Malini Agarwal: Pre-budget expectations 2021

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It’s impossible to think about next year’s budget without considering the devastating toll of Covid-19. The government’s first priority must be to consider society’s most vulnerable and ensuring their stabilization and recovery, otherwise the existing disparities will only be exacerbated in the years ahead.

Extending loan moratoriums, debt forgiveness, targeted tax breaks, and increased credit facilities at accessible rates are just some common-sense measures that can help. However, these need to be designed smartly beyond the short term so they don’t just pile up crippling debts for another day.

We must also be better prepared for future catastrophes. Investing in our digital infrastructure and accessibility is a clear imperative for 2021. My budget wishlist always includes programs specifically designed to empower women, and this year is no exception.

Considering women are among the most vulnerable in our society and were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic’s economic fallout, I hope to see strong measures to support women’s labour force participation, savings schemes and progressive employment and tax policies that ensure women can weather future economic disruptions.

Your thoughts, please