FM Sitharaman cuts budget allocation for Modi’s pet welfare schemes

Out of 24, as per an analysis of the budget document, allocation for 18 welfare schemes funded by the Centre has been deducted by the Finance Minister

FM Nirmala Sitharaman (File Photo)
FM Nirmala Sitharaman (File Photo)
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NH Political Bureau

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has slashed the budget for as many as 18 welfare schemes funded by the Centre in the current fiscal year, reveals scrutiny of the budget document.

As per the budget documents, the allocation for not only the pet projects of PM Modi like Ayushman Bharat has been axed but several other welfare schemes such as Swachh Bharat mission has seen a huge cut.

Budget for the Ayushman Bharat in the current fiscal year has been downgraded. In the previous budget, while the Modi government had allocated $923 million for Ayushman Bharat, the allocation has been axed to a mere $466.7 million in the revised estimates for this year.

Similarly, Prime Minister’s rural roads scheme has seen a considerable cut in the allocation. Earlier it was $2.67 billion, which has been downgraded to $1.97 billion in the revised estimates.

Allocation for Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India) – another flagship programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – has been reduced by $422.5 million in the current financial year. Similarly, the allocation for the integrated child development programme has seen a huge cut. Allocation of funds for the scheme has been revised to $3.51 billion against the original estimate of $3.88 billion in the current fiscal year.

Launched in 1975, the scheme – while focuses on alleviating child mortality and malnutrition, ensuring psychological, physical and social development – covers 158 million children in the age group of 0-6 years.

Other social sector schemes such as women empowerment, jobs and skill development have also seen a mega deduction.

Allocation for mid-day meals has been cut from $1.54 billion to $1.39 billion. Likewise, allocations to green revolution (agricultural production), white revolution (milk production) and blue revolution (marine culture) has been reduced by $442.5 million.

Allocation for the Irrigation Scheme has also been revised to $1.11 billion against a budget target of $1.36 billion.

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Published: 6 Feb 2020, 3:07 PM