A budget focussing “AatmaNirbhar Bharat”: Sitaraman

finance minister

India on February 1 presented the first budget of the decade, which focussed on “AatmaNirbhar Bharat”. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget 2021-22 in Parliament, stating that it presented the vision of the 130 crore Indians who have full confidence in their capabilities and skills.

In her budget speech, she said the 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.”

budget

Budget proposals rest on six 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

 

HEALTH AND WELL BEING

The budget outlay for Health and Well being is Rs 2,23,846 crore in 2021-22 as against this year’s Rs 94,452 crore, an increase of 137 percentage, Sitaraman said in the budget.

She also announced a new central sponsored scheme, “PM AatmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana”. The scheme to be launched soon will have an outlay of about Rs 64, 180 crore over 6 years. This aims at developing capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care Health Systems, strengthening existing national institutions and creating new institutions to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases.

Interventions under the scheme are;

  1. Support 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centers
  2. Setting up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3382 block public health

units in 11 states

  1. Establishing critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions
  2. Strengthening of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), its 5 regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units
  3. Expansion of the Integrated Health Information Portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs
  4. Operationalisation of 17 new Public Health Units and strengthening of 33 existing Public Health Units at Points of Entry, that is at 32 Airports, 11 Seaports and 7 land crossings
  5. Setting up of 15 Health Emergency Operation Centers and 2 mobile hospitals
  6. Setting up of a national institution for One Health, a Regional Research Platform for WHO South East Asia Region, nine Bio-Safety Level III laboratories and four regional National Institutes for Virology.

Vaccines

  1. Rs 35,000 crore made for Covid-19 vaccine in 2021-22.
  2. Pneumococcal Vaccine, a Made in India product, now limited to only 5 states, to be made available across the country

Universal Coverage of Water Supply and Swachch Bharat Mission

  1. JalJeevan Mission (Urban) for universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies
  2. Liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities. It will be implemented over 5 years, with an outlay of Rs. 2,87,000 crore.
  3. Urban Swachh Bharat Mission to be implemented with a total financial allocation of Rs 1,41,678 crore over a period of 5 years from 2021-2026.

The budget also came up with a ‘voluntary vehicle scrapping, policy’ to phase out old and unfit vehicles. Fitness tests proposed in automated fitness centres after 20 years in case of personal vehicles, and after 15 years in case of commercial vehicles, the budget said.

PHYSICAL AND FINANCIAL CAPITAL AND INFRASTRUCTURE

budget

AatmaNirbhar Bharat-Production Linked Incentive Scheme

Finance Minister Sitaraman said that the manufacturing sector has to grow in double digits on a sustained basis for 5 trillion dollar economy. “Our manufacturing companies need to become an integral part of global supply chains, possess core competence and cutting-edge technology. To achieve all of the above, PLI schemes to create manufacturing global champions for an AatmaNirbhar Bharat announced for 13 sectors. For this, the government has committed nearly Rs. 1.97 lakh crore in the next 5 years starting FY 2021-22. This initiative will help bring scale and size in key sectors, create and nurture global champions and provide jobs to our youth,” she said.

Textiles

Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA) for attracting investments. The scheme will help to create excellent infrastructure with plug and play facilities to enable create global champions in exports. Seven Textile Parks in three years

Development Financial Institution

Noting that infrastructure needed long-term debt financing, the finance minister expressed the need for professionally managed Development Financial Institution. The government will bring a Bill to set up a DFI soon, she said. The Government earmarked Rs 20,000 crore to capitalise this institution.

Asset Monetisation

National Monetization Pipeline of potential Brownfield infrastructure assets to be launched

Roads and Highways Infrastructure

The Government would award another 8,500 kms and complete an additional 11,000 kms of national highway corridors by March 2022. More economic corridors planned to augment road infrastructure. 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.

Railway Infrastructure

In the budget, Sitaraman said that Indian Railways have already prepared a National Rail Plan for India – 2030, which aims at creating a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. She also said that Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and Eastern DFC would be commissioned by June 2022.

