Govt to spend Rs 14.34 lakh crore in rural areas

New Delhi, Feb 1 The government will spend Rs 14.34 lakh crore in the year 2018-19 to generate employment of 321 crore person days and construct infrastructure in rural areas, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.

Besides generating employment, this investment will lead to construction of 3.17 lakh km of roads, 51 lakh new houses, 1.88 crore toilets, and will provide electricity connections to 1.75 crore new households, the minister said in his budget speech.

While making the proposals in this year’s Budget, the government was guided by its mission to strengthen agriculture and rural development besides other sectors of the country’s economy, Jaitley stressed.

“As my proposals outlined indicate, focus of the government next year will be on providing maximum livelihood opportunities in rural areas by spending more on livelihood, agriculture and allied activities and construction of rural infrastructure,” the minister said.

Jaitley also announced increase in allocation for the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) to Rs 5,750 crore in 2018-19 from Rs 4,500 crore.

The loans to women Self Help Groups (SHGs) increased to about Rs 42,500 crore in 2016-17. The government is confident that loans to SHGs will increase to Rs 75,000 crore by March next year, the finance minister said.

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