Arjun Ram Meghwal
(The writer is Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Heavy Industry & Public Enterprises)
The new decade's first Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is a vision document for the nation to embark upon the post-Covid world. The six pillars envisaged under the Budget are a clear signal for further excelling over the growth journey through the mantra of 'reform, perform & transform.' The government has very finely managed to prioritize the life & livelihood throughout the rollercoaster ride last year. The presented pragmatic Budget has expressed the ambitious reform in reviving the pandemic-marred economy quickly & thriving in the league of the biggest economy of the world.
As the world on the cusp of entering into the post-Covid era, India is emerging as a significant transitional journey player. India, an ardent believer of 'sharing is caring' philosophy, is taking the head-on fight from the pandemic; kudos to the scientific & medical fraternity for their indomitable persistence towards bringing out the vaccination. Commissioning of the world's largest inoculation drive, ensuring vaccination delivery to needy countries India is countering the 'Me-first' approach & helping the world come out from the self-defeating and catastrophic moral failure. The unsurprised focus on boosting health & nutrition is visible as expenditures are proposed to the tune of Rs 2.2 lakh crore. The Aatmanirbhar Bharat Mission is further expanding the gravity of our actions in the global arena. The proposed measures in the budget are rightly towards India's role as 'factory of the world' and in addition to the 'pharmacy of the world.'
The measures taken by the government to revive the economy are showing optimistic indicators with a strong rebound with the estimated double-digit growth of as much as 11.5 % in FY22 as enumerated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Economic survey has similarly projected with upside growth potential having manifestation from continued normalisation of economic activities after the Covid shock and further implementation of the proactive reform measures.
The highest-ever allocation to boost infrastructure in roads & highway construction, metros, provision for establishing gas distribution network, dedicated freight corridors, creation of future-ready railways system by 2030, the enhanced allocation for water supply & sanitation works, public transport, among others are measures that are bound to improved infra outlook of the nation. The resulting massive construction activity will create significant employment opportunities. The formation of the higher education Commission, realigning the National Apprenticeship Scheme, will have a direct impact on the skill development arena. The production linked incentive scheme in 13 sectors with nearly 1.97 lakh crore outlay will give fresh momentum to create manufacturing global champions. The creation of Mega Investment Textile Park will protect local manufacturers. Setting up of New Development Finance Institution, Creating an asset reconstruction and management company & implementation of projects under the National Infrastructure Pipeline are paving new ways to raise the capital. The Budget witnessed a sharp increase in capital expenditure Rs 5.54 lakh crore, I.e., 35% more than last fiscal. This is in addition to Rs 2 lakh crore proposed to be given to states and autonomous bodies for their capital expenditure. All these measures will aid in more employment, expanding production, additional investment & job opportunities.
The revised custom duty structure will protect the domestic industry, boost the localization of production, strengthen the local producers & ultimately enhance the manufacturing prospects of the nation. It will expand India's footprint over the global supply chain and better export towards building a self-reliant economy. Facilitation of ease of doing business, simplification of procedures, usage of technology for easing the life of citizenry is the hallmark of the Modi government. The amalgamation of 44 labour laws into just four labour codes is a significant milestone in ushering in the new labour reforms era. The decriminalization of the Limited Liability Partnership Act, removal of restrictions on one person companies relating to paid-up capital and turnover and amendment in the definition of small companies will remove the doing business's impediment. The proposed single security market code by consolidating related acts, enabling easy and time bound access to depositors for their deposit amount by amending DICGC Act 1961, and amendment in Insurance Act 1938 for increasing the permissible FDI limit from 49 % to 74 % and allow foreign ownership and control with safeguard are major financial sector reform that will significantly aid to growth story of India.
The government is committed to doubling the farmers' income & undertaken reform measures for the welfare of the farming fraternity ranging from expanding the scope of Kisan Credit Card, PM Fasal BimaYojna, PM-Kisan to recently enacted farm laws 2020. However, the government is sincerely considering their apprehension with continuous dialogues and deliberated its will to resolve farm laws' clauses amicably. The Budget has enhanced the agricultural credit target to 16.5 lakh crore focusing on credit flow to animal husbandry, dairy & fisheries. Expanding coverage of swamitva scheme to all state/UT, strengthening APMCs & integration of more Mandis to eNAM, doubling micro-irrigation fund to Rs 10,000 crore, enhancing rural infrastructure development fund & extension of operation green scheme to 22 perishable products for ensuring better prices among others are key Budget highlights for empowering farmers.
To empower the weaker section, the margin money required for stand up India has been reduced to 15% and incorporated the loans related to agricultural & allied sectors. The revamped post metric Scholarship for Scheduled Caste students & increased budget for establishing 750 Eklavya modal schools will help uplift the downtrodden section of the society.
The proactive Budget is wholly focused on reviving the economic growth & building India as global knowledge & economic superpower. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government has sincerely considered every stakeholders suggestion and presented a robust, omnidirectional development & welfare oriented budget. The measure undertaken will further provide impetus to our efforts towards achieving the sustainable development goals by end of this decade. The government is unparallelly committed to walk the talk for building better India through 'SabkaSaath, SabkaVishwas &Sabka Vikas' by empowering individuals, communities, societies at large with the nation's first approach. (PIB)