NEW DELHI, Dec 12: Finance minister Nirmala Sitahraman on Tuesday in the Lok Sabha said the economy is moving in the right direction, and India has become the fastest-growing major economy in the world.
Replying to a debate on supplementary demands for grants, finance minister Sitharaman said fiscal prudence is the top priority of the government without compromising on social welfare.
The House later approved the supplementary demands for grants, allowing the government to spend an additional over Rs 1.29 lakh crore, of which Rs 58,378 crore would be the cash outgo in the current fiscal.
The remaining Rs 70,968 crore will be matched by the savings and receipts.
“Our economy is moving in the right direction…Macroeconomic fundamentals are fine. We have become the fastest-growing economy. Q2 growth of 7.6 per cent is the highest in the world,” she said.
Responding to issues raised by the Opposition members on BSNL, the minister further said the government has earmarked Rs 11,850 crore capital infusion in the state-owned telecom firm.
She alleged that the 10-year of UPA rule is responsible for the company’s situation.
“In every budget, we allocate funds to the BSNL,” she said.
On MNREGA, she said it is a demand-driven programme, and the government allocate funds accordingly.
So far this fiscal, Rs 80,000 crore has been allocated.
On complaints of members that the centre delays the release of funds to states, Sitharaman said they are done in accordance with the rules on receipt of utilisation certificate.
The additional expenditure includes Rs 13,351 crore towards fertiliser subsidy and about Rs 7,000 crore towards spending by the Department of Food and Public Distribution.
The House also approved an additional outgo of Rs 9,200 crore spending by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Rs 14,524 crore by the Ministry of Rural Development towards MGNREGA.
The total supplementary demands for spending by the Ministry of External Affairs were Rs 20,000 crore, which would be adjusted against the reduction of expenditure of over Rs 9,000 crore.
For the full 2023-24, the government has budgeted the fiscal deficit to be Rs 17.86 lakh crore or 5.9 per cent of the GDP.
The April-October fiscal deficit was 45.6 per cent of the full-year Budget Estimate of the last fiscal. (PTI)