New Delhi, Jun 14 : Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday held her fifth pre-budget consultation meeting with the stakeholders from social sector groups here.
'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,' said the Minister in her opening remarks.
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.
The main areas of discussion during the aforesaid meeting included issues relating to Health (Primary health and tertiary services, Ayush and Ayurveda), education (school and university education, private and public education), social protection (old age, women and children, Dalits and Other Backward Classes and youth), pensions and human development among others.
The meeting was also attended by Finance Secretary Subhash C Garg, Expenditure Secretary Girish Chandra Murmu, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey among others.
The stakeholders 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 and promotion of Public Private Partnership in Secondary and Tertiary Healthcare Sectors.
Suggestions were also given on creation of model schools on cluster-based approach with electronic and transport connectivity, increased allocation for post-matric 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 and investment in hygiene behaviour.
Sitharaman held consultation meeting with the stakeholders from the financial sector and capital markets here on Thursday and the main areas of discussion included issues relating to the Capital Markets, Financial Sector, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) on Wednesday. (UNI)