Union Budget 2021: Sitharaman announces Rs. 35,000 crore for vaccinesLast updated on Feb 02, 2021, 12:01 am
On Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget, her third one so far and the first one amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Just as she began speaking, several Opposition leaders shouted slogans, leading to bedlam in the Lok Sabha. The ruckus was, however, controlled soon.
In a major announcement, Sitharaman set aside Rs. 35,000 crore for vaccines for 2021-22.
Here are more details.
Risk of not imposing lockdown was high: Sitharaman
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said that the risk of not enforcing a lockdown was "far too high." To recall, in March 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had imposed a strict lockdown to control the spread of the highly-contagious disease.
She praised the two made-in-India vaccines (Covishield and COVAXIN) and revealed that two or more vaccines are expected soon.
'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' schemes were like 'five mini Budgets'
She revealed that the 2021 Union Budget has six pillars, namely health and well-being; physical and financial capital and infrastructure; inclusive development; human capital; innovation and R&D; and minimum government and maximum governance. The budget is capable of "facilitating the economy's reset," she claimed.
Sitharaman also added that the Aatmanirbhar Bharat schemes announced in 2020 were like "five mini Budgets themselves."
A new scheme, focusing on healthcare, was announced
Keeping healthcare infrastructure in mind, Sitharaman announced the launch of Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, with an outlay of Rs. 64,180 crore over six years.
She announced that Rs. 2.24 lakh crore will be spent on healthcare in 2021-22.
The Finance Minister claimed that the low mortality rate and less number of active coronavirus cases played a role in India's economic revival.
Highway projects for four poll-bound states announced
Further, she announced highway projects for poll-bound Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, and Kerala.
The government is aiming to complete the construction of 11,000 km of National Highway Corridor by March.
"Over 13,000 km length of roads at a cost of Rs. 3.3 lakh crore has been awarded under Rs. 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala project of which 3,800 km have been constructed," she added.
Over Rs. 1 lakh crore announced for Railways
She disclosed that a development finance institution with a capital of Rs. 20,000 crore will be set up. The body aims to reach a lending capacity of Rs. 5 lakh crore in three years.
The Finance Minister earmarked Rs. 1.1 lakh crore for Indian Railways in FY22, of which Rs. 1.07 lakh crore was set aside for capital expenditure.