India’s core sector will witness a faster revival than others over the next one year, thanks to a vigourous push by the government for infrastructure creation, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday.
Having recorded the lowest contraction in seven months (0.1%) in September, the output of eight core industries, which have an almost 40% share in the index of industrial production, again slid further by 2.5% in October, thanks to a shaper drop in steel and refinery products.
“(One year from now), India would have moved a lot more digitization a lot, financial transactions and digital payments and its manufacturing would be probably already on a new work platform in the sense that Indian industries would have adapted to great levels of technology,” Sitharaman said at a CII event.
India is also showing signs of being leaders in infrastructure building, she added. “Therefore, the core sector revival, I would think is going to be speedier than anything else,” the minister said.
With the economy battered by the pandemic, a government task force had in April firmed up a road map for capital investments of `111 lakh crore in infrastructure over six years through FY25, pledging 71% of the expenditure for energy, roads, urban development and railways, and envisaging a key role for private investors.
Industry 4.0, which was just a point of discussion in India till before the Covid-19, is now adopting technology, artificial intelligence and big data as part of their systems, she said.
Both lives and livelihoods will be key focus areas of the Budget for FY22. “Health and investment in health is going to be absolutely critical, not just to keep our life safer, but also to make health and health related expenditures more predictable for people… not to do it out of pocket of poor people… some kind of provisions to be made for them,” she said. The minister said suugestions from the health sector will be factored in the Budget.
Industry bodies have asked the government to to start spending an extra 0.5% of GDP every year on health for the next five years to strengthen healthcare infrastructure. The government has already envisaged increasing public spend on healthcare to 2.5% of GDP (from around 1.3% currently).