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Centre to rationalise CSS, Rs 20k cr for new schemes: Expenditure Secretary

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New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) In an effort to lower the expenditure, Finance Ministry is considering merger and discontinuation of a few more Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), priortise expenditure to rationalise expenses and has allocated Rs 20,000 crore for some new schemes in health, housing, drinking water, a top official said.
 

"We have to balance between revenues, fiscal deficit and expenditure priorities. We have priortised 32 ministries and we have realigned the same expenditure level with little bit of increase. Together with these, we have allocated Rs 20,000 crore for new schemes — health, drinking water, housing.

"We will rationalise, not downsize. We have so many CSS. We may little bit compress there, merge them or some may be discontinued. Some realignment will be made in the small schemes where convergence is needed," Girish Chandra Murmu, Expenditure Secretary told IANS in an interview.

He did not name the CSS where such rationalisation could take place.

Murmu also said the government is hoping to save on interest costs from the proposed sovereign bonds.

"Rs 6 lakh crores are interest expenditure, we have to see how to rationalise those things. So that we can realign. Sovereign bond will help in doing this as internationally capital is low cost and the real cost of money is very high in India. But the Sovereign bond amount is not Budgeted this year. It will be a bonus," Expenditure Secretary said.

In the Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced government would go for Sovereign bond in foreign currency to meet part of borrowing.

DoE does not see any major upside to the expenses at least till the Revised Estimates (RE) stage in October except few items.

"All major expenditures both on capital and revenue side have been taken care and adequately provided. On PM Kisan, we have already provided Rs 75,000 crore and we will evaluate again at the RE stage in October-November.

"There is an estimation of Rs 87,000 crore but we have adequate provision to see through that RE stage. I don’t see any pressure. We will augment in PM Kisan if required. It is not a big amount and there may be some expenditure on labour and employment side due to extension of EPFO scheme contribution of 12 per cent by employer. It will cost Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000 crore a year.

"Right now Rs 5,000 crore is already there and at RE stage we will evaluate more requirements. We may scale up little bit in water supply scheme," Murmu said.

The Expenditure Secretary ruled out any downward revision on revenue expenses.

"Revenue expenditure cutting down is impossible at current level because they are all committed liabilities. Revenue expenditure has defence, interest payment, pensions, subsidy. There is no scope for cutting down. The central sector schemes and other such schemes are also revenue expenditure, so they can not be cut as they are welfare schemes.

Total Expenditure through Budget is Rs 27.84 lakh crore in 2019-20.

 

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