New Delhi: Rural Development Ministry, which steers a number of flagship programme like MNREGA and PMGSY, has got an allocation of Rs 80,194 crore for 2013-14 fiscal.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said that it was a 46 percent increase in budget of Rural Development Ministry, which could spend Rs 55000 crore in the current fiscal.
The Ministry was allocated Rs 75000 crore in the 2012-13 budget, but it could not spend the entire amount meant for upliftment of rural poor.
Chidambaram said the government's ambitious rural job scheme--MNREGA-- will get Rs 33,000 crore, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) will get Rs 21,700 crore and rural housing scheme--Indira Awas Yojana-- will get Rs 15,184 crore in the next fiscal.
In his budget speech in Parliament, Chidambaram said the objectives of PMGSY have been substantially fulfilled in several states and proposed to carve out PMGSY-II.
He said a portion of PMGSY funds will benefit states such as Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan, which have completed construction of rural roads and were seeking allocation for upgradation of such roads.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the allocation for PMGSY was Rs 24000 crores but the Ministry could spend only Rs 10000 crores.
"This year, we have got 21,700 crores. This will be broken up into two. PMGSY-I which will absorb about Rs 15000 crores, compare to Rs 10000 crores last year, and about Rs 6000 crore will be given to undertake upgradation works under the PMGSY II," he said.
Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry, which was part of Rural Development Ministry, also got an increased allocation in the budget.
Chidambaram said, "Clean drinking water and sanitation have a number of beneficial externalities. I propose to allocate Rs 15,260 crore to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, as against the Revised Estimate of Rs 13000 crore in the current year".
The Minister also proposed to provide Rs 1400 crore towards setting up water purification plants for the 2000 arsenic and 12000 fluoride-affected rural habitations in the country.