Parliament today passed the Interim Budget for the financial year 2014-15 with Rajya Sabha returning it after brief discussion.
The Budget and related appropriation bills were passed by the Lok Sabha on February 19.
Replying to the debate on the Finance Bill, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said, "Despite concerns, let me assure you when we complete our term, we will leave our economy in good health." He said the fiscal deficit will be contained at 4.6 per cent of the GDP in the current financial year. "We intend to bring it down to 4.1 per cent in the next year," he said.
Meena also said due care has been taken to allocate sufficient funds for all schemes. The budget allocation for plan and non-plan expenditure has been kept at Rs 5,55,532 crore and Rs 12,07,892 crore, respectively, for 2014-15.
On some members' concern on the Raghuram Rajan Committee's report on backwardness of the states, the minister assured the House that it is under active consideration of the government.
Initiating the debate in Rajya Sabha, Piyush Goyal (BJP) said economic growth has come down and food inflation has gone up. "Even tea has become costlier. Only a tea seller (referring to Narendra Modi) will come up with a solution to the problems," he said. He also mentioned that while the government seeks to bring in more investment, on the other hand it is "harassing" companies with tax claims that were making business difficult.
D Raja (CPI) said the Budget exercise was to "deceive" people as funds are slashed for several social sector schemes. "Time has come to discuss fiscal federalism." Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) said the government has not taken any action on the issue of reservation for SCs and STs, while K P Ramlingam (DMK) sought to know if allocation would be made for participants of the forthcoming UNHRC meeting.
Stating that there was a "ring of fiction" in the Budget, NK Singh (JD-U) said the Finance Minister resorted to "accounting jugglery" and he has shoved the economic problems to his successor. Ramchandra Kuntia (Cong), Narendra Kumar Kashyap (BSP), Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC), P Rajeeve (CPI-M), K P Ramalingam and Vasanthi Stanley (DMK), Bharat Kumar Raut (SS), Ranbir Singh Parjapati (INLP) and Choudhary Munaveer Saleem (SP) were among 13 members who participated in the debate.