Food subsidy follows with an allocation of Rs. 4,900 crore
Power subsidy tops the list of important schemes in terms of allocation for the coming financial year.
The government has earmarked Rs. 5,197 crore, about Rs. 1,000 crore higher than what has been provided under revised estimates (RE) for the current year.
The provision for power subsidy has to be made in view of the government’s decision to retain free power supply for certain categories of consumers such as farmers and hut dwellers and keep the tariff at concessional rates for domestic consumers who consume less.
Food subsidy follows power subsidy with its allocation of Rs. 4,900 crore, Rs. 300 crore less than the present year’s RE. Under this component, around 1.7 crore family card holders are entitled to free rice.
The Old Age Pension scheme, which covers 30.72 lakh beneficiaries, has been provided Rs. 3,456 crore. The schemes of free distribution of lap tops to students and mixers, wet grinders and fans to rice-drawing family card holders get Rs. 1,500 crore each.
The Nutritious Noon Meal Programme, benefitting 53.5 lakh children, has been earmarked Rs. 1,491 crore, nine per cent higher than what has been provided for this year.
A perusal of allocations for 42 important schemes reveals that 19 schemes have been given higher allocation in the State budget for 2013-2014 than what they have got in the current year.
The comparison has been made on the basis of budget estimates of the schemes for the coming financial year and revised estimates for the present financial year.
Two of them – Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Fund (Rs. 2,000 crore) and special housing programme for ‘Thane’ affected victims (Rs. 667 crore) - have seen one hundred per cent rise in allotment while the hike in respect of others varies from 55 per cent for Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (Rs. 380 crore) to 40 per cent for Tamil Nadu Village Habitation Improvement Scheme (Rs. 750 crore) to 33 per cent for Tamil Nadu Skill Development Mission (Rs. 100 crore).
There is nil increase for 10 schemes whereas reduction in allocation has been made in the case of 13 schemes.