Budget FY21-22 To Lay Special Focus On Infrastructure To Revive Economy

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday that Union Budget for the year 2021-2022 will sustain public expenditure and categorically accentuate on Infrastructure, and have a ‘vibrancy’ to ensure economic revival.

Government will continue public expenditure, as it is only way to revive economy which has contracted in the first two quarters of fiscal year, she said.

Adding on dis-investments, she said, Pace of disinvestment which has been slowed down by pandemic will gain momentum in the coming few months, companies which have already got cabinet approval will be taken on priority.

Disinvestment will be happening, Corporatisation of banks, they should be able to raise money from market, and several steps have been taken to deepen and widen debt market.

For the year government pegged a disinvestment target of Rs. 2.10 lakh crore, and raising 10,500 crore through IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) and OFS (Offer For Sale).

Strategic disinvestment of BPCL and Air India is under process, and government has received several EOIs (Expression of Interests)

She said, National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) is doing great in attracting foreign investments, sovereign funds are keen on NIIF, alongside National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) is also given priority.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) submitted 15 suggestions for the upcoming budget, wherein NIP took the priority of the list, suggesting 40 to 50 per cent of projects to be completed in the next 2 years, saying investment in infrastructure will drive 200 other sectors, and infrastructure is key for unskilled employment generation, ANI Reported.

The list of other suggestions included, education and health on priority, suggesting government to allow universities to invest endowment and surplus fund in wider assets such as equity, alternative investment funds and investment trusts, allowing institutions/universities to generate revenue.

Regarding health, FICCI has suggested government to spend an additional of 0.5 per cent of GDP every year for next five years, launch “Health Infrastructure and Medical Innovation Fund”.

Budgetary exercises started on October 16, and is expected to be tabled in parliament on February 1, 2021.

To keep funding consistent, government has raised borrowing levels so public expenditure doesn’t suffer, as of now, government has borrowed Rs. 9.05 lakh crore, which is 68 per cent higher than borrowings made last year same period, and the total borrowing provision for the year FY21 is Rs. 12 lakh crore.

She said, capex provisioning allotment for the first two quarters was very low due to lockdown and migrant crisis, and attempts are made up to cover in next two quarters.

Concluding further and on COVID-19 vaccine to be rolled out soon, minister said, “we can be lot more confident that the pandemic will be let behind us, and we shall surge forward as an economy”.