Congress leader P Chidambaram kept up the attack on the government in general and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in particular with his questions probing whether the money announced in the third tranche of the economic stimulus package was from the expenditure budget numbers or additional sums of money.

The congress leader, who has also been a finance minister, said his questions were part of research and dialogue, what he termed as the "new R&D".

"We will begin a series on research and dialogue today (the new R&D). Expenditure Budget 2020-21 has already provided for BEE KEEPING under National Horticulture Mission and allocated Rs 2400 crore. FM may please clarify whether the sums she announced yesterday (Rs 500 crore and Rs. 13,343 crore) are subsumed in the Expenditure Budget numbers or additional sums of money," tweeted Chidambaram.

Announcing the details of the Rs 20 lakh crore package on Friday, Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will implement a Rs 500 crore scheme of infrastructure development for the country's beekeepers, with special thrust on capacity building of women.

"This will lead to an increase in income of 2 lakh bee-keepers," Nirmala Sitharaman said.

"Likewise, under Animal Disease Control Programme the fight against FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE has already been launched with a 5-year outlay of Rs 13,343 crore and allocation of Rs 1300 crore in 2020-21," Chidambaram pointed out in another tweet.

To improve animal husbandry incomes, which gives higher net returns compared to crops, Sitharaman had said: "We want to ensure 100% vaccination of nearly 530 million animals, a livestock size which is among the largest in the world. Despite Covid-19 lockdown, 15 million cows and buffaloes have been tagged and vaccinated."

To control foot and mouth diseases, which cripples milk output of afflicted animals, the FM announced Rs 13,343 crore.

The government will set up an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund worth Rs 15,000 crore to "support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure".

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