2019 elections: Eyes on the prize, NDA boosts social-sector spending

12 Aug 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar

Keen on fulfilling development goals ahead of the 2019 General elections, the NDA government has hiked social sector spending in areas including housing, health and infrastructure over the next two financial years.

At this juncture, this is being done to keep its vote bank intact, to negate any opportunity for criticism, thereby paving its way for a possible victory in 2019.

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In context: Government hikes social sector spending

12 Aug 20172019 elections: Eyes on the prize, NDA boosts social-sector spending

IntroductionWhy is this important?

BJP came to power in 2014 projecting PM Narendra Modi's face as the embodiment of "Achhe din" which would arrive soon.

Three years on, the government has been criticized for increased rate of unemployment and poor performance under various socio-economic indices.

In order to keep its flag flying high after the 2019 elections, BJP has to demonstrate its credibility through fulfilling promises.

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Centre hikes total spending

As per the medium-term expenditure plan tabled by Arun Jaitley, the centre plans to increase total spending by 21% of the figure in 2017-18, raising it to Rs. 21.5 lakh crore by 2019-20. Capital expenditure is likely to touch Rs 3.9 lakh crore in 2019-20.
Social sector spending hiked

DetailsSocial sector spending hiked

While the MGNREGA was allotted Rs. 48,000 crore for the current year, it will be increased to Rs. 60,000 crore by 2019-20.

Funding for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana has been increased by 115%, from Rs. 6,043 crore this year to Rs. 13,000 crore in 2019-20.

Spending on the Rural Health Mission is further likely to see a 60% hike by 2019-20.

Roads, Railways and LPG subsidies

The government plans to allot more funds to roads and railways under infrastructure and intends to scrap LPG subsidies by March 2018, once the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme is put in place. Priority sectors within social sector spending have also been identified.