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Major Highlights from Union Budget 2021

The theme of this year’s budget largely circled around the Covid-19 pandemic, economic recovery and growth.

As part of the central theme, the government was expected to focus on demand and job creation through targeted schemes and incentives. The largest item of expenditure in the Union Budget 2020-21 was ‘State’s share of taxes and duties’. This item accounted to 20% share of the total expenditure of the Central Government.

As said by the finance minister ‘Nirmala Sitharaman” in her speech, this year’s budget proposal rests on six pillars being – health and well-being, physical, financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D and minimum government and maximum governance.

List of highlights

Health and Sanitation

  • A new scheme, named PM Atma Nirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana, is to be launched to develop primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare
  • Mission POSHAN 2.0 to improve nutritional outcomes across 112 aspirational districts
  • Operationalisation of 17 new public health units at points of entr
  • Modernising of existing health units at 32 airports, 15 seaports and land ports
  • Jal Jeevan Mission Urban aimed at better water supply nationwide
  • Strengthening of Urban Swachh Bharat Mission

Education

  • 100 new Sainik Schools to be set up
  • 750 Eklavya schools to be set up in tribal areas
  • A Central University to come up in Ladakh

Infrastructure

  • Vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles –  all vehicles to undergo fitness test in automated fitness centres every 20 years (personal vehicles), every 15 years (commercial vehicles)
  • Highway and road works announced in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam
  • 100% electrification of Railways to be completed by 2023
  • Metro services announced in 27 cities, plus additional allocations for Kochi Metro, Chennai Metro Phase 2, Bengaluru Metro Phase 2A and B, Nashik and Nagpur Metros
  • National Hydrogen Mission to be launched to generate hydrogen from green power sources
  • Recycling capacity of ports to be doubled by 2024
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (LPG scheme) to be extended to cover 1 crore more beneficiaries
  • Gas pipeline project to be set up in Jammu and Kashmir

Tax

  • No IT filing for people above 75 years who get pension and earn interest from deposits
  • Reopening window for IT assessment cases reduced from 6 to 3 years. However, in case of serious tax evasion cases (Rs. 50 lakh or more), it can go up to 10 years
  • Affordable housing projects to get a tax holiday for one year
  • Compliance burden of small trusts whose annual receipts does not exceed Rs. 5 crore to be eased
  • Duty of copper scrap reduced to 2.5%
  • Custom duty on gold and silver to be rationalised
  • Duty on naphtha reduced to 2.5%.
  • Duty on solar inverters raised from 5% to 20%, and on solar lanterns from 5% to 15%
  • All nylon products charged with 5% customs duty
  • Economy and Finance :-
  • Fiscal deficit stands at 9.5% of the GDP; estimated to be 6.8% in 2021-22
  • Proposal to allow States to raise borrowings up to 4% of GSDP this year
  • A Unified Securities Market Code to be created, consolidating provisions of the Sebi Act, Depositories Act, and two other laws
  • Employment :-
  • A portal to be launched to maintain information on gig workers and construction workers
  • Margin capital required for loans via Stand-up India scheme reduced from 25% to 15% for SCs, STs and women
  • Agriculture :-
  • Agriculture infrastructure fund  to be made available for APMCs for augmenting their infrastructure
  • 1,000 more Mandis to be integrated into the E-NAM market place

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