Finance Minister holds Pre-Budget Consultation with representatives of Social Sector

Finance Minister holds Pre-Budget Consultation with representatives of Social Sector

NEW DELHI: The Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman held her Fifth Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting with the stakeholders from Social Sector Groups here.nnIn her Opening Remarks, the Finance Minister, Sitharaman said that the public investment in social infrastructure like education, health and other services is a key determinant of quality of life of the people. She said that the present Government is committed for improving the educational standards, skilling the youth, enhancing job opportunities, reducing disease burden, empowering women and improving human development in order to have an inclusive development.nnThe main areas of discussion during the aforesaid Meeting included issues relating to Health (Primary health & Tertiary services, Ayush &Ayurveda), Education (School & University education, Private & Public education), Social Protection (Old age, Women and Children, Dalits and Other Backward Classes & Youth), Pensions and Human Development among others.nnAlong with the Finance Minister, the aforesaid Meeting was attended by Subhash C. Garg, Finance Secretary,  Girish Chandra Murmu, Expenditure Secretary, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary, Shri Rejeev Kumar, Secretary, DFS, Rabindra Panwar, Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development, Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research, Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Heeralal Samariya, Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT, P.K Das, Chairman, CBIC, Dr K.V. Subramanian, CEA and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.nnThe stakeholders of Social Sector gave a wide range of suggestions in the Meeting including focus on education and hygiene particularly for rural women, audit of cities to identify security gaps to strengthen women safety, increased budgetary allocation towards nutrition of infants and pregnant mothers, full operationalization of one-stop centres for women in all districts, expansion of healthcare infrastructure, provision of free drugs and diagnostic facilities, rationalisation of taxes on medical devices, promotion of Public Private Partnership in Secondary and Tertiary Healthcare Sectors, creation of model schools on cluster-based approach with electronic and transport connectivity, increased allocation for post-metric scholarship schemes, recognising and encouraging contribution of teachers though instituting awards, investment in protection of children from labour, promoting focus on fruits and vegetables intake, higher taxation on sweetened and salted products, investment in hygiene behaviour, forming Rural Faecal Sludge Management Policy, promoting social entrepreneurship amongst young population, fiscal incentives for recycling of waste water and rainwater harvesting, declaring malnutrition free Panchayats on the line of Open-Defecation Free Panchayats, increased budgetary allocation for Special Schools and Rehabilitation Centres among others.nnStakeholders of Social Sector included Smt. Rekha Sharma, Chairperson, National Commission for Women, Asadullah, Programme Director, Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, Arvind Lal, Chairman, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FICCI, Shri Prabhat Jain, Founding Chairman, FICCI, Yasmin Ali, UNICEF representative in India, Vaidya Nathan. K., Finance Director, Indian School of Business; Yamini Aiyer, President, Centre for Policy Research; Beena Pallical, General Secretary, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights; Smt. Jashodhara Dasgupta, Executive Director, National Foundation for India; Rohit Prasad, Chief Operating Officer, Helpage India, Shri Amit Shovon Ray, Senior Adviser, Voluntary Health Association of India, Srikanth Vishwanathan, CEO Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy and Priyanka Kanoongo, Chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights among others.

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