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Budget 2021 expectations: Social sector pins hopes on FM Sitharaman for increased allocation, targeted spending
Covid-19 battered economies worldwide and dealt a severe blow to the poverty-stricken sections of the society. In India, many poor people were rendered jobless due to unprecedented events like the nation-wide lockdown. To mitigate the impact of unforeseen circumstances like these, the government needs to roll up its sleeves to safeguard the interest of people from the weaker sections of the country.
Many non-profit organisations are actively involved in the betterment of the poor and disadvantaged. It is time the government empowered the social sector which is engaged in educating, upskilling and uplifting Indians. As the budget is around the corner, non-profit organisations are pinning their hopes on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for increased allocation to the sector.
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According to experts, there is a sheer mismatch between the rising profits of listed companies and employment generation in the country. The government needs to focus on employment generation in the country especially by service sector.
"The service sector is not only a key driver for job creation, but also an aspirational destination for our youth seeking jobs. The Union Budget 2021-22 should, therefore, lay extra emphasis on employment generation by India’s service sector which has the ability to employ crores of youth, creating livelihood for young people from economically weaker sections of society, " said Saurabh Adeeb, Senior Director, The/Nudge Centre for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. "Apart from incentivizing employment generation in the sector, the Union Budget should also look at incentivizing skill development of youth for the service sector, through targeted schemes and grants,” he further added.
There was a sharp contraction in GDP in Apr-Jun quarter of current fiscal , however in the second quarter, the pace of contraction became milder at 7.5 per cent. In Union Budget 2021-22, livelihood for everyone must be the focus of government so that people who lost their livelihoods get back to regular income.
"The first to be impacted by the pandemic are likely to be the last to recover lost ground, and no economic recovery is complete until everyone regains erstwhile regular incomes. The government should also take a serious look at increasing the ease of doing good," Sudha Srinivasan, CEO of The/Nudge Foundation's Centre for Social Innovation said while adding that throughout the past year, the non-profit sector has been instrumental in helping millions of Indians distressed by COVID-19 and its economic impact.
"In recognition of this, the government should simplify and streamline the regulations governing nonprofits' access to philanthropic capital and incentivise giving through full tax exemptions. There should also be provision for a fund that provides seed capital for nonprofit startups innovating to serve economically disadvantaged and vulnerable populations,” Srinivasan further said.
As per Aakash Sethi, CEO of Quest Alliance, the disruption from COVID-19 has meant that the development sector is faced with new challenges, particularly on the education front. The sector is working hard to ensure delivery of quality education and continuity of education for students.
Union Budget 2021-22 arrives in the midst of these realities and therefore it should focus on enabling self-learning by students by allowing universal access to the internet and to devices like mobile phones and tablets through device libraries, to ensure no child is left behind.
"The budget should provide for extra investment directed specifically at bringing girl children back to school, since the pandemic has reversed work done to enrol girl pupils. Funds must be allocated to incentivise returning to schools. Funds must also be made available for campaigns and teachers' engagement with parents in raising awareness and benefits of sending children back to schools," said Sethi.
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