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Full Text of Indian Union Budget 2008-09 (home page) .... Click here
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Indian Budget 2008-09- Full Text-Feb 29, 2008


74. Since 2005-06, there has been an unmistakable boom in investment. Two indicators tell the story. The saving rate and the investment rate in 2003-04 were 29.8 per cent and 28.2 per cent, respectively. According to estimates made by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, they will be 35.6 per cent and 36.3 per cent, respectively, by the end of 2007-08. The trend is reflected on the foreign investment side too. During the period April-December 2007-08, foreign direct investment amounted to US$12.7 billion and foreign institutional investment to US$18 billion. Our policy is to encourage all sources of investment, domestic and foreign, private and public.

75. In 2008-09, Government will provide Rs.16,436 crore as equity support and Rs.3,003 crore as loans to Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs). 44 CPSEs are listed today. It is the policy of the Government to list more CPSEs in order to unlock their true value and improve corporate governance.

Rural Infrastructure Development Fund

76. The Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) is the main instrument to channelize bank funds for financing rural infrastructure, and it is quite popular among State Governments. Therefore, I propose to raise the corpus of RIDF-XIV in 2008-09 to Rs.14,000 crore. I also propose to operate a separate window under RIDF-XIV for rural roads with a corpus of Rs.4,000 crore.

Manufacturing Sector

77. There has been some moderation in the index of production of the six core infrastructure industries as well as in the overall index of industrial production for the period April-December 2007-08. The decline has been somewhat sharp in the case of consumer goods, especially consumer durables. The silver lining is that the growth in capital goods is still very high at 20.2 per cent, indicating that industry continues to make huge capital investments and has a positive outlook about the future. Manufacturing industries that have grown more slowly than the average include food products, cotton textiles, textile products including apparel, paper and transport equipment. Among the reasons for the moderation are a rise in interest rates and the appreciation of the Rupee. There are limits to monetary policy accommodation, especially when the need is to maintain price stability. However, some steps can be taken on the fiscal side and I shall, presently, place before the House some proposals in order to stimulate industrial growth. Our goal is to take the manufacturing growth rate to a double digit. This will also call for more reforms in the coal and electricity sectors as well as confronting oligopolistic tendencies in the cement and steel sectors.


78. The Eleventh Plan target for additional power generation capacity is 78,577 MW which is more than the total capacity added in the previous three Plans. By end March 2008, we will achieve Commercial Operation Date (COD) on about 10,000 MW, marking the best first year in any Plan period. Government will redouble its efforts to ensure that the ambitious target for the Eleventh Plan is achieved.

79. The fourth Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) at Tilaiya will be awarded shortly. It is possible to bring five more UMPPs in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamilnadu to the bidding stage provided the States extend the required support. I urge them to do so.

80. Government has approved the continuation of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana during the Eleventh Plan period with a capital subsidy of Rs.28,000 crore. I propose to allocate Rs.5,500 crore in 2008-09 for the Yojana (including NER).

81. I propose to provide Rs.800 crore in 2008-09 for the Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Project. However, it is the poor state of transmission and distribution (T&D) that is a drag on the sector. Huge investments are required to be made in T&D, but linked to fundamental reforms. Hence, I propose to create a national fund for transmission and distribution reform. The details of the scheme will be worked out and announced very soon.


82. All phases of the National Highway Development Programme continue to make progress. The completion ratio in the Golden Quadrilateral is 96.48 per cent and in the North South, East West Corridor project is 23.36 per cent. Special attention is being paid to SARDP-NE, a programme devised for the North Eastern region. 180 kms of roads were completed in 2007-08 and the target for 2008-09 is 300 kms. I propose to enhance the allocation for the NHDP from Rs.10,867 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.12,966 crore next year.

Oil and Gas

83. The 7th round of bidding under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was launched in December 2007 and bids have been invited for 57 exploration blocks. It is estimated that the round will attract investment of the order of US$3.5 billion to US$8 billion for exploration and discovery.


84. 53 coal blocks with reserves of 13,842 million tonnes have been allotted during April-January 2007-08 to Government and private sector companies. A new Coal Distribution Policy was notified in October 2007. A coal regulator will be appointed.

Information Technology

85. Government's forward looking policy is driving the growth of Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services. I propose to enhance the allocation to the Department of Information Technology from Rs.1,500 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.1,680 crore in 2008-09. A scheme for establishing 100,000 broadband internet-enabled Common Service Centres in rural areas and a scheme for establishing State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) with Central assistance are under implementation. A new scheme for State Data Centres has also been approved. I propose to provide Rs.75 crore for the common service centres, Rs.450 crore for SWAN and Rs.275 crore for the State Data Centres.


86. The two principal schemes of the Ministry of Textiles - the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) and the Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF) - will be continued in the Eleventh Plan period. All 30 integrated textile parks have been approved and 20 units in four parks have commenced production. I propose to maintain the provision for SITP at Rs.450 crore in 2008-09. The provision for TUF will be increased from Rs.911 crore in the current year to Rs.1,090 crore in 2008-09.

87. The cluster approach to the development of the handloom sector has made rapid progress. 250 clusters are being developed. 443 yarn banks have been established. By March 2008, over 17 lakh families of weavers will be covered under the health insurance scheme. I propose to increase the allocation to Rs.340 crore in 2008-09.

88. In order to scale up both infrastructure and production, it is proposed to take up six centres for development as mega-clusters. Varanasi and Sibsagar will be taken up for handlooms, Bhiwandi and Erode for powerlooms, and Narsapur and Moradabad for handicrafts. Each mega-cluster will require about Rs.70 crore. I propose to start the process with an initial provision of Rs.100 crore in 2008-09.

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

89. Micro, small and medium enterprises will continue to receive support from the Government. I wish to remove certain wrong perceptions about the sector. In the four years ending 2006-07, for which figures are available, there has been a secular rise in the number of registered units, the number of unregistered units, production, employment and exports. In order to give a fillip to the sector, I propose to create a risk capital fund in the Small Industries and Development Bank of India (SIDBI). As on January 31, 2008, the Credit Guarantee Trust with SIDBI had extended guarantees to 89,129 units for an amount of Rs.2,479 crore. SIDBI will reduce the guarantee fee from 1.5 per cent to 1 per cent and the annual service fee from 0.75 per cent to 0.5 per cent for loans up to Rs.5 lakh.

Foreign Trade

90. Merchandise exports have come under some pressure due to the appreciation of the Rupee and may fall just short of the target of US$ 160 billion, although the growth rate was strong at 21.8 per cent during April-December 2007-08. Relief was given to exporters in three tranches amounting to over Rs.8,000 crore. I may note that the interest cost of sterilization through market stabilization bonds (MSS), estimated at Rs.8,351 crore for the whole year is, in a sense, subsidy to the export sector. Government is sensitive to the needs of the export sector and will continue to respond sympathetically as the situation demands.

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