Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the ongoing COVID-19 situation did not deter the Central government from taking measures for reforms that are necessary for sustaining long term growth for this country.

While replying to the discussion on the Union Budget in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said that these reforms will lay a path for India to be one of the top economies of the world in the coming decade and further.

“I would like to highlight – stimulus plus reforms. The pandemic did not deter us from taking up reforms that would sustain long term growth. We have taken not just one-off reforms, not just now and then, but reforms rivetted in a policy which will give a neat background, a layout spread before the Parliament for people to know that this is a reform that will lay a path for India to be one of the top economies of the world in the coming decade and further,” the Finance Minister said.

She reiterated that India’s approach to the COVID-19 resulted in a retraction in the pandemic.

“Because we had an approach which was spearheaded from the front by the PM, we have had a retraction in the pandemic. Death rates are the lowest in the world and active cases have come down,” she said.

“This Budget draws from the experience of the Prime Minister when he was Chief Minister – on the ground in Gujarat, seen so many revivals happening at a time when the license quota raj was going away post-1991 and then based on that experience, commitment to reform was blended into this Budget,” the minister added.

Sitaraman, while replying to the discussion on the Union Budget in Rajya Sabha on Friday, slammed the Opposition and accused them of constantly alleging a false narrative that the government only worked for cronies and said several of the Centre’s schemes were for the poor.

She reminded members of the Upper House of several schemes that have been implemented for the poorer sections of the country, like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojana.

She also said the Union Budget 2021-22 is the instrument through which Aatmanirbhar Bharat is to be attained and asserted that the government is also looking at “long-term sustainable growth”.

Finance Minister had presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in the Parliament on February 1. (ANI)