A challenging situation like Covid-19 pandemic didn't deter the government from taking up reforms

The Union Budget has set the pace for India to become Aatmanirbhar. Reforms will lay the path for making India one of the top economies of the world, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Replying to the discussion on the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha on Saturday, Sitharaman said that the Covid-19 pandemic did not deter the government from taking decisions on reforms to boost the economy.

"Stimulus plus reforms - an opportunity has been taken out of the pandemic situation. A challenging situation like Covid-19 pandemic didn't deter the government from taking up reforms that are going to be necessary for sustaining long term growth for this country,” she added.

Saturday also marks the end of the first part of the Budget session of the Parliament.

On agricultural allocation in the budget, the FM said, "Data in the budget regarding agriculture allocation has been 'misread'. A total of ₹1.15 lakh crore has been transferred to 10.75 crore farmers through the PMKSY."

On allocations to the core health, FM Sitharaman said, "I will firmly establish that despite bringing water and sanitation, the allocations to the core health have not come down. On the contrary, it has gone up."

"In the Budget speech, I very clearly said, we're taking a holistic approach to health. It is addressing preventive health, it is addressing curative health, it is also addressing well-being. Otherwise, you are not going to get holistic health-related governance," the Finance Minister said.

Further, on defense allocation, FM Sitharaman says, "There is mention about Defence getting no mention in speech, why hiding details about Defence? ₹1,16,931 crore Defence expenditure in 2013-14, this being so huge, unless we pair it down into 3 compartments, you aren't going to get a true picture-Revenue, Capital, Pension."

"I'll read up the figures to say what's the allocation now. Under revenue ₹1,16,931 crores in 2013-14, ₹86,741 crores capital in 2013-14, under pensions ₹44,500 in 2013-14. What is it now? ₹2,09,319 under revenue, ₹1,13,734 under capital & ₹1,33,825 under pension," Sitharaman added.

The Finance Minister had presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament on February 1.