As is the norm in budget speeches, finance minister Arun Jaitley read out with some satisfaction generous and near-universal increases in allocation to ministries, departments and programmes.

Behind such generosity also lies the hard fact that in 2014-15, 70 of the 78 central ministries or departments will spend less than their allocation, half of them by more than 15%. And that under-spending was visible more in items that yield dividends in the future than those consumed in the present.

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