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Union Budget: Rs 27 lakh crore spent on Covid relief, says FM Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is presenting the Union Budget 2021 in Parliament at present.

Sitharaman today gave a miss to the traditional ‘bahi khata’ as she opted for a tab for the paperless budget of 2021.

 

“The preparation of this budget was taken keeping in mind circumstances like never before. PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana and many other schemes were like five mini budgets. Rs 27.1 lakh crore – total amount spent by govt and RBI on covid relief measures,” she said.

The budget is expected to provide relief to the middle class by way of income tax benefits as well as focus on higher spending on health amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as defence amid strained ties with neighbours.

As India emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, the ninth budget under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government, including an interim one, is widely expected to focus on boosting spending on job creation and rural development, generous allocations for development schemes, putting more money in the hands of the average taxpayer and easing rules to attract foreign investments.

Sitharaman, who had in her first budget in 2019 replaced leather briefcase that had been for decades used for carrying budget documents with a traditional red cloth ‘bahi-khata’, had earlier this month stated that the budget for the fiscal year beginning April will be “like never before”. The budget, economists and experts say, will be the starting point for picking up the pieces after the economic destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. And it must go beyond being just a ‘bahi khata’ or a ledger of accounts, as well as canning old schemes in a new bottle.