The government on Thursday sought Parliament’s approval for an additional spending of Rs 6.28 lakh crore to meet its expenditure commitments made under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) to ensure speedy recovery of the economy, which has been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the second and final batch of supplementary demands for grants in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, which includes, among other things, a sum of Rs 3,04,557.83 crore required to meet the additional allocation of foodgrains under the PMGKY and the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package, and for the repayment of NSSF (national small savings fund) loan to the Food Corporation of India.
The supplementary demand for grant is an additional grant required to meet the required expenditure of the government over and above the amount for which parliamentary nod was taken earlier.
In September, Sitharaman had taken the Parliament’s approval for additional spending of Rs 2.35 lakh crore as part of the first supplementary demand for grant. Permission for higher expenditure now is on account of the government stimulus measures announced in phases last year to support faster economic recovery from a Covid hit economy.
The government has sought gross additional expenditure of Rs 6,28,379.99 crore, but the net cash outgo is expected to be Rs 4,12,653.48 crore as additional expenditure is matched by savings of the ministries/departments or by enhanced receipts/recoveries aggregating to Rs 2,15,725 crore.
Apart from higher expenditure needed for supporting foodgrain security for the poor and shifting borrowings on food procurement on to the Budget, a major portion of additional spending, about Rs 65,000 crore, will go towards ensuring increased supply of fertilisers to farmers to enable timely availability of fertilisers in the upcoming crop season.
Paliamentary approval has also been sought for additional spending of Rs 20,466.50 crore required for modenisation of defence forces, including the procurement of equipment by all the three forces.
Also, an additional sum of Rs 17,438.29 crore is required for providing grants for creation of capital assets under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme as per the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package 3.0 and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Rural, including transfer of funds to the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund.
The government has stepped up expenditure in the wake of the pandemic that almost brought down the economy to a grinding halt during the time of lockdown in March-May last year.
The total stimulus announced by the government and the Reserve Bank of India till date to help the nation tide over the Covid-19 pandemic works out to Rs 29.87 lakh crore, which is 15 per cent of the national GDP. Out of this, stimulus worth 9 per cent of the GDP has been provided by the government.