Budget-09 hikes commerce allocation by Rs 979-cr

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (UNI) Although budget-2009 has increased allocation to the Department of Commerce by a hefty Rs 979 crore to Rs 3,520 crore as compared to Rs 2,541 crore made in Budget-2008, yet it falls short by Rs 251 crore when compared with the revised estimates of Rs 3,771 crore the department is going to spend by March-end this year.

The budget document tabled in Parliament today by Finance Minister P Chidambaram reveals a whooping Rs 2,266 non-plan expenditure by the commerce department, a quantum jump of Rs 1,200 crore on Rs 1,066 crore allocated to it in 2007-08. In view of the high non-plan expenditure in the current fiscal, the budget has allocated a healthy Rs 1,960 crore in 2008-09.

Since there has not been a substantial variation in allocation of Rs 1,475 crore and revised expenditure of Rs 1,505 crore in 2007-08 under the plan head by the department, the 2008-09 budget has allocated Rs 1,560 crore to it under this head.

Meanwhile, the government has given a hefty increase of nearly Rs 54 crore budgetary support to the Coffee Board which gets Rs 122 crore in 2008-09 as against a meagre just Rs 68.25 crore in 2007-08.

But it has been slashed by Rs 28 crore in case of Tea Board which gets Rs 88.75 crore as against Rs 116.75 crore during the comparable periods. Tea Board could not utilise over Rs 16 crore in 2007-08.

Rubber Board gets budgetary support of Rs 99.25 crore in 2008-09 as against an allocation of Rs 85.25 crore in the current fiscal ending on March 31. Allocation to Spices Board, has, however, been reduced by Rs 3.60 crore to Rs 46 crore in the budget-09. UNI SAA PDT VC1825

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