Talking about the challenges ahead, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that he needs to provide over Rs 1.10 lakh crore in this year’s general budget for implementation of One Rank One Pension scheme and 7th Pay Commission award. He also proposed higher allocation for the agriculture sector as the country witnessed deficient monsoon in two straight years (2013-14 & 2014-15) in a row.
Addressing the Consultative Committee attached to the Finance Ministry on Friday, he also said that India has potential to grow at a much faster pace even as he exuded confidence that fiscal deficit target for current financial year will be within target.
“During the financial year 2016-17, the central government has to make provision for about Rs 1.10 lakh crore in order to meet the liabilities on account of implementation of 7th Pay Commission recommendations and One Rank One Pension (OROP) Scheme,” Jaitley said.
He also said that the agriculture growth in the last two years has suffered mainly due to insufficient monsoons and highest ever amount was given to the states for drought relief during the current financial year, 2015-16.
“More incentives will be given to agriculture sector for increasing agriculture production and productivity,” he said.
India, he said, continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but there is still potential to grow at a much faster pace.
“The world economy is passing through an uncertain and fragile situation… The silver lining is low international commodities and oil prices which in turn has helped in better macroeconomic situation of the country,” Jaitley said.
The 7th Pay Commission in November recommended increase in remuneration of about one crore government employees and pensioners which is estimated to impose an additional burden of Rs 1.02 lakh crore in 2016-17. The new pay scales, subject to acceptance by government, will come into effect from January 1, 2016.
The government had last year announced that it will implement OROP under which a uniform pension would be given to armed forces personnel retiring at the same rank with the same length of service. The scheme would be implemented from July 1, 2014.
(With inputs from agencies)