The Union Budget 2021 announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Monday is, by most measures, an absolutely pathbreaking budget. The ability of the Central government to take a bold position on fiscal deficit is praiseworthy and in alignment with the national aspirations for a growth-inducing expenditure on health and livelihoods.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been used as an opportunity to transform a fragmented health delivery system, which now seamlessly connects national, state, district, block and village-level healthcare infrastructure in the country. This is no small achievement for a country of India's size. The aggressive delivery mechanism put in place for enforcing social distancing, then for coronavirus testing, and now for vaccination is a game-changer.
Secondly, the additional expenditure on infrastructure, especially for transportation, skill-development, education and many other areas, is going to most-certainly deliver double-digit growth in the medium term for the coming decade. So, this is a decadal budget, not a one-off flash in the pan budget. This is a well thought-out budget, and full marks to the team that drafted it, for including steps for attracting long-term foreign investment in infrastructure and other yielding assets, areas where India continues to be the most attractive destination.
Yaduvendra Mathur is a former special secretary to NITI Aayog. He is now the Vice Chairman CEG Ltd.
(As told to News18.com)