Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo Credit: ANI)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday proposed the setting up of an Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation under the Ministry of Culture. Presenting the Budget 2020, Sitharaman said Rs 3,150 crore has been allocated for the Ministry of Culture and Rs 2,500 crore for the Ministry of Tourism.
She also proposed the setting up of a tribal museum in Ranchi, Jharkhand. "Five archaeological sites in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to be developed with on-site museums," the Finance Minister said.
While the fund for the Tourism Ministry was Rs 2,150 crore in the 2018-2019 Budget, it rose to Rs 2,189.22 crore in 2019-2020. The allocation for the Culture Ministry, which was Rs 2,843.32 crore in 2018-2019, increased to Rs 3,042.35 crore for 2019-2020.
The government on Saturday proposed a Rs 22,000 crore outlay for renewables and power sector in 2020-21 for realising its goal of 24X7 electricity for all and providing freedom to consumers to choose service provider and tariff.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Budget 2020-21 urged all states to convert the conventional electricity meters into pre-paid smart meters in next three years so as to provide consumers a choice of service providers and rate of electricity.
Pre-paid smart meters save cost of manual metering, billing and collection and improve efficiency of this public service. Last month, the power ministry asked states to reduce power tariff of consumers having smart metres.
"I propose to provide Rs 22,000 crore for power and renewable for 2020-21," said Sitharaman in her Budget speech in the Lok Sabha.
She was of the view that taking electricity to all households was the major success of the government.
She was referring to Saubhagya scheme under which 2.66 crore families were provided electricity connection. At present, except some households in difficult areas and Maoist-hit districts, power connection has been provided to all willing households.
The minister also proposed to provide Rs 4,400 crore for a programme to ensure cleaner air in cities with population of over one million by measures such as shutting down older thermal power plants.
She told the House that the land of the shut down thermal power plants can be used for alternate purposes. She also said the environment ministry would notify parameters for providing benefits to states opting for the scheme.
All those thermal power plants whose emissions are more than pre-set level can be closed down by states.