Direction : Read the passage carefully and answer the questions given below it
The Union Budget 2011-12 aims to sustain economic growth, strengthen infrastructure, moderate the price rise, particularly of agricultural produce, and reduce social imbalances through inclusive development. There are lots of changes in the budget, out of which some matters the most. The funds for building capital assets for many schemes go as grant-in-aid to state governments. The capital assets are created either by the state governments or by the local bodies under them. These cannot be shown as capital expenditure in the Central Government accounts.
To give a correct picture of such revenue expenditure, a new head has been created within revenue expenditure - grants for creation of capital assets. The effective revenue deficit, therefore, drops to 2.3% of GDP against 3.4% of GDP if the total revenue expenditure is considered.
The Budget has expanded the ambit of plan expenditure to include four items which were earlier accounted for nonplan expenditure. This is in line with the mandate of the C Rangarajan committee on public expenditure management, which is expected to suggest an action plan to abolish the system of classifying expenditure as 'plan' and 'non-plan'. Plan expenditure increased by `5,290 crore in 2011-12 due to the inclusion of the four non-plan allocations.
The Budget has made specific allocations for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes within the overall plan. These will be shown as scheduled castes sub-plan and tribal subplan. The relevant ministries and departments will show these separately under a different head. This will help the government get a better fix on the expenditure and target it better. The Budget shows allocation of `32,020 crore towards development of scheduled castes and `18,626 crore for scheduled tribes.
The Budget discloses for the first time the government's liability on account of all the highway projects that have been funded through the annuity model. These are mostly roads where toll tax alone is not enough to make the project commercially viable. In such projects, the government makes an annual payment to the developer. The disclosure in the budget follows apprehensions that the government could be committing to too many projects under this route. It is the first step towards checking such a trend. As of now, the government has committed to total annuity of ?83,794 crore.
The slew of measures announced for the agricultural sector highlights the Government's thrust to facilitate storage and reduce the production and supply-chain bottlenecks in the agricultural sector which played an important role in driving inflation in the economy. While establishing an efficient supply chain and removal of production arid distribution bottlenecks, especially for food items, which have led to inflation has received the Government's focus during the budget timely and effective implementation of the initiatives would not only help in reducing the price difference between the wholesale and the retail prices but also provide for better realisation of prices by the farmers. It would also help in combating supply side-driven food inflation in the medium to long term. Moreover, if the Agriculture Produce Marketing Act is reformed as highlighted in the budget it would lead to further improvement in the supply chain linkages in the agricultural sector. Given the increased plan outlay corroborated with facilitation through increased financing avenues for major sectors, the budget can be rated to be significantly positive.
The budget addresses the issue of agricultural inflation by