Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented the Interim Budget 2014 on Monday. Here are some important excerpts in his speech:
1. Last year, I had made three promises and I had asked Hon'ble Members to keep before them the faces of the girl child, the young student, and the poor. To ensure the dignity and safety of women, I promised the Nirbhaya Fund and put Rs 1000 crore into the Fund. So far, we have approved two proposals that will receive support from the Fund. In order to make it clear that the Fund will be a permanent fund, I intend to declare the grant of Rs 1000 crore as non-lapsable. And in order to support more proposals, I propose to contribute to the Fund another sum of Rs 1000 crore next year.
2. Secondly, I had promised an ambitious programme to skill millions of young men and women and had tasked the National Skill Development Corporation to implement the programme. The National Skill Certification and Monetary Reward Scheme was launched in August 2013 and has been widely hailed as a success. At last count, 24 Sector Skill Councils, 442 Training Partners and 17 Assessment Agencies had joined the programme. 204 job roles have been finalised. 168,043 youth had enrolled and 77,710 have completed their training. Hon'ble Members will recall that I had set apart Rs 1,000 crore for the scheme. The whole of that amount will be transferred to the NSD Trust and I propose to transfer another sum of Rs 1,000 crore next year to enable the Trust to scale up the programme of NSDC rapidly. I may add that NSDC actually complements the initiatives of several ministries which steer skill development programmes such as UDAAN in Jammu and Kashmir.
3. Thirdly, I had promised that the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme would be rolled out throughout the country. The scheme is barely a year old. Money is being transferred to beneficiaries under 27 identified schemes, including the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP). A total of 54,20,114 transactions have been put through until 31.1.2014 and Rs 628 crore has been transferred. Another sum of Rs 3,370 crore has been transferred to 2.1 crore LPG beneficiaries. The latter scheme has been put on hold for the time being pending resolution of some difficulties that have been pointed out. However, let me reiterate that the Government remains fully committed to Aadhaar under which 57 crore