By Dr. BIJAYA KUMAR SAHOO
Advisor to The Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan
Govt. of Odisha
The Union Budget 2021 has touched all the sectors and rests on six pillars, i.e. Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, Physical & Financial capital and infrastructure, Minimum government and maximum governance.
I am happy that the Union Budget 2021 has focused on qualitative strengthening of over 15,000 Schools across India under National Education Policy 2020. It is a great move by the Finance Minister. An 'umbrella' structure will be created for central higher education in various cities. Legislation to set up the Higher Education Commission will be introduced soon. Last year, the government allocated Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector.
To further the National Education Policy under the reinvigorating human capital under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission the minister said a central university will also be established in Leh for accessible higher education at Ladakh. 100 new Sainik schools to be set up in partnership with NGOs and private schools, 750 Eklavya schools will be set up in tribal areas, Increase in the expenditure cost for tribal schools. It will a major boost for rural education.
Government proposes Rs 3,000 crore to be sanctioned towards upskilling and Rs 30,000 crore for R&D over 5 years. The budget allocation in Padhna Likhna Abhiyan has been increased from Rs. 95.25 cr (RE 2020-21) to Rs. 250 cr in BE 2021-22 (an increase of Rs. 154.75 cr) i.e. by 162.47% which will further lead to infrastructural (both digital and non-digital) enhancement. India’s focus on R&D with National Research Foundation an allocation of 50,000 crores will certainly help India in developing an urban India.
There has been a focus on reviving the MSME Sector and making inclusive development for an aspirational India the product link incentive in 13 sectors with focus on agriculture infrastructure and 5 fishing harbours will make quantitative and improvement in these sectors. The Union Budget 2021 has emphasized on health and wellbeing in which allocation has been kept in upgrading health infrastructure of the country, with an outlay of additional 64000 crores. For migrant labour and GIG workers a portal will be developed to track health, housing, skill and insurance along with social security through ESIC is going to benefit 15 crore workers across India.
The whooping Fiscal Deficit expected at 9.5% of GDP is to be contained at 6.8% in 2021-2022 which will be brought down to 4.5% by 2025-2026. Though a welcome measure, its implementation will be full of challenges. The 15th Finance Commission Recommendation of States sharing increased 41% will make each state stronger; however, it shall depend on the FRBM consolidation. Government has reposed more faith on the taxpayer by reducing reopening cases to 3 yrs making IT-AT faceless and exempting pensioner senior citizens from filing tax returns, it will certainly give relief to them.
The FDI increase in insurance sector commitment for national Infrastructure pipeline, revising small company definition from 50 lacs to 2 crores and allowing One person company to be floated will help capital build up for the nation. Looking at the positive budget, the Sensex has already jumped over 2300 points. It also emphasizes the most talked about Farmers policy and their hike in credit limit. There is also a boost to the non-conventional energy sector. As expected, the Finance Minister announced Rs 35,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccines but no relief to the taxpayers who have faced the brunt for the past one year. Though, it’s welcoming to see that the tedious income tax return forms will be further simplified.
(*Also Founder at SAI International Education Group)