Budget 2024: A little more for all labharathis? Focus on ‘core of core’ schemes | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Interim Budget 2024: A little more for all labharathis? Focus on ‘core of core’ schemes

Feb 02, 2024 05:39 AM IST

Budget 2024: Centrally sponsored schemes are implemented by states but are largely funded by the Union government with a defined share of state governments.

The interim budget on Tuesday raised allocations to the government’s six so-called “core of core schemes” to 1.12 lakh crore for 2024-25 from revised estimates (2023-24) of 1.08 lakh crore, an increase of 3%. When compared with the budget estimates (2023-24) of 86,144 crore, the outlay for the next fiscal year for these programmes represents a 30% jump.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman leaves the finance ministry ahead of the presentation of the interim budget in Parliament. (Sanchit Khanna/HT)
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman leaves the finance ministry ahead of the presentation of the interim budget in Parliament. (Sanchit Khanna/HT)

These core of core centrally sponsored scheme include the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme, Umbrella Programme for Development of Minorities, Umbrella Programme for Development of Other Vulnerable Groups, Umbrella Programme for Development of Scheduled Tribes, Umbrella Scheme for Development of Schedule Castes. The umbrella programmes usually cover multiple schemes in a sector.

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Also Read : Interim budget 2024-25: Capex raised to 3.4% of GDP despite fiscal consolidation

In her sixth straight budget, Sitharaman allocated 86,000 crore for the make-work MNREGS programme for 2024-25, which is the same as the revised estimates for the current financial year (2023-24). The number, however, is 43% up from budget estimates of 60,000 crore (2023-24).

Centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) are implemented by states but are largely funded by the Union government with a defined share of state governments. For all other centrally sponsored schemes designated as “core”, including key welfare schemes such as integrated health and nutrition programmes, the interim budget has, in all, allocated 3.8 lakh crore for 2024-25. This allocation, according to revised estimates of 2023-24, stood at 3.3 lakh crore, while the budget estimates were pegged at 3.8 lakh crore.

In her sixth straight budget, Nirmala Sitharaman allocated ₹86,000 crore for the make-work MNREGS programme for 2024-25.(HT graphics)
In her sixth straight budget, Nirmala Sitharaman allocated ₹86,000 crore for the make-work MNREGS programme for 2024-25.(HT graphics)

The interim budget has provided a 3% increase of 21,200 crore to the country’s main programmes to tackle malnutrition -- the women and child development ministry’s Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0. These programmes are aimed at tackling poor health in children, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women.

Indicating that these schemes would be consolidated, Sitharaman said: “Various schemes for maternal and childcare will be brought under one comprehensive programme for synergy in implementation.” The budget estimate for the scheme in FY24 stood at 20,554 crore, which is 1.4% higher than the revised estimate allocation of 20,263 crore.

Referring to the scheme, the finance minister said: “Upgradation of anganwadi centres under Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 will be expedited for improved nutrition delivery, early childhood care and development.”

According to the National Family Health Survey-5 for 2019-21, the latest available data, health and nutrition outcomes of children below 5 years show an improvement since the previous survey in 2015-16. For instance, prevalence of stunting had declined from 38.4% to 35.5%, while that of wasting had gone down to 19.3% from 21%.

The same survey put the percentage of underweight children at 32.1%, down from 35.8% earlier. Nearly 80% of the women and child development ministry’s allocation goes into the scheme.

The outlay for the Modi government’s flagship drinking water programme, Jal Jeevan Mission, for 2024-25 stands at 70,162 crore, a marginal increase from the revised as well as budgeted estimates of 70,000 crore for the ongoing financial year.

The Jal Jeevan Mission is likely to cross a key milestone this month by connecting nearly three-fourths of all rural households, an official said.

Over 141.5 million rural households, or 73.48% of the total, have been given a functional tap-water connection, according to official data from the programme’s dashboard. A baseline survey had showed that less than 17% or 32.3 million households had a connection in 2019, when the mission was launched.

The scheme launched in August 2019 aims to connect each of India’s 192.6 million rural households with tap-water connections by 2024-end. Under the mission, a family is provided 55 litres of clean water per day per person.

Nearly 600 million people in 12 major river basins of the country face “high to extreme” water stress, according to a 2018 report by the state-run think-tank, Niti Aayog. Getting to a water source is a long haul in rural India.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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