Budget 2017-18: Total expenditure pegged at Rs21,47,000 cr

The general budget for 2017-18 envisages total expenditure of Rs21,47,000 crore, which includes allocation for the Railways also since the Union Budget now includes Railway Budget as well.

Presenting the annual budget for 2017-18, finance minister Arun Jaitley said he is confident of achieving both revenue and expenditure targets with greater focus on quality of expenditure and higher tax realisation from huge cash deposits triggered by demonetisation.

For the first time, a consolidated Outcome Budget, covering all ministries and departments, is being laid along with the General Budget.

The total resources being transferred to the states and the union territories with legislatures will go up to Rs4,11,000 crore in 2017-18 from Rs3,60,000 crore in the budget estimates for 2016-17.

For defence expenditure excluding pensions, Jaitley has provided a sum of Rs2,74,114 crore, including Rs86,488 crore for defence capital.

The finance minister also increased allocation for the science and technology ministries to Rs37,435 crore in 2017-18.

Allocation for infrastructure development in 2017-18 is placed at Rs3,96,135 crore.

Railways' expenditure will be Rs1,31,000 crore, of which Rs55,000 crore will be provided by the government.

Budget for the welfare of women and children has been stepped up from Rs1,56,528 crore to Rs1,84,632 crore in 2017-18.

With the abolition of Plan-non Plan classification of expenditure, the focus is now on revenue and capital expenditure. Taking note of the fiscal deficit roadmap for the next three years and considering the need for higher public expenditure in the context of sluggish private sector investment and slow global growth, finance minster Jaitley has  pegged the fiscal deficit for 2017-18 at 3.2 per cent of GDP and further committed to achieve 3 per cent in the following year, ie, 2018-19.

Jaitley further said that he has stepped up the allocation for capital expenditure by 25.4 per cent over the previous year with the aim of fiscal consolidation, without compromising the requirements of public investment.

He said a provision of Rs3,000 crore has been made under the Department of Economic Affairs to implement various budget announcements and other new schemes in 2017-18.

Jaitley said he has taken due care to limit the net market borrowing of government to Rs3,48,000 crore after buyback, much lower than the Rs4,25,000 crore of the previous year. More importantly, the revenue deficit of 2.3 per cent in budget estimates for 2016-17 stands reduced to 2.1 per cent in the revised estimates. The revenue deficit for next year is pegged at 1.9 per cent, against 2 per cent mandated by the FRBM Act.

He said the government will further improve upon these fiscal numbers, especially the fiscal deficit, in the next year, through greater focus on quality of expenditure and higher tax realisation from the huge cash deposits in banks, triggered by demonetisation.

Terming demonisation a right cause, the finance minister recalled Mahatma Gandhi's quote, ''A right cause never fails''.

The government's agenda, he said, is to transform the quality of governance, energise various sections of society and to clean the country from evils of corruption, black money and non-transparent political funding.

Towards this the government plans to spend more in rural areas, on infrastructure and poverty alleviation while maintaining fiscal prudence.

The government will undertake a Mission Antyodaya to bring 10 million households out of poverty and to make 50,000 gram panchayats poverty-free by 2019, the year marking the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji, he added.