FM unveils budget to boost virus-hit economy

FM unveils budget to boost virus-hit economy
NEW DELHI, FEB 1 | Publish Date: 2/1/2021 1:17:31 PM IST

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday presented the Union Budget 2021 with focus on 6 pillars to energise the economy which has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In her speech, Sitharaman mentioned that this year’s budget proposals rest on six pillars-- Health and Well-Being, Physical and Financial capital and infrastructure, Inclusive Development for Aspirational India, Reinvigorating Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.

Unlike earlier occasions, the minister stood in the second row of the Treasury benches as she read out the speech from a tablet placed on a short lectern. It was also her shortest budget speech (110-minute) in three years. The Budget for the fiscal year beginning April made no changes in personal or corporate tax rates but raised customs duties on certain auto parts, mobile phone components and solar panels in order to provide impetus to domestic manufacturing.

In her third budget, Sitharaman proposed a vehicle scrappage policy, Rs 20,000 crore recapitalisation of public sector banks, divestment of some state-owned lenders and sale of non-strategic PSUs with a view to bolstering an economy that plunged into its deepest recorded slump amid the pandemic outbreak.

‘Fake budget’ will benefit big corporates, says Oppn

Opposition on Monday criticized the Narendra Modi government’s ninth Budget and termed it the “fake budget” and a pro-corporate move. Among the main issues raised by members of Opposition parties were privatisation of resources, lack of impetus for the agricultural sector and absence of substantial measures for middle and low income groups.
Congress leader and former Finance minister, P. Chidambaram said Sitharaman deceived the poor, the working class, the migrants, the farmers, the industrial units that had been closed down permanently, and those who had lost their jobs, and there is no heart behind the budget.
He dubbed the claims of increased allocation for health a “conjurer’s trick”. “She (Sitharaman) added the one-time cost of vaccination (Rs. 35,000 crore) and the Finance Commission grants amounting to Rs. 49,214 crore and included the allocations to the Department of Water and Sanitation. Shorn of these add-ons, the allocations for Health were Rs. 72,934 crore in 2020-21 and Rs. 79,602 crore in 2021-22. Given inflation, the increase is practically nil,” he added. There has been no change in the indirect tax regime which the common man was expecting following a tough year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rahul Gandhi, Congress: Forget putting cash in the hands of people, the Modi government plans to handover India’s assets to his crony capitalist friends.
Derek O’Brien, TMC: India’s first paperless budget is also a 100% visionless budget. Theme of the ‘fake budget’ is ‘sell India’.
Tejashwi Yadav, RJD: Budget is not for the development of India, but for its sale.
Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) : Budget is neither for the people nor for the much publicised “V-shaped revival of economy, but for a K-shaped rich becoming richer, poor poorer.”
Samajwadi Party: Budget is directly, indirectly dedicated to corporate groups. 

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