Following measures proposed for passenger convenience and safety;

  1. Introduction of aesthetically designed Vista Dome LHB coach on tourist routes to give a better travel experience
  2. To further strengthen safety measures, high-density network and highly utilized network routes of Indian railways will be provided with an indigenously developed automatic train protection system that eliminates train collision due to human error.
  3. A sum of Rs. 1,10,055 crore earmarked for Railways of which Rs. 1,07,100 crore is for capital expenditure.

Urban Infrastructure

New scheme will be launched at a cost of Rs. 18,000 crore to support augmentation of public bus transport services. “MetroLite’ and ‘Metro Neo’ 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

The government in the budget 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 schemes will assistance to DISCOMS for Infrastructure creation including pre-paid smart metering and feeder separation and up gradation of systems.

Ports, Shipping, Waterways

Major Ports will be moving from managing their operational services on their own to a model where private partner will manage it for them. A Scheme to promote flagging of merchant ships in India launched, she added.

Petroleum & Natural Gas

1.Ujwala Scheme that benefited eight crore households will be extended to cover 1 crore more beneficiaries.

  1. 100 more districts to be added in next 3 years to the City Gas Distribution network.
  2. Gas pipeline project in Jammu & Kashmir.
  3. Independent Gas Transport System Operator for facilitation and coordination of booking common carrier capacity in all-natural gas pipelines on a non-discriminatory open access

 Financial Capital

The budget proposed to consolidate the provisions of SEBI Act. 1992, Depositories Act, 1996. Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 and Government Securities Act, 2007 into a rationalized single Securities Markets Code. Increase FDI in Insurance Sector.  The Budget proposed to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent and allow foreign ownership and control with safeguards.

Disinvestment and Strategic Sale

The Finance Minister said that the Government kept working towards strategic disinvestment despite COVID-19 pandemic. She said a number of transactions namely Air India, BPCL, Container Corporation of India, IDBI Bank, Shipping Corporation of India, Pawan Hans, Neelachallspat Nigam limited, BEML among others would be completed in 2021-22. She said that the Government would bring the IPO of LIC in 2021-22, for which requisite amendments will be made in this Session itself. Noting that a policy of strategic disinvestment of public sector enterprises was included in the AtmaNirbhar Package, she said the Government approved the policy.

INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR ASPIRATIONAL INDIA

This pillar gave importance to Agriculture and Allied sectors, farmers’ welfare and rural India, migrant workers and labour, and financial in this sector.

Agriculture

Stating that the Government was committed to the farmers’ welfare, she said the total amount paid to farmers in 2013-2014 was Rs. 33,874 crore. It was Rs. 62,802 crore in 2019-2020 and Rs. 75,060 crore in 2020-2021. She also mentioned that the agricultural credit target was enhanced 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 created under NABARD will be doubled, she added..

Fisheries

Five major fishing harbours – Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, and Petuaghat – to be developed as hubs of economic activity.

Migrant Workers and Labourers

Sitaraman said in the budget speech that the government proposed to implement four labour codes. Minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers and covered by the Employees State Insurance Corporation.

Women will be allowed to work in all categories and in night-shifts with adequate protection. At the same time, compliance burden on employers will be reduced with single registration and licensing, and online returns.

REINVOGARATING HUMAN CAPITAL

  1. 100 new Sainik Schools in partnership with NGOs/private schools/states
  2. To set up a Higher Education Commission of India, as an umbrella body having 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding.

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare

Establishing 750 Eklavya model residential schools in tribal areas with increase in unit cost of each such school from Rs. 20 crore to Rs. 38 crore, and for hilly and difficult areas, to Rs. 48 crore.

INNOVATION AND R&D

National Language Translation Mission (NTLM) to enable the wealth of governance-and-policy related knowledge on the Internet being made available in major Indian languages.

MINIMUM GOVERNMENT MAXIMUM GOVERNANCE

Forthcoming Census to be first digital census in the history of India.

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