On Monday, a Boston-based India-centric chamber of commerce said that the increase in healthcare outlay in India’s latest annual budget will lead India to be a healthier country, and the thrust on infrastructure will boost growth and generate jobs.
President of the USA India Chamber of Commerce Karun Rishi said: “Overall, these announcements are rightly directed to support the healthcare sector not only in terms of expenditure but also to support research and development. The increase in the healthcare outlay will lead India towards a healthier India. A healthier workforce will lead to higher productivity, which will drive GDP growth.” Rishi said that India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has done a remarkable job in presenting a growth-focused budget during the pandemic situation.
Rishi said that increasing healthcare spending by 137% is a remarkable step, which will give a massive boost to India’s health sector. He said the allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for the Covid-19 vaccines indicated the government’s aim to vaccinate its citizens. “With the Prime Minister’s Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana to strengthen the country’s primary, secondary and tertiary health infrastructure with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years shows that healthcare capacity building is now a key priority for the government of India,” said Rishi.
While replying to a question, Rishi said that the announcement of an asset reconstruction company that will assume all the stressed assets of banks and sell them to alternative investment funds can help capitalize Public Sector Undertaking banks. He added: “The thrust on infrastructure will boost growth and generate much-needed employment”
Rishi also commented that the budget is transparent and has rationalized the off-balance-sheet borrowings and headlined fiscal deficit numbers. He said that the fiscal deficit is projected to be high, but these are extraordinary times. “India has been fiscally prudent compared to other countries during a time of unprecedented economic pressure due to Covid-19. The government has announced a glide path of reducing the fiscal deficit over five years. The deficit comes down to four percent by 2026. Growth has to be aggressively pursued. Sluggish growth can leave open the danger of high debt to GDP ratio,” he said.
While talking about the proposed Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ MCA 21 portal, driven by data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning features and having additional modules, Rishi said: ”It is encouraging to see the Indian government using these technologies.”
Rishi called the announcement of the National Research Foundation in the budget as a “game-changer.” He explained that the additional outlay of Rs 50,000 crore over five years through the foundation will help in boosting research and development in India and this depicts the government’s resolve to strengthen the research innovation ecosystem in the country.
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