New Delhi: Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh today lauded the General Budget and described it as a trend setting budget as far as his ministry is concerned.
"The overall allocation for all rural development schemes has been enhanced from Rs 91,000 crore to Rs 99,000 crore this fiscal, which is only next to the defence allocation," Ramesh told mediapersons in New Delhi.
The budget for drinking water and sanitation has been increased from Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 14,000 crore, which the finance minister promised to enhance by another Rs 1,000 crore in the revised estimate in November this year.
He said sanitation was mentioned for the first time in the budget twice and even drinking water and the quality of water gets a priority.
A world class Water Quality Research Centre will be established at Rajarhaat near Kolkata for which land was already sanctioned by the state government, the minister said.
The budgetary allocation for Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana witnessed a huge increase in the allocation from Rs 20,000 crore last year to Rs 24,000 crore in this fiscal.
"The additional Rs 4,000 crore will be utilised to build all weather roads in backward states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam and West Bengal," Ramesh said.
The budget for National Social Assistance Programme also saw a huge jump from Rs 6,100 crore to Rs 8,382 crore.
The budget for National Rural Livelihood Mission, now stands at Rs 3,915 crore in comparison to last year's Rs 2,914 crore.