Ramesh welcomes General Budget as trend-setter

Union Minister Jairam Ramesh described as "trend-setter" the Union Budget which proposes an increase of Rs 8000 crore in the total allocation for rural development.

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2012, 21:05 PM IST

New Delhi: Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday described as "trend-setter" the Union Budget which
proposes an increase of Rs 8000 crore in the total allocation
for rural development including drinking water supply and
sanitation.

Last year, the total allocation for Rural Development
which includes drinking water supply, sanitation and the
National Social Assistance Programmes (NSAP) was Rs 91000
crore. This year, the proposed allocation for the sector has
been increased to Rs 99000 crore.

"This is a very very substantial increase," Ramesh said
thanking Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the hike.

"It is a very important, trend setting budget from the
rural point of view. I wish to thank the Finance Minister for
presenting the budget in which he has accepted all the
recommendations relating to the Ministry of Rural Development,
Drinking Water and Sanitation. It is an important
achievement," Ramesh told reporters here.

Recognising the importance of Rural Drinking Water Supply
and Sanitation, the Finance Minister has made an allocation of
Rs 14,000 crore for it in 2012-2013. Last year, the actual
expenditure on drinking water and sanitation was Rs 10,000
crore as opposed to an allocation of Rs 11000 crore.

Ramesh said Mukherjee has assured him that the budget can
go up to Rs 15,000 crore as far as the importance of drinking
water and sanitation is concerned.

Simlarly, PMGSY, the centre`s rural road scheme, has got
a boost in the budget with an increase of Rs 4000 crore. With
this the total allocation for the programme will substantially
go up from Rs 20000 crore to Rs 24000 crore.

"This will help us to accelerate the PMGSY in Bihar,
Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Assam, West
Bengal," Ramesh said.

PTI