Union Budget 2021: Key highlights of the budget speech 

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget for 2021-22 on Monday. During the budget speech, Sitharaman said that the budget proposals for this year stand on six pillars- Health, Physical and Financial capital, Infrastructure, Inclusive development, Development of human capital, Research and development, Minimum government, Maximum governance.

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On Monday afternoon Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget for 2021-22. During the budget speech, Sitharaman said that the budget proposals for this year stand on six pillars- Health, Physical and Financial capital, Infrastructure, Inclusive development, Development of human capital, Research and development, Minimum government, Maximum governance. She also mentioned that the government is committed to the welfare of farmers. The Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime has also changed as per specifications. The finance minister has granted major assistance to healthcare and infrastructure. 

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Other significant declarations included hikes in customs duty to benefit Make in India, proposal to disinvest two more PSBs and a general insurance company. Currently, the fiscal deficit stands at 9.5% of the GDP and is estimated to be 6.8% in this fiscal year.  However, there is no change in Income Tax slabs in 2021-22.

Here are the key highlights of the budget session:

  • The budget proposal will allow states to raise borrowings up to 4% of GSDP
  • A Unified Securities Market Code to be performed, incorporating provisions of the Sebi Act, Depositories Act, and two other laws. Proposal to increase the FDI limit from 49% to 74%.  
  • Deposit insurance increased from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for bank investors. 
  • lt has been proposed to decriminalise Limited Liability Partnership Act of 2008.
  • An IPO of LIC to debut this fiscal year
  • The government has allotted 20,000 crore for bank recapitalisation.
  • To spend 64,180 crore on healthcare over six years and set aside 35,000 crores for COVID-19 vaccine for 2021-22.
  • A new project called PM Atma Nirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana, to be launched to develop more primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare units.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission Urban sighted at better water supply nationwide.
  • No change in the IT slabs and tax exemptions this financial year
  • Senior citizens above 75 yrs of age with only pension income are exempted from filing tax returns.
  • The reopening window for IT assessment cases reduced from 6 to 3 years. However, in case of serious tax evasion cases like Rs. 50 lakh and more, it can go up to 10 years. 
  • The customs duty on gold and silver will be rationalised.
  • Agriculture credit target for FY22 is 16.5 lakh crore.
  • Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) proposed on certain items like urea, apples, crude soybean and sunflower oil, crude palm oil, Kabuli chana and peas.
  • Five major fishing hubs to be developed including Chennai, Kochi and Paradip.
  • A portal to be launched to maintain information of gig and construction workers. Also, social security to be extended to platform workers. 
  • Margin capital required for loans via Stand-up India scheme reduced from 25% to 15% for SCs, STs and Women. 
  • National Rail Plan created to bring a future-ready railway system by 2030. Also, 100% electrification of Railways to be completed by 2023.
  • Metro services announced in 27 cities. Additional services allocated for Kochi Metro, Chennai Metro Phase 2, Bengaluru Metro Phase 2A and B, Nashik and Nagpur Metros.
  •  Proposed infra work including 8,500 km of highways by March 2022, 3,500 km corridor in Tamil Nadu, 1,100 km in Kerala at an investment of Rs 65,000 crore, 675 km in West Bengal for Rs 95,000 crore and 1,300 km in Assam in the next 3 yrs: FM  
  • Gas pipeline project to be set up in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (LPG scheme) to be extended to cover Rs. 1 crore more recipients.
  • Rs.300 crores granted to the government of Goa for the celebration of Independence from Portuguese.
  • Central University to be established in Leh.
  • 15,000 schools will be qualitatively established 
  • 100 new Sainik schools to be built.
  • Consumers to be given a chance to choose an electricity distribution company.

Commodities that have become costlier:

  • Mobiles
  • Power banks
  • Imported raw silk
  • Solar inverters
  • Leather items
  • Chargers
  • Imported Gemstones
  • Kabuli chana, Pulses
  • Tunnel boring machines
  • Imported Auto parts
  • Urea

Commodities that have become cheaper:

  • Iron
  • Steel
  • Nylon clothes
  • Copper items
  • Leather goods
  • Gold & Silver
  • Insurance
  • Shoes
  • Agricultural equipment