Sunday, July 12, 2009

National Budget 2009-10 & the allocation for Social Sector

The main social challenges outlined by the Finance Minister, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, while presenting his Budget speech for the year 2009-10 are as follows:

Allocation for Rural poor

1. System of direct transfer of subsidy to the farmers in due course.

2. Allocation under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) increased by 144 per cent to Rs.39,100 crore in B.E. 2009-10 over B.E. 2008-09.

3. 25 kilo of rice and wheat per month at Rs.3 per kilo should be given to every family living below the poverty line in rural or urban areas under the National Food Security Act

Priority to Education

  • The overall Plan budget for higher education is to be increased by Rs.2,000 crore over Interim B.E. 2009-10
  • National Mission for Female Literacy to be launched with focus on minorities, SC, ST and other marginalized groups with the aim to reduce level of female illiteracy by half in three years.
  • Finance Minister has announced an increase of Rs. 2000 crore for the students from weaker section of the society.

Most developed countries in the world like the USA, UK and France spend around 6-7% of their national budgets for public education and health, while India allocates only 3% for education and around 1% for health.

the number of school children in India is more than 3 crores and most of these children were unable to afford the cost of education due to poverty and economic backwardness of their families. The Government did emphasize on the universalisation of education and made the following announcements in its National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP).

Objectives of NCMP:

(a) To ensure that no one is denied of education due to economic backwardness and poverty

(b) To make right to education a fundamental right for all children in the age group 6-14 years

(c) To universalize education through its flagship programmes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Mid Day Meal

(d) To support this increase in expenditure on education, and to increase the quality of education, there would be an imposition of an education over all central government taxes

(e) To progressively increase expenditure on education to around 6% GDP

Health Sector

Allocation under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) increased by Rs.2,057 crore over Interim B.E. 2009-10 of Rs.12,070 crore.

All BPL families to be covered under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). Allocation under RSBY increased by 40 per cent over previous allocation to Rs.350 crore in B.E. 2009-10.

The promise to universalise ICDS has been long-standing and while the increased allocation to Rs. 6,705 crores for the ICDS is the impact on the ground can take years to materialise.

Allocation for the Minorities

The latest Indian budget for 2009-10 financial year gives 1756.50 crores for minority development. Previous year it was 1013.83 crores. The proposal of giving Rs. 5000 crores to UGC for increasing the research fellowships with considerable share to minority.

Other Sustainable Development Programmes

  • Sustain a growth rate of at least 9 per cent per annum over an extended period of time
  • Ensure that Indian agriculture continues to grow at an annual rate of 4 per cent
  • Strengthen and improve the economic regulatory framework in the country
  • Expand the range and reach of social safety nets by providing direct assistance to vulnerable sections
  • Only 12 million jobs are to be created this fiscal year. India’s unemployment rate is around 7.2% of the labour force. Total labour is around 520 million with an increment of around 1.3% annually.
  • Reduce the proportion of people living below poverty line to less than half from current levels by 2014
  • Strengthen the delivery mechanism for primary health care facilities with a view to improve the preventive and curative health care in the country
  • Create a competitive, progressive and well regulated education system of global standards that meets the aspiration of all segments of the society
  • Increase the investment in infrastructure to more than 9 per cent of GDP by 2014
  • Support Indian industry to meet the challenge of global competition and sustain the growth momentum in exports
  • Move towards providing energy security by pursuing an Integrated Energy Policy
Source: Union Budget 2009-10


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