Presenting the Union Budget 2009-10, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said one of the challenges before the government was to deepen and broaden the agenda for inclusive development; and to ensure that no individual community or region is denied the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the development process.
Referring to the interim budget for 2009-10, he highlighted policy focus areas that included:
- Strengthening the mechanisms for inclusive growth for creating about 12 million new work opportunities per year
- Reducing the proportion of people living below poverty line to less than half from current levels by 2014
- Expanding the range and reach of social safety nets by providing direct assistance to vulnerable sections
Highlighting the success of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which has provided employment opportunities to more than 4.47 crore households during 2008-09, Mukherjee announced an allocation of Rs39,100 crore for the year 2009-10, an increase of 144 per cent over 2008-09. Also planned is a convergence of the scheme with other schemes relating to agriculture, forest, water resources, land resources and rural roads.
The Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna will be restructured as the National Rural Livelihood Mission to make it universal in application focused in approach and time bound for poverty eradication by 2014-15. Here, stress will be laid on the formation of women's self help groups. Apart from providing capital subsidy at an enhanced rate, it is also proposed to provide interest subsidy to poor households for loans up to Rs1 lakh from banks.
Modernisation of the employment exchanges will be undertaken through public private partnership, under which a national web portal with common software will be developed. This will contain all the data regarding availability of skilled persons on the one hand and requirements of skilled persons by the industry on the other. It will help the youth get placed and enable industry to procure required skills on real time basis.