Losing sleep over subsidy leakage, not subsidy itself: FM

Pranab Mukherjee_0.jpg.crop_display.jpg

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said it is the subsidy leakage that makes him lose his ‘sleep’, and not the quantum of subsidy itself.

"I lose my sleep not when I look at the volume of quantum of subsidy, but because it is not reaching to the poor and needy and targetted group," Mukherjee said, while talking about subsidy leakages.

Speaking at an event organised by Oriental Bank of Commerce here today, Mukherjee said that various financial inclusion programmes for extending banking facility to rural population and the Aadhaar project (of providing an unique ID to all citizens) would help in tackling the problem of leakage in the government subsidy for the poor section.

"Banks can play a major role through inclusive programmes like Swabhimaan, and by extending banking facility to a large number of rural population," he said.

"If these subsidies are provided through the banking network, institutional financial networks, the leakage will be reduced substantially," he added.

Earlier this month, Mukherjee had said he was ‘losing sleep’ over mounting subsidy bill, but clarified a few days later that his remarks were made in a lighter vein and Indian economy has the ‘resilience’ to meet any challenge.

"As Finance Minister when I think of the enormity of the subsidies to be provided, I lose my sleep. There is no doubt," he had said at a conference in New Delhi on February 8.

The government had earlier said that its subsidy bill is likely to increase by over Rs 1 lakh crore, over and above the original estimate of Rs 1.34 lakh crore, mainly on account of higher outlay towards fertiliser, food and oil.

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