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FROM THE EDITOR’s DESK:
The Union Budget 2021-2022 presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on February 01 gathered both positive and negative reactions.
While some have termed the budget as “growth-oriented” and “people-friendly”, others see it as a disappointment with widening fiscal deficit compared to the last budget.
Going by the reactions from experts or unions, one could say that there is a clash of opinions.
While the commerce & industry and health sector seem quite contented and happy with the budget, other sectors like the banking sector are a little taken aback by the decision of the government to privatise the public sector banks.
If we go by what experts claim on the class divide, it would seem the rich will become richer and the poor poorer even as they stated that this year’s budget was “shady” with the “game of numbers” being the highlight of the budget.
Others have pointed out that the budgetary allocation for the welfare of women and children was disappointing and lacked clarity. Though allocation for health and education sectors was increased, there are, however, no parameters to address core issues like increased drop-out rates amongst students or rise in maternal and infant mortality rates.
The Defence sector suffers the same fate. Experts believe that a mere 1.4 per cent of budgetary outlay for the Defence Ministry reflects the Finance Minister’s lack of emphasis on this aspect. And with the cases of intrusion and tension along the international borders being reported frequently, be it with China or Pakistan, minimal focus on the area might be one of the government’s biggest mistakes.
If we talk about growth and infrastructural development, the budget is looked at as being “growth-oriented” in the infrastructural sense of the term.
The budgetary outlay for various projects looks promising, with many major and trend-setting projects in the pipeline.
Of course, like every year, whenever a budget is presented, praises and criticisms will follow. The Opposition Congress has termed the budget as a case of “wrong diagnosis and prescription”. Hitting back, the government has claimed that the budget will revive the country from the pit of economic degradation following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major companies have hailed the budget and see it as a roadmap to put the economy back on a multi-year trajectory of double-digit expansion. And it was probably because of comments and remarks such as these that caught the netizens’ attention, who termed the budget as pro-corporates and anti-common man.
For a layperson, the budget will only make sense once the projected numbers and figures are turned into action; for them – Seeing is believing.