NEW DELHI: Steps taken by the government to deal with COVID-19 pandemic are resulting in ‘V-shaped’ economic recovery and the country is likely to witness double digit growth in 2021-22, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said on Thursday in the Lok Sabha.
Replying to a discussion on the second and final batch of the supplementary demands for grants for 2020-21, he said that it was because of the efforts of the government that GST collection was over Rs 1 lakh crore for continuously five months.
In the final batch of supplementary demands for grants for the current fiscal, the government sought Parliament’s nod for an additional expenditure of Rs 6.28 lakh crore of which the net outgo has been estimated at Rs 4.12 lakh crore.
The rest will be matched by savings in different ministries and departments.
The Lok Sabha later passed the supplementary demands for grants and the related appropriation bill by voice vote.
In his reply the minister said the government focused on saving lives during the pandemic without bothering about the fiscal deficit.
In the next fiscal, the Budget has earmarked Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination and more would be provided if needed, Thakur said.
“The GST collection in the last five months was continuously more than Rs one lakh crore. Because of the steps taken by the government during Covid, V-shaped economic recovery is happening. And world over, agencies have stated India will witness double digit growth in 2021-22,” he added.
The growth in the current year is estimated to contract by 8 per cent on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is estimated to rise to 11 per cent in 2021-22.
The minister further said that the government has provided additional funds for programmes such as MNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, capital expenditure for defence, and free food for 80 crore people for eight months.
He also said that West Bengal farmers were deprived of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi because of non-cooperation by the state.
Participating in the discussion, Hanuman Beniwal (RLP) urged the government to reduce the prices of petrol and diesel as these were impacting the common man.
He regretted that fuel prices are skyrocketing at a time when international crude oil rates have declined.
Several House members highlighted the issue of spiralling prices of fuel and cooking gas.
Saugata Roy (TMC), whose party is locked in a high-stake electoral battle in West Bengal, dubbed the government as the “most cruel” because the rising prices of LPG cylinder has hit women hard.
He also said the central tax on fuel was exorbitant.
Prior to Roy, Tapir Gao, BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh, said that infrastructure development in his state was being done rapidly after 2014 and this was because “Modi hain to Mumkin hain” (It was possible because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi).
To this Roy said, “Modi hain to Mummkin nagi hoga (West) Bengal mein” (BJP’s victory’ won’t be possible in West Bengal despite there is Modi).
Jasbir Singh Gill (Congress) said the allocation of funds to Punjab was much less than its contribution through taxes.