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Indian Budget 2008-09- Full Text-Feb 29, 2008



13. The Eleventh Plan has started on a note of robust growth. Never before did we start a Plan with a first year growth rate of 8.7 per cent. Government regards the second year of the Plan as extremely critical to the success of the Plan. 2008-09 should be a year of consolidation; of securing the ongoing programmes on firm financial foundations; of close monitoring of implementation and enforcing accountability; and of measuring the outcomes in terms of the targets achieved as well as their quality. The Plan documents assumed that the Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) in the second year would be Rs.228,725 crore. In our view, that will not be enough. Hence, I propose to increase the GBS to Rs.243,386 crore, which will represent an increase of Rs.38,286 crore over the allocation in 2007-08.

14. Out of the GBS, the allocation for the Central Plan will be Rs.179,954 crore, marking an increase of 16 per cent over 2007-08.

15. Let me assure the House that all ongoing programmes will receive ample funds.

16. For Bharat Nirman, I propose to provide Rs.31,280 crore [including the North Eastern Region (NER) component] as against Rs.24,603 crore in 2007-08.

Education: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

17. Education and health are the twin pillars on which rests the edifice of social sector reforms. The total allocation for the education sector (including NER) will be increased by 20 per cent from Rs.28,674 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.34,400 crore in 2008-09.

18. Of this, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) will be provided Rs.13,100 crore; the Mid-day Meal Scheme will be provided Rs.8,000 crore; and secondary education will be provided Rs.4,554 crore.

19. The focus of SSA will shift from access and infrastructure at the primary level to enhancing retention; improving quality of learning; and ensuring access to upper primary classes.

20. A Model School programme, with the aim of establishing 6,000 high quality model schools, will be started in 2008-09. I propose to provide Rs.650 crore for the new scheme.

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya

21. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas are quality schools. In order to make such schools more accessible to SC and ST students, Government plans to establish Navodaya Vidyalayas in 20 districts that have a large concentration of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. I propose to set apart Rs.130 crore in 2008-09 for this purpose.

Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya

22. Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas were set up to address the issue of equity in the education of girls belonging to SC, ST, OBC and minority communities. So far, 1,754 vidyalayas have been started, and I propose to allocate funds (as part of SSA) to set up an additional 410 vidyalayas in educationally backward blocks. I also propose to provide a sum of Rs.80 crore to set up new or upgrade existing hostels attached to the Balika Vidyalayas.

National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship

23. Last year, I had announced the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme to enable students to continue their education beyond class VIII and up to class XII. I had provided Rs.750 crore with the promise to add a like amount every year for three more years. The Scheme will be implemented by award of 100,000 scholarships beginning 2008-09. I intend to keep my promise and earmark another sum of Rs.750 crore so that a corpus of Rs.3,000 crore will be built up in four years.

Nehru Yuva Kendra

24. 123 districts do not have a Nehru Yuva Kendra. I propose to allocate Rs.10 crore in 2008-09 to set up a Kendra in each of these districts and to cover the recurring expenditure in the first year.

Mid-day Meal Scheme

25. The Mid-day Meal Scheme has been extended to upper primary classes in 3,479 educationally backward blocks. The scheme will now be extended to upper primary classes in Government and Government-aided schools in all blocks in the country. This will benefit an additional 2.5 crore children, taking the total number of children covered under the Scheme to 13.9 crore.

Institutes of Higher Education

26. Knowledge is power. It is knowledge that will drive success in the 21st century. India has the opportunity to become a knowledge society. Following the Prime Minister's announcement, an IIM at Shillong; three IISERs at Mohali, Pune and Kolkata; and an IIIT at Kanchipuram have started functioning. Government will establish one Central University in each of the hitherto uncovered States. We propose to make a beginning in 2008-09 by establishing 16 Central Universities. Besides, we propose to set up three IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan; two IISERs at Bhopal and Tiruvananthapuram; and two Schools of Planning and Architecture at Bhopal and Vijayawada. More institutes of higher education, as promised by the Prime Minister, will be established during the Eleventh Plan period.

27. I also propose to make a grant of Rs.5 crore to the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Pune which is one of the oldest institutions of modern learning in India.

Science and Technology

28. We must encourage our children to take to careers in science and research and development. Ministry of Science and Technology will introduce a scheme called Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) that will include scholarships for young learners (10-17 years), scholarships for continuing science education (17-22 years) and opportunities for research careers (22-32 years). I propose to provide Rs.85 crore in 2008-09 for this inspired contribution to building a knowledge society.

29. The recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission, submitted from time to time, are under active consideration. Some of them have been incorporated in the Eleventh Plan. Government has accepted an important recommendation to inter-connect all knowledge institutions through an electronic digital broadband network. This will encourage sharing of resources and collaborative research. I propose to provide Rs. 100 crore to the Ministry of Information and Technology for establishing the National Knowledge Network.


