Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that bulk of the additional spending sought in the first batch of the supplementary demands for grants would be spend on people-centric schemes to help them amid the coronavirus pandemic. The minister also said that probably for the first time the government has sought such a huge amount in the first batch of the supplementary demands for grants.
Later, Lok Sabha approved the supplementary demands for additional spending of Rs 2.35 lakh crore, which include a cash outgo of Rs 1.66 lakh crore, primarily to meet expenses for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The minister said the government has sought Rs 40,000 crore towards MNREGA, thus taking the total outgo towards Rs 1 lakh crore, the highest so far. The budget for 2020-21 has earmarked about Rs 61,500 crore for MNREGA.
Besides MNREGA, the allocations are being increased for people-centric schemes like PM Garib Kalyan Yojana and other social welfare schemes, Sitharaman added. Further, she said that because of the digital initiatives of the Prime Minister, now it has become possible to send money directly into the accounts of poor people.
According to the minister, large increase in the number of demat accounts opened in recent months was a reflection of the faith of people in the economy. Regarding GST compensation to the states, the minister said that the Centre was not reneging from its responsibility and that the matter will be discuss in the GST Council.