The Union Budget 2021 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, February 01, 2021, evoked mixed reactions from businesses, academicians, analysts, public and other stakeholders. While some are disappointed with the budget as there has been very little for them, the majority of industry leaders hail the budget. The Government has been focused on ensuring the development of MSMEs, ease of doing business, promoting startups, manufacturing in India, and quality education. Union Budget 2021 has restated the same. While the country is still struggling to tackle the ongoing pandemic and its impact on the economy and the people, it will not be right to expect huge announcements from the budget. Though the industry leaders have different things to say, the majority of them welcome the budget in a very positive manner.
Talking about the startups and the impact of Union Budget 2021, Ms. Charu Noheria, Co-Founder & COO, Practically said, “The government’s decision to extend the tax holiday by one more year, to March 2022 along with capital gains exemption will help India’s startup ecosystem deal with the pandemic blues.”
The move on the Social security net for workers in the packaging and logistics industry has also been well appreciated. Mrs. Poornima Mital, Founder and CEO, Mirchi.com says, “We welcome the move on the Social Security Net for Gig Workers. With the e-commerce sector on continuous growth, individuals involved in packaging and logistics will now feel a little secure. The minimum wage announcement and health insurance coverage via ESIC was an announcement long overdue.” Anjani Mandal, CEO, Fortigo Logistics says, “The Budget announcements were in line with expectations. When seen in combination with the record budgetary allocation for rail infrastructure toward the freight corridors, the importance of Rail & Road Multi-modal will become increasingly important. In the medium term, the share of Railways in overall goods transportation will increase substantially and it will enhance the competitiveness of Indian supply chain across industries by lowering the cost of transportation and also improve connectivity between production and consumption markets – mainly domestic but also global.”
While reacting to the announcements Mr. Arjun Ranga, Managing Director, Cycle Pure Agarbathi says, “the budget looks promising. The doubling of MSME allocation to Rs 15,700 crore is a well-planned strategy to boost the sector and bring it to pre-covid levels. It will enable the initiative of Atmanirbhar Bharat and boost domestic manufacturing.” While discussing the budget announcements Mr. CS Murali, Chairman of the Entrepreneurship Cell, SID, IISc says, “The steps taken towards a global supply chain will open doors for domestic entrepreneurs. The policies brought forth by the government in this budget will definitely expedite the recovery and impact the economy positively.”
The views of the leaders from the education sectors and academicians are no different. Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur says, “Setting up of the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) is a positive step. However, some more stress had to be put on the development of digital infrastructure of the country for the implementation of NEP 2020 and mitigating the challenges institutions are facing in remote learning. A substantial step towards lessening the digital gap that exists would have helped make the education sector future-ready.” Mr Allan Andersen, Director, Chaman Bhartiya School says, “The steps to reinvigorate the Human capital and filling the gap of India’s digital divide has been one of the key highlights of the budget 2021 for the Education sector. This year’s budget will be a catalyst in making India as a key destination for education in the world. The budget looks promising and implementation of the new reforms in the NEP will ensure quality education for learners.”
Talking about the focus of the Government on quality education, Mr. Sanjay Padode, President, Vijaybhoomi University says, “I have never seen a budget as focused as this on the quality of education. The qualitative improvement of 15000 schools to evolve them to be exemplar schools will definitely induce the change towards quality in education. An outlay of Rs 50,000 crores to NRF should enhance scholarship across our Higher Education Institutes. The benchmarking of skill qualification framework with international countries will help our country in becoming a source for skilled manpower and will also enhance the value of vocational education.” Hailing the Governments efforts Dr. Suresh Ramanathan, Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management reacted to the budget saying, “We are thrilled to see the support given by the government to boost the country’s education system, recognizing the need for a greater inflow of both funds and talented faculty along with the importance of innovation and better lab infrastructure as a means to improve overall standards.”
Talking about the establishment of Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), Rohan Sagar, Member – Governing Council, Dayananda Sagar University stated, “The decision to bring in legislation for the establishment of the is a laudable move. The HECI is expected to be an umbrella body having 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding.”
While there have been a lot of expectations from the budget this year, we also need to look into the fact that this year’s budget has been presented during such a time when the economy is struggling to revive and counter the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.