Budget Speech - PART A
Poverty Alleviation Programmes
- Our fight against poverty is not a game in populism. It is a battle at the grassroots level. It is a battle in which, I believe, all of us ought to be on the side of the poor. Those who are poor are those who do not have land or water or education or opportunity. Our programmes, therefore, revolve around the concerns of the poor. For example
- The flagship programme of the Prime Minister is the Basic Minimum Services plan. As against Rs.2466 crore in the current year, I propose to provide Rs.3300 crore for this programme in 1997-98. This will include Rs.330 crore for slum development.
- The provision for the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme is being enhanced from Rs.900 crore to Rs.1300 crore in 1997-98.
- The Ganga Kalyan Yojana is intended to support farmers to take up schemes for groundwater and surface water utilisation through a mixture of subsidy, maintenance support and credit arrangements. Rs.200 crore is being provided in 1997-98.
- On August 15, 1997, the Prime Minister will inaugurate the Kasturba Gandhi Shiksha Yojana, a programme to establish special schools for girl children in the districts which have a particularly low female literacy rate. I have placed Rs.250 crore in the Budget for 1997-98.
- All current self-employment schemes, addressed to different target groups such as PMRY, IRDP, NRY etc., will be re-orientated to provide skill-based training, entrepreneurship development and subsidy-linked bank credit to 1 million youth to empower them to start viable small businesses.
- Our government believes that poverty alleviation programmes are important instruments in the fight against poverty. While maintaining the large outlays for these programmes, it is necessary to rationalise their number and make them more focussed and effective. The Planning Commission is now engaged in a comprehensive exercise and the revised portfolio of poverty alleviation programmes will be implemented with effect from April 1, 1997.
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