Union Budget 2021: FM Nirmala Sitharaman sets the tone for AtmaNirbhar Bharat, post-COVID recovery


New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the much awaited Union Budget 2021 with a major focus more on driving the economic recovery through higher spending on healthcare and infrastructure.

As India is emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, the ninth budget under the Modi government (including an interim one), the Finance Minister’s prime target is to boos spending on job creation and rural development, generous allocations for development schemes and easing rules to attract foreign investments.

Laying a vision for AatmaNirbhar Bharat in the Union Budget 2021, she said this is an expression of 130 crore Indians who have full confidence in their capabilities and skills. She said that Budget proposals will further strengthen the Sankalp of Nation First, Doubling Farmer’s Income, Strong Infrastructure, Healthy India, Good Governance, Opportunities for youth, Education for All, Women Empowerment, and Inclusive Development among others. Additionally, also on the path to fast-implementation are the 13 promises of Budget 2015-16-which were to materialize during the AmrutMahotsav of 2022, on the 75th year of our Independence. They too resonate with this vision of AatmaNirbharta, she added.

Union Budget 2021 Modi Govt’s spending on Healthcare
 
FM Sitharaman announced substantial increase in investment in Health Infrastructure and the Budget outlay for Health and Wellbeing is Rs 2,23,846 crore in BE 2021-22 as against this year’s BE of Rs 94,452 crore, an increase of 137 percentage.

The Finance Minister announced that a new centrally sponsored scheme, PM AatmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, will be launched with an outlay of about Rs 64, 180 crore over 6 years. This will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care Health Systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases. This will be in addition to the National Health Mission. T

FM also announced provision of Rs 35,000 crore made for Covid-19 vaccine in BE 2021-22. The Pneumococcal Vaccine, a Made in India product, presently limited to only 5 states, will be rolled out across the country aimed at averting 50,000 child deaths annually, she added.

Union Budget 2021 Spending on Infrastructure

Finance Minister announced that more than 13,000 km length of roads, at a cost of Rs 3.3 lakh crore, has already been awarded under the Rs. 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojana project of which 3,800 kms have been constructed. By March 2022, Government would be awarding another 8,500 kms and complete an additional 11,000 kms of national highway corridors. To further augment road infrastructure, more economic corridors are also being planned.  She also provided an enhanced outlay of Rs. 1,18,101 lakh crore for Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, of which Rs.1,08,230 crore is for capital, the highest ever.

Budget also provided a record sum of Rs. 1,10,055 crore, for Railways of which Rs. 1,07,100 crore is for capital expenditure. Indian Railways have prepared a National Rail Plan for India – 2030. The Plan is to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. Bringing down the logistic costs for our industry is at the core of our strategy to enable ‘Make in India’. It is expected that Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and Eastern DFC will be commissioned by June 2022.

Government will work towards raising the share of public transport in urban areas through expansion of metro rail network and augmentation of city bus service. A new scheme will be launched at a cost of Rs. 18,000 crore to support augmentation of public bus transport services.

Union Budget 2021 Thrust on Disinvestment

In spite of COVID-19, Government has kept working towards strategic disinvestment.  The Finance Minister said a number of transactions namely BPCL, Air India, Shipping Corporation of India, Container Corporation of India, IDBI Bank, BEML, Pawan Hans, NeelachalIspat Nigam limited among others would be completed in 2021-22. Other than IDBI Bank, Government propose to take up the privatization of two Public Sector Banks and one General Insurance company in the year 2021-22. 

In 2021-22, Government would also bring the IPO of LIC for which the requisite amendments will be made in this Session itself. 

Finance Minister said that for a USD 5 trillion economy, our manufacturing sector has to grow in double digits on a sustained basis. Our manufacturing companies need to become an integral part of global supply chains, possess core competence and cutting-edge technology. To achieve all of the above, PLI schemes to create manufacturing global champions for an AatmaNirbhar Bharat have been announced for 13 sectors.  For this, the government has committed nearly Rs.1.97 lakh crore in the next 5 years starting FY 2021-22. This initiative will help bring scale and size in key sectors, create and nurture global champions and provide jobs to our youth. 

Union Budget 2021 underwhelming for salaried class but offers several long term sops 

Though the Finance Minister did not any income tax relief for the salaried class, she had a series of announcement for various others under DIRECT TAX PROPOSALS. The Finance Minister provided relief to senior citizens in filing of income tax returns, reduced time limit for income tax proceedings announced setting up of the Dispute Resolution Committee, faceless ITAT, relaxation to NRIs, increase in exemption limit from audit and relief for dividend income.  She also announced steps to attract foreign investment into infrastructure, relief to affordable housing and rental housing, tax incentives to IFSC, relief to small charitable trusts, and steps for incentivizing Start-ups in the country. 

The Finance Minister proposed to extend the eligibility period for claim of additional deduction for interest of Rs. 1.5 lakh paid for loan taken for purchase of an affordable house to 31st March, 2022.  In order to increase the supply of affordable houses, she also announced extension of eligibility period for claiming tax holiday for affordable housing projects by one more year to 31st March, 2022.  For promoting supply of affordable rental housing for the migrant workers, the Minister announced a new tax exemption for the notified affordable rental housing projects. 

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In order to incentivize start ups in the country, FM Sitharaman announced extension in the eligibility for claiming tax holiday for start ups by one more year till 31st March, 2022.  In order to incentivize funding of start ups, she proposed extending the Capital Gains exemption for investment in start ups by one more year till 31st March, 2022. 

 

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