THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said in the Assembly on Wednesday that the government would increase the expenditure under Centrally sponsored schemes to record levels this year.
Replying to the debate on the demands for supplementary grants in the budget for the current financial year, the Minister said that the Finance Department was relaxing controls on expenditure under the schemes.
The departments implementing the schemes would not have to seek sanction from the Finance Department to spend budgeted funds. They would need only intimate it. Responding to Opposition criticism, Dr. Isaac said that Plan expenditure was lower in the previous year as funds budgeted under the Centrally sponsored schemes could not be used fully because of bottlenecks.
This year, cent per cent Plan expenditure would be achieved. He said that the allocation for the Kudumbasree project had been reduced this year as previous year’s allocations were unspent.
The increase in allocations for traditional industries and fisheries and increased expenditure in food subsidies and welfare pensions showed that the commitment of the government towards the poor was unwavering. The allocations for pro-poor schemes had been increased from Rs.792 crore in 2005-06 to Rs.1,138 crore in 2006-07 and to Rs.1,447 crore last year.
Referring to the debate on the vote of confidence in Parliament, the Minister said that the policies of the Congress and the BJP were converging on the nuclear issue.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan urged that the Congress should rethink its policies on the issue and correct its mistakes. The import of nuclear power plants would be a bigger disaster for India than the power project of Enron in Maharashtra.
He said that the Congress had reneged on its promise to the Left parties on the nuclear issue. The Left had supported the Centre even in testing times.
The House later passed the supplementary demands for grants totalling Rs.763.95 crore. Of this, Rs.505.37 crore was on revenue account and Rs.149.71 crore on capital account.