The expenditure squeeze being enforced for 2012-13 and the likely freezing of the Budget size for 2013-14 could impact many welfare schemes run by the ministry of rural development (MRD) the most, although the UPA's showpiece Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) might be spared.

With economic prospects deteriorating more than initially expected by the government, the finance ministry is cutting down the budgetary allocation for this fiscal to popular schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Indira Awaas Yojana and National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) by 20-25%, sources said. These cut would be seen in the revised estimate in the Budget.

New Delhi Consumers will have to pay the full market rate — R750 at current prices — for every LPG cylinder from April 2013 as the government gears up to directly transfer the subsidy on this fuel to consumers’ accounts starting next fiscal.

LPG users will get the subsidy on six cylinders in their bank accounts thanks to the unique identity (Aadhar) number that each consumer will be given. Going by the differential between the cost price and selling price of LPG cylinders over the last couple of years, the annual subsidy payment by the government for each consumer could be around R1,800.

New Delhi The Vijay Kelkar committee has outlined a programme for the Centre to keep its budget deficit in check for the next three years, leaving the 14th Finance Commission (2015-2020) to decide on the action required in subsequent years.

The committee set up by the finance minister P Chidambaram for drawing a new fiscal consolidation road map, has proposed calibrated hikes in diesel and LPG prices, proactive disinvestment and measures to increase revenue buoyancy.

New Delhi In a major boost to the Centre’s efforts to target subsidies to the neediest, 11 states have already signed up to the plan to transfer cash directly to the chosen beneficiaries to disburse kerosene subsidy.

The scheme aims to plug leakages in the public distribution system. The 2012-13 Budget had set aside a R100-crore incentive for states joining the scheme before March 31, 2013. This allocation has obviously worked.

The Union Cabinet will soon take a call on the vexed issue of whether to go for international arbitration at a London tribunal against Oman, which raised natural gas price from 77 cents to $3 per unit, leading to a sharp rise in the price of fertiliser imported by India under a long-term off-take agreement.

The finance ministry has rejected a request for increasing the price of urea imported from Omifco, an equal joint venture of Indian and Oman firms, in line with the higher gas price implemented by the Arab nation at the beginning of this year.

New Delhi All public-private partnership (PPP) projects in the power transmission sector, including intra-state transmission networks, will now qualify for government grants under the viability-gap funding (VGF) scheme, making them attractive to private sector investors.

The VGF scheme, finalised by the finance ministry few years back to promote investment in the infrastructure sector, involves central assistance in the form of grant for capital expenditure up to 20% of the project cost, while the state government — being one of the owners — could also provide a matching grant with a ceiling of another 20% of the project cost.

New Delhi Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has agreed to provide R17,500 crore for the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), in what could pave way for the Cabinet approval for the ambitious project that envisages creation of seven new cities along the corridor with a total investment of $90 billion.