Ahead of Budget, govt schemes on slippery ground
Shishir Gupta Posted online: Monday , Jan 25, 2010 at 0340 hrs
New Delhi : With the Budget 2010-11 preparations in full swing, there is a growing realisation within the Manmohan Singh government that its flagship programmes, including the much-touted Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) are performing much below par with the ministries concerned in some cases not being able to spend half of their Plan allocation.
Government sources told The Indian Express that the Ministry of Urban Development has spent only 47.27 per cent (Rs 24,922.77 crore) of the 11th Plan allocation of Rs 52,735.83 crore for the JNNURM. The total allocation in 2009-10 Budget for the urban renewal mission was Rs 12,685.18 crore, but the revised estimates are now pegged at only Rs 8,483.35 crore — a shortfall of Rs 4,201.83 crore. The worst hit is the basic services for urban poor (BSUP) under the JNNURM, where only 34.88 per cent (Rs 4,430.37 crore) of the total Rs 12,700 crore 11th Plan outlay has been spent. The fiscal situation in other key programmes is no different.
The school education and literacy scheme, which includes the SSA, is also being revised downward by the Finance Ministry as the HRD Ministry has not been able to spend Rs 4,071 crore of the total allocation of Rs 26,800 crore in the last Budget. The same is the fate of rural health mission under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the department concerned not being able to spend Rs 2,000 crore out of the budget estimates of Rs 18,380 crore in the last fiscal.
However, the Women and Child Development Department has shown progress particularly in the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme this fiscal. Its budget is being revised upward by Rs 1,200 crore as the ministry has been able to spend all of its Rs 7,350 crore allocation in the 2009-10 budget.
But the same cannot be said about the Ministry of Power whose revised estimates are down by Rs 2,400 crore and the scheme that has taken the major hit is the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. Despite all its talk about reforms, the Power Ministry could not spend its Rs 9,230 crore allocation in the last Budget.
In fact, a large number of schemes designed for the upliftment of the masses have taken a hit. For instance, the Department of Small and Medium Enterprises could not even spend a meager allocation of Rs 1,794 crore with its revised estimates down by Rs 277 crore.