How budget allocations for rural development in India fare

The NDA government headed by Narendra Modi has been focusing enough on the rural development as evident from the allocation of funds towards this sector through the consecutive budgets presented by the government during its five year term starting from 2014-15.

While presenting the budget for the fiscal year, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley remarked that the government would spend Rs 14.34 lakh crores in the rural areas of the country that will lead to creating employment opportunities of 321 crore person days besides developing the rural infrastructure significantly.

In addition to creating enough employment opportunities to the rural folk, the 2018-19 budget also intended to construct 3.17 lakh km of roads, 1.88 crore toilets, and 51 lakh houses. The budget speech of Jaitley observed that 1.75 crores of new households would receive electricity connections. While talking about the merits of the 2018-19 budget in terms of creating enough room to facilitate the rural development in the country, Rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar praised that the budget under reference was the one for ‘New India’ which would lead to the comprehensive development of the nation.

The Modi government increased the budgetary allocation for the Rural Development Ministry to Rs 1.124 lakh crores for 2018-19 from Rs 1.054 lakh crores. The ministry estimated a total expenditure of Rs 1.09 lakh crores in the financial year 2018-19.

“The government is committed to the overall development of the country and like the current year, the Modi government has allocated highest ever amount of Rs 55,000 crores to the MNREGA for the next fiscal,” Tomar said.

While the 2017-18 budget allocated Rs 48,000 crores to MNREGA, the 2018-19 budget increased it to Rs 55,000 crores. The ministry estimated that the scheme will need a spending of Rs 55,000 crores in the year 2018-19.

Also the allocation of funds to different schemes under the National Social Assistance Program rose up to Rs 99.75 crores from Rs 95 crores allocated during the last fiscal year.

The allocation towards the flagship scheme of the NDA government for rural roads ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)’ remained unchanged over the two budgets remaining at Rs 19,000 crores.

While talking about the proposals as part of the 2018-19 budget, Jaitley highlighted about the government’s intention to augment the agriculture and rural development along with the developments across other sectors. He said, “As my proposals outlined indicate, focus of the government next year will be on providing maximum livelihood opportunities in rural areas by spending more on livelihood, agriculture and allied activities and construction of rural infrastructure.”

Pushing it up significantly from Rs 4,500 crores (2017-18 budget), Jaitley said the allocation for the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) was increased to Rs 5,750 crores in the 2018-19 budget.

The loans given to the women Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the country touched about Rs 42,500 crores in 2016-17. The government voiced its confidence that the SHG loans will increase to Rs 75,000 crores in the fiscal year 2018-19.

However, the budget allocation for the rural housing scheme PMGAY (Gramin) came down significantly to Rs 21,000 crores for the year 2018-19 from Rs 23,000 crores allocated in the 2017-18 budget.

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