India’s population being skilled or semi-skilled, the government had to open its purse strings when it came to the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship. A 38% increase in the allocation is to ensure the government at least nears the promised 100 million jobs by 2022.
Women and child development
The government announced setting up of Mahila Shakti Kendras in 14 lakh aanganwadi centres. The Modi government has also enhanced allocation for pregnant women’s well being. In December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already announced an entitlement of ?6,000 for expecting mothers.
After announcing a slew of pensions, insurance and other welfare scheme for the unorganised sector workers, the government has pumped in more funds to meet these heads of expenses.
The sharp rise in the water resource ministry’s allocation reflects the government’s push for irrigation schemes that holds the key for boosting agriculture. The government announced a Long Term Irrigation Fund that will have a total corpus of Rs 40,000.