Union Budget A progressive economic document

Rekha Mahajan
History was written when the first digital Union budget was presented in the Parliament.The budget was paperless, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman read her speech from the make in India tablet and members were provided soft copies of the speech and documents .In this budget the focus was laid on Doubling Farmers Income, Strong Infrastructure, Healthy India, Good Governance, Opportunities for youth, Education for All, Women Empowerment and Inclusive Development of All with the Mission of Nation First.
The budget of 2021-22 should be seen in the backdrop of global epidemic. With the unexpected expenditure incurred to counter Covid-19 – there was a possibility of taxation in the next financial year to sharply reduce the fiscal deficit through austerity measures.  Thanks to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman  that this did not happen and the budget didn’t put any burden on the people of the country ,instead the Government took the decision to spend more and more to take the  country ahead speedily.  A growth-oriented budget was needed to increase spending on the health and infrastructure of the country and to overcome the negative impact of Covid 19 and this budget fulfills all these requirements.The allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for Covid -19 vaccines and the commitment to provide further support will help end this pandemic and expedite economic recovery and taking us closer to “Health for all”.
“Gas pipeline for Jammu and Kashmir and University for ladakh indicates Prime minister Modi love and concern for Jammu & Kashmir and ladakh . India needs global level infrastructure to compete and grow with the global economy.  Public expenditure is the biggest driver of development here and the government has focused on giving it momentum in this budget.A National Rail Plan will be created to bring a future ready Railways System by 2030.The railways will be 100 percent electrified by 2023 .Metro services have also been announced for twenty seven cities plus additional allocations for Kochi ,Chennai ,Bengaluru , Nashik and Nagpur Metros .Recycling capacity of Ports is to be doubled by 2024.A Gas pipeline project for Jammu and Kashmir .A new scheme will be launched at a cost of 18,000 crores to support augmentation of public bus transport services.
Many proposals have been made in this budget in Agriculture sector, in which the Government’s commitment to double the income of farmers has been reiterated.  Lot of emphasis has been given on strengthening the farming sector and increasing the farmers income while making an allocation to further empower agricultural mandis ,making loans easier for farmers . Meaningful efforts have been repeated to keep the MSP running.  “Budget has also reiterated the Government’s  commitment to develop APMCs as the Government has announced to allow utilisation of Rs one lakh crore infrastructure fund for the infrastructure development of state-controlled mandis. This should allay fears of protesting farmers that centre is planning to destroy mandi system through new farm laws.
“In Education sector finance Minister has made budgetary provisions for setting up of 100 new Sainik Schools .A legislation to implement the Higher Education Commission will be brought this fiscal and more than 15,000 schools will be benefitted under National Education Policy .In tribal areas 750 new Eklavya schools will be set up .The newly formed UT of Ladakh also got a Central University.
Women will be allowed to work in all categories and also in the night shifts,with adequate protection, Ujjawala scheme to be extended to cover one crore more beneficiaries,National Nursing and Midwifery commission bill will be introduced.One Nation One Ration card Scheme to claim ration anywhere in the country .Migrant workers to be benefited most from this scheme, Rs 1500 crore of financial incentives to promote digital mode of payment .Tax holiday for startups has been extended by one year.15,700 crore to be provided to the MSME’s Sector.
“At the same time, the limit of foreign investment in the insurance sector has been increased from 49 percent to 74 percent.  The fiscal deficit is projected to be 9.5 per cent of GDP this year, and according to estimates, the deficit is projected to be 6.8 per cent next year.  From this it seems that the Finance Minister has deemed it necessary to relax the fiscal deficit to speed up the pace of development.
“Union Budget is a comprehensive and progressive economic document which  ensured development of each sector in a structured way,providing ease of doing bussiness to traders,relieving senior most citizens from the burden of tax,ensuring robust growth in health sector and services  and  above all becomes an effective document where no new tax or cess is levied”
(The author is Secretary BJP Jammu & Kashmir)