The budget estimate for the upcoming fiscal year 2021/22 presented on Saturday by Minister for Finance Bishnu Prasad Paudel has an ambitious plan to revive the COVID-19 pandemic- hit economy back to its healthy shape. Targeting a growth of 6.5 per cent at this difficult situation is a challenging affair but post-pandemic recovery naturally calls for steps that are progressive and untraditional. The budget statement has injected new rays of hope in all sectors of national life and everyone is waiting for its effective and result-oriented implementation. Given the commitment and willpower of the government, we can hope that the currently sluggish economy will be reactivated and take a renewed vigorous turn to achieve the expected growth.
For this to happen, however, the first condition will be to win over the dreaded scourge of the coronavirus that has unleashed its second wave rampage in the past one month or so. It is for this reason that the new budget has charted out a well-thought-out plan and strategy to fight a winning battle against the virus. The healthcare sector, especially the COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment and mass vaccination drive, have received fitting priority, and deserving amounts of budgetary allocations have been made for the purpose. The economic growth target has been set on the firm belief that the budgetary inputs made against the pandemic will pay off and the contagion will be ultimately won over. Meeting this public health target will open all doors for the resumption of normal economic activities and development works.
The budget has rightly focused its attention to provide relief assistance and rehabilitation to all the sectors of the society that have found themselves in unprecedented state of difficulty due to the adverse impact of the pandemic. The frontline workers, civil servants, entrepreneurs, businessmen, students and people in socially vulnerable situation have hailed the new budget with high spirit, and this adds energy on everyone to work hard towards the national goals of happiness, prosperity and development. In this context, Minister for Finance Paudel has assured everyone not to keep doubts about the implementation of the budget. Now the onus of implementing the budget lies on every individual and every government machinery to see that the vision of recovery is translated into action.
The Finance Ministry has already started its homework for the execution of the annual budget programmes that have broader implications beyond the concerned fiscal year. We are still about one and half month behind the beginning of the new fiscal year and it is positive that the Finance Ministry has taken the implementation aspect seriously and started works in this direction. The Finance Minister held a meeting with ministers on Monday to discuss the speeding up of procedures and works towards budget implementation. Execution of development programmes can become effective only when plans and preparations are carried out before it is too late. It is with this spirit that the presentation of annual budget is constitutionally stipulated one and half month before the real start of the new fiscal year. With timely and meticulous planning, the problem such as under-expenditure of development allocations can be brought to an end.