The Indian Parliament building in New Delhi, India (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg)

Lok Sabha Approves Rs 11,698 Crore Additional Expenditure

Lok Sabha approved the first batch of supplementary demands for grants envisaging a gross additional expenditure of nearly Rs 11,698 crore for the current financial year.

The Supplementary Demands for Grants and demands for excess grants, along with the appropriation bills, were passed by a voice vote, as opposition members, including those of the Congress and CPI(M), staged a walkout saying the government had not replied to their concerns over an alleged scam in the Rafale fighter jet deal.

“This government follows the kind of budget making where there is least deviation between the planned and actual estimates,” said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, responding to the five-hour debate. “This is an honest government which spends every penny honestly.”

The government had brought down fiscal deficit “that we got as a legacy” from 4.4 percent to 3.3 percent, he said. He said 400 schemes have been brought under direct benefit transfer under which Rs four lakh crore have been disbursed to the beneficiaries directly.

India is the fastest growing nation where inflation and fiscal deficit are low,said Goyal, regarding the the state of the economy.

As per the first batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants, the net cash expenditure totals Rs 5,951.2 crore and gross additional expenditure aggregates to Rs 5,745.7 crore.

The government has also sought a token provision of Rs 1.02 crore for enabling re-appropriation of savings in cases of new service or new instrument of service. The government is seeking Parliament's nod to spend Rs 1,791.6 crore for the Agriculture Ministry, Rs 1,500 crore of the Textiles Ministry and Rs 1,057.8 crore for the Defence Ministry.

The government has sought Rs 980 crore for infusion of equity in Air India under the turnaround plan.

The government has sought approval to spend Rs 463.3 crore for the Food and Public Distribution Ministry as per the document tabled in Parliament. The amount would be used for creation of a buffer stock of sugar.