Sunday, August 7, 2022

FM Nirmala Sitharaman opens up strategic sector for private entities, introduces reforms in health, education

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on her fifth and last tranche of Rs 20 lakh crore economic packages on Sunday, announced 7 key steps taken by the government of India to ease the burden on economy to due to COVID-19 pandemic. These included MNREGA, health and education, businesses, decriminalisation of companies’ act and state government resources.

One of the biggest announcements made by the FM, was a new public sector policy that will open all economic sectors for private entities. Differentiating between strategic and other sectors, she said that at least one enterprise in the strategic sectors, will be remain under the public sector. Rest of the enterprises under other sectors will be privatized, merged or brought under holding companies. Moreover, the number of enterprises in strategic sectors will be between one to four. This will be done to minimise administrative costs.

Second, FM Nirmala Sitharaman decriminalised the companies’ act and said that debts due to coronavirus pandemic will not be categorised as default. 7 compoundable offences will be dropped altogether and 5 will be dealt with under alternative framework. This amendment will help de-clog criminal courts and NCLT.

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Third, the Centre has decided to increase the borrowing limit of states from 3 percent to 5 percent for this year. While announcing the same, FM Nirmala Sitharaman also underlined that the states have only borrowed 14 percent of their share, while 86 percent remains unutilised.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman also announced that public expenditure would be increased on health. She said that public expenditure on health will be increased and investments will be made at the grassroots to bring health and wellness centres in both rural and urban centres. Infectious disease hospital blocks and public health labs will be set up in every block to bridge the inadequacy of lab networks around the country.

Furthermore, steps to digitise the education sector were also announced. Under this, FM announced that a one nation, one digital platform is being announced for school education. Specific TV channels for each class will also be launched. Leaners will also be able to avail the mediums of radio, community radio stations and podcasts for online learning. Along with this, steps are also being taken to bring in special e-content for visually and hearing-impaired children, online education for about 100 universities and launching an initiative to provide psychological support to students, teachers and families.

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Concluding the last trance of economic package, Nirmala Sitharaman provided a break up of Rs 20 lakh crore COVID-19 aid. Take a look-

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