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Sitharaman presents budget 2021-22 with six core focus area

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New Delhi, Feb 1: The Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament today, which is the first budget of this new decade and also a digital one in the backdrop of unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.

Laying a vision for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, she said this is an expression of 130 crore Indians who have full confidence in their capabilities and skills. She said that Budget proposals will further strengthen the Sankalp of Nation First, Doubling Farmer’s Income, Strong Infrastructure, Healthy India, Good Governance, Opportunities for youth, Education for All, Women Empowerment, and Inclusive Development among others.

Additionally, also on the path to fast-implementation are the 13 promises of Budget 2015-16-which were to materialize during the AmrutMahotsav of 2022, on the 75th year of our Independence. They too resonate with this vision of AatmaNirbharta, she added.

The Budget proposals for 2021-22 rest on 6 pillars.

  1. Health and Wellbeing
  2. Physical & Financial Capital, and Infrastructure
  3. Inclusive Development for Aspirational India
  4. Reinvigorating Human Capital
  5. Innovation and R&D
  6. Minimum Government and Maximum Governance

The Finance Minister announced that a new centrally sponsored scheme, PM AatmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, will be launched with an outlay of about Rs 64, 180 crore over 6 years. This will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care Health Systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases.

The Finance Minister announced that the  Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban), will be launched for universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies with 2.86 crore household tap connections, as well as liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities. It will be implemented over 5 years, with an outlay of Rs. 2,87,000 crore.

Finance Minister said that for a USD 5 trillion economy, our manufacturing sector has to grow in double digits on a sustained basis. Our manufacturing companies need to become an integral part of global supply chains, possess core competence and cutting-edge technology.

Dwelling on the infrastructure sector, Sitharaman said that infrastructure needs long term debt financing. A professionally managed Development Financial Institution is necessary to act as a provider, enabler and catalyst for infrastructure financing. Accordingly, a Bill to set up a DFI will be introduced. The government has provided a sum of Rs 20,000 crore to capitalise this institution and the ambition is to have a lending portfolio of at least Rs 5 lakh crore for this DFI in three years time.

Roads

Finance Minister announced that more than 13,000 km length of roads, at a cost of Rs 3.3 lakh crore, has already been awarded under the Rs. 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojana project of which 3,800 kms have been constructed. By March 2022, Government would be awarding another 8,500 kms and complete an additional 11,000 kms of national highway corridors. To further augment road infrastructure, more economic corridors are also being planned.  She also provided an enhanced outlay of Rs. 1,18,101 lakh crore for Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, of which Rs.1,08,230 crore is for capital, the highest ever.

Railway Infrastructure

Indian Railways have prepared a National Rail Plan for India – 2030. The Plan is to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. Bringing down the logistic costs for our industry is at the core of our strategy to enable ‘Make in India’. It is expected that Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and Eastern DFC will be commissioned by June 2022.

Urban Infrastructure

Government will work towards raising the share of public transport in urban areas through expansion of metro rail network and augmentation of city bus service. A new scheme will be launched at a cost of Rs. 18,000 crore to support augmentation of public bus transport services.

A total of 702 km of conventional metro is operational and another 1,016 km of metro and RRTS is under construction in 27 cities. Two new technologies i.e., ‘MetroLite’ and ‘MetroNeo’ will be deployed to provide metro rail systems at much lesser cost with same experience, convenience and safety in Tier-2 cities and peripheral areas of Tier-1 cities.

Power Infrastructure

The past 6 years have seen a number of reforms and achievements in the power sector with the addition of 139 Giga Watts of installed capacity, connecting an additional 2.8 crore households and addition of  1.41 lakh circuit km of transmission lines.

Expressing a serious concern over the viability of Distribution Companies, the Finance Minister proposed to launch a revamped reforms-based result-linked power distribution sector scheme with an outlay of Rs. 3,05,984 crore  over 5 years. The scheme will provide assistance to DISCOMS for Infrastructure creation including pre-paid smart metering and feeder separation, upgradation of systems, etc., tied to financial improvements.

Agriculture

Dwelling on agriculture, she said that the Government is committed to the welfare of farmers.  The MSP regime has undergone a sea change to assure price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities. The procurement has also continued to increase at a steady pace.  This has resulted in increase in payment to farmers substantially.

In case of wheat, the total amount paid to farmers in 2013-2014 was Rs. 33,874 crore. In 2019-2020 it was Rs. 62,802 crore, and even better, in 2020-2021, this amount, paid to farmers, was Rs. 75,060 crore.  The number of wheat growing farmers that were benefitted increased in 2020-21 to 43.36 lakhs as compared to 35.57 lakhs in 2019-20.

For paddy, the amount paid in 2013-14 was Rs. 63,928 crore. In 2019-2020, this increased to Rs.1,41,930 crore. Even better, in 2020-2021, this is further estimated to increase to Rs. 172,752 crore.  The farmers benefitted increased from 1.24 crore in 2019-20 to 1.54 crore in 2020-21.

In the same vein, in case of pulses, the amount paid in 2013-2014 was ` 236 crore. In 2019-20 it increased to Rs. 8,285 crore. Now, in 2020-2021, it is at Rs.10,530 crore, a more than 40 times increase from 2013-14.

The receipts to cotton farmers have seen a stupendous increase from Rs. 90 crore in 2013-14 to Rs. 25,974 crore (as on 27th January 2021).

Early this year, Honourable Prime Minister had launched SWAMITVA Scheme. Under this, a record of rights is being given to property owners in villages. Up till now, about 1.80 lakh property-owners in 1,241 villages have been provided cards and the Finance Minister proposed during FY21-22 to extend this to cover all states/UTs.

To provide adequate credit to our farmers, Government has enhanced the agricultural credit target to Rs. 16.5 lakh crore in FY22. Similarly, the allocation to the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund increased from Rs. 30,000 crore to Rs. 40,000 crore. The Micro Irrigation Fund, with a corpus of Rs.5,000 crore has been created under NABARD will be doubled.

In an important announcement to boost value addition in agriculture and allied products and their exports, the scope of ‘Operation Green Scheme’ that is presently applicable to tomatoes, onions, and potatoes, will be enlarged to include 22 perishable products.

Around 1.68 crore farmers are registered and Rs. 1.14 lakh crore of trade value has been carried out through e-NAMs. Keeping in view the transparency and competitiveness that e-NAM has brought into the agricultural market, 1,000 more mandis will be integrated with e-NAM. The Agriculture Infrastructure Funds would be made available to APMCs for augmenting their infrastructure facilities.

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