Indian Fiscal Budget 1997-98: Full Text


Revised Estimates for 1996-97

  1. I shall now briefly go over the Revised Estimates for 1996-97.

  2. The Budget Estimates for 1996-97 had placed the total expenditure at Rs.204,660 crore. This is now expected to come down to Rs.202,298 crore. This is the net effect of a decrease of Rs.2571 crore in the non-Plan expenditure and an increase of Rs.209 crore in the Plan expenditure.

  3. Non-Plan expenditure in the current year is placed at Rs.147,404 crore. This represents a decrease of Rs.2571 crore over the Budget estimates basically on account of saving of Rs.3000 crore in the provision made for the likely impact of the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission. On the other hand, we have not got Rs.4500 crore of anticipated receipts from disinvestment. Despite these constraints, I made an additional provision of Rs.1700 crore for Defence during the year. On balance, therefore, I believe we have managed our receipts and expenditure within the Budget.

  4. My greatest satisfaction is on the Plan side. We saved a considerable amount in the Plan expenditure of the Central government. It was, therefore, possible for me to provide an additional Rs.2500 crore to the States as Additional Central Assistance for externally-aided projects. I also provided Rs.663 crore to Jammu and Kashmir during the year. As a result, total Plan expenditure has increased by Rs.209 crore. If I have robbed Peter, the Central government, it is only to pay Paul, the States.

  5. In October, 1996, the Prime Minister announced a package of initiatives for the North-East, including adequate funding for on-going projects, which will require over Rs.6,000 crore. Government will allocate funds for these projects in the Ninth Plan. The Numaligarh Refinery is making good progress. I have provided Rs.100 crore for the project in the RE for 1996-97 and over the next two years adequate funds will be found to ensure its completion on schedule.

  6. The overall gross tax revenue which was estimated at Rs.132,145 crore in the Budget estimates will be marginally higher by Rs.174 crore, although the net tax revenue of the Centre would be marginally less by about Rs.100 crore from the Budget estimate of Rs.97,310 crore.

  7. Taking into account the Revised Estimates of revenues and expenditure, the Revenue Deficit has come down from the Budget estimate of 2.5% of GDP to 2.3% of GDP. There is no change in the Budget estimate of the fiscal deficit which would remain at 5% of GDP. I am profoundly sorry to disappoint my well-meaning critics.

  8. What will we do without our critics? As Saint Tiruvalluvar said:

    "Idipparai Illatha Emara Mannan
    Keduppar Ilanum Kedum"
    ( Behold the King who reposeth not on those who can rebuke
    him/He will perish even when he hath no enemies.)

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