You Win Some; You Lose Some: 10 Schemes Which Saw Outlay Fluctuations In the Union Budget 2023-24
The Budget had some major announcements for the public, and outlay towards government schemes saw some significant changes
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The Union Budget 2023-24 may have been announced three days ago, but the nation is still adjusting and talking about the announcements Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made before the Parliament. Many may not know, but only some decisions can be disclosed during the presentation.
So, what got left behind during the budget presentation? The fund allocation to various government schemes. To simplify, let's break down the scheme segment a little. The significant schemes which see outlay are 185 in number. The number is exhaustive. The schemes are bifurcated into (A) Core of the Core Schemes, (B) Core Schemes, and (C) Major Central Sector Schemes. Section A has six schemes, B has 32, and C has 147.
The list compares the Revised Estimates of 22-23 and the Budget Estimates of 23-24. The revised estimates refer to the rough amount spent on expenditure in the ongoing year (it can vary against the budget estimates of the year). In contrast, the budget estimates are prepared before the beginning of an annual year and account for the estimated expenditure the government will incur.
To make things easier for a layman, we list out ten schemes which saw a shift in the funds allocated this year-
Top Five Schemes Which Saw The Biggest Swell
1. Road Works- INR 32,729 crore
The current FY 22-23 saw about INR 74,984 crore being utilized in the country's road works against the estimated budget of INR 64,568 crore. Hence, the budget for 23-24 was increased to INR 107,713 crore.
2. Rolling Stock- INR 22,423 crore
This budget saw a massive INR 2.40 lakh crore being allocated to Railways. This outlay is nine times higher than the expenditure of 2013-14. Hence, rolling stock (components used in the railroad industry) outlay has been expanded to INR 37,581 crore from the revised budget of INR 15,158 crore in the ongoing year.
3. National Highways Authority of India- INR 20,601 crore
The estimated expenditure towards the National Highways Authority of India has been increased to INR 162,207 crore for FY 23-24.
4. Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM)/ National Rural Drinking Water Mission- INR 15,000 crore
Providing food, grains, and healthy drinking water has been a priority for all the reigning governments. However, this time it's a bit different. The Jal Jeevan Mission launched in 2019 is entering its last year for achieving the goal 2024 of providing healthy tap water to households. To give it a thrust, the government has pumped in an extra INR 15,000 crore making INR 70,000 crore the annual budget for the mission. As of 25th January 2023, 11,07,32,075 rural households have been provided with tap water connections.
5. Transfer to Railway Safety Fund- INR 10,000 crore.
Launched under FY17-18, the Railway Safety Fund was established with a corpus fund of INR 1 lakh crore spread across five years, providing it INR 20,000 crore annually. However, the demarcation has been inconsistent, with the expenditure for FY 22-23 being INR 35,000 so far. The outlay for FY 23-24 has been further expanded with INR 10,000 crore, making it a budget estimate of INR40,000. This aligns with the government's expenditure announced for the Railways.
Top Five Schemes Which Saw Major Setbacks
1. Food Subsidy to Food Corporation of India under the National Food Security Act- INR 77,489 crore
The most significant blow was dealt by the Food Subsidy to Food Corporation of India under National Food Security Act as it saw the outlay slashed from INR 77,489 crore to INR 137,207 crore. The approximate expenditure incurred during the ongoing year is INR 214,696 crore.
2. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Program- INR 29,400 crore
The biggest shock was MNREGA seeing a cut of INR 29,400 crore in the budget estimate published post-Budget. The FY22-23 had an estimated budget of INR 73,000, while the revised budget shows INR 89,400 crore. The outlay for the scheme stands at INR 60,000 crore for FY 23-24.
3. Nutrient-Based Subsidy- INR 27,122 crore
The NBS scheme provides farmers with non-urea-based fertilizers at subsidized rates. The nutrients supplied through these fertilizers include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur. The outlay for the scheme has been reduced from INR 71,122 crore (revised budget FY 22-23) to INR 44,000 crore as the estimated budget.
4 . Urea Subsidy- INR 22,998 crore
There are three basic types of fertilizers, Urea being the most produced, consumed, imported, and physically regulated. It provides plants with nitrogen and helps in the photosynthesis process. The government has decided to reduce its estimated budget from (revised budget) INR 154,098 crore to INR 131,100 crore for FY 23-24.
5. Food Subsidy for Decentralized Procurement of Foodgrains under NFSA- INR 12,490 croreThe scheme saw a major cut for the year by the government. Its outlay was decreased by INR 12,490 crore from INR 72,283 crore to INR 59,793 crore.