Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the bulk of additional spending sought in the first batch of supplementary demands for grants would be utilised towards people-centric schemes to help them amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Replying in the Lok Sabha after discussion on one of the highest supplementary demands for grants in the Indian history, the minister laid out details for the additional expenditure of over 2 lakh 35 thousand crore rupees with net cash outgo of nearly 1 lakh 66 thousand crore rupees.
Lok Sabha approved the first batch of the supplementary demands for grants in its sitting yesterday which lasted till late in the night. The supplementary funds will mainly be utilised by the government to meet expenses for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Sitharaman informed that the government will be pushing in additional 40 thousand crore rupees in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme to help sustain the demand driven employment scheme amidst the viral pandemic. She said, with the fresh addition the total outgo towards the MGNREGA scheme would surpass 1 lakh crore rupees.
Additional demands to the tune of 20 thousand crore rupees for capital infusion in public sector banks and over 33 thousand crore rupees for direct benefit transfer under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and National Social Assistance Programme has also been sought by the government. The Finance Minister said because of the digital initiatives of the government under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it has now become possible to send money directly into the accounts of the poor people. She emphasised that with this, every single rupee sent by the government reaches the beneficiary leaving no room for middlemen or corruption.