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Union Minister Jairam Ramesh today described as "trend-setter" the Union Budget which proposes an increase of Rs 8,000 crore in the total allocation for rural development including drinking water supply and sanitation.
This year, the proposed allocation for the sector has been increased to Rs 99,000 crore. "This is a very very substantial increase," Ramesh said thanking Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the hike. "It is a very important, trend setting budget from the rural point of view. I wish to thank the Finance Minister for presenting the budget in which he has accepted all the recommendations relating to the Ministry of Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation. It is an important achievement," Ramesh told reporters here. Recognising the importance of Rural Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, the Finance Minister has made an allocation of Rs 14,000 crore for it in 2012-2013.
Last year, the actual expenditure on drinking water and sanitation was Rs 10,000 crore as opposed to an allocation of Rs 11,000 crore. Ramesh said Mukherjee has assured him that the budget can go up to Rs 15,000 crore as far as the importance of drinking water and sanitation is concerned. Simlarly, PMGSY, the centre's rural road scheme, has got a boost in the budget with an increase of Rs 4,000 crore. With this the total allocation for the programme will substantially go up from Rs 20000 crore to Rs 24,000 crore. "This will help us to accelerate the PMGSY in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Assam, West Bengal," Ramesh said.
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