I have already made a reference to the Chief
Ministers' Conference on Basic Minimum Services. The Prime
Minister intends to call another conference of Chief Ministers
to discuss the political aspects of Centre-State relations and
federalism. At the last conference, the Chief Ministers expressed
the view that many centrally-sponsored schemes should be retained
as such and should continue to be funded by the Central
government. While we respect the views of the Chief Ministers, it
is our desire that most Centrally-sponsored schemes should be
transferred to the control of the State governments. In the
meantime, States will be given greater flexibility in the
implementation of these programmes. Provisions available under
all other schemes will be pooled and the basic entitlement ratio
will be worked out for each State. The States will be free to
select for implementation, within their annual entitlement, such
schemes that are more suited to their needs. The Ministry of
Planning and Programme Implementation is working on the revised
guidelines and procedures in consultation with the concerned
Ministries and the States.
I also intend to circulate a discussion paper to
Hon'ble Members on the 10th Finance Commission's recommendation
to form a single divisible pool of taxes to be shared
between the Centre and the States. Prima-facie, the Finance
Commission's recommendation appears to be in the national
interest but it will require an amendment to the Constitution.
Hence, I wish to encourage a debate before a final decision is
The Common Minimum Programme has promised that
the Government will, within six months, bring out a detailed
document that will articulate the priorities and programmes of
the Ninth Plan. While a number of programmes have been initiated
in this Budget, it will be our endeavour to prepare an Approach
Paper to the Ninth Five Year Plan within four months. The Ninth
Plan will target a growth rate of 7% per annum and will
articulate strategies for decentralisation of responsibilities,
for raising resources and for ensuring widespread growth. The
initiatives that have been taken this year will be followed by a
more comprehensive programme of social and economic development
with the focus on elimination of poverty.
I shall now briefly go over the Budget estimates.
As Hon'ble Members are aware details of the
revised estimates for 1995-96 were presented along with the
interim Budget in February 1996. I am, therefore, not going over
those estimates again. The figures that are given below are
the budget estimates for 1996-97 and for plan expenditure I
shall compare them with the budget estimates for 1995-96.
For 1996-97, the total expenditure is estimated
at Rs.204,698 crore. Of this, Rs.54,685 crore is gross budgetary
support for the Central Plan and assistance to State and UT
plans, representing a sharp increase of 13% over Rs.48,500 crore.
Non-plan expenditure is placed at Rs.150,013 crore.
Central assistance for State and UT plans is
being stepped up from Rs.19,506 crore to Rs.21,972 crore. The
increase will provide funds to the States for implementing the
seven Basic Minimum Services schemes to which I have referred
Gross budgetary support for the Central Plan is
being enhanced from Rs.28,994 crore to Rs.32,713 crore.
All anti-poverty programmes will be reviewed with
a view to strengthening them and providing them with more funds.
The plan allocation for the Department of Rural Development has
been increased from Rs.1,263 crore to Rs.2,195 crore. The plan
allocation for the Department of Rural Employment and Poverty
Alleviation is Rs.6,437 crore.
The plan allocation for the Department of
Fertilizers has been increased from Rs.205 crore to Rs.373 crore
in order to increase domestic production.
For tapping the potential of non-conventional
energy sources, the plan allocation for the Ministry of Non-
Conventional Energy is being raised by Rs.87 crore to Rs.334
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I hope Hon'ble Members will
forgive the Finance Minister if he is partial to the cause of
exports. After all, I cut my teeth in economic administration in
the Ministry of Commerce. Promotion of exports must remain high
on our agenda. Hence, I propose to provide a sum of Rs.50 crore
for the corpus of the recently established India Brand Equity
Fund. I would appeal to industry and trade to contribute at least
an equal amount in this financial year itself. A sum of Rs.25
crore has been provided for critical balancing infrastructure.
Non-plan provision for export promotion and market development
has been enhanced from Rs.315 crore to Rs.460 crore. Deemed
exporters will now get refund of terminal excise duty in quick
The plan allocation for the Department of Health
has been stepped up from Rs.647 crore to Rs.792 crore.
The plan allocation for the Department of
Education has been increased substantially from Rs.1,825 crore
to Rs.3,388 crore. This will help in implementation of the
District Primary Education Programme and the mid-day meal scheme.