All villages to be electrified by 2018 : Jaitley

By Sarkaritel February 1, 2017 18:36

All villages to be electrified by 2018 : Jaitley

New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) Aiming to empower villages through a hike in MGNREGA funds, poverty alleviation and 100 per cent electrification by May 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday focussed on rural India.

In his Budget speech, Jaitley said 100 per cent electrification of villages will be achieved by May 1, 2018.

The government has allocated Rs 4,843 crore to electrify the rural areas under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in financial year 2017-18.

The Finance Minister also announced a 24 per cent hike for rural, agricultural and allied sectors as compared to last year, allocating Rs 1,87,223 crore for financial year 2017-18.

“The government will continue to work closely with the farmers and the people in the rural areas to improve their life and environment. This is a non-negotiable agenda for our government,” Jaitley said in Parliament.

Announcing to build one crore houses for the homeless and those living in kutcha houses by 2019, Jaitley allocated Rs 23,000 crore for 2017-18 against Rs 15,000 crore allocated last year.

Jaitley also said the government aims to make one crore households and 50,000 Gram Panchayats “poverty free” by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Stating that 133 km of new rural roads were paved every day in 2016-17 against 73 km per day during 2011-14, Jaitley dedicated Rs 27,000 crore for rural roads for financial year 2017-18 against Rs 19,000 crore last year.

“Hundred per cent targets for roads were achieved in the Left wing extremist areas during the last financial year,” the Finance Minister said.

Stating that the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has made tremendous progress, Jaitley said the open defecation-free villages are now being given priority for piped water supply, under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).

“We propose to provide safe drinking water to over 28,000 arsenic and fluoride affected habitations in the next four years,” Jaitley said.

Speaking of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Jaitley said participation of women in the scheme has increased from 45 per cent to 55 per cent.

The Finance Minister also announced that the budget for MGNREGA has been increased to Rs 48,000 crore for 2017-18 from Rs 36,500 crore in 2016-17.

He also announced that for better monitoring, geo-tagging of all MGNREGA assets is being done and space technology will be used for better transparency.

The minister said five lakh farm ponds and 10 lakh pits were fully achieved in 2016-17 and about 10 lakh farm ponds would be completed by March 2017 under MGNREGA.

“My overall approach, while preparing this budget, has been to spend more in rural areas, infrastructure and poverty alleviation and yet maintain the best standards of fiscal prudence,” Jaitley said.

By Sarkaritel February 1, 2017 18:36