An Inclusive Budget for Aspirational India

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The Budget 2021-22 has been wholeheartedly welcomed across the country by every section of the society. An eagerly awaited Budget in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic has not only met the expectations but even gone beyond setting the stage for a giant leap in near future. The budget promises not only to reinvigorate the Indian economy which is on the path of fast recovery but also to strengthen it with a futuristic vision. An all-inclusive budget addressing the pandemic concerns and strategising accordingly, it has been applauded by experts and commoners alike for its focussed and farsighted approach carrying the imprint of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of a Self-reliant India. There is no doubt that the budget is set to give the required big push to the Indian economy leading it towards V-shaped recovery and double digit growth in the days to come.

The six pillars of the budget comprehensively lay down the foundation of the post-Covid economy aimed at doubling farmers’ income, building a strong infrastructure while creating opportunities for youth. While on the one hand it addresses the immediate health concerns by allocating a huge amount for vaccination drive, on the other hand it also unfolds the roadmap with a whopping increase of 137% in budget outlay for the health sector. The centrally sponsored PM Aatmanirbhar Bharat Swasth Yojana scheme along with 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban health and wellness centres, universal coverage of water supply, Swachch Bharat-Swasth Bharat scheme may transform the health sector while providing quality and healthy life to the people. The proposal to make massive investments in nation’s infrastructure with highest ever outlay for roads and highways including Bharatmala Pariyojana, economic corridors, expressways, railway infrastructure, augmenting urban infrastructure with buses and metros, increasing power infrastructure along with allocating huge sums for ports, shipping, waterways, petroleum and natural gas will definitely enable the nation for speedier realisation of the goals of Self-reliant India.

The budget has also made huge provisions for the inclusive development of aspirational India. While ensuring MSP at 1.5 times of the cost of production, special focus on allied activities like animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries is aimed at doubling the farmers’ income in India. The increase in rural infrastructure fund and taking care of migrant labourers with schemes like ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’, more than doubling allocations for MSME sector are going to further strengthen the rural infrastructure in the country. The budget has also laid huge emphasis on reinvigorating human capital by making provisions for implementing NEP components in 15,000 schools, opening 100 new Sainik schools, Central University in Leh and by creating an umbrella structure for higher education institutions. The opening of 750 new Eklavya model residential schools in tribal areas and provisions for skilling activities will further strengthen the human capital of the country. The budget has also focussed on research and innovation by allocating funds for strengthening the overall research ecosystem in the country. In the entire budget the idea of ‘Minimum Government & Maximum Governance’ is implemented by streamlining the system, making it transparent and more accessible to the people.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has rightly termed the budget as a pro-active budget for Aatmnirbharata. The Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman should be congratulated for presenting the budget with the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and for comprehensively addressing the issues related to pandemic concerns. It is an inclusive budget for aspirational India in true sense.