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.