In a recent development, the Lok Sabha has given its approval for a net additional spending of ₹58,378 crore in the ongoing fiscal year, set to conclude in March 2024. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the government’s commitment to fiscal prudence while maintaining a focus on social welfare programs.
Allocation Breakdown: MGNREGA and Fertilizer Subsidy in the Spotlight
The gross additional spending sought by the government amounted to over ₹1.29 lakh crore, with a significant portion allocated to key areas. Notably, ₹13,351 crore has been earmarked for the fertilizer subsidy, demonstrating the government’s support for the agricultural sector. Additionally, about ₹7,000 crore is allocated for spending by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, emphasizing the importance of food security measures.
Sector-Specific Approvals: Petroleum, Rural Development, and External Affairs
The Lok Sabha has approved an additional outlay of ₹9,200 crore for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, underscoring the strategic significance of the energy sector. Furthermore, the Ministry of Rural Development has been granted ₹14,524 crore, specifically directed towards the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), addressing rural development needs. The Ministry of External Affairs has been allocated ₹20,000 crore for supplementary demands, with adjustments against a reduction of expenditure exceeding ₹9,000 crore.
Fiscal Deficit and Budget Outlook for 2023-24
For the entire fiscal year 2023-24, the government has projected a fiscal deficit of ₹17.86 lakh crore, equivalent to 5.9 percent of the GDP. The Finance Minister assured that fiscal prudence remains a top priority, balancing economic stability with social welfare imperatives. Despite the approved additional spending, Sitharaman highlighted that the net increase would be ₹58,378.21 crore, emphasizing a responsible fiscal approach.
Expenditure Adjustments and Savings
During the debate on Supplementary Demands for Grants, Sitharaman clarified that the government seeks ₹1.29 lakh crore in additional spending, of which ₹70,968 crore would be offset by savings and receipts. This meticulous approach aims to maintain financial discipline while addressing pressing needs in crucial sectors.
Important Questions Related to Exams
Q: What additional spending has been approved by the Lok Sabha for the current fiscal year?
A: ₹58,378 crore has been approved, with allocations for MGNREGA, fertiliser subsidy, essential services, petroleum, and external affairs.
Q: How does the government plan to balance fiscal prudence and social welfare?
A: Finance Minister Sitharaman emphasized fiscal responsibility, aiming to offset a significant portion (₹70,968 crore) through savings and receipts.
Q: What is the targeted fiscal deficit for the full fiscal year 2023-24?
A: The government aims for a fiscal deficit of ₹17.86 lakh crore, representing 5.9% of the GDP.
Q: What challenges does the government face in fiscal management?
A: The fiscal deficit for April-October is at 45.6% of the previous year’s Budget Estimate, highlighting ongoing fiscal challenges.