New Delhi: Union Minister of State (MoS) for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Anurag Thakur, held the 10th and final Pre-Budget Consultation meeting with the leading representatives from health, education and rural development sectors here yesterday in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21.
The main areas of discussion by the representatives in the meeting was related to improving efficiency in delivery of health services; devising innovative ways to reach primary health care facilities for marginalised sections; improving learning outcomes at primary level while also making secondary and higher level education accessible and affordable; reforms related to pension and social protections especially for the weaker sections; focus of Government on public investment in social sector; gender equality with bottom’s up methodology; ways to boost economic and social infrastructure of rural sector and ways to eradicate unemployment and poverty through development of agriculture and allied sector as well as non-farm sector.
Among the many suggestions given by representatives of Health, Education and Rural Development Sectors were benefits of child budgeting; a dedicated National Fund for protection of children; eradication of child labour; collecting gender disaggregated data by a national mission; policy to encourage healthy food habits via measures like higher taxes on sin products; broadening, expanding and strengthening PDS; land titles to women in view of increasing feminisation of agriculture; changes in general procurement guidelines to include disabled-friendly technology; waiver of tax on assisted technology for disabled persons; better compliance of Right to Education and more financial allocation for secondary level schools, especially to support girl child and widening family healthcare support; augmenting pre-conception, antenatal and postnatal nutrition; employment generation with skill matching for youth in urban areas; focused skill development training for Adivasi and Dalit women; attracting more talent to aspirational districts with provision of tax holiday and a more effective monitoring of funds at Centre-State level.
The major participants in the meeting included Abhinav Prakash, CSR Initiatives, Rashrtiya Sewa Bharati; Ambrish Rai, National Convenor, Right to Education Forum; Vijay Thadani, Past Chairman, CII Education Council; Ankita Upreti, Board Member, SEWA Bharat; Anshu Tiwari, Senior Manager, Prayas; Ashok Bharati, Chairman, NACDOR; Adikanda Singh, National Co-ordinator, Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights; Bhavna B. Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India; Bidisha Pillai, CEO, Save the Children; Dipa Sinha, Member Secretariat, Right to Food Campaign; Dipendra Manocha, Managing Trustee, Saksham; Hari Menon, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Hemalatha R., Director, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Department of Health Research; Chandrakant Lakhariya, National Professional Officer (Health Care, Access and Protection), WHO India; Madan Diwan, Social Economist; Rohit Prasad, COO, Help Age India, Naresh Trehan, Executive Director, Public Health CII Centre Office; Preeti Mahara, Director, Policy Research & Advocacy, CRY-Child Rights and You; Samir Mathur, CEO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan; Shobha Mishra Ghosh, Assistant Secretary General – Health & Higher Education, FICCI; Terry Durnnian, Chief Education Section, UNICEF; S.M. Mehta, CEO, The Hans Foundation; Yogendra Malik, National Secretary, National Medicos Organisation and Dipali Sharma, Action Aid Association among others.
Along with the Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Anurag Thakur, the said meeting was attended by Rajeev Kumar, Finance Secretary; Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, DEA; Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Dept. of Health & Family Welfare; Amit Khare, Secretary (Addl. Charge), Department of School Education and Literacy; Amarjeet Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development; Balram Bhargava, Secretary, DHR & DF, ICM; V.K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog; Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT; Dr K.V. Subramanian, CEA, and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.
In the month so far, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has held Pre-Budget Consultations with representatives of various Trade Unions and Labour Organisations. She also met with Chief Ministers of Haryana and Goa, and Finance Ministers of all states & UTs to discuss fiscal policy
Sitharaman also interacted with representatives of Wipro, Mahindra, FICCI, Patanjali, CII, ASSOCHAM and other industrialists to discuss the economy and polices, and met with representatives of of TERI, SIAM, ISB, Hero EVs and other experts in the infrastructure & energy sector, and climate change.
The FM met with representatives of CIL, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, FIWE, FIEO and other industry organisations to discuss trade & services, and with representatives of CII, IFFCO, NABARD, NRAA and other organisations to discuss the agricultural sector and agro processing industries.
FM Sitharaman also met with representatives of IIM, ISB, Apple, Paytm, Jio and others to discuss fintech, startups and digital economy, and later with reps of RBI, SBI, SEBI, ICICI, PNB and others to discuss the financial sector & capital markets.