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'No impact of welfare plans on fiscal deficit'
October, 03rd 2007
Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the government will adhere to the fiscal deficit target for this financial year, despite a massive increase in funding for welfare schemes such as rural job guarantee programme and health insurance for poor families.

"We have done our sums. Next year we are targeting a fiscal deficit of 3 per cent or less and we are adhering to that too," Chidambaram said on the sidelines of a function organised to launch National Health Insurance Scheme for below poverty line (BPL) families.

India's fiscal deficit in the April-August period stood at Rs 1,03,000 crore or 68.5 per cent of the full-year target.

The government aims at containing fiscal deficit to 3.3 per cent of the GDP in this fiscal.

The deficit shrunk in August, from Rs 1,29,000 crore in the financial year to July, after the central bank transferred back to the government most of the money it received for a stake in State Bank of India.

The UPA government, which seems to be in an election mode, has announced to expand the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) scheme to all districts, at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore annually. The health insurance scheme for BPL families would cover 30 crore people over 3-5 years and cost Rs 750 crore in 2008-09.

Chidambaram is also scheduled to launch the Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana tomorrow at Shimla. The scheme would provide accidental and disability insurance coverage to BPL families.

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