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The subsidy bill of the Central Government has remained in the range of Rs. 2.50 lakh crore to Rs. 2.58 lakh crore during the period, 2014-15 to 2016-17 (Budget Estimates). The fiscal deficit of the Central Government, which is the difference between total expenditure and non-debt receipts, has been in the range of Rs. 5.11 lakh crore to Rs. 5.35 lakh crore in this period. As proportion of GDP, both subsidy bill and fiscal deficit declined during this period.

Details of subsidies given under different heads are in table below:

Details of Subsidies (Rs. in crore)

Subsidy 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 RE
Food 85000 92000 117671 139419
Fertilizer 65613 67339 71076 72438
Petroleum 96880 85378 60269 30000
Other 9586 9915 9242 15944
Total 257079 254632 258258 257801
RE=Revised Estimates


Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) was started in 1.1.2013 and expanded across all Central Sector/Centrally Sponsored Schemes involving cash transfers to individual beneficiaries in February 2015. In cash transfer, the benefit is transferred in the beneficiary’s account, preferably Aadhaar seeded. Presently, LPG subsidy is transferred directly in to the bank accounts of beneficiaries. Food subsidy in cash is disbursed in wo Union Territories viz, Puducherry and Chandigarh, directly in beneficiaries’ bank accounts, in kind, after biometric authentication, in 70000 fair price shops at present. The Union Budget 2016-17 has indicated the introduction of DBT on pilot basis for fertilizer in a few districts across the country. Hence, it is difficult to indicate a timeframe for completing the shift to the system of cash transfer.