Budget Highlight for Key sectors

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New Delhi : In her third budget Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given extra focus on the Health and Infrastructure sector. While, the finance minister has not announced any big populist package, she has announced several projects for the poll bound states like Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Tamilnadu.

Meanwhile, Sitharaman announced imposition of the Agriculture Infrastructure and development Cess (AIDC) on certain items like Petrol, Diesel and Alcoholic beverages. But she has made it clear that imposition of the cess will not have any direct impact on the end consumers as Basic Excise Duty and Additional Excise duty on these items have been reduced by an equal amount.

Sector-wise Highlights of the Union Budget

Health :

Rs. 2,23,846 crore outlay for Health and Wellbeing in BE 2021-22 as against Rs. 94,452 crore in BE 2020-21 – an increase of 137%.

Rs. 35,000 crore has been allocated for COVID-19 vaccine in BE 2021-22.

4 regional National Institutes for Virology

Integrated public health labs in all districts and 3382 block public health units in 11 states.

Agriculture :

Ensured MSP at minimum 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities ; Agricultural credit target enhanced to Rs. 16.5 lakh crore in FY22 – animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries to be the focus areas Rural Infrastructure Development Fund to be enhanced to Rs. 40,000 crore from Rs. 30,000 crore To double the Micro Irrigation Fund to Rs. 10,000 crore ; APMCs to get access to the Agriculture Infrastructure Funds for augmenting infrastructure facilities.

Income Tax :

There is no change in individual income tax slabs. However, in a relief to senior citizens of age 75 or more who have pension or rent income have been exempted from filing income tax returns. The Finance Minister also announced simplification of IT returns.

Automobiles :

The finance minister has announced a voluntary Scrapping Policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles. The policy will be applicable for personal vehicles of 20 or more years old and commercial vehicles of 15 or more years old.

Infrastructure :

National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) expanded to 7,400 projects. Around 217 projects worth Rs. 1.10 lakh crore completed. Rs. 20,000 crore to set up and capitalise a Development Financial Institution(DFI) – to act as a provider, enabler and catalyst for infrastructure financing. Rs. 5 lakh crore lending portfolio to be created under the proposed DFI in 3 years. Debt Financing by Foreign Portfolio Investors to be enabled by amending InvITs’ and REITs’ legislations.

Railways :

Rs. 1,10,055 crore for Railways of which Rs. 1,07,100 crore is for capital expenditure. National Rail Plan for India (2030): to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. 100% electrification of Broad-Gauge routes to be completed by December, 2023. Broad Gauge Route Kilometers (RKM) electrification to reach 46,000 RKM, i.e. 72% by end of 2021. Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and Eastern DFC to be commissioned by June 2022, to bring down the logistic costs – enabling Make in India strategy.

Banking and Insurance:

Rs.  20,000 crore in 2021-22 to further consolidate the financial capacity of PSBs. FDI limit in Insurance sector will be increased from 49% to 74% and allow foreign ownership and control with safeguards.

Disinvestment :

IPO of LIC in 2021-22 ; Rs.  1,75,000 crore estimated receipts from disinvestment in BE 2020-21 ; Strategic disinvestment of BPCL, Air India, Shipping Corporation of India, Container Corporation of India, IDBI Bank, BEML, Pawan Hans, Neelachal Ispat Nigam limited etc. to be completed in 2021-22; Other than IDBI Bank, two Public Sector Banks and one General Insurance company to be privatized.

Education :

15,000 schools to be strengthened by implementing all NEP components. Shall act as exemplar schools in their regions for mentoring others ; 100 new Sainik Schools to be set up in partnership with NGOs/private schools/states ; Legislation to be introduced to setup Higher Education Commission of India as an umbrella body with 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding ; Central University to come up in Leh for accessibility of higher education in Ladakh ; 750 Eklavya model residential schools in tribal areas.

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