Ministries to face 24% budget cuts

Tags: Plan

Talk of sharply lower allocations for FY14 has ministers cribbing

With the government in expenditure cutting mode, various ministries are bracing for reduction in their annual budgets for 2013-14, with some even anticipating cuts of up to 24 per cent.

While some ministries are reconciled to the expected cut in allocations by the finance ministry, a few others are cribbing.

According to indications from various ministries, the finance ministry would be slashing the annual budgeted allocations for various ministries in view of the poor financial health of the economy.

“The finance ministry and planning commission have said there will be a 24 per cent budget cut for all ministries,” a Union minister, who did not want to be named, told PTI.

When contacted for his comment amid apprehensions of budget cut, Union rural development mini­ster Jai­ram Ramesh said it was “inevitable” and that his ministry would have

to make do with whatever it got.

“Budget cut is inevitable given the grim fiscal position. We have to make do with what we get,” he said.

Ramesh seemed to be reconciled even though media reports had suggested that he had written to finance minister P Chidambaram, requesting that there should be no cut in budget for his ministry.The rural development ministry was allocated a budget of Rs 85,000 crore in 2012-13.Tribal affairs minister V Kishore Chandra Deo refused to get into specifics, but said, “If such a huge cut” was done in the budget for a ministry like his, “then hardly anything will be left for it.”The tribal affairs ministry was sanctioned a budget of Rs 4,000 crore approximately for this financial year. Deo said there should not be any budget cut in social sector ministries, keeping in mind the small size of their annual allocation.“How much will you gain by cutting the budget of tribal affairs ministry and others in social sector, whose entire allocation is not too big. This way the ministries will not be able to meet their target of bridging the social gap,” he added.Deo has already written letters to Chidambaram and planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia over this.“I think on this area, social sector, they should not cut budget so massively,” he said.Women and child development ministry too is also bracing for the cut, with a senior official saying the finance ministry has already told them to spend only 33 per cent of the revised estimate for the last quarter of this financial year.The defence ministry also suffered a cut of Rs 12,000 crore in the revised budget of Rs 1.93 lakh crore in this financial year. Besides, the finance ministry also turned down its request for additional allocation of Rs 40,000 crore in this financial year.

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