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₹8,800 crore Supplementary Demands for Grants for J&K, Ladakh passed

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MGNREGA is now receiving funds like never before, says Nirmala

“One hard landing is not failure. We are extremely proud of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan 2 mission,’’ said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday replying to MP Saugata Roy’s suggestion that ISRO should be pulled up for its failure during a discussion on the first batch of the Supplementary Demands for Grants, 2019-21 which was passed by the Lower House.

She said: “The world is proud of us and we cannot punish ISRO and stop the money that has to go to them.’’

The Lok Sabha later passed the first batch of the Supplementary Demands for Grants allowing the government to spend an additional ₹21,246.16 crore, including over ₹8,800 crore in the newly formed Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in the current fiscal ending March 2020.

The cash outgo will be about ₹19,000 crore. The government has sought ₹8,820.62 crore as grants for the two new Union territories in lieu of the erstwhile State’s share of the 14th Finance Commission Award.

Another ₹4,557 crore will be infused in the IDBI Bank through recapitalisation bonds, while ₹2,500 crore will go into recapitalisation of the State-owned insurance companies.

In her reply, the Minister also informed the House about the various measures taken by the government to deal with the rising prices of onion. She said there had been a fall in the area of onion cultivation and shortfall in production. “There are also several structural issues related to storage and the government is trying to address them.’’

While the price of onions has crossed ₹100 per kg because of shortage, the Minister said, “Steps taken by the government to check the rising price include ban on exports, imposition of stock limit, import and transfer from surplus to deficit area.’’

On the MGNREGA, she said the programme is now “receiving funds like never before. Money is going directly into the pockets of the poor. There are no middlemen now.”

She also said due to the implementation of the direct benefit transfer scheme, the government has been able to save ₹1.41 lakh crore in the last five years. The government plugged all loopholes and “all dalals and middlemen have been eliminated from the system.”

To questions raised by several members about the IDBI bank’s financial situation, the Minister noted that the bank’s stressed accounts were not categorised as NPAs before 2015. “We are doing this [saving the bank] as our national responsibility.”

The Opposition on Wednesday attacked the government in the Lok Sabha over the slowdown in the economy which has hit a six-year low growth of 4.5% during the second quarter of the current fiscal. Many Opposition members expressed concern over slippages on the fiscal front.

Participating in the debate, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the manufacturing growth had come down to an average of 3% in the last five years. “Automobile is one of the most affected segments, consumer spending has also come down and we have seen decline in consumption... including essential food items,” he said.

Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena) said unemployment is on the rise, the farmers are in distress and traders are unhappy. “The Mudra scheme to provide loans to marginal sections of society has the maximum number of non-performing assets. People should benefit from such schemes and they should not remain on paper,” he said.

Nishikant Dubey (BJP), who had earlier this week in the House questioned the relevance of the GDP, found support from senior BJD leader B. Mahtab with the latter suggesting that there should be a debate in greater detail on the issues raised by the ruling party MP.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 3:54:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/8800-crore-supplementary-demands-for-grants-for-jk-ladakh-passed/article30172165.ece

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