Budget for 2021-22 will be the most crucial for India in the 21st century after the economy was left battered by the coronavirus pandemic to the extent that it might contract by 7.7 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
Till date since the pandemic hit, the government hasn’t acted intelligently enough to support the MSMEs, labourers, salaried individuals, hospitality industry, etc. But the time has come for the government to change its exhibitionist approach to a more streamlined growth-focused approach.
Firstly, this Budget should have a detailed and clear outlook of the government’s desire for the next fiscal year without any caveat.
Secondly, the government should pass a fiscal stimulus to support the labourers, who have lost their job due to pandemic-related issues, and this is the most important among all the aspects as India has one of the largest labour forces in the world, besides having one of the highest number of unemployed people.
Thirdly, the government should address the farmers’ agitation by introducing MSP (minimum support price) across the country and also listen to their other demands.
Extend loan moratorium, support MSMEs
Fourthly, the moratoriums imposed by the RBI on loan and interest payments should be extended indefinitely till the economy comes out of this whirlpool.
Fifthly, the government should cap the fees of the educational institutions at least for the next six months for the benefit of the students and their parents.
The government should also consider picking up the burden of the rising NPAs of our financial institutions to avoid a crash in the financial system.
The government should also introduce new schemes to support MSMEs by lending them loans at low or at zero interest to rebuild their business for the post-pandemic world. This will not only be beneficial for MSMEs but also for the common man as it will repair the demand and supply chain, which will further control the inflation and keep it under the upper tolerance limit.
The government should keep aside an amount for vaccinating the population free of cost and also cap medical expenses for low-income groups for the next two quarters.
This apart, the central government should lend more money to the states for investing in infrastructure projects.
The administration should reduce taxes on petrol and diesel as the price of the black gold has been skyrocketing in the last few months, which in turn is affecting the economy as people are avoiding transport and preferring to stay at home.
Shambo Chatterjee is a student of Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata.