New Delhi, Feb 28: The Central Government's flagship 'Bharat Nirman' programme for building rural infrastructure was given a big boost in the Union Budget today (Feb 28, 2006) with an allocation of Rs 18,696 crore in 2006-07.
The allocation shows a 54 per cent increase over the Rs 12,160 crore allotted in 2005-06.
Presenting the UPA Government's third Budget, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said 17,182 villages have been provided with telephone connections till December 2005, the first year of the three-year programme.
The Government was confident of achieving the rural electrification target of 10,366 villages in 2005-06, he said adding Rs 1,100 crore had been released for the purpose.
Mr Chidambaram said 870,000 rural houses have been constructed under the 'Bharat Nirman' so far with an allocation of Rs 2,260 crore till January this year.
Under the Rural Roads Programme, as many as 5,337 habitations have been connection till September 2005 with an expenditure of Rs 3,749 crore, he added.
Under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Project, 47,546 habitations have been covered till January this year against the target of 56,270, Mr Chidambaram said.
The government spent Rs 944.18 crore under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme. About 600,000 hectares of irrigation potential is expected to be created in 2005-06.