Nirmala Sitharaman on budget schemes

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Stimulus not needed right now, says Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister talks on budget schemes…get the details

Monday, 31st May 2021

Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Finance Minister has recently stated that no need has yet cropped up for rushing right away with a stimulus as an answer to the pandemic’s second wave as the Budget declarations, including on expenses, are still waiting to completely penetrate through the country’s economy with the completion of only 2 months of this current financial year.

Sitharaman also informed that finances weren’t an issue and that headroom was actually available under the schemes, like loans or financial assistance based on the governmental guarantee. “The Budget, which is designed for a Covid-affected economy, will have to go down to the people...We are not even taking that on board, and we have started talking about 'where is the big deal stimulus'?... Many of the schemes which were announced during Atmanirbhar Bharat are still being used,” told Sitharaman to TOI during an interview.

While the assessment and analysis of the complete effect of the covid pandemic’s second wave in India is in progress, sectors like contact-based industries, tourism and hospitality, said Sitharaman, have been a worst hit when compared to the other sectors. The government is expecting a drop in the GST collections, but this would be a temporary drop and the mop-up, experts hope, will rise with the reopening of the economy.

The Union finance minister also reacted to the Opposition’s criticism regarding the government’s tackling of the pandemic’s second wave and it’s the anti-covid vaccination strategy. “When they speak, they should also say how they have contributed to vaccine hesitancy in this country....How they questioned Indian vaccine producers and their credibility…They said ‘I will not take it, that is Modi’s vaccine, that’s BJP vaccine’. Today, you are saying ‘Oh, where is the vaccine?’ Be consistent. You want it or you don’t want it? Make up your mind,” said Sitharaman.

Expressing her grief for the lives lost in this gruesome second wave, Sitharaman stated that it was pretty difficult to foresee the speed at which the covid cases rose in the country, leading to dearth of facilities. “States, Centre, private hospitals, medical fraternity -- who would have imagined the extent (and) intensity with which it came and the speed with which it spread?... So how much preparation would have been adequate... For instance, the opposition parties, were their states prepared?” she stated, while urging every political party in the country to work jointly.

The Finance Minister further said that funds would be supplied for the covid vaccines from Rs 35,000 crore, an amount that has been kept aside within the current budget, as the firms start their supplies.

“We know the manufacturing capacity of the two Indian vaccine manufacturers. I have given them money up to July in advance. While giving that I have not even asked for any guarantees. We made that exception to the rule. I have to pay, but which government pays all that on April 1? As you use, so we give. That’s so with MGNERGA, education, health, social budget. Let them supply. We are also looking at imports, a lot of things are happening,” said finance minister, Sitharaman.

The News Talkie Bureau


Timesofindia Indiatimes


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