New Delhi: Finance Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman today gave a booster dose to the economy through six pillars of mega rise in capital expenditure on healthcare, physical infrastructure without putting much pressure on the taxpayers, ASSOCHAM President Mr Vineet Agarwal said.
A huge 137 per cent increase in outlay for healthcare with specific Rs 35,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccine rollout, a courageous asset monetisation programme along with strategic disinvestment including two banks stand out as defining features of the Budget for 2021-22, Mr Agarwal said. The Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s flagship AatmaNirbhar Bharat is very imprinted on the Budget through a string of measures on giving safety to the domestic manufacturers through customs rationalisation.
Mr Agarwal said despite an unprecedented pandemic exerting a huge pressure on government finances, the Finance Minister has been able to keep the path of fiscal consolidation with a fiscal deficit of 6.8 per cent of GDP for the next financial year. ”There is a big emphasis on capital expenditure on building key infrastructure both in the rural and urban parts of the city. There has also been big time focus on highways, better connectivity to ports through roads and rail and bringing down cost of logistics to make Indian manufacturing competitive in the world,” the ASSOCHAM President said.
He said the roadmap for taking healthcare up to the block and district level of the country along with the blueprint for research in preventive vaccination would go a long way in adding strength to our human resource. Priorities to nutrition, primary health care would be vital for the human capital.
He said, capital spend on infrastructure has been one of the six pillars of the Budget. Announcement of a development financial institution with an initial capital of Rs 20,000 crore and lending potential of Rs 5 lakh crore would provide impetus to the sector. Asset monetisation of brownfield road projects, dedicated rail freight corridors would add speed to the infrastructure development.
”The mantra is clear: Spend on quality infrastructure for faster economic recovery to a double-digit growth in 2021-22,” the ASSOCHAM President said.
He said the Budget has maintained the pathway to reforms with a crucial revision in FDI limit in the insurance sector to 74 per cent from 49 per cent. ” The decision would lead to the sector generating a significant multiplier”.
Mr Agarwal said, the Budget has given a certainty and inspired confidence in entrepreneurship by retaining the fiscal incentives for the Start-ups and the Stand-Up India programme.
He said on the taxation front, the decision to limit the assessment -reopening to three years from six years reflects increasing trust between the taxpayers and the government.
The focus on MSMEs with doubling of outlays for the sector and several regulatory and tax compliance reliefs would lead to ease of doing business for the small businesses.
The ASSOCHAM President complimented the government for continuing emphasis on the agriculture sector with a commitment for building enhanced agri infra. However, the government could consider replacement of proposed cess with raising more through disinvestment, the target for which may be raised in the wake of a healthy capital market.