With no Winter Session, economy loses out on timely SDG warmth

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With the Winter Session of Parliament standing cancelled, the Centre appears to have lost an opportunity for mid-course correction of the economy, as there will be no supplementary demands for grants (SDG) till February.

“We will have SDG only at the time of presentation of the Budget, probably February 1. This means Central ministries and departments will find it tough to meet additional expenditure or launch new schemes,” a senior government official told BusinessLine.

 

Typically, there are three Parliament sessions in each financial year — Monsoon, Winter and Budget. SDG is normally presented in each session when the amount authorised for the current financial year (CFY) is insufficient, and the need arises for additional expenditure on an existing service or a new service not contemplated in the annual financial statement for that year, and for recouping the Contingency Fund Advance. Article 115 of the Constitution provides for SDG.

For this fiscal, the first SDG was presented during the truncated Monsoon Session, in September.

Approved funds

Parliament approved gross additional expenditure of over ₹2.35-lakh crore. Of this, net cash outgo aggregated to over ₹1.67-lakh crore and gross additional expenditure, matched by savings of the ministries/departments or by enhanced receipts/recoveries, aggregated to over ₹68,000 crore.

Besides, a token provision of ₹63 lakh was provided — ₹1 lakh for each item of expenditure for the new schemes. These schemes will get full allocation in the following budget.

The official quoted above said SDGs are not just for meeting additional expenditure; they also provide tools for enabling corrections in the economy by way of using limited resources where they are required most.

Use of savings

In the absence of such an arrangement, the use of savings will not be possible and this could affect existing schemes.

Take, for instance, the rural employment guarantee programme MGNREGA.

The Budget made a provision of ₹61,500 crore. Then, through the First Supplementary, an additional ₹40,000 crore was provided.

More funds may be required this fiscal. “Now, we cannot just use the funds available through savings under the Department of Land Resources, a department under the Ministry of Rural Development, for MGNREGA,” the official said.



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