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Budget 2021 focused on health sector, infrastructure: FM Sitharaman

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New Delhi, Feb 01: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed a press conference after presenting Budget 2021.

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Budget focused on health sector, infrastructure: FM Sitharaman

Addressing the post-Budget presser, Sitharaman said,''This Budget comes at a time when all of us decided to give impetus to the economy & that impetus, we thought, would be qualitatively spent & give necessary demand push if we choose to spend big on infrastructure."

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''If there are two important features of this Budget, it is that we chose to spend big on infrastructure which spans across roads, power generation, bridges, ports & so on,''she said.

''As a second feature, I tend to the need of the healthcare sector and even there, capacities for better health management had to be brought in in light of what we had gone through last year,'' she further said.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said,''We are absolutely upfront with fiscal deficit. We not only ensured repeated review of capital expenditure and ensured that spending was encouraged and not delayed.''

Accounting of government expenditure and revenue statements are now a lot more transparent and open, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. "Our fiscal deficit which started at 3.5% during Feb 2020 has increased to 9.5% of GDP, so we have spent, we have spent and we have spent. At the same time, we have given a clear glide path for deficit management," she added.

''Defence Budget consists of three component - revenue, pension & capital component. The Budget allocation (for the capital component) in 2020-21 was Rs 1,13,734 crores. It has gone to Rs 1,35,060 crores which is an increase of 20%,'' TV Somanathan, Secretary, Expenditure said.

On farm laws, Sitharaman said,''We (government) are ready to discuss the three farm reform bills -- clause-by-clause. I still believe that dialogue is the only solution (to resolve the farmers' protest stalemate).''

On being asked about sky-rocketing prices of petrol and diesel, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government has little say in it as the rates are decided by the open market. "Petrol-diesel already open to the market, government, especially for Union government, has no big role or say in that," she said.

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