Presenting the union budget 2009-10 in Parliament today, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee propsed higher spending on infrastructure projects and raised allocation for farmers and the poor, to deepen and broaden the agenda for inclusive development, and to energise government and improve delivery mechanism.
The first budget since the Congress-led UPA government returned to power in May seeks to address the challenge facing the economy - to lead the economy back to the high GDP growth rate of 9 per cent per annum at the earliest.
The budget proposes to give a big boost to infrastructure development. Bottlenecks for speedy implementation of infrastructure projects will be removed to ensure that sufficient funds are made available for this sector.
Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) will evolve a 'takeout financing' scheme in consultation with banks to facilitate incremental lending to the infrastructure sector.
Allocation for the National Highways Development Programme is being increased by 23 per cent, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission by 87 per cent and Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme by 160 per cent.
The government plans to introduce a new scheme - the Rajiv Awas Yojana - with the aim of making the country slum-free in the next five years.