The 2021 Budget of the NDA-led government was placed in challenging times. The global economy is facing recession and the Indian economy got battered due to the subsequent lockdown, which exposed gaps in the supply chain and due to delays in working around the social distancing norms.
The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a sharp increase in expenditure on infrastructure, doubling of healthcare allotment, spending and raising the limit of foreign direct investment. With the gradual reopening of businesses, the Indian economy is showing signs of recovery and it can be expected that this budget will accelerate economic growth. The Budget 2021 has been based on six pillars.
Out of the six pillars, the FM has given top priority to the health sector. These are the main provisions for health sector -
a) `2.23 lakh crore has been allotted for the health sector
b) `64,180 crore has been allotted for starting the Pradhan Mantri Swasth Bharat Yojana
c) a record 137% enhancement of funds
d) `35000 crore allotted for vaccination
Agriculture and food processing:
These are the main provisions for agriculture sector -
a) Agriculture credit target enhanced to 16.5 trillion with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries.
b) With the successful registration of 16.8 million farmers under eNam (the electronic National agriculture market), 1000 Mandis will be integrated with eNam.
c) Five major fishing harbours are to be developed in Cochin, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Petuaghat.
d) Operation Green Scheme to include 22 perishable products which was earlier limited to tomato onion and potato. The scheme grants incentive ranging from 50% to 70% of the eligible project cost
Education and Skill Development:
These are the main provisions for education sector
a) Revamped post matric scholarship scheme for welfare of scheduled castes
b) 750 schools in tribal areas to be established
c) 300 new Sainik Schools to be established
d) Realigning National Apprenticeship Training Scheme for graduates and diploma holders in engineering
e) Partnership with UAE and Japan in areas of skill development
Infrastructure, power and transport:
These are the key provisions for the infrastructure, power and transport sectors
a) National infrastructure pipeline to be expanded to 7400 projects.
b) A national rail plan has been introduced which aims at developing adequate rail infrastructure by 2030 to cater to the project traffic requirements up to 2050.
c) PPP mode to be utilised for managing operational services of major ports.
d) Innovative PPP models to be used to augment public bus transport.
The government has targeted to collect `1.75 lakh crore through disinvestment. Last year, the government targeted `2.1 lakh crore but failed to collect even `20 thousand crore by disinvestment. Overall, without much consideration to fiscal deficit, Sitharaman has proposed a historical budget as she committed earlier. This is a motivational budget which will promote investment employment and income of different sections of the economy.
The author is the PGT – Economics, Kendriya Vidyalaya AFS, Arjangarh, New Delhi