30. Turning to the health sector, I propose to allocate Rs.16,534 crore for the sector (including NER). This will mark an increase of 15 per cent over the allocation in 2007-08.

National Rural Health Mission

31. The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is the key instrument of intervention by the Central Government. The goal is to establish a fully functional, community owned, decentralised health delivery system. 462,000 Associated Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and link workers have been trained and are in place. 177,924 Village Health and Sanitation Committees are functional. 323 district hospitals have been taken up for upgradation. Ambitious goals have been set for 2008-09, and I propose to increase the allocation for NRHM to Rs.12,050 crore .


32. The National Aids Control Programme will be provided Rs.993 crore. Studies have shown that the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS has come down from 0.9 per cent to 0.36 per cent, which is a matter of some satisfaction.


33. The drive to eradicate polio continues with a revised strategy and a focus on the high risk districts in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. I propose to provide Rs.1,042 crore in 2008-09 for this purpose.

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana

34. Two major interventions are planned to be started in 2008-09. The first is the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana that will provide a health cover of Rs.30,000 for every worker in the unorganised sector falling under the BPL category and his/her family. I am happy to report that most of the States have agreed to join the Yojana and it will be launched in Delhi and in the States of Haryana and Rajasthan on April 1, 2008. I propose to provide Rs.205 crore as the Centre's share of the premia in 2008-09.

National Programme for the Elderly

35. The other major intervention will be for the elderly. A National Programme for the Elderly with a Plan outlay of Rs.400 crore will be started in 2008-09. Among other measures, we will establish, during the Eleventh Plan period, two National Institutes of Ageing, eight regional centres, and a department for geriatric medical care in one medical college/tertiary level hospital in each State.

Integrated Child Development Services

36. The universalization of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is underway. At the end of December 2007, 5,959 ICDS projects and 932,000 Anganwadi and mini-Anganwadi centres were functional. The beneficiary count had increased to 629 lakh children and 132 lakh pregnant and lactating mothers. I propose to enhance the allocation for ICDS from Rs.5,293 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.6,300 crore in 2008-09.

37. I am also happy to announce that the remuneration of Anganwadi workers will be increased from Rs.1,000 per month to Rs.1,500 per month. Likewise, the remuneration of Anganwadi Helpers will be increased from Rs.500 per month to Rs.750 per month. Over 18 lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers will benefit from the increase.

Flagship Programmes

38. As Honourable Members are aware, there are eight flagship programmes of the UPA Government. I have dealt with two in the education sector (SSA & MMS) and two in the health sector (NRHM & ICDS). Let me now refer to the allocations that I propose to make for the other four flagship programmes:

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) will be rolled out to all 596 rural districts in India. Initially, we will provide Rs.16,000 crore. Let there be no apprehension in anyone's mind: as demand rises, more money will be provided to meet the legal guarantee of employment.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) is the main vehicle for improving urban infrastructure. It has also succeeded in driving reforms in urban governance and urban-related laws. I propose to increase the allocation from Rs.5,482 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.6,866 crore in 2008-09.

The goal of the Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission is to supply safe drinking water to uncovered habitations and slipped back habitations as well as to address issues of quality. I propose to enhance the allocation to Rs.7,300 crore in 2008-09 as against Rs.6,500 crore in 2007-08.

The Mission does not yet have a separate component for school children in water-deficient habitations. Our children should have good, clean drinking water. Hence, I propose to allocate funds to the Mission under a separate sub-head in order to install a standalone system to provide potable water to each school in water-deficient habitations. The cost of each system, depending on the technology and design, is estimated to be between Rs.15,000 to Rs.30,000. While a detailed plan for four years will be drawn up, I propose to make an initial allocation of Rs.200 crore in 2008-09.

The Total Sanitation Campaign is all about changing habits and mindsets, and it is a continuous process. I propose to provide Rs.1,200 crore in 2008-09.

Desalination Plant

39. Honourable Members will recall that I had in July 2004 announced support for a desalination plant to be installed near Chennai. A proposal has now been received from the Government of Tamil Nadu to establish a plant under public private partnership. While the proposal will be examined for approval, I propose to signal the Government's support to the project by setting apart Rs.300 crore in 2008-09.

North Eastern Region

40. The North Eastern Region (NER) will continue to receive special attention and enhanced allocations. I propose to provide Rs.1,455 crore to the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER). Including that amount, the total Budget allocation for NER, spread over different ministries/departments, will increase from Rs.14,365 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.16,447 crore in 2008-09.

41. The North Eastern Region and, especially, Arunachal Pradesh and the border areas face special problems that cannot be tackled in the usual course or through normal schemes. Hence, Government proposes to identify the urgent needs of these areas and address them through a special mechanism. In order to jumpstart the process, I propose to set apart a sum of Rs.500 crore in a fund dedicated for the purpose.

