[Editorial Analysis] The Budget’s vision

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission
Mains level: Government Budgeting

Context:

• The new decade’s first budget presented by Finance Minister (FM) is a vision document for the nation in the post-COVID world.

• Its six pillars carry the government’s message of further excellence in the country’s growth journey through “reform, perform and transform”.

• The government managed to prioritise and balance both lives and livelihoods through the roller coaster ride of the last year.

Health and nutrition:

• India believes in the “sharing is caring” philosophy. That is evident in the manner the country has taken on the challenge posed by COVID-19.
• Scientific and medical fraternity must be appreciated for their persistence in bringing out vaccines against the coronavirus.

• By commissioning the world’s largest inoculation drive and ensuring vaccination delivery to countries in need, India is countering the “me-first” approach.

• The focus on boosting health and nutrition is, therefore, noticeable in the budget — expenditure to the tune of Rs 2.2 lakh crore has been proposed.

• The Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission is expanding the ambit of our actions in the global arena.

• The measures proposed in the budget will go a long way in cementing India’s role as the “factory of the world”, in addition to the country being the “pharmacy of the world”.

Revival in economy:

• The measures taken by the government to revive the economy are yielding results, including a strong rebound with an estimated double-digit growth of as much as 11.5 per cent in FY22, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

• The Economic Survey has also projected greater growth potential with the continued normalisation of economic activities after the COVID shock and implementation of proactive reform measures.

Allocations in budget:

• The highest-ever allocation to boost infrastructure in roads and highway construction, metros, provision for establishing a gas distribution network, dedicated freight corridors, creation of a future-ready railways system by 2030, the enhanced allocation for water supply and sanitation works, public transport, among others, are measures that are bound to improve infrastructure.

• The massive construction activity that will result from this will create employment opportunities.

• The formation of the higher education commission and realigning the national apprenticeship scheme to train engineering graduates will have a direct impact on skill development.

• The production-linked incentive scheme in 13 sectors with an outlay of nearly Rs 1.97 lakh crore will give momentum to manufacturing.
• The creation of a Mega Investment Textile Park will protect local manufacturers.

• New development finance institutions, asset reconstruction and management company, and the implementation of projects under the national infrastructure pipeline are paving the way for raising capital.

• Capital expenditure has been increased to Rs 5.54 lakh crore — 35 per cent more than the last fiscal. This is in addition to the Rs 2 lakh crore proposed to be given to states and autonomous bodies for their capital expenditure.

• The revised customs duty structure will protect domestic industry. It will also expand India’s footprint on global supply chains.

• Facilitating the ease of doing business and the use of technology for easing the life of citizens are the hallmarks of the Central government.
• The amalgamation of 44 labour laws into just four labour codes is a significant milestone in labour reforms.

• The decriminalisation of the Limited Liability Partnership Act, removal of restrictions on one-person companies relating to paid-up capital and turnover, and the amendment in the definition of small companies will remove impediments to doing business.

• The proposed security market code, to be created by consolidating related acts, enabling easy and time-bound access to depositors of their deposit amount by amending DICGC act 1961, and amendments in the Insurance Act 1938 — increasing the permissible FDI from 49 per cent to 74 per cent — and allowing foreign ownership and control with safeguards are major financial sector reforms.

• The government is committed to doubling the farmer’s income. Its reforms for the farming fraternity range from expanding the scope of the Kisan Credit Card, PM Fasal Bima Yojna, PM-Kisan to the recently enacted farm laws.

• The budget has enhanced the agricultural credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore, focusing on credit flow to animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries.

• Expanding the coverage of the SVAMITVA scheme to all states/UTs, strengthening APMCs and the integration of more mandis into e-NAM, doubling the micro-irrigation fund to Rs 10,000 crore, enhancing rural infrastructure development fund and the extension of Operation Green to 22 perishable products are among the key budget proposals to empower farmers.

• To empower the weaker sections, the margin money required for Stand Up India has been reduced to 15 per cent from 25 per cent.

• The revamped post-matric scholarship for Scheduled Caste students and the increase in the allocation for establishing 750 Eklavya Model Schools will help uplift these sections of the society.

Conclusion:

• Budget 2021-22 is focused on reviving growth and building India as a knowledge hub and economic superpower.

• Under the leadership of Prime Minister, the government has sincerely considered every stakeholder’s suggestion and presented a robust, welfare-oriented budget.

• The measures undertaken will provide an impetus to our efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

• The government is committed to building a better India through “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Vikas”.

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