Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has hinted that the forthcoming Budget will be social sector centric. In his opening remarks during as pre -budget consultative meeting with the representatives of different social sector groups on Tuesday, he said that inclusive growth is high on the priorities of the government and it will take adequate measures to ensure social security for the children, women and senior citizens of the country.
However, one has to wait for the Budget announcement to see how many among the dozens of suggestions made by the groups will be considered by the government.
The groups had suggested an increase in the pension amount that is given to senior citizens and widows. They sought higher allocation for integrated child protection schemes, and highlighted the need to recruit trained and qualified teachers to meet the requirements of Right to Education (RTE) Act2009. They also wanted increased budgetary allocation in secondary education, universal education for children upto 18 years of age and improved financial transparency in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
Adequate provisioning towards a comprehensive and universal crop insurance scheme, extending crop insurance to all farmers for all crops and considering lower units as a unit of insurance with 100 per cent insurance premium to be borne by the government were suggested by the groups. They also wanted provisioning of higher credit and other input subsidies to small and marginal farmers, tenant farmers and farmers with oral lease, increased budgetary allocation for National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture under Krishi Unnati Yojana and for strengthening the institutional mechanism for better utilization of available funds under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
- Creation of National Social Security Board to provide social security to the workers of unorganized sector
- Provision of interest subvention for economically weaker sections and low income group sections for taking benefit under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
- Adequate budgetary resources for social sector
- Enhanced budget transparency at the district and sub-district levels
- Adequate budgetary outlays for implementation of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
- Assistance for construction of shelter homes for single woman/destitutes
- Utilization of 'Nirbhaya Fund' to institute substantive interventions for sector like health, urban development, public transport, education etc
- Higher allocations for Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana
- Review and scaling-up of Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls
- Higher allocation for ICDS Scheme
- Strengthening 'Gender Responsive Budgeting'
- Special planned focus for welfare of child labourers, street children, child domestic workers, children in conflict with law, anti-human trafficking initiatives and to stop child abuse in institutional and non-institutional set ups.
- Special budget allocation for implementation of New Juvenile Justice Act to set-up separate children homes with skilled staff in all States/UTs for reformation of juveniles engaged in heinous crimes
- Increase in spending for health from 1.3 per cent to 5 per cent of GDP
- Allocation of funds for Navjaat Shishu Suraksha Karyakram and ASHA Module 6 & 7 for all frontline health workers
- Higher allocation for Mid Day Meal Scheme