Exclusive: Growth given priority in Union Budget 2021-22, shouldn’t worry about financial losses now, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday stated that growth has been given priority in Union Budget 2021-22, adding that one shouldn’t worry about financial losses now. In an exclusive interview with Zee News, the Finance Minister highlighted that the Budget removed the problems faced due to coronavirus.

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In the biggest interview after the budget, the finance minister said, “Growth is given priority in the budget. We shouldn’t worry about financial losses right now.” The Finance Minister asserted that an increase in government spending will lead to a rise in employment. She added that Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will get support due to increase in demand.

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She also said that health and agri will benefit the common man, adding that health and agriculture expenses will provide employment to the people. The Finance Minister added that Budget will help overcome the skill shortage in employment. The mega textile park will increase employment and great job opportunities are there in the textile sector. Sitharaman asserted that the government meets its target on time. “Our government has already shown it,” she added. 

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The focus now is on quality expenditure stated Sitharaman. “Focus will be more on infra, health, and agri infra as it helps in increasing growth,” added the Finance Minister in the interview.

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“Foreign investors gain confidence in India. We have been getting very good response from investors. There is also a lot of opportunities for investors in India. The retail investors also gain confidence in the market and the market boom shows the confidence of retail investors. We will disinvest companies at the right time. Government is working on a long term policy,” added the Finance Minister.

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On Monday, Sitharaman proposed a sharp increase in expenditure on infrastructure, doubling of healthcare spending and raising the cap on foreign investment in insurance in her Budget for the next fiscal in a bid to pull the economy out of the pandemic-induced trough. The Budget for the fiscal year beginning April made no changes in personal or corporate tax rates but raised customs duties on certain auto parts, mobile phone components and solar panels in order to provide impetus to domestic manufacturing.

It also imposed an Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) on the import of certain items (like apples, peas, lentils, alcohol, chemicals, silver and cotton) to finance agricultural infrastructure and other development expenditure. But its impact on prices has been offset by an equivalent or more reduction in the import duty.

In her third budget and the Narendra Modi government’s eighth, Sitharaman proposed a vehicle scrappage policy, Rs 20,000 crore recapitalisation of public sector banks, divestment of some state-owned lenders and sale of non-strategic PSUs with a view to bolstering an economy that plunged into its deepest recorded slump amid the pandemic outbreak.

Stock market cheered the Budget announcements, with the biggest jump in indices on a budget day in over two decades while India Inc hailed Sitharaman as a reformist.


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Sagar Biswas

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