Budget 2021 – theme based on “Ease of Living”

Photo : ndtv.com

Presenting the first Union Budget of the third decade of the 21st century, Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, today unveiled a series of far-reaching reforms, aimed at energizing the Indian economy through a combination of short-term, medium-term, and long term measures.

The Union Budget has been structured on the overall theme of “Ease of Living.” This has been achieved by farmer friendly initiatives such as Agriculture credit target of Rs 15 lakh crore for 2020-21; schemes of “Kisan Rail” and “Krishi Udaan” for a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables; and expansion of PM-KUSUM to provide 20 lakh farmers for setting up stand-alone solar pumps.

In the health sector, the Budget proposes more than 20,000 empanelled hospitals under PM Jan Arogya Yojana for poor people; and expansion of  Jan Aushadhi Kendra Scheme to all districts offering 2000 medicines and 300 surgicals by 2024.

Infrastructure receives a boost, with 100 more airports by 2024 to support Udaan scheme; and operation of 150 passenger trains to be done through PPP mode.

Starting apprenticeship embedded courses through 150 higher educational institutions by March 2021 and a proposal to establish Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation are some of the other major highlights.

The Finance Minister said that the Union Budget Aims:

    • To achieve seamless delivery of services through Digital governance
    • To improve physical quality of life through National Infrastructure Pipeline
    • Risk mitigation through Disaster Resilience
    • Social security through Pension and Insurance penetration.

The  budget is woven around three prominent themes:

    • Aspirational India in which all sections of the society seek better standards of living, with access to health, education and better jobs.
    • Economic development for all, indicated in the Prime Minister’s exhortation of “SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas, SabkaVishwas”.
    • Caring Society that is both humane and compassionate, where Antyodaya is an article of faith.

The three broad themes are held together by

    • Corruption free – policy-driven good governance
    • Clean and sound financial sector.

The three components of Aspirational India are- a) Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development , b) Wellness, Water and Sanitation and c) Education and Skills

Agriculture, Irrigation  and Rural Development

The Finance Minister said that more than Rs 2.83 lakh crore would be spent on Agriculture, Rural Development, Irrigation and allied activities as farmers and rural poor continue to remain the key focus of the Government.

Reiterating the commitment of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, She said, Government has already provided resilience for 6.11 crore farmers insured under PM Fasal Bima Yojana. Agriculture credit target for the year 2020-21 has be set at Rs 15 lakh crore. All eligible beneficiaries of PM-KISAN will be covered under the KCC scheme.

Moreover, comprehensive measures for one hundred water stressed districts, proposal to expand PM-KUSUM to provide 20 lakh farmers for setting up stand-alone solar pumps and for another 15 lakh farmers to solarise their grid-connected pump sets, setting up of efficient warehouses at the block/taluk level and in Horticulture sector with focus on “one product one district” for better marketing and export are some of the steps in that direction.

Foot and Mouth disease, brucellosis in cattle and also peste des petits ruminants(PPR) in sheep and goat to be eliminatated by 2025,  Coverage of artificial insemination to be increased from the present 30% to 70%, MNREGS to be dovetailed to develop fodder farms, doubling of milk processing capacity from 53.5 million MT to 108 million MT by 2025 to be facilitated.

Similarly on the Blue Economy, raising of fish production to 200 lakh tonnes is proposed by  2022-23.  Youth to be involved in fishery extension through 3477 Sagar Mitras and 500 Fish Farmer Producer Organisations. Fishery exports hoped to be raised to Rs 1 lakh crore by 2024-25. DeenDayalAntyodayaYojana- for alleviation of poverty, half a crore households are mobilized with 58 lakh SHGs and it will be further expanded.

Wellness, Water and Sanitation

Dwelling on the Wellness, Water and Sanitation theme, Smt Sitharaman said Rs 69,000 crore is being provided for Health care including Rs 6400 crores for Prime Minister Jan ArogyaYojana (PMJAY). She said, under PM Jan ArogyaYojana (PMJAY), there are more than 20,000 empanelled hospitals more in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities for poorer people.

Setting up hospitals in the PPP mode mainly in  Aspirational Districts, using machine learning and AI, in the Ayushman Bharat scheme, “TB Harega Desh Jeetega” campaign to end Tuberculosis by 2025, expansion of Jan Aushadhi Kendra Scheme to all districts offering 2000 medicines and 300 surgicals by 2024 are some of the other wellness measures in the Budget.

On sanitation front, Government is committed to ODF Plus in order to sustain ODF behaviour and the total allocation for Swachh Bharat Mission is Rs.12,300 crore in 2020-21.  Similarly, Rs 3.60 lakh crore approved for Jal Jeevan Mission and Rs 11,500 crore in 2020-21.

Education and Skills

On Education and Skill front, the Finance Minister said Rs 99,300 crore is being allocated  in 2020-21 and Rs 3000 crores for skill development.  New Education Policy will be announced soon. About 150 higher educational institutions will start apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2021.

Degree level full-fledged online education programme to be started.  Under its “Study in India” programme, an Ind-SAT is proposed to be held in Asian and African countries. A National Police University and a National Forensic Science University are being proposed in the domain of policing science, forensic science, cyber-forensics etc. It is proposed that special bridge courses be designed by the Ministries of Health, Skill Development.

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