In her Union Budget 2021-22 speech, FM Nirmala Sitharaman has announced FDI limit in insurance increase to be increased to 74% from now existing 49%. Govt has allowed foreign ownership in insurance with safeguards. The govt will also launch a Securities Market Code which will include the SEBI Act, Govt Sec act, Depositories Act. SEBI will be notified as to the regulator for gold exchange. FM said that the govt is proposing to strategically divest 2 PSU banks and 1 general insurance company. In 2021-22, the government would also bring the IPO of LIC for which it will be bringing the requisite amendments in this session itself, she said. The govt will now also incentivize one-person companies. she added that the NCLT system will be strengthened, e-Courts will be adopted and alternate mechanism of debt resolution will be set up. She also announced the decriminalisation of LLP Act.
Speaking on the farmers’ issue, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Modi Govt is committed to the welfare of farmers. The MSP regime has undergone a change to assure price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities, she said. Rs 75,060 crore is paid to farmers for wheat procurement in 2020-21, she added.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman has also announced measures under Aatmanirbhar Package. She said the early PM Garib Kalyan Yojana amounted to almost presenting 5 “mini budgets” in 2020. She proposed strengthening of ‘Sankalp of Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. Focus on 6 pillars, which include – Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development, Human Capital, Innovation and R&D. FM added that the govt is fully prepared to support and facilitate economic growth and they are introducing Aatmanirbhar Swastha Bharat Yojana with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore. FM said that today India has two vaccines available and has begun safeguarding not only her own citizens against COVID-19 but also those of 100 or more countries. It has added comfort to know that two more vaccines are also expected soon.
FM announced that Jal Jeevan Mission Urban will be launched with an outlay of ₹ 2.87 lakh crore over 5 years which is aimed at a universal water supply in all 4,378 urban local bodies, with 2.86 crore household tap connections and liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities. She also announced Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 with an outlay of ₹ 1,41,678 crore over 5 years from 2021 focused on complete faecal sludge management, wastewater treatment, source segregation, management of waste from urban construction, bioremediation of legacy dump sites.
Announcing major infrastructure boost, FM announced highway works in various states including 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 at a cost of Rs 95,000 crore and 1,300 km in Assam in the next 3 years. In May 2020, Govt announced the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, to sustain the recovery further we also rolled out two more Atmanirbhar packages. The total financial impact of all packages including measures taken by RBI was estimated to be about Rs 27.1 lakh crores, Sitharaman added.
For Railways Budget, the FM announced that Indian Railways will have a National Rail Plan for up to 2030. For the aviation sector, FM said that the next lot of airports will be privatized in tier 2 and 3 towns and cities. FM said that in FY22 outlay (budget estimate) for health & well-being is up 138%, and is at Rs 2,23,846 crore. Govt has also allocated Rs 35,400 crore towards COVID vaccines for FY22 and is committed to more if required. She said Modi govt is committed to achieving targets laid out under the national infrastructure pipeline. Ujjwala scheme will be expanded to over 1 crore more beneficiaries. We will add 100 more districts in the next three years to the city gas distribution network. A gas pipeline project will be taken up in Jammu and Kashmir, FM said.
Key Highlights of Union Budget 2021-22
- First digital Budget in the history of India
- Vehicle Scrapping Policy. Vehicle Fitness Test after 20 years in case of Personal vehicle and 15 years in case of commercial vehicles
- 64,180 crores allocated for New Health Schemes
- 35,000 crores allocated for Covid Vaccine
- 7 Mega Textile Investment parks will be launched in 3 years
- 5.54 lakh crore provided for Capital Expenditure
- 1.18 lakh crore for Ministry of Roads
- 1.10 lakh crore allocated to Railways
- Proposal to amend Insurance Act. Proposal to increase FDI from 49% to 74 %.
- Deposit Insurance cover (DICGC Act 1961 to be amended). Easy and time bound access of deposits to help depositors of stress banks.
- Proposal to revive definition of ‘Small Companies’ under Companies Act 2013. Capital less than 2 Cr. and Turnover Less than 20 Cr.
- Disinvestment: IPO of LIC, Announced Disinvestment of Companies will be completed in FY 2021-22
Direct and Indirect tax
- Senior Citizens: Reduced Compliance burden. 75 years and above. Proposal not to file ITR if only pension income and interest income.
- Reduction in time for IT Proceedings: Reopening of Assessments period reduced from 6 years to 3 years except in cases of serious tax evasion cases
- Proposal to constitute ‘Dispute Resolution Committee’. (Taxable income 50 lakhs and disputed income 10 lakh).
- National Faceless Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Centre
- Relaxations to NRI: Propose to notify rules for removing hardship for double taxation.
- Tax Audit Limit: Proposal of tax audit increased from 5 Cr. to 10 cr. (Only for 95% digitized payments business)
- Propose to provide relief on advance tax liability on dividend income.
- Propose to include tax holidays for Aircraft leasing companies
- Prefiling of returns (Salary, Tax payments, TDS etc.) Details of Capital gains from listed Securities, dividend income, etc. will be prefilled
- Small Charitable Trusts. Increased from 1 crore to 5 crores (Compliance limit)
- Late deposit of employee’s contribution by employer will not be allowed as deduction
- Incentive to startup: Tax holiday exemption for one more year
- Duties reduced on various textile, chemicals and other products
- Gold and Silver (BCD reduced)
- Agriculture Products: Custom duty increased on cottons, silks, alcohol etc.