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February 16, 2009 12:26 IST
Last Updated: February 16, 2009 14:39 IST

Refraining from tinkering with tax and duty rates in the interim Budget, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday made a huge allocation of Rs 30,100 crore (Rs 301 billion) to government's flagship rural employment programme and many other schemes in a bid to counter the economic recession.

Despite the fact that revised estimates for tax collections during 2008-09 is projected at Rs 627,949 crore (Rs 6279.49 billion) as against the budget estimate of Rs 687,715 crore (Rs 6877.15 billion), the Minister resisted the temptation of giving sops since it is an interim budget with General Elections just a few months away.

In view of the fact that security environment has deteriorated considerably with the Mumbai terror attacks giving an entirely new dimension to cross-border terrorism, the Budget increased the allocation for defence to Rs 141,703 crore (Rs 1417.03 billion) including Rs 54,824 crore (Rs 548.24 billion) capital expenditure.

Aiming at enhancing expenditure on schemes to provide employment and lift the economy, the interim Budget for 2009-10 has planned a total expenditure of Rs 953,231 crore (Rs 9532.31 billion) comprising Rs 285,149 crore (Rs 2851.49 billion) in plan and Rs 668,082 crore (Rs 6680.82 billion) in non-plan spending.

To counter the negative impact on exports due to the global economic crisis, the interest subvention of two per cent on pre and post shipment for certain employment sectors is proposed to be extended.

The Scheme has been extended to all the districts of the country and provided employment of 138.76 crore person days, covering 3.51 crore households during 2008-09.

For Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, an allocation of Rs 13,100 crore (Rs 131 billion) has been proposed. Mukherjee said that about 98 per cent of the habitations in the country have been covered by primary schools.

Bharat Nirman, the time-bound plan for building rural infrastructure, has been allocated Rs 40,900 crore (Rs 409 billion) for 2009-10.

The allocation to this programme has been increased by as much as 261 per cent.

The National Rural Health Mission, which aims at bringing about uniformity in provision of quality healthcare in rural areas, has been allocated Rs 12,070 crore (Rs 120.70 billion).

An allocation of Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) has been made for the mid-day meal scheme, while Rs 6,705 crore (Rs 67.05 billion) proposed for the Integrated Child Development Scheme in the country.

For the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Rs 11,842 crore (Rs 118.42 billion) have been allocated. Under the mission, 386 projects worth Rs 39,000 crore (Rs 390 billion) was sanctioned till December last year.

The Rajiv Gandhi Rural Drinking Water Mission was allocated Rs 7,400 crore (Rs 74 billion), while Rs 1,200 crore was assigned for Total Rural Sanitation programme.

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