Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the Budget is aimed at making India self-reliant and provides a strong stimulus for medium to long term sustainable high growth. While replying to the discussion on the Budget 2021-22, the minister also attacked former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram for suspecting the Budget numbers. She, however did not mention his name. Stressing that the Budget is for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, she said, “attempt made in this Budget is to provide strong stimulus and provide such a stimulus which can bring in that kind of a multiplier effect…”. “We are also looking at medium to 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 said.
With coronavirus pandemic affecting economic activities in the country, the country’s GDP growth is estimated to contract to a historic low of 7.7 per cent in the financial year ending March 2021. The economy is likely to pick up in the next fiscal and expand by about 11 per cent, as per various estimates.
Referring to Chidambaram’s remark that major numbers are suspect in the Budget presented by her on February 1, Sitharaman said it was the Congress finance minister who had artificially increased capex numbers during 2007-08 when UPA was ruling the country. She said bonds were issued to oil marketing companies and fertilizer manufactures in lieu of cash subsidy to “make balance sheet attractive”. “Fake narratives were created… Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not depend on fudging,” she said. The finance minister also said that infrastructure creation, continuing reforms, and transparency of accounts are major features of this year’s Budget.