SC, ST, OBC and Minorities

42. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, socially and educationally backward classes, and minorities will continue to receive special attention.

Development and Finance Corporations

43. Development and Finance Corporations have been set up for certain disadvantaged groups. I propose to contribute additional equity to these corporations in the following manner(Rs. Crore):

1 National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation - (Rs 75.00 cr)

2 Three National Finance and Development Corporations for Weaker Sections comprising (Rs 106.50 cr)

(i) Safai Karamcharis
(ii) Scheduled Castes
(iii) Backward Classes

3 National/State Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporations (Rs 50.00 cr)

4 National Handicapped Development Corporation (Rs 9.00 cr)


44. In previous Budgets, we had announced a slew of pre- and post-matric scholarship programmes for SC, ST, OBC and minorities. All of them will be continued in 2008-09 with adequate funds as summarised below:

Scheduled Castes Rs.804 crore

Scheduled Tribes Rs.195 crore

Other Backward Classes Rs.164 crore

Minorities (post-matric) Rs.100 crore

45. I propose to allocate a sum of Rs.75 crore in 2008-09 to the Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Programme. As Honourable Members are aware, this programme supports SC and ST students pursuing M.Phil and PhD courses.

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

46. Following the practice initiated in 2005-06, I have included in the Budget documents a statement on the schemes for the welfare of SCs and STs. I have provided Rs.3,966 crore for schemes benefiting SCs and STs exclusively and Rs.18,983 crore for schemes where at least 20 per cent of the benefits are earmarked for SCs and STs.


47. The allocation to the Ministry of Minority Affairs will be increased from Rs.500 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.1,000 crore in 2008-09. Government has taken up the report of the Justice Rajindar Sachar Committee for speedy implementation. Apart from the schemes commenced in 2007-08, it is proposed to implement the following schemes/measures in 2008-09:

a multi-sectoral development plan for each of the 90 minority concentration districts will be drawn up at a cost of Rs.3,780 crore. The allocation in 2008-09 will be Rs.540 crore;

a pre-matric scholarship scheme with an allocation of Rs.80 crore next year;

a scheme for modernising Madrassa education for which a provision of Rs.45.45 crore has been made in 2008-09;

256 branches of public sector banks have been opened this year until December 2007 in districts with substantial minority population. 288 more will be opened by March 2008 and many more in 2008-09; and

continuing the exercise started this year, more candidates belonging to the minority communities will be recruited to the Central Para-Military Forces.

48. I also propose to provide Rs.60 crore to enhance the corpus fund of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation.

Women and Children

49. I confess that policy makers often tend to forget that one-half of the population is constituted by women and they are entitled to an equal share - and an equal say - in all programmes and schemes. Gender Budgeting has gained wider acceptance and credibility. Four more ministries/departments have set up gender budgeting cells taking the total number to 54. Honourable Members will find in the Budget documents a statement embracing 33 demands for grants contributed by 27 ministries/departments and 5 Union Territories. According to the statement, Rs.11,460 crore has been provided for 100 per cent women-specific schemes and Rs.16,202 crore for schemes where at least 30 per cent is for women-specific programmes.

50. We will score another 'first' this year. A statement on child related schemes is included in the budget documents and Honourable Members will be happy to note that the total expenditure on these schemes is of the order of Rs.33,434 crore.

51. I propose to allocate Rs.7,200 crore in 2008-09 to the Ministry of Women and Child Development. This represents an increase of 24 per cent over the allocation in 2007-08.

Self Help Groups

52. The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) runs the Janashree Bima Yojana and offers life and permanent disability cover to people in 44 categories. One of the categories is Self Help Groups, but only 35,000 SHGs have been covered so far. Considering the fact that there are over 30 lakh SHGs credit-linked to banks, I propose to single out this category for special attention. I propose to ask LIC to rapidly scale up the scheme and cover all women SHGs that are credit-linked to banks. Since one-half of the premium is subsidized through the Social Security Fund, I propose to contribute Rs.500 crore to the corpus of the fund with the assurance that annual contributions will be made as the scheme is scaled up. This scheme, together with the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, will mark the beginning of a new deal for women by providing them life and health cover.

Supplement to GBS

53. Honourable Members will note that the allocations to various sectors and schemes are generous. I hasten to add that more can be done and more will be done subject, however, to one condition: the condition of performance. In the last Budget, I had announced a Plan 'B' and I was able to provide additional Plan funds of Rs.8,365 crore in cash through two supplementaries - and a third one will follow shortly. The nub of the problem lies in implementation - and implementation mostly is in the hands of State Governments. This year too, I intend to mobilise additional resources to the tune of Rs.10,000 crore to be used for Plan capital expenditure. This money - under Plan 'B' - will be available to ministries/departments of the Central Government and to State Governments that achieve the physical and quality targets set under different Plan schemes.

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