Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjees Budget-2012 will be devoid of any big-ticket announcement as the Government remains unsure about the stability of economic recovery, both at home and globally. The focus will be on sensitive sectors like agriculture, health and education. These are likely to see the fund allocation rise by 15 per cent in financial year 2011-12 over the previous year. The Science & Technology Ministry will also see a sizeable increase in its fund allocation.
A senior Government official involved in the Budget plan told The Pioneer that the apex planning body, Planning Commission, has cut out a gross budgetary support (GBS) of Rs 4,47,000 crore for FY2011-12. However, it has not been approved by the PMO yet as Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was in Davos for the recently-concluded World Economic Forum.
The agriculture, health and education sectors had been under-funded in the previous years of the 11th plan. The increase for education and health is on account of schemes like the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and National Rural Health Mission. As for agriculture fund, the Government has faced much criticism on account of the supply-demand mismatch of several commodities as a result of stagnancy in production.
The official said that there would not be any big-ticket new schemes or plans in FY2011-12 as this was the last year of the 11th Five-Year Plan and the commission didnt want to carry over the schemes in the 12th Five-Year Plan. We are avoiding new plansWe will bring these in the 12th Five-Year Plan, the official told The Pioneer.
The official said that the Government would meet its fiscal deficit target of 5.5 per cent of the GDP in the current fiscal. This is on account of higher than expected revenue from the auctioning of 3G and BWA spectrum (Rs 1.06 lakh crore). Other factors that would help the Government meet the fiscal deficit target include increased tax collections, revenue accrued from the stake sale in public sector companies, decontrol of petrol (thereby reducing the petrol subsidy) and introduction of nutrient-based subsidy in fertilisers barring urea.
However as The Pioneer had reported earlier, the Government is expected to go for urea decontrol this year, a move that could substantially reduce its subsidy burden.
For FY2010-11, the GBS was Rs 2,80,600 crore (Budget Estimate I) and the Government has provided Rs 74,401 crore more as supplementary till now.