India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament on Monday (February 1), during a time when the entire nation is still recovering from the coronavirus crisis.
The Budget presentation will be underway with a speech from the FM, scheduled to take place at around 11 am.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought largest of economies to a grinding halt is still ravaging the world and while India is observing a welcome trajectory of the pandemic, there are concerns as to what steps would the Centre take to make up for the loss that has happened in the last one year?
The Economic Survey presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday indicated the economic health of the country in the last year. As per the Survey, COVID pandemic affected both demand and supply. The Union budget is likely to propose structural reforms to revive the supply and demand of the Indian economy.
The GDP contracted by 23.9 per cent, in the quarter ending June 2020, followed by a milder contraction of 7.5 per cent in the quarter which ended in September 2020.
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The first section of the Budget Session will continue till February 15, with the second part scheduled to be held from March 8 to April 8.
The government indicated that it is open to the idea of borrowing more and spending to boost growth and demand. The government emphasised on the point that if the growth rate is greater than the interest paid on debt, then servicing that debt is feasible. It said, “growth causes debt to become sustainable in countries with higher growth rates.” The government also hinted towards initiating labour reforms which are much needed and would be a step in the right direction.
COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the importance of the healthcare sector and its inter-linkages with other sectors – showcased how a health crisis transformed into an economic and social crisis. So, the budget is likely to announce something to transform the healthcare infrastructure which as per the Survey “must be agile.”