Even as the government has begun the exercise of finalising the revised estimates of allocation to various departments and schemes, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman says government's capital expenditure and investment on health infrastructure are likely to remain priority areas in Budget 2022.
“One of the priorities which I can point out is ensuring that the capital expenditure emphasis that was given last year is not lost out. I would definitely like to sustain that,” says Sitharaman in an exclusive interaction with Fortune India.
“Sustaining on building the health related infrastructure will also continue,” Sitharaman says, clarifying that the budget consultations have not begun while the ministry has initiated the process of arriving at the revised estimates of the various ministries and schemes.
Amid the onslaught of the pandemic, the government did the major heavy lifting to stoke growth in the Indian economy through mega infrastructure spending.
Betting big on the infrastructure route to growth, Sitharaman enhanced capital expenditure to ₹5.54 lakh crore for 2021-22 in the budget. This was up 34.5% from the FY21 Budget estimate of ₹4.12 lakh crore. The allocation was 26% higher than the revised estimate of ₹4.39 lakh crore for FY21. It may also be noted that as a percentage of total expenditure of ₹34.83 lakh crore envisaged for FY22, capital expenditure was at 15.91%, the highest in the last 12 years.
The previous budget also made a provision of ₹44,000 crore for the Department of Economic Affairs for projects needing additional funds and provided ₹2 lakh crore for capital expenditure requirements of state governments and autonomous bodies.
On the health front the allocations were enhanced by a whopping 137% to ₹2,23,846 crore for 2021-22 from ₹94,452 crore in 2020-21.