Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget in Parliament on 1 February 2022. This is the Minister’s fourth Union Budget in Parliament and the second paperless budget given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Finance Minister said the Budget is based on six important pillars — inclusive development, productivity enhancement, energy transition and climate action. This is also her shortest budget speech so far. The Finance Minister spoke for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Experts are calling this budget welfare-oriented with a great thrust on infrastructure, mental health, education and real estate.
Things to know:
- There has been no change in the income tax slabs.
- Existing tax benefits for startups, which were offered redemption of taxes for three consecutive years, to be extended by one more year.
- ‘One class, one TV channel’ is a program under the eVIDYA scheme, which will be extended to reach 200 TV channels. This will help state governments provide supplementary education in regional classes to students from Class 1 to Class 12.
- Digital rupee to be issued using blockchain and other technologies by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- The 5G spectrum auctions to be carried out in 2022-2023.
- Taxpayers can now file an updated return on payment of taxes within two years from the end of the relevant assessment year. This is a new provision that will ensure voluntary tax filing and reduce litigation.
- National tele mental health helpline to be launched.
- E-passports to be rolled out in 2022-2023.
- A total of 75 digital banking units will be started in 75 districts across the country.
- National highway network to be expanded by 25,000 km during 2022-2023.
- Provision of Rs 2 lakh Anganwadis to be upgraded for improving child health.
- Corporate surcharge to be reduced from 12 per cent to 7 per cent.
- The government will bring a battery swapping policy to boost the use of electric vehicles in the country because of space constraints for setting up charging stations.
- Defence research and development to be opened up for the private sector, including providing start-ups in the sector.
- 60 per cent of the defence budget is to be spent on domestic sources.
- To facilitate digital inclusion and aid fund transfer, 100 per cent of 1.5 lakh post offices will come under the complete banking system. Experts say this will “enable smooth and transparent real estate transactions in the rural areas” and also encourage loan disbursal to the semi-urban population.
- Allocation of Rs 48,000 crore for PMAY Urban and Rural aims to push forward its ‘Housing for All’ initiative.
What is cheaper?
- Domestic electronic wearable devices, hearable devices and electronic smart meters.
- Duty concessions are being given to parts of the transformer of mobile phone chargers and camera lens of mobile camera module and certain other items.
- Customs duty on certain critical chemicals namely methanol, acetic acid and heavy feedstocks for petroleum refining are being reduced.
- Customs duty on cut and polished diamonds and gemstones are being reduced to 5 per cent.
- Farming equipment and leather goods are expected to be cheaper.
What is costlier?
- Customs duty on imitation jewellery has been raised to discourage their imports.
- The duty levied on umbrellas has been increased.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)