Union budget instrument to attain Aatmanirbhar Bharat, says FM Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha

NEW DELHI: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the Union Budget 2021-22 is the instrument through which Aatmanirbhar Bharat is to be attained and asserted that the government is also looking at “long term sustainable growth”.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Budget 2021-22, Sitharman said, “It’s a Budget which clearly draws on the experience, the administrative capacities and also exposure that the Prime Minister had during his long elected tenure – both as CM and as PM of this country – known for his commitment towards development, growth, and reforms. So these three things are essentially infused in the budget which is now speaking for itself in the sense that it is the instrument through which Aatmanirbhar Bharat is to be attained.”

Besides providing ‘quick short term solutions’, Sitharaman said that the government is also looking at “long term sustainable growth”.

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“So post-pandemic and post-global contraction, economies have suffered across the world. And as I said in my budget speech the attempt made in this budget is to provide strong stimulus, to provide such a stimulus which can bring in a multiplier effect and therefore instead of finding quick short term solutions, even as we provide short term quick relief for those people who so desperately need it,” the minister said.

“We are looking at medium term, long term sustainable growth, which will keep India in that kind of growth trajectory which will maintain us as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” she added.

The Finance Minister said 800 million people were provided free foodgrains, free cooking gas was provided to 80 million people, and cash directly was given to 400 million people including farmers, women, divyangs, and the poor.

“Over 1.67 crore houses completed under PM Awas Yojana. Is it for the rich? Over 2.67 crore households electrified under PM Saubhagya Yojana since ’17 October. The total value of orders placed on Govt e-market is Rs 8,22,077 crores. Are they being given to big companies? They are being given to MSMEs,” she said.

Slamming the Opposition, Sitharaman said: “It has now become a sort of habit for some in the Opposition to constantly allege, in spite of what we are doing for the poor and the steps taken for helping the poor and needy of this country, a false narrative is created to accuse – saying that this government works only for cronies.”

On February 4, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi termed the Union Budget 2021-22 as “crony centric”, which “betrays” the employers of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).”Modi’s crony centric budget means- Struggling MSMEs given no low-interest loans, no GST relief. The employers of India’s largest workforce betrayed,” Gandhi tweeted.