Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the Union Budget for FY21-22 attempts at providing stimulus to the economy.
Noting that post the pandemic global economies have witnessed contraction, the Minister, in her reply during the debate on the budget in Rajya Sabha, said that along with short term relief for those requiring immediate support, the government has also taken care of the medium and long term growth.
“The attempt made in this budget is to provide stimulus,” she said. She added that the budget is the instrument through which the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-Reliant India) is to be attained.
Regarding the allegations of the opposition that the government works for the benefit of “crony capitalists”, she said that the NDA government has been working for the poor along with “respecting” the wealth creators.
Outlining several schemes including MGNREGA scheme and PMAY among others, she said that all these government initiatives were aimed at the poor rather than the rich.
“A false narrative is being created,” she said over accusations that the government was only for the rich and crony capitalists.
Denying allegations of non-transparency in budgetary numbers, the Finance Minister said that the Modi government’s Budget was “clear and transparent”, while indicating that numbers were doubtful during the UPA rule.
Her statement came after Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said that the major numbers in this year’s Budget were “suspect”.
In her reply to the debate on the Union Budget 2021-22, Sitharaman said: “What you get as Budget is what you get in it. No pushing anything under the carpet…”
She highlighted instances in the 2007-08 Budget, saying those numbers were “suspect”.
“I will give three concrete proofs of how accounts were suspect. I can give you clear proof of how data became suspect at times, which did not occur under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” she said.
Sitharaman suggested that 60 per cent jump in 2007-08 capex numbers also included Rs 40,000 crore financially neutral deal involving the RBI and the SBI.
She said that if the Rs 40,000 crore is removed, the actual capex growth that year would come to around 7 per cent. She stressed that 34.5 per cent growth in capex this year is the highest-ever.
On the transparency in the fuel market, she said that during UPA government, the burden of under-recoveries was put on oil companies as well, while the Narendra Modi-led government has opened up the sector making the market completely transparent.