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Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Finance Bill, 2021, thus completing the Parliamentary approval process. The Bill gives effect to the financial proposals of the central government for the financial year 2021-22.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman replied to the debate on the Bill which has some changes in the proposals made in the union budget. The passage of the Finance Bill by Parliament marks the completion of the budgetary process.

Replying to a debate on Finance Bill 2021 in the Rajya Sabha, she cited low inflation, higher GDP growth, record foreign investment and lower fiscal deficit to defend her government's handling of the economy.

She attacked the Congress-led UPA government for leaving a "mess" and mismanaging the economy which the Modi administration set right.

The measures taken in response to the 2008 global financial crisis by the UPA led to high inflation and 'taper tantrums', she said.

Sitharaman further said average GDP growth between 2014 to 2019 was 7.5% as against 6.7% during 2009 to 2014 under UPA.

Similarly, consumer price inflation was 10.3% under five years of UPA rule, while during 2014-19 it was 4.8%.

Fiscal deficit too has been contained at 3.65% of the GDP during 2014-19 as compared to 5.3% in the previous five years, she said, adding current account deficit has also improved from (-)3.34% to (-)1.43%.

Foreign exchange reserves have grown from USD 303 billion in 2014 to USD 411.9 billion, she said, adding NPAs or bad debt declined to 8.99 lakh crore as of March 2020.

However, FM was forced to cut short her reply to debate on Finance Bill 2021 after verbal clash with TMC over implementation of Central schemes.

For 2020-21, the government had set a target of raising 2.1 lakh crore from privatisation and sale of minority stakes in state-owned companies. This includes 1.20 lakh crore from selling stake in CPSEs and 90,000 crore from stake sale in financial investment.

So far this fiscal, the government has garnered around 31,000 crore through divestment in PSUs, according to the latest update on the portal of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM).

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