Going paperless and bringing forth the first digitalised budget for India, Union Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman is reimagining budgets every year, making us feel even more proud of the government. While quoting Rabindranath Tagore, “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark,” Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021-2022 with full guts & glory. She was confident and knew that she meant only business. She presented the budget in a sense that the government is fully prepared for the much needed impetus to the economy and there is no doubt about the integrity of the government’s actions.
The Union Budget of 2021-2022 put forth the mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat. One such instance is allocating Rs. 27.1 lakh crore for it which is 15% of the GDP. The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana will continue with its package of Rs. 90,000 crore allocated on 30th June 30th 2020.
A major portion of Union Budget 2021-2022 is dedicated to the health sector dividing them into three platforms: Preventive, Curative & Well-Being. There will be a centrally sponsored scheme with PM Swastha Bharat Yojana getting Rs. 54,108 crore over six years. Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Health Care Systems will be set up along with 15 health emergency centers and a World Health Organization station. Nirmala Sitharaman announced that two more vaccines will be out soon and allocated Rs. 35,000 crore for Covid vaccine development.
Textile was another highlight of the budget along with the infrastructural development plans. There will be seven textile parks which will be set up across the country over a period of three years. Highways were a point of interest as 11.5k km. additional highway infrastructure will be developed. 13,000 roads are under construction. For Kerala it is Rs. 65,000 crore infrastructure boost, for West Bengal it is 675km new highway development and for Assam it is 1,300km new highways. Railways too were allocated a fund of Rs. 1,10,055 crore.
The Union Budget presented insurance in a new light. FDI in the insurance sector was hiked with safeguards. There will be 74% foreign investments in the insurance sector. An IPO in LIC will also be introduced. Disinvestment in two public sector banks and Air India will take place and the aim is to achieve a target of Rs. 1.75 lakh crore.
The Farm Laws are in the news since 2020. Nirmala Sitharaman pointed out the MSP prices and drew a comparison of its prices since 2013. She also pointed out the fact that Rs. 75,050 crore were allocated to the farmers in the fiscal year 2020-2021 and that Rs. 16.5 lakh crore agriculture credit is introduced. Along with agriculture credit, Rs. 40k crore is allocated for rural infrastructure development.
Just like how the budget was presented digitally, census too will go the digital way and Rs. 3,768 crore has been allocated for the same. Rs. 1.5k crore is allocated for digital payments. Rs. 1,000 crore is allocated for the welfare of the tea workers of Assam.
There is a huge relief for senior citizens of 75 years of age or above. They have been exempted from filing tax returns if their sole income is pension or interests. Corporate tax rate has been slashed and there is a little relaxation for NRIs. Tax audit level is increased to Rs. 10 crore and tax holiday for startups is extended. Other major developments in terms of tax are reopening of tax assessment which has been brought down from six years to three years and 400 old exemptions will be reviewed. Artificial Intelligence will be used to identify tax evaders.
It is going to be a challenge for the government to execute the 2021-2022 Budget which has been prepared amid the ongoing pandemic. However, the way Nirmala Sitharaman presented the budget is commendable and will prove to be beneficial for the country as a whole. What remains to be seen is how the government is going to tackle this crucial year of pandemic and post-pandemic. In 2020 nobody was prepared for this unforeseen circumstance. The government took hold of the situation and within a span of six to eight months a vaccine was rolled out and took hold of the situation. From having no PPE kits to becoming an exporter of PPE kits and providing vaccines to countries worldwide, the government has done an exceptional job.
All in all, the budget gives a hope to the people / youth of India, to be in India, invest their knowledge & money in India and support the Modi Government’s vision of a Self-Reliant BHARAT!!