Ajit Patowary

The Indian Tea Association (ITA), The  leading organisation of the country’s tea planters, has hailed the Union Budget 2021-22 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament yesterday as a ‘visionary and progressive’ one.

Similarly, exuding optimism, the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA) also observed that this ‘balanced’ Budget will boost investment in infrastructure, railway and power distribution sectors.

The ITA said that the Budget has scored high on social reforms and lays down the roadmap towards accelerating the growth of the economy. The Rs 1,000 crore special package for tea estate workers of Assam and West Bengal would improve sustainability and strengthen the alignment with the sustainable development goals. It is expected that the tea estate population would be provided a more comprehensive coverage on welfare schemes related to housing, education, sanitation, medical facilities etc, it said.

Pointing to the fact that most tea gardens in Assam and West Bengal are located in isolated, far-flung areas and are suffering from several transportation bottlenecks, it said the allocation of Rs 3,400 crore for road infrastructure development in Assam and Rs 25,000 crore in West Bengal is expected to speed up development of roads and infrastructure, thereby facilitating faster communication from tea gardens to the destination points.

The IEEMA has said that the package of Rs 3.05 lakh crore announced by the Finance Minister in her Budget speech for revamping the loss-making power distribution companies (DISCOMs), will give a huge boost to the electrical sector. The Budget has also focused on developing the infrastructure of the railways and airports with an allocation of Rs 1.10 lakh crore and this includes 100 per cent electrification of the broad-gauge rail tracks by December 2023.

In the extremely trying circumstances of pandemic and lockdown, with significant contraction in the Indian economy as also the global economy, the Government has presented the Union Budget, keenly balancing its outlay between social, infrastructure and industrial sector. The Finance Minister had an onerous task to kick-start the economy and her emphasis on infrastructure spend reflects the classical Keynesian model, opined the IEEMA.