Reacting to Budget 2021, several experts and players across industries said they either had their expectations fulfilled or felt disappointed by the Finance Minister’s Budget allocation.
While NITI Ayog and various players in the health and sanitation industry were happy, the tourism industry was disappointed.
To read the highlights of Budget 2021, click here.
NITI Ayog Says ‘Superb Budget’
The vice chairman and CEO of government’s policy think tank, NITI Ayog, hailed the Budget. “In my opinion, Finance Minister had raised a lot of expectations regarding Budget 2021 and has fulfilled all of them,” NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar told ANI. He added that the Budget focused on growth and tailored to accelerate growth rate. Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant called it a ‘superb Budget’ “It'll not only accelerate us in pre-COVID period recovery stage but also provide a direction for three to four years. The government focused on infrastructure and asset monetisation this time...shows Govt's thinking that it's essential to involve private sector in long run,” he told ANI.
Tourism Industry ‘Disappointed’
While the government’s think tank seemed satisfied, tourism industry players said there was no support for them in the Budget. "Lack of immediate direct support in the Budget has disappointed the Indian travel and tourism industry," Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) Chairman Nakul Anand said to PTI. “While infrastructure measure announced in the Budget may boost tourism in the long-term, the opportunity for immediate support has regretfully been missed out,” he added.
The Union Budget has given proposals for enhancing rail, road, ports, metro lite infrastructure, PPP in buses, airports and ports, including vista coaches in tourist routes. These infrastructure measures may boost tourism over a long-term, but only once they are implemented, FAITH said.
In a similar vein, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) said the Union Budget 2021 has disappointed the hospitality industry.
Health Sector ‘Welcomes’ Budget 2021
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said he welcomes Budget 2021 with the emphasis on healthcare spending and immunisation, “Especially for COVID-19 and the pneumococcal vaccines as this will help India recover rapidly from this pandemic,” he told ANI.
Public Health Foundation of India chief K Srinath Reddy said that the Budget measures aim towards promoting health and well-being of our population, “Union Budget provides much-needed fillip to health, sanitation, nutrition & pollution control, all of which are key elements in promoting health and well-being of our population in a holistic manner.”
Swachh Bharat Mission and Sanitation Experts Give Budget a Thumbs Up
“COVID-19 has truly highlighted the importance of safe and efficient sanitation and we are happy to see the Budget 2021 take cognizance of the pertinent linkage between universal water and sanitation and universal health. The Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban outlay of Rs. 1,41,678 crore for a period of five years demonstrates an answer to “Toilet ke baad kya?,” Meera Mehta, member NFSSM Alliance and Executive Director of the Center for Water and Sanitation told The Indian Express.
She added that due to this budget there will be, ‘a nationwide effort towards complete Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (adoption of NFSSM Policy, 2017) – from ODF to ODF + and ODF++ − source segregation of garbage, reduction of air pollution, reduction in single use plastics, dealing with waste from construction and demolition activities and bio-remediation of all legacy waste dump sites – directly impacting the environment’.
Also speaking to The Indian Express is V Srinivas Chary, Director, Centre for Energy, Environment, ASCI and member of NFSSM alliance. Chary said that the Budget was a game-changing one, from the perspective of inclusive sanitation and human waste management. "The Hon’ble Finance Minister announced Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 with outlay of Rs 1,41,678 crore for complete Fecal Sludge Management, Wastewater Treatment, Source Segregation, Management of Waste from Urban Construction, and Bioremediation of Legacy Dump Sites. It is heartening to see fecal sludge and septage management mentioned in her speech and the inclusion of urban development in the agenda,” he said.