Budget 2021: All the highlights in FM Nirmala’s speech

·6-min read

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday presented the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 in the Lower House of Parliament. Nirmala Sitharaman delivered a 110-minute speech that she read from a tablet as the Budget went paperless for the first time, and members were provided soft copies of the speech and documents. It was also the shortest speech by Sitharaman, who had delivered the longest speech last year. Her first Budget speech in July 2019 went on for around 137 minutes and in 2020, it went on for more than 160 minutes and was cut short after she felt unwell.

Health 

— A new centrally sponsored scheme, PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, to be launched with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crores over 6 years. This will be in addition to the National Health Mission. 

— Rs 35,000 crore allocated for COVID-19 vaccine

Under National Institution for One Health: 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban health and wellness centres, 4 regional national institutes for virology, 15 health emergency operation centres and 2 mobile hospitals, integrated public health labs in all districts and 3382 block public health units in 11 states.

— Critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions, 17 new public health units and strengthening of 33 existing public health units, Regional Research Platform for WHO South-East Asia Region

— 9 Bio-Safety Level III laboratories

— Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) for universal water supply in 4,378 Urban Local Bodies will be implemented over 5 years, with an outlay of Rs 2,87,000 crores.

— The scheme ‘Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0’ will be implemented at a cost of Rs 1,41,678 crores, over a period of 5 years, from 2021-2026.

— To tackle air pollution, Rs 2,217 crore allocated for 42 urban centres with a million-plus population 

— Health budget for the year 2021-22 is Rs 2,23,846 crore.

Also read: Union Budget 2021 extends social security to platform, gig workers

Infrastructure

— Seven textile parks will be established over 3 years under the Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA) scheme

— Bill for Development Financial Institution to be introduced and a sum of Rs 20,000 crores earmarked to capitalise this 

— Capital expenditure to be 34.5% more than last year, at Rs 5.54 lakh crore. More than Rs 2 lakh crore to be provided to states and autonomous bodies for capital expenditure

Roads and Highway Projects

—  3,500 km of National Highway work in Tamil Nadu at an investment of Rs 1.03 lakh crores, these include Madurai-Kollam corridor, Chittoor-Thatchur corridor. Construction will start next year.

— 1,100 km of NH in Kerala at an investment of Rs 65,000 crore, including 600 km section of Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor in Kerala.

—  675 km of highway works in West Bengal at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore including upgradation of existing Kolkata-Siliguri route.

— In Assam, Rs 34,000 crore sanctioned for covering more than 1,300 kms of National Highways in the next three years.

—  Total budget of Rs 1,18,101 lakh crore allocated for Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Urban infrastructure

— New scheme worth Rs 18,000 crore to support augmentation of public bus transport services.

— Two new technologies — ‘MetroLite’ and ‘MetroNeo’ — will be deployed to provide metro rail systems at much lesser cost with same experience, convenience and safety in Tier-2 cities and peripheral areas of Tier-1 cities. 

— Central counterpart funding to Kochi Metro Railway Phase-II of 11.5 km at a cost of Rs 1957.05 crore, Chennai Metro Railway Phase-II of 118.9 km at a cost of Rs 63,246 crore, Bengaluru Metro Railway Project Phase 2A and 2B of 58.19 km at a cost of Rs 14,788 crore. Nagpur Metro Rail Project Phase-II and Nashik Metro at a cost of Rs 5,976 crore and Rs 2,092 crore, respectively.

Also read: Budget 2021: Poll-bound Tamil Nadu to get roads, seaweed park

Tax:

— ITR filing not mandatory for senior citizens above 75 years, banks to deduct TDS

— Time bar for reopening I-T assessment cases halved to 3 years, upto 10 years serious frauds it is 10 years

— Agriculture infra cess of 2.5% on gold, silver

— Rs 2.5 per litre agri infra cess on petrol, Rs 4 on diesel. Cess to be applicable from Tuesday, February 2

—  Double taxation for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) removed on income accrued through foreign retirement benefits accounts

— Tax holiday for startups, capital gains exemption extended by 1 yr

— Tax exemption for notified affordable housing for migrant workers.

— Rs 1.5 lakh tax deduction on payment of interest for affordable housing extended by 1 yr

Also read: Budget 2021: No change in personal income tax slabs

Allocations and reforms:

—  Review of over 400 customs duty exemptions proposed 

—  FDI in insurance increased to 74 pc from 49 pc 

—  BPCL, IDBI Bank, two more PSU banks, one insurance company to be privatised among others. Disinvestment target pegged at Rs 1.75 lakh crore

—  Govt to introduce a bill to set up development financial institution with an outlay of Rs 20,000 cr

—  Rs 3,726 cr for forthcoming Census which will be the first digital census.

— Voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to be launched to phase out old and unfit vehicles. Vehicles would undergo fitness tests in automated fitness centres after 20 years in case of personal vehicles, and after 15 years in case of commercial vehicles. 

— Fiscal deficit for current fiscal at 9.5%, against 3.5% budgeted. Fiscal deficit for next fiscal pegged at 6.8%, government to borrow Rs 12 lakh crore. The Union government said it is committed to bring down fiscal deficit below 4.5% of GDP by 2025-26. 

Also read: Budget 2021: Gold, silver likely to become cheaper thanks to customs duty changes

Railway Infrastructure

— Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and Eastern DFC will be commissioned by June 2022. 

— The Sonnagar–Gomoh Section (263.7 km) of Eastern DFC will be taken up in PPP (Public-Private Partnership) mode in 2021-22. Gomoh-Dankuni section of 274.3 km will also be taken up.

— Vista Dome LHB coaches to be introduced on tourist routes

— Dedicated d freight corridor projects — East Coast corridor from Kharagpur to Vijayawada, East-West Corridor from Bhusaval to Kharagpur to Dankuni and North-South corridor from Itarsi to Vijayawada. 

— Total budget for Railways for 2021-22: Rs 1,10,055 crores

Also read: Budget 2021: No double taxation for NRIs with foreign retirement accounts