How green is the budget?

How green is the budget?

Climate change and adaptive agriculture given a miss

finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's 2009-10 budget has tried to invigorate rural consumption.

Spending on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (nregs), an election winner for the Congress, has increased maximum (see box). Now 44.7 million rural families will benefit as against 33.9 million last year. Mukherjee said other schemes involving agriculture, forests and water resources would converge with nregs. But doubts persist. "The convergence will work if the assets created are good and last long. The government is not measuring the outcome," said N C Saxena, Supreme Court appointed food commissioner. "Last year the government exceeded the nregs budget and spent about Rs 36,000.So the actual increase in allocation is about Rs 3,000 crore only which is not enough to cover the extra families" said cpi(m) parliamentarian Basudev Acharya.

Automobile and oil
Environment finds only a passing mention in the budget. The allocation for environment and forests is Rs 2,129 crore, just 0.2 per cent of the total budget expenditure. Only spending on lake and river conservation has increased (59 per cent) which water activists say is not enough. "There is no strategy to revive lakes and rivers," said Manoj Mishra, of non-profit Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.

Short change
  • Agricultural credit--up from Rs 2,87,000 crore to Rs 3,25,000 crore
  • NREGS--from Rs 14,400 crore to Rs 39,000 crore
  • Rural health mission--up from Rs 12,070 to 14,127 crore
  • Urban renewal mission--from Rs 6,866 crore to Rs 12,887 crore
  • Power development--Rs 2,080 crore (up by 160 per cent)
  • River,lake conservation--from Rs 335 crore to Rs 562 crore
  • Rajiv Awas Yojana housing for urban poor--Rs 973 crore
  • Income tax relief for environmental and heritage trusts
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Benefits may not reach poor
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--DTE team
Down To Earth
www.downtoearth.org.in