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March 9, 2024

Government Extends Ujjwala Subsidy and Raises DA: Boosting Welfare and Economic Growth

In a move aimed at bolstering both social welfare and economic growth, the Union Cabinet recently announced a series of significant decisions. These include an extension of the Ujjwala subsidy scheme and a substantial increase in dearness allowance (DA) for central government employees and retirees. Additionally, the Cabinet approved schemes to accelerate industrial development in the northeast region and enhance support for jute farmers.

The extension of the Ujjwala subsidy, a hallmark initiative under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring access to clean cooking fuel for economically disadvantaged households. The subsidy, set at Rs 300 per 14.2-kg cylinder, will now be available to beneficiaries until the end of the fiscal year 2024-25. This extension, coupled with the provision of up to 12 refills per year, is expected to provide much-needed relief to millions of households across the country. The total expenditure for the fiscal year 2025 is estimated at Rs 12,000 crore, reflecting the government’s continued investment in promoting clean energy solutions.

Furthermore, the Cabinet’s decision to raise the DA for central government employees and pensioners by four percentage points to 50% of basic pay/pension is a significant step towards enhancing the financial well-being of these individuals. Along with this increase, consequential adjustments in gratuity and house rent allowance will further benefit government personnel. The total expenditure on these wage and allowance enhancements is projected to exceed Rs 24,000 crore from January 2024 to February 2025, providing a substantial boost to consumer spending and overall economic activity.

In line with its focus on inclusive growth, the government also approved a transformative industrialization scheme aimed at fostering economic development in the northeast region. With an allocation of over Rs 10,000 crore, the scheme seeks to incentivize the establishment of new industrial units and the expansion of existing ones. By promoting investment and job creation in manufacturing and service sectors, this initiative is poised to unleash the economic potential of the region and contribute to its overall prosperity.

Additionally, the Cabinet’s decision to hike the minimum support price (MSP) for raw jute by 5.6% for the 2024-25 season reflects its commitment to supporting agricultural livelihoods. The increase, set at Rs 5,335 per quintal, will directly benefit millions of jute farmers across states like West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh. By providing a fair and remunerative price for their produce, the government aims to improve the income and standard of living of these farmers and their families, thereby driving rural economic growth.

In conclusion, the recent decisions taken by the Union Cabinet underscore the government’s multifaceted approach to promoting both social welfare and economic development. By extending vital subsidies, enhancing employee benefits, supporting industrialization in underserved regions, and bolstering agricultural livelihoods, the government is laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and prosperous India. These measures not only address immediate challenges but also pave the way for sustainable and equitable growth in the years to come.

 

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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