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12% jump in govt's subsidy bill
February 28, 2003 15:51 IST
A steep rise in subsidies on food, fertiliser and petroleum has led to a 12 per cent jump in the government's subsidy bill to Rs 49,907.27 crore (Rs 499.07 billion) in 2003-04 as opposed to a revised estimate of Rs 44,618.46 crore (Rs 446.18 billion) for the current fiscal.
The subsidy bill for 2002-03 has also been upwardly revised from the budgetary estimate of Rs 39,851.82 crore (Rs 398.51 billion), according to the Union Budget 2003-04 presented in Parliament on Friday.
Food subsidy, the difference between economic cost of foodgrains and the central issue price for sale through Public Distribution System, will jump from the budgetary estimate of Rs 24,200 crore (Rs 242 billion) for 2002-03 to Rs 27,800 crore (Rs 278 billion) in 2003-04.
The surge in international crude oil prices will see the cost for selling subsidised kerosene and domestic cooking gas go up by 29.5 per cent to Rs 8116 crore (Rs 81.16 billion) in 2003-04. This includes freight subsidy for far-flung areas.
The bill for sale of decontrolled fertilizers with concession to farmers is budgeted to rise from Rs 3500 crore (Rs 35 billion) to Rs 4456 crore (Rs 44.56 billion) next financial year while the subsidy bill on retention price scheme for indigenous (urea) fertiliser producers will rise marginally to Rs 7555 crore (Rs 75.55 billion) from current year's revised estimates of Rs 7499 crore (Rs 74.99 billion).
With domestic production unable to meet demand, the cost of making available imported urea to farmers at affordable price would be Rs 709.25 crore (Rs 7.09 billion) in 2003-04 as against a mere Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) this year.
The Budget for 2003-04 has put the postal deficit - the shortfall in the working expenses of the Department of Posts - at Rs 1287.01 crore (Rs 12.87 billion).
While the working expenses of the department are placed at Rs 5487.01 crore (Rs 54.87 billion), postal receipts are estimated at Rs 4200 crore (Rs 42 billion) based on Budget proposal, leaving a deficit of Rs 1287.01 crore (Rs 12.87 billion).
Interest subsidy has been pegged at Rs 179.33 crore (Rs 1.79 billion) in 2003-04 as against Rs 765.39 crore (Rs 7.65 billion) in the current fiscal.
The government will foot a Rs 200-crore bill (Rs 2-billion) in 2003-04 for providing subsidised travel to the Middle East for annual Haj pilgrimage to Muslims while Rs 70 crore (Rs 700 million) is being provided to Life Insurance Corporation for its new community-based Universal Health Insurance Scheme.
Another Rs 47.98 crore (Rs 479 million) have been provisioned towards compensating Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India, National Housing Bank and Housing Development Finance Corporation towards compensation for the exchange losses involved in repayment of foreign lines of credit by these organisations.