Big billions for Urban Development and Defence in Budget 2012

By Chandani Kirinde

A newly created Ministry of Urban Development along with Defence, Ports and Highways and the Ministry of Economic Development will have the highest allocations for next year, according to estimates in the Appropriation Bill to be presented to Parliament on Tuesday.

The new Ministry for Defence and Urban Development coming under President Mahinda Rajapaksa will get close to 230 billion for 2012, up from 215 billion that was allocated to the Ministry of Defence in 2011. The Urban Development Authority (UDA) previously functioned as a separate department under the Ministry of Defence from November 2010.

Some of the functions allocated to the UDA including regulation and planned promotion of integrated economic, social and physical development in urban areas and the reclamation and development of lands will now be handled by this Ministry, the Secretary of which is Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Ministry of Economic Development headed by Minister Basil Rajapaksa will get more than Rs. 104 billion, up from 75 billion in 2011 while there is also a steep rise in the allocation made to the Ministry of Finance and Planning which is also headed by President Rajapaksa which will go up Rs. 124 billion from the Rs. 72.5 allocated in 2011.

The Ports and Highways Ministry has been allocated over Rs. 144 billion while in 2011, the Highways Ministry was allocated Rs. 102 billion and Ports and Aviation together was allocated Rs. 28.6 billion.
There is also an increase in the allocations for both the health and education sectors with the Ministry of Health getting more than Rs. 73 billion, up from Rs. 62 billion in 2011 while the Education Ministry will get around Rs. 33 billion, up from 30.7 billion in 2011.

The Transport Ministry has been allocated Rs. 53 billion, up from Rs45 billion in 2011 while the allocations to the Ministry of External Affairs will rise marginally from the Rs 6.6 billion it was allocated in 2011.

The Ministry of sports will also see a slight increase in its allocations for 2012 – from Rs1.7 billion in 2011 to Rs. 2 billion. The allocation to the Ministry of Resettlement has seen a sharp decline -- Rs. 481 million. It received Rs 2.4 billion in 2011.

The Appropriation Bill 2012 will be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday and the Budget will be presented by the President on November 21.

The total estimated expenditure for 2012 is Rs 2220 billion with recurrent expenditure up from Rs. 1029 billion in 2011 to Rs 1109 in 2012 while capital expenditure will go up from Rs 938 in 2011 to Rs 1111 billion next year.

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