Budget 2021 Speech: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today invoked Rabindra Nath Tagore in her budget speech. Quoting Tagore, the FM said, Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. She added that this moment in history is the dawn of a new era, where India is well-poised to be the land of promise and hope. She made the remarks in connection with the unprecedented fight against COVID-19. Her statement can also be linked to the upcoming West Bengal Assembly Election to be held around April-May this year. Sitharaman said that the preparation of this Budget was undertaken in circumstances like never before, in view of calamities that have affected a country or a region within a country. She recalled presenting last years Budget saying that no one could have imagined what happened in 2020 due to COVID-19. When I presented Budget 20-21 we couldnt have imagined that the global economy would be pushed into an unprecedented contraction.Within 48 hours of declaring lockdown, PM Narendra Modi announced Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana valued at Rs 2.76 lakh crore, said the FM. Making a remark at economic contraction, she said, Only three times has the Budget followed a contraction in the economy. This time, unlike before, the situation is due to a global pandemic and Budget 2021 provides every opportunity for the economy to capture the pace and grow sustainably. She said that the Budget 2021 lays out a vision for Atma Nirbhar Bharat. She said that the budget is aimed at strengthening the vision of Nation First, doubling farmers income, strong infrastructure, womens empowerment, healthy India, good governance, education for all and inclusive development. Just an hour before the Budget, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said that Budget 2021 must support MSMEs, farmers and workers to generate employment. He added that it must increase healthcare expenditure to save lives and increase Defence expenditure to safeguard borders.