Finance minister lists Forest Rights Act as one of its key achievements while MGNREGA doesn't find mention.
Finance minister P Chidambaram presented the vote-on-account in Lok Sabha on February 17. The Rs 17.5 lakh crore expenditure proposed in the interim budget is more or less in the same range as in the last budget. An interim budget is always more electoral than economic. But when the country is going through an economic slowdown, and the ruling party's electoral stock is down, the finance minister has to be the most efficient vote catcher. Chidambaram has left no opportunity to squeeze the maximum electoral points out of every rupee. Even though he has not increased either plan or non-plan expenditure, he has set a priority list of expenditure that reflects the budget's political side.
Even though it is a convention not to propose tax-related provisions in an interim budget he brought in indirect tax cuts on many consumers' favourites like mobile phones and small cars. Each and every line of his proposals till June 30, 2014 seeks a few votes. Starting from appeasing the substantial ex-service persons to students who have taken education loans, he has budgeted more votes than money.
But, the core area is the UPA's rural development agenda. And the interim budget has not addressed this core constituency through more money but by reminding its decade-long commitment. And in selective announcement the finance minister has left no doubt to be cleared that it is chasing the vast tribal and women voters.
|Which ministry gets how much|
|The interim budget has retained the allocation of last year to the key ministries. In last financial year many ministries couldn't spend all the budgeted funds, thus resulting in a saving of around Rs 1,00,000 crore for the government. This in many ways explains the government being able to meet its target on key fiscal targets like fiscal deficit|
|Ministry||Proposed allotment (in Rs. crore)|
|Ministry of Minority Affairs||3,711|
|Ministry of Tribal Affairs||4,379|
|Ministry of Housing & Poverty Alleviation||6,000|
|Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment||6,730|
|Ministry of Panchayati Raj||7,000|
|Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation||15,260|
|Ministry of Women & Child Development||21,000|
|Ministry of Health & Family Welfare||33,725|
|Ministry of Human Resource Development||67,398|
|Ministry of Rural Development||82,202|
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