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India targets extra spending of $39.87 billion for pandemic relief

12/03/2021 | 02:46am EST
Security personnel stand guard next to barricades outside the Parliament where annual budget is being presented in New Delhi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Indian government sought parliamentary approval on Friday for net extra spending of $39.87 billion in the current financial year ending in March 2022, that would include spending on free foodgrain and rural jobs for pandemic relief.

It is seeking approval for gross spending of 3.74 trillion rupees including a net cash outgo of 2.99 trillion with the balance arranged from savings, Pankaj Chaudhary, the junior finance minister, told the lower house in a statement.

The government plans an additional 498.05 billion rupees ($6.64 billion) towards expenditure on providing free foodgrain to poor people, and 220 billion rupees for rural jobs, as part of the pandemic relief programme, the statement said.

Moreover, an additional 584 billion rupees will go towards providing fertiliser subsidy to the farmers, hit by a rise in global fertiliser prices.

The extra spending is in addition to the budgeted 34.83 trillion rupees ($464.43 billion) announced in February for the 2021/22 fiscal year, down 35.11 trillion in the previous fiscal year.

Some economists fear that additional spending could marginally push up the federal fiscal deficit from a targeted 6.8% of GDP in the current fiscal year amid risks of a fall in receipts from its privatisation programme that aims to raise 1.75 trillion rupees.

($1=74.9950 rupees)

(Reporting by Nigam Prusty and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Clarence Fernandez & Shri Navaratnam)


ę Reuters 2